2014 NFL Thrills and Chills (NFC)

2014 NFL Thrills and Chills, Part I (NFC)
By Glenn Guzzo
            Here’s a brief summary of the highlights and lowlights of Strat-O-Matic’s new football ratings:
Oh Yeah!           QB Palmer’s very low INTs … Finally, an OL who can block: LT Veldheer (7,5) … WR Floyd’s max Long Pass card; WR Fitzgerald has his LGs back
Oh No!              Zero run-blockers at C, RG in front of stay-at-home runners
Oh Yeah!           6s for LE Campbell, LCB Peterson, three sub 4s in secondary
Oh No!             Three of four LBs are 0 in pass D … Long Pass 0 Men looks like a kid punished at school: “Write Long Gain six times” (20+ chances)
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           PR TD … FG 2-9,12 from 32 yds … +3 penalty differential
Oh No!             Blocked punt, wimpy KO returns
Oh Yeah!           QB Ryan’s completion chances Wrong: FP-25, SP-19, LP-13 … Three 7s, three 5s for pass block
Oh No!             Three 0s, three 4s for run block in front of uninspiring runners
Oh Yeah!           Matt Ryan can keep the D off the field; kickers can provide field position
Oh No!             Poor vs. pass / Average to Poor vs. run … SG at #7 across the board w/0 LB … no 6s anywhere
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           PR TD … strong all-around kicking, including FG 2-7, 12 from 37 yd line and 24 deep kickoff chances
Oh No!             Complaints here would be nit-picking
Oh Yeah!           Center Kalil (7,5) … QB Newton’s 16 chances of SG or better on ER, 15 chances of 10 or better on Must Run … RB Stewart makes up for Williams’ ghastly card … TE Olsen: max FP, SP and he can go deep
Oh No!             LT Bell (2,0), one of three 0 run blockers in front six … 1-4 Fumble Rtg … As passer, Newton still looking for some touch
Oh Yeah!           LBs Kuechly (66) and Davis (64)
Oh No!             Generous yards on run D cards – the twin 5s at DT will have to stuff
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           PR TD … 26 deep KO chances … +3 penalty differential
Oh No!             Matador kick coverage (+51, 49, 44 on KR; +18, 26, LG on PR) … Blocked punt
Oh Yeah!           RG Long (7,5) … QB Cutler’s MR (+10 at #6) … WR Jeffery’s max SP, LP … HB Forte can catch, go deep, is YAC-A … TE Bennett’s career year … Marshall is the only WR with a run block-4
Oh No!             QB Cutler’s INTs … Forte’s big runs are almost gone
Oh Yeah!           LE Young (1*)12 leads DL pass rush with 9, 8, 7
Oh No!             Very Poor pass D: LG on SP #4 w/a 0 at LCB, 04 at FS … A 0 at RT, too
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           KR TD … strong KR coverage
Oh No!             Blocked punt … PK Gould is ghoulish: missed XP on #11, short leg on FGs
Oh Yeah!           Romo-Murray-Bryant-Witten invoke memories of Aikman-Smith-Irvin-Novacek … Four 6s, three 5s for run block; LT Smith, RG Martin = 7 pass block
Oh No!             Great OL’s pass block includes a 3, two 4s
Oh Yeah!           Fumble 2-5,11,12 OT w/0 LB … MLB McClain (65)
Oh No!             Once-prized LCB Carr (0); 8 starters = 0 or 4 vs. pass and run
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           2-6,11,12 FG from 39 yd line highlights strong kicking + coverage
Oh No! Blocked punt … Longest return of any kind is +42 … 22 penalty chances (combined) means longer games with lots of plays coming back
Oh Yeah!           Elite WR Megatron … QB Stafford keeps INTs in check … YAC-A for HB Bell, HB/FB Riddick, WR Tate … RG Warford (7,5)
Oh No!             Thrill is gone for C Raiola (2,0) … HB Bush’s longest run = +26, YAC-C … Weak receiving TE’s … WR Johnson’s YAC-D despite big plays
Oh Yeah!          Excellent vs. run / Good vs. pass … Nothing worse than +4 at rolls 6-8 vs. run … RT Suh (6), RLB Levy (66), FS Quin (65) … All 5s, 6s vs pass in Lions secondary – since when, the early ‘60s?
Oh No!             No double-digit pass rushers … LLB Palmer (04)
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          25 deep KO chances … 2-6, 12 FG from 37 yd line … P Martin: Still 41 yds at #10 w/no block
Oh No!             Poor kick coverage (LG on PR) … Nothing longer than +41
Oh Yeah!          All-world QB Rodgers’ INTs are on #12 w/25 SP, 14 LP completes Wrong … HB Lacy gets tough yards, has LG OT and is YAC-A … WR Nelson LG or better chances Wrong: FP-3, SP-5, LP-12 … WR Cobb would be #1 on most teams … Both guards and FB Kuhn are 7,6 …
Oh No!             LT Bakhtiari (4,0)
Oh Yeah!           Inside or out, LB Matthews (56) with (6*)12 pass rush … Three sub 4s in secondary
Oh No!             SG parade vs. run (#7 and 8 OT w/0 LB; #7 Linebuck even w/1 LB) … Eight 0s or 4s vs. run, pass … LE Boyd’s 0 pass rush
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           PR TD on #4 for Hyde! … 2-6, 12 FG from 38 yd line
Oh No!             Blocked punt … missed XP … LG on both KR/PR coverage … Wimpy KR
Oh Yeah!           Bridgewater is best rookie QB w/strong FP, decent LP … Blank Rec&QB Fumble Rating … Deep threat WRs Wright, Johnson
Oh No!             LT Kalil, LG Johnson both (2,4) … All but two receivers are YAC – C,D,E
Oh Yeah!           LT Floyd (6), both safeties 6 vs. run … RE Griffin: (1*)12 pass rush
Oh No!             Poor vs. run / Average to Poor vs. pass … Will force no fumbles
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           Excellent kick coverage … 2-6,11,12 FG from 38 yd line
Oh No!             Blocked punt … 2-8, 11, 12 FG from 3 yd line
Oh Yeah!           QB Brees complete chances Wrong: FP-25, SP-20, LP-11 … WR Stills’ max LP w/11 chances for LG or better Wrong … 7 pass block at both OT
Oh No!             Turnovers (F 2-6, 11, 12 running Right; Brees’ INTs Right) … Stills, Cooks = YAC-E (no WR or TE is better than YAC-C)
Oh Yeah!           ROLB Galette: (3*) 12 pass rush
Oh No!             Poor vs. run AND pass … Opposing RBs go marching in: SG #7,8 OT w/0 LB; SG #7 LB w/1 LB … Pass coverage: Four 0s, three 4s in back seven
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          99 (not TD) for KR Cadet … P Morstead (still 41 yd at #10) supported by +1,2,3 PR coverage … +3 penalty differential
Oh No!             Cowardly #1 PR Cooks … Missed XP, sub-par FG beyond 22 yd line
Oh Yeah!          QB Manning: 22 completes SP Wrong … LT Beatty (7,6) and RT Pugh (7 pass block) … Max SP, LP for WR Beckham w/11 chances at least +50 LP Wrong
Oh No!             No push: 0 run block at C, both G
Oh Yeah!           RE Pierre-Paul: (2*) 12 pass rush and 5 vs run; twin 5s at CB
Oh No!             Poor vs. run (SG across the board at #7 w/0 LB) … where ISN’T there a LG in LP 0 Men? Oh, I see it: #12 … NT Jenkins (0)
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           Fab KR coverage (+10,11,12) … 2-6,12 FG from 37 yd line
Oh No!             Blocked punt … LG on punt coverage
Oh Yeah!           6 run block at TE, RT, C, LG, LT; LT Peters, LG Mathis are 7,6 … HB Sproles’ FP Wrong: +57, +51, YAC-A … WR Maclin: max SP, LP w/12 chances of LG or better LP Wrong … Three TE’s can go deep           
Oh No!             Haste makes waste: Fast offense turns it over – a lot. Sanchez, Foles throw too many to the bad guys. RB fumbles 2-6, 11, 12 Right … Only Sproles better than YAC-C
Oh Yeah!           Good to Excellent vs. run … LOLB Barwin: (56) with (7*) 12 pass rush
Oh No!             Very Poor vs. pass shows on D cards, and with twin 0 CBs … Have to replace a 5 with a 0 to get a pass rush from front 3
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          Sproles PR TD on #3; Both #1, #2 KR men have TDs … 2-6, 12 FG from 37 yd line
Oh No!             LG on punt coverage
Oh Yeah!          Rookie HB Mason’s +89 ER Wrong, YAC-B … WR Britt’s LG or better chances Wrong: FP-3, SP-5, LP-10
Oh No!             LT Robinson (2,0) one of three OL 0s for run block … High turnovers Right make it vital to out-guess the D … No WR, TE better than YAC-C
Oh Yeah!          Good run D forces fumbles … All 5s up front in 4-3 D, two (Donald, Quinn) with double-figure sack rates
Oh No!             Both OLB (04) with 0 sacks … twin 4s at CB
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!          TD on #5 (!) for PR2 Bailey; TD on #2 for PR1 Austin … PR coverage (+6,2,3) … 2-6, 11,12 FG from 39 yd line
Oh No!             Blocked punt, missed XP … -4 penalty differential … LG on KR coverage
Oh Yeah!           6 run block at LG, LT … Kaepernick’s +90 Must Run (with 12 MR chances) … RB Gore gets the tough yards and can break loose
Oh No!             C Martin (0,0) and generally weak pass block … Kaepernick’s mere 7 complete chances LP Wrong … Only Gore (B) is better than YAC-C
Oh Yeah!          Good INTs, SS-6, CB-5s responsible for Average to Good vs. pass (not the catches and yards) … Retiring RE Justin Smith goes out with a 6
Oh No!             Move your FS up and it’s English muffins – toast with holes
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           2-7 FG from 38 yd line
Oh No!             Block blemishes Lee’s booming punts … LG on PR coverage … Kickoffs shorter than most; SF’s KO returns, too … 28 penalty chances combined means longer games, many plays called back
Oh Yeah!          QB Wilson’s running: 25 chances of SG or better ER Wrong, MR: +55, +40, +22, +14, +13 … HB Lynch runs inside, outside, for power and distance (33 chances SG or better across card Wrong)
Oh No!             Wilson’s passing, receivers don’t look like champs in today’s NFL
Oh Yeah!           Excellent vs pass / Good vs run and will force fumbles … Six 6s vs. pass and run
Oh No!             Ordinary pass rush and INTs will limit big plays
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           Not so special, though kicking is solid
Oh No!             Worst in set (-7) penalty differential … Blocked punt … Kick returners seldoom help field position
Oh Yeah!           WR Evans’ max SP, LP … WR Jackson not far behind
Oh No!             WRs almost make it worth letting McCown throw to them … Giveaway City: McCown’s INTs, RBs fumbles … All WR, TE are YAC-D or E
Oh Yeah!           LT McCoy: 6 with 11 pass rush
Oh No!             Poor vs pass and plenty of yards vs run … FS Goldson (00) and two 4s in secondary
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           2-6, 11, 12 FG from 38 yd line
Oh No!             Blocked punt … LG on punt coverage … KR #1’s longest is +28 … Only 14 deep KO chances … Only 2-9 FG from 1-12 yd lines … -5 penalty differential
Oh Yeah!           WR Jackson’s LG or better chances Wrong: FP-6, SP-7, LP-15 + YAC-A … QBs Griffin and McCoy’s FP … 3rd-down back Helu: 15 chances of +13 or better ER Wrong, max FP, YAC-A … LT Williams … (5,6)
Oh No!              RT Compton (0,0), LG Lauvao (3,0) … 1-4 Rec&QB Fumble
Oh Yeah!           Good vs run … LOLB Kerrigan: (9*)12 pass rush
Oh No!             Very Poor vs pass is politically correct D.C. language – SP 3 Men: LG on SP #4, no incompletes and a secondary with three 0s and a 4
Special Teams:
Oh Yeah!           +4 penalty differential
Oh No!             Blocked punt, missed XP, LG on both KR, PR coverage … FG only 2-3 beyond 32 yd line … Yellow flag days: Only 6 blank penalty chances