There were two men who played one position.
They prepared for a great “competition”.
The fight wasn’t fair,
Ten hadn’t a prayer,
‘Cuz Nine didn’t need an audition.
Quick note: I know money is a major issue for many Americans right now as the unemployment numbers have exploded and entire industries have been destroyed. When I write columns like this, encouraging gambling, I hope those suffering know I am sensitive to their situation. But gambling odds provide a solid context to discuss sporting issues. So I’m going to keep writing about them for the time being.
Do I think Nick Foles is going to win MVP this season?
But that’s why he’s 150-1 to win the award. (Same odds as Mitch Trubisky actually.)
Here’s why the bet is worth $1: the value logic. What if Foles starts, executes the offense and the Bears start winning? What if he proves the 2019 season can be written off to the failures of the previous quarterback, as many believe the case to be? There will be an easily-made argument for his value to the franchise.
Also, when quarterbacks execute this offense, they produce statistically. Alex Smith, who most consider a game manager, put up 4,000 yards and 26 TDs in 2017 for Andy Reid. You combine him turning around the Bears offense with a large statistical output and he’ll be in the MVP conversation.
And Foles plays in Chicago. If he plays well, it’ll be visible and there will be a demonstrative campaign for him.
If the 2020 rules existed in 2019, the Bears would have finished a single game out of the postseason. If they’re healthy I don’t see how they’re not a better team in 2020.
As a matter of fact, I believe the Bears are going to be a very good team and this number will be -400 by the middle of the season.
The Bears spent their first pick (43rd overall) on Cole Kmet, a big tight end from Notre Dame who has a chance to plug a Bears’ roster hole from day one.
It should be noted, however, that tight end is a position where conventional wisdom says it’s hard to make a big impact in your rookie season due to a steep learning curve. In order to establish realistic expectations for Kmet, let’s take a look at how comparable tight ends have fared in their first few years of the NFL.
In order to do so, I looked at all 18 tight ends drafted in the 2nd round between 2010-19. I tracked their playing time and statistical contributions on offense after extrapolating to a full 16 game season to normalize the data since several players missed games with injuries.
The full data can be seen here, but I’m just going to show the range of snaps played, targets earned, passes caught, and receiving yards, which can be seen in the table below.
Ryan Pace had no interest in drafting Deshaun Watson, the quarterback who played in two National Championship games, leading Clemson to the title in 2016. The quarterback who chucked 90 touchdowns to 32 interceptions in collage and ran for another 26 more touchdowns. No interest. This wasn’t the case of Patrick Mahomes, who tore up horrendous defenses playing for a bad team. This was a guy at the next-highest level dominating great defenses.
Watson was a stud, but Pace had no interest. He’ll surely never tell us why.
It’s not fair or accurate to say Pace didn’t scout Watson. The two actually met and spoke at the Combine. The scouting is what led him to conclude he didn’t want to draft the most prolific QB in college football. It was either something medical or a flaw Pace saw on tape. The medical questions were legitimate. Watson suffered a knee injury at Clemson and another as a rookie with Houston. He has a slender frame and tends to take a lot of hits as he plays off schedule. He has been banged up quite a bit in his NFL career. But, if it were injury-related, Pace or someone within the Bears medical staff almost certainly would’ve made that known by now.
The other reason is physical.
Watson is certainly big enough and fast enough, but there were concerns coming out about whether or not he had enough of an arm. The only modern quarterback who has had any somewhat consistent success in Chicago had a cannon. Green Bay’s nearly 30-year run of success at the position has come with guys with huge arms, and they spent a first round pick on another who qualifies.
It isn’t that Watson has a weak arm, but whether it can cut through the Chicago wind in January is another story.
Jimmy Glenn was the biggest man I’ve ever known.
He wasn’t the tallest, though the average barber would need a step stool to cut his hair. He wasn’t the widest, though you could take the R train from one shoulder to the other. But framed in the bar that bore his name, Jimmy’s Corner, a comically-narrow boozer on East 44th Street in NYC, he seemed a human tower, his head brushing up against the chipped ceiling paint, his booming baritone filling the room like the ring announcers of the sport to which he devoted his life.
