Nightly Roundup: September 9, 2019

Nightly Roundup: September 9, 2019


September 8, 2019

Hit the jump for more.

Congratulations to 2020 Michigan commit Gaige Garcia on setting a state touchdown record:

It takes some guts to run a flea flicker from your own 4-yard line:

58 comments

  1. Avatar
    Comments: 1447
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Sep 08, 2019 at 11:04 PM

    Doug Skene had harsh criticism for Onwenu on his podcast

    That Joe Klatt video is a good review. Brutal honesty

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5151
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 09, 2019 at 9:21 AM

      Doug Skene hates Onwenu. Nobody else I’ve seen is nearly as negative about him.

      Top graded player in PFF this week, for the entire team. All conference last year. Graded highly by Mgoblog consistently. Considered an NFL draft prospect.

      Seems like some kind of personal issue with Skene.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3215
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Sep 09, 2019 at 1:58 PM

        I just listened to the Skene/Balas podcast over lunch while watching the fourth quarter “Every Snap” video, and I agree with what they’re saying about him. I don’t think they’re overly critical of him.

        I think he “grades out” well because he does the right things. At this point he’s almost like the kid who follows all the rules, but he never really excels. If you want to be really good, you have to be a little bit of a rebel. Taylor Lewan played with an edge. David Molk played with an edge. Michael Onwenu does not. He steps where he’s supposed to step, he keeps his head on a swivel in pass pro, helps out Mayfield, etc. He’s in the right place, but he’s not punishing people. At 370 lbs. he should be obliterating people. I watched one play where he just kind of stalemated a guy at the line of scrimmage against Army’s #97, whom I subsequently looked up and found is listed at 6’4″, 260 lbs.

        I don’t know how much you weigh (200 lbs., let’s say, but it doesn’t matter), but if you came to a stalemate with a guy who weighed a quarter of what you weigh (150 lbs.), I think you would be pretty disappointed in yourself. Everybody expects a 200-pounder to kick the ass of a 150-pounder. And everybody expects a 370-pounder to kick the ass of a 260-pounder. If you’re just holding your own against that guy, that’s a loss.

        FWIW, I evaluate my position group on the best they could do vs. not the best they could do. If they did the best they could, I don’t care if they won or lost the battle. I don’t think Onwenu is doing the best he can do.

        • Avatar
          Comments: 1447
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          je93
          Sep 09, 2019 at 10:02 PM

          EXACTLY. PFF is good to bounce visual assessment off of, but it is NOT the end all, be all. They’re a few hundred analysts, watching multiple teams, with a deadline to submit a number for a number of players on a team

          Doug Skene is an All-American OL, watching MICHIGAN, only MICHIGAN, and focusing closely on his position group of expertise

          Your the second coach who has echoed Skene’s observations. I’m not close to that level, but noticed it back in 2017. Who do I trust, an analyst on a deadline, or football junkies with credibility on their resume?
          Easy pick

          As for “objective,” how do we know? Because they created a scoring system? What went into that system? What were the priorities? Subjective decision making, I bet

          Garbage in, garbage out I say

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5151
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 09, 2019 at 2:58 PM

        Sounds like you agree with holding Onwenu to a different standard. Is that appropriate?

        I do hear what you are saying. That kind of mentality IS important as a coach or manager. Part of leadership and guidance roles is to assess and push and maximize. It’s also appropriate for an NFL scout to consider, since they are drafting on potential.

        But fans? Team-centric college analysts? Ex-players. I don’t know about that. Your role isn’t blasting players. If you do – Braylon Edwards – you deserve to feel the blowback.

        Having a double standard doesn’t seem right to me. Evaluating potential is even more subjective than evaluating effectiveness. It becomes about feelings. I’ve been hearing these Rivals accusations at Onwenu for a couple years. They could well be true but or they could be based on some kind of personal bias.

        Maybe he could play even better maybe he couldn’t. That’s up to him. If the coaches think that they should put out the better player they should. Runyan can play guard. Everybody seems to like Spanellis. etc.

        From where I sit as a fan, I’ll take it. I’ll take an underachieving NFL player over an overachieving insurance salesman. I’ll take an employee who gets all their shit done but arrives late and over one who burns the midnight oil and doesn’t.

        I like a guy who gets the job done. I don’t see talent as something to be critical of. I’ll take all conference honors and elite performance grades without complaint.

        To me it’s simple. I think Onwenu is playing like a really good player. I think that’s a good thing. Criticizing a good player who is playing good is bad.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5151
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 09, 2019 at 3:01 PM

          I also subscribe to the theory that hard work is a talent.

  2. Avatar
    Comments: 11
    Joined: 9/3/2015
    Joby
    Sep 09, 2019 at 5:45 AM

    I heard that, and I’m not sure why he and Balas spent so much time on it; with respect to this game, it felt like they were barking up the wrong tree. Onwenu was the only veteran OL without a penalty, was the primary blocker on (I think) the second Charbonnet TD and had no pass protection misses that I could see. There were a lot of reasons why this game was too close for comfort; Michael Onwenu was not one of them.

    • Avatar
      Comments: 1447
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      je93
      Sep 09, 2019 at 7:58 AM

      Well,. What he talked about was the consistency, or lack of. Sure he came up big a few times. But – as has been the case since arriving – Onwenu takes plays/drives off, “leaning” on his guy

  3. Avatar
    Comments: 11
    Joined: 9/3/2015
    Joby
    Sep 09, 2019 at 9:17 AM

    I’m sure he does lean on guys and be content to be in the right position occasionally. The other linemen likely do it on occasion too. He’s also the most likely OL to blow a DL 3 yards off the ball and, along with Bredeson, the guy least likely to miss a pass protection. I can’t recall seeing him get knocked back by a DL. It feels like to me his primary weakness is that he can sometimes misID his assignment and can be slow to recover. Bredeson is more consistent as a run blocker, and that does mean something. It’s probably part of the reason Michigan runs left as much as it does. But as far as I can tell, Onwenu had a good game and had no reason to be so singly and harshly criticized.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5151
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 09, 2019 at 3:06 PM

      Onwenu’s elite pass pro grade speaks to objective consistency.

      Thunder said he “does the right things” and “follows the rules” and “is in the right place”. Sounds fairly consistent to me.

      I don’t care if he is nasty about it or talking shit after. I don’t care if the guy on the other side weighs 260 pounds, 60 pounds, or 360 pounds — do the job and you get applause from me.

      • Thunder
        Comments: 3215
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Sep 09, 2019 at 10:36 PM

        I’m not going to sit here and say, “That’s unacceptable! You’re the reason we’re doomed to 9-3!”

        BUT.

        That’s the type of blocking that leaves you at 8-4 or 9-3 or 10-2. If Michigan wants to be a championship-level team, they need some guys up front who are going to play with an edge. Michigan isn’t going to win a national championship this year for multiple reasons, not just Onwenu. But Onwenu at 370 lbs. and as a multiple-year starter isn’t doing what he needs to do to get Michigan to that next level.

        I could say the same thing for the whole offensive line, the QB position, the WR positions, the TE position, the DTs, etc. The best players on the team right now all appear to be defensive guys – Jordan Glasgow, Aidan Hutchinson, Josh Ross, Josh Metellus, etc.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5151
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Sep 11, 2019 at 1:02 PM

        This sounds like an argument WCB would make about 9-3ism. OK sure, anyone can play better whether they are good players or bad players – the question is who is worth criticizing publicly.

        Is it the guys who are all conference but not all american (like Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich)? Is it guys we THINK ‘should’ do better, based on whatever feelings we might have? Or is it the people who are actually out there playing not very well? The guys getting picked on by OSU or targeted by Army as a weak spot?

        Excuses are made for some non-performers and not others. Expectations are jacked up for some performers to turn them into under-performers. This is bias.

        Onwenu being big and being a multi-year starter — these are good things. But here they are held against him.

        I don’t think we’re going to agree here.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3215
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Sep 11, 2019 at 1:34 PM

          I think we’re talking about two different things.

          Is Onwenu performing at a level that is championship-worthy? No, he’s not. I don’t think it’s unfair to call him out for that, especially when he’s capable of doing better.

          Is Onwenu demonstrably worse than the other components of the offensive line? Not necessarily, but for different reasons. For example, I think Ruiz is a better blocker than Onwenu when both of them know what’s going on, but Ruiz seems more prone to mental mistakes than Onwenu.

          So do you want the guy who’s really good physically but makes mental mistakes once in a while? Or do you want the guy who’s mediocre physically but doesn’t make mental mistakes? Sometimes it’s a tough call.

          FWIW, Onwenu was making more mental mistakes last year than he is so far this year.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 11, 2019 at 2:17 PM

            Mental or physical is beside the point I think. You get the job done or you don’t. You play at an all-whatever level or you don’t.

            PFF had Onwenu as the highest graded player on offense. Even if you disagree, it’s clear he isn’t The Problem with the offense. So why is the critical narrative about him right now?

            Because somebody has some kind of bias or his holding someone to different standards. Excuses made for one and not another.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3215
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Sep 11, 2019 at 3:32 PM

              “So why is the critical narrative about him right now?”

              Because you’re making it that way. Seriously. I see more criticism of Shea Patterson, Josh Gattis, and Jim Harbaugh. For some reason or another, you’re here continuing the conversation about Onwenu.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5151
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 11, 2019 at 8:47 PM

                I didn’t bring it up but Skene keeps doing this. The timing feels particularly odd with the other more obvious issues coming up on offense. Yeah, his role is to talk OL but I’m using my vast powers to control Michigan football narratives to throw a flag for “targeting” on Skene. Personal foul.

        • Avatar
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          WindyCityBlue
          Sep 12, 2019 at 8:32 AM

          Who’s worth criticizing publicly? Not the guys who will never be as good as we want or expected them to be, no matter how hard they try. The guys who take plays off. The guys who we’ve seen are capable a certain level of talent and performance, but who just can’t motivate themselves to play at that level often enough. I don’t think that includes Gary or Winovich (who took as few plays off as anyone I’ve seen in a Michigan uniform lately). Does it include Onwenu? Maybe.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 12, 2019 at 9:01 AM

            In that case maybe we should recruit 2 and 3 stars exclusively so everyone can cheer without reservation. And maybe coaches should be giving us practice, training room, classroom, and medical office livestreams so we can make informed judgments on motivation and effort.

            OR – we can cheer for the guys we have, recognize that half of them aren’t going to meet the ‘expectations’ set by recruiting rankings, and assume kids are working hard until we see them drinking beer and playing Fortnite on the sideline.

            I had to google how to spell that right.

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1447
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Sep 12, 2019 at 9:27 AM

              I love when fans insist on dictating how other fans should support the team. Write a book, you’ll see who’s interested

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5151
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              Lanknows
              Sep 12, 2019 at 9:41 AM

              My book wouldn’t have much audience but there’s this one dude on the internet who always reacts to my comments.

            • Avatar
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              WindyCityBlue
              Sep 12, 2019 at 10:47 AM

              2 and 3 star players are as capable of being lazy, not hustling, and taking plays off as anyone else. My comments apply irrespective of talent level, hype or expectations.

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 5151
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Sep 12, 2019 at 12:59 PM

              Agree @WCB but when that happens fans and pundits are generally not so critical of the kid.

              While the talent it takes to get there is an enormous blessing, getting a high recruiting ranking is a bit of a curse.

              Flying under the radar (like Ronnie Bell) can be quite beneficial. Though of course you risk not getting the offer you might want.

              So can spending your early career jumping around between position without seeing the field (like Winovich).

              The Expectations backlash is real and recruiting rankings are big driver of it. Onwenu and Spanellis came in the same class – one guy is all conference and getting called out in public while the other is a well-liked backup.

              That’s not all of it of course. Wilton Speight was a 3-star and still faced a ton of pressure. Some pressure and scrutiny come with success and a starting role to be sure.

              The element I’m talking about is the double standard and associated fan reactions, specifically people feeling justified in personal attacks based on their own subjective expectations for a high school kid.

              • Thunder
                Comments: 3215
                Joined: 7/13/2015
                Sep 12, 2019 at 2:03 PM

                I don’t think it’s a personal attack when you criticize someone’s football playing abilities. A personal attack would be calling someone fat, calling them dumb, etc., and I haven’t seen anyone do that with Onwenu.

                I would also argue that you are just as guilty when it comes to bias, recruiting hype backlash, etc. You just choose some guys to defend (Onwenu, for example) and some to trash (Ty Isaac).

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5151
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 12, 2019 at 3:19 PM

                This is kind of what I’m saying. If it’s just about football – OK. But the deal with Onwenu has been doubting his work ethic, motivation, etc. It’s never been about on the field stuff. He was contributing as a freshman on both sides and starting as a sophomore and now – by every objective measure available – excelling.

                Same reason I defended Milton. People are questioning these kids character based on nonexistent or flimsy reasons. Sometimes it’s naked rumor mongering.

                I’ve written a lot of comments on here so I’ve probably crossed this line before myself. I TRY not to judge a kid for non-football reasons unless they commit a crime or something. I don’t always succeed like when I saw Tyler Lewan be an immature jerk multiple times and know/have known some people in and around the program who say things about people. So whatever, I’m not saying I’m immune to having feelings about players beyond the turf. But I try.

                In the case of Ty Isaac, no surprise, I think you’re wrong. That’s always been about his performance and how it is assessed. Specifically how you assess it. An extension of our argument about Michael Shaw and Vincent Smith.

                Yeah there were questions about toughness. They didn’t come from me, but I acknowledged them. Mostly because the fumbling, benching, and injuries all were signs these things were true. It wasn’t something just coming from Rivals who has a loose relationship with ‘insider’ information and personal conjecture.

                If you think I hate Ty Isaac or hold him any ill will you are dead wrong. I wish him nothing but success and see him the same way I see Drake Johnson or Dennis Norfleet or anybody else who was JAG as a player. They were part of the team, program, or school that I associate with and are amazing athletes. If these guys come to me with a resume I’d want to hire them.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5151
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 12, 2019 at 3:30 PM

                Boiled down:

                “He’s not as good as I want him to be”

                is a reasonable feeling,
                is not a legit criticism,
                shouldn’t be the foundation of character attacks,
                especially for good players

                • Avatar
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                  WindyCityBlue
                  Sep 12, 2019 at 8:00 PM

                  Which is completely different than “He’s not as good consistently as he’s shown he can be” Which absolutely IS a legitimate criticism.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5151
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                  Lanknows
                  Sep 12, 2019 at 8:24 PM

                  Not in Onwenu’s case.

                  “Mike Onwenu, who had the best game of his career per PFF and also UFR. He was crushing guys.”

                  No mgoblog isn’t always right but that’s 3 evaluates who reviewed the tape play by play and reached the same conclusion.

                  But hey, he’s not beating people up after the whistle so what a disappointment. No nasty streak. I bet if he did it, the criticism would be about his lack of discipline.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3215
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Sep 12, 2019 at 9:36 PM

                  I might use MGoBlog’s UFR for a quick reference, but I generally do not trust the UFR grades there. Points are randomly added/subtracted depending on Brian’s whims. For example, Mayfield/Onwenu are given a +1 on this play, while Bredeson/Ruiz each get a +0.5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiVhf127mcU

                  Bredeson blocks one dude and then blocks another for 0.5 points. Onwenu gets his hand on a guy who’s falling down anyway and in bad position and gets 1.

                  I like MGoBlog and I think UFR is the most detailed analysis available, so good for them. I’m not going to complain about free content, especially when they’re making a legitimate attempt to do something positive for Michigan fans.

                  This is an example of what I was talking about. Onwenu is in the right place, doing the right things…but that’s not an impressive play, and he’s getting a +1 for it. When I do my job as a coach, I don’t get a pat on the back for taking attendance. Nobody gives me a +1 for setting up the step-over bags. That’s not deserving of a +1. It’s just doing a job. Maybe I deserve a “+1” for calling a screen to catch the defense in a blitz, or for running 2 Trap coverage when the opposing team runs a swing route, or for going out of my way to be supportive of a player going through a difficult time.

                  So…yeah. I can’t go through every play and evaluate all the evaluators. But saying Onwenu had a positive score or whatever on MGoBlog’s UFR doesn’t really move the needle for me. Nor does the PFF thing, because I have even less of an idea of their criteria.

                  P.S. I just watched the clip following your quote from MGoBlog’s UFR. It’s of Onwenu (successfully) blocking 260 lb. #97. Onwenu absolutely does what he should, but…he SHOULD. It’s 370 lbs. vs. 260. It’s like giving Donovan Peoples-Jones credit for outrunning a middle linebacker. Saquon Barkley didn’t deserve a ton of credit for outrunning Mike McCray, and McCray shouldn’t have been blamed for being unable to keep up with Barkley. It’s just physics and biology.

                • Avatar
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                  je93
                  Sep 13, 2019 at 12:53 AM

                  Outstanding response Thunder. I feel the same about UFR/PFF. Very thorough analysis, but they adjust their formul9 regularly. Why? Because of the very reasons you pointed out – they conceded that some of the (subjective) scoring needs adjusting. Just because it gives a number for does NOT make it objective!

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 12, 2019 at 9:10 AM

            I think this is good perspective overall, though I don’t agree with everything.

            https://www.centredaily.com/sports/college/penn-state-university/psu-football/article234938092.html

            “So that’s the type of thing I was trying to say. Don’t be disrespectful. You think we come out here in this stadium and we’re like, ‘Hey, let’s lose today’? We practiced all week, watched all this film and did all this studying on these people. We put in all this work over the summer and during camp, let’s go out here and just lose because we don’t care about each other. You know what I mean?

            • Avatar
              Comments: 1447
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              je93
              Sep 12, 2019 at 9:32 AM

              He’s fighting a losing battle. A small percentage of a-holes will always go too far, while he risks alienating fans with objective criticism & concern. Once that’s gone, Beaver stadium will look like the rose bowl when UCLA is home

              They’re fanatics; that comes with the fame

              • GKblue
                Comments: 309
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                GKblue
                Sep 12, 2019 at 10:17 AM

                “A small percentage of a-holes will always go too far” reminded me of this:

                A long time ago a friend gave me a book to read that reminded him of me. I don’t remember what it was (Tiger Man?) but these rules to live by have stuck with me.

                1. Mind your own business always.
                2. A fool is entitled to his own foolishness unless he hurts you by his act.
                3. Do not provoke; give a man a chance to apologize; but, if he is obstinate, punish him.

                This was written long before blogs and the internet obviously.

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 5151
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 12, 2019 at 9:06 AM

    In that case maybe we should recruit 2 and 3 stars exclusively so everyone can cheer without reservation. And maybe coaches should be giving us practice, training room, classroom, and medical office livestreams so we can make informed judgments on motivation and effort.

    OR we can cheer for the guys we have, recognize that half of them aren’t going to meet the ‘expectations’ set by recruiting rankings, and assume kids are working hard until we see them drinking beer and playing Fortnite on the sideline.

    I had to google how to spell that.

  5. Avatar
    Comments: 265
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Sep 13, 2019 at 9:00 AM

    (Why do replies keep getting more narrow till they’re down to 1 letter/line and 2 miles long)
    at Gk’s “Rules To Live By”:
    Rule # 1: This is what the World did when Hitler went into the Rhineland, Austria & Czechoslavakia………. It is not what the World did when Saddam went into Kuwait……….
    Rule #2: No one would live beyond being a toddler………..
    Rule#3: classic vengefulness………..

    I’m not a big fan of “Rules to Live By” cause what worked yesterday prolly isn’t going to work today and what works today; flat out ain’t agunna work 2maro.

    Wisdom is knowing when, where & how to apply Life’s tools to live by…….
    “Tools” not “Rules……………INTJohn

  6. Lanknows
    Comments: 5151
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Sep 13, 2019 at 9:24 AM

    @Thunder. Barkley absolutely DOES deserve credit. That’s a play others aren’t making. Others are getting tackled by McCray. Physics and biology are as much part of football as effort.

    I think you know this. You’ve called for RBs named Smith to lose carries because of their lack of speed. But it seems like your hypothetical grading system wouldn’t deduct points since they’re just doing the best they can.

    You’re talking like you’re the coach. Because you are a coach. But in this context that is not your role to manage effort and be a leader. In this context you’re a fan applying a double standard.

    As for the UFR – the grade itself is not particularly important. PFF ranks on a totally different numeric system. But, as long as it is applied consistently from player to player it gives us a relative measure of two things. 1 is a guy doing his job well and 2 how is he doing compared to others.

    Of course it is a subjective exercise and there are many time where PFF and Mgoblog differ. In this case they agree which means 3 people reviewed the tape and reached the same conclusion. They’re just numbers, they don’t mean anything in a vaccum but neither does YPC and we use that all the time to evaluate performance. The only stat that truly matters is Ws.

    Finally – that play ends with Onwenu laying on top of his guy. I don’t know if that’s a “pancake” or a plus one but it’s certainly not bad. He moves well in space to get downfield for the block, finds the guy, executes the block. Nothing amazing because the LB is flailing on his attempt to dive into the action, but his block is critical to the successful play. It doesn’t work without him. Bredeson doesn’t block anyone by himself, he helps on Hayes guy and then he pushes the guy Ruiz is blocking way off the ball. Those grades seem right to me but if you gave both zeros that might be defensible also.

    I’m curious what you’d give Charbonnet for this run. He makes 1 cut and runs into the pile. He’s just doing his job nothing special. If Wilson does the same thing with less speed and size are you giving ZC a zero and Wilson a plus 1?

    • Thunder
      Comments: 3215
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Sep 13, 2019 at 10:17 AM

      I didn’t say Onwenu’s play was bad