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Old 09-11-2007, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default Easterbrook and TMQ

Anyone else love reading this guy?

"The key difference between the shotgun spread and previous philosophies, such as the run 'n' shoot, is that shotgun spread coaches love the run. In my kids' high school's shotgun spread performance Friday night, the run-pass ratio was 3-to-1. On Saturday, Nebraska beat Wake Forest 20-17 on a late 22-yard touchdown run by tailback Marlon Lucky. The line score of the game looks like something from 1953, but Wake rushed 53 times from the shotgun spread and Nebraska's winning touchdown run came from the shotgun spread. The Indianapolis Super Bowl win? The Colts won that game on the ground, rushing from the shotgun spread. The old-timers' assumption that you can only pass from the shotgun turns out to be totally wrong. Old-timers also would have said you can't rush-block from a two-point stance, which also turns out to be wrong. The shotgun spread is a great formation to run from, in part because you often are facing a light defense with one fewer linebacker than normal."

There is also the TMQ Immutable Law of the Obvious:

"TMQ's immutable Law of the Obvious holds: Sometimes all a team needs to do is rush up the middle for no gain, and everything will be fine. Leading Denver 14-12, the Bills had possession on their 36, facing second-and-7, with 2:51 remaining. Rookie Marshawn Lynch took a pitch and ran out of bounds, stopping the clock. On the next play, Buffalo threw incomplete, stopping the clock. After the punt, Denver staged a hectic hurry-up drive and kicked the game-winning 42-yard field goal with one second showing. Had the Bills simply run up the middle for no gain on both their final snaps, keeping the clock ticking, they would have jogged up the tunnel victorious."

And the Preposterous Punt Watch:

"Preposterous Punt Watch: The new season was barely a few hours old when the first Preposterous Punt boomed. New Orleans trailed Indianapolis 27-10 and faced fourth-and-1 on its 29 early in the fourth quarter. Surely that cannot be the punt unit trotting onto the field! You're down by three scores with 13 minutes remaining: If you don't get points on this possession, the game is over. And you have the league's No. 1 offense of 2006, averaging a dazzling 5.8 yards per play. Why are you punting? Why are you punting??????? I scarcely need mention that after the fraidy-cat punt, the Colts required just five snaps to take the ball the distance for the touchdown that sealed the contest at 34-10.

"Preposterous Punt Watch No. 2: Trailing Minnesota 7-0 in the third quarter, Atlanta faced fourth-and-1 on its 41. As TMQ noted last week, "Teams that punt on fourth-and-short when trailing in the second half almost invariably go on to lose." In trotted the punt unit, and from that snap, the Falcons collapsed, losing 24-3. Can you believe for one instant that Bobby Petrino at Louisville would have punted on fourth-and-1 when behind in the second half? Something about the NFL turns all coaches stodgy and obsessed with avoiding blame."

And the generic victory predictions: "Home Team Wins."

"Now for my annual generic predictions. In the past, I have wagered Home Team Wins against all sports-expert predictions based on incredible insider information. But in the past few seasons, the home advantage seems to have faded. The home team went just 144-122 last season, winning 54 percent of the time, and that's not enough to hang your hat on, considering most football pundits are correct about 60 percent of the time. In the past, I also have forecast a generic score of Home Team 20, Visitor 17, this being the most common NFL outcome -- one that's already happened in the Arizona at San Francisco game last night. This year, I will endorse the generic forecast advocated in the offseason by about 20 readers, pulling from a hat the name Catey Tarbell of Kirkland, Wash. Catey's Law: Best Record Wins -- Unless Records Equal, Then Home Team Wins. TMQ will track this off-price house-label generic forecast against the predictions of full-time football experts who possess incredible insider information."

link to TMQ

Easterbrook is probably the best print analyst working the 'net right now. I'll put up with his interludes to get to the meat.

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Old 09-11-2007, 04:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Easterbrook and TMQ

Yeah, I love reading that guy.

He writes from a fans perspective, asking the questions we always end up asking the TV every week.

I totally agree with the lily-livered preposterous punt theory - its embarrassing to watch some of these teams in damage limitation mode when the game is theoretically still there to win.

Down 17 points to a team like the Colts you have to make something happen you can't just sit back and hope it does.

I love his coverage of college football, too - I don't get alot of exposure to it over here - but some of the stuff he highlights seems almost unbelieveable.

Strong teams essentially picking their own schedule, the crazy system that has so many teams qualifying for 'Bowls' even though they had poor records - and now teams even hedging their bets by playing more games at home than away.

Great stuff.
They've been great for a while now, three Super Bowls' worth of great. But only this season have the New England Patriots become The Show, the must-see team of stars, pretty boys and reformed bad boys. Suddenly, the Patriots are not simply great; they're compelling, fascinating, appearing to be almighty and a touch lawless.
The Patriots didn't bother with swagger to start this NFL season; they went straight to defiant. Either you're one of them or you're about to get crushed.
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