Jimmy Glenn was a big man, a towering vestige of a New York City that no longer exists. A gin joint owner like you saw in the movies. With personality. With heart. With compassion. He didn’t just want to know your name and what you were drinking. He wanted to know who you were, what you did, who you loved, what made you happy. He didn’t put out shitty sausage and peppers every day for free to bring in customers. He put out shitty sausage and peppers every day for free because he knew some people chose to spend the last fiver in their wallet on a pint and he wanted to make sure they ate too. I know. I was one of those people.
Jimmy’s dead now, another casualty of this fucking asshole of a virus. But there is talk that his son Adam will continue on with the bar. And god willing, he will, if only to preserve it’s walls, every inch covered with memorabilia and photographs marking Jimmy’s life in and around the ring. He got his tooth broken by Floyd Patterson as an amateur fighter. He operated a Times Square gym where Ali trained. He worked as a cut man for Cassidy and Correa. He managed and trained a million young fighters, many of them meeting with him in the tiny back storeroom while we drank and looked in, like Kay looking in on Michael Corleone at the end of The Godfather.
The Boston Globe‘s Bob Ryan, who I once shared a drink (or six) with in the joint on the night of a Joe Calzaghe fight at the Garden (I think), called it “the last honest bar in NYC”. It ain’t the last, not with Spring Lounge still around and the stairway down to Josie Woods open. But it is an honest bar. A real bar in a Times Square area overflowing with bullshit. Elmo is a knockoff. The Naked Cowboy has clothes on. It’s not that Jimmy’s Corner doesn’t belong where it is. It’s that everything else doesn’t.
I’d say I regret not going there more but fuck, man, I try. It’s hard to get a seat at Jimmy’s because there ain’t many and why would anyone want to leave the place? An Irish buddy of mine came over to New York and asked me for bar recommendations. I gave him one, Jimmy’s Corner. The next day I got a text, “If there’s a better bar in the world, I’ve never been in it.” And he’d been in quite a few.
If ever there was a better bar owner in this city, I never met him. RIP Jimmy Glenn. When this all passes, and they reopen these bars we love so much, yours will be the first I visit. And I’ll pay proper respect.
Who knows what is to come from the NFL season? But there is a schedule now and here are my thoughts.
Ted Ginn Jr. didn’t need to be reminded of details.
“I knew I needed to attack the safety in front of me,” Ginn said in an interview. “I knew that I had to beat him and once I saw that safety drop from the back side that would’ve taken away my angle, I knew I had green grass in front of me.”
The play was a 45-yard reception against the very team Ginn signed with last week. It was the longest play of the season for the speedy wideout and one of just seven 40-plus yard completions the betway平台 allowed in 2019. The play was a simple combination of talent and scheme.
“Different coverages can be created by the way you line up, a lot of different things come from different alignments,” Ginn said. “Within that play, we were in a run set type of alignment where I’m usually not in. For me it was kind of a big splash play were able to get it off.”
In his official return to the Midwest, Ginn hopes to have plenty more splash plays and he knows he signed with a coach and an offense that can offer a mutually beneficial relationship.
“(Matt Nagy) has been trying to get that type of threat in me or Tyreek Hill or DeSean Jackson, guys that we have seen prevail in this offense,” Ginn said. “I can bring my talent with (Nagy’s) knowledge and it should be a hand-in-hand type of deal. We should be able to take over.”
Former NFL executive Joe Banner did an interview a few years ago where he referenced a study by an NFL team that found most day 3 picks who turn into successful NFL players are guys who slip through the cracks either because they were from small schools, had an injury in their last year of college, or were undersized for their position.
This made me curious, and since it was a private study without information published, I decided to do it myself.
I used the Pro Football Reference database to grab information about every day 3 draft pick from 2007-16. I stopped at 2016 because I wanted players who had finished their 4 year rookie contracts, and started at 2007 to give me 10 seasons’ worth of data. This gave a sample size of 1509 picks.
I then identified players who were a hit based on 2 criteria:
Any player that hit at least one of these thresholds was considered a hit, while all others were not. I also found that the majority of players who hit this threshold also hit the 1st one, though there of course some outliers.
Let’s take a look at some different factors and see how they influenced hit rates on day 3 of the draft.
We’ll start with players from a small school, which I defined as anything but the “power 5” conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac 12, SEC). The table below shows hit rates for Power 5 picks vs. small school picks for each round of the draft’s 3rd day.
A few thoughts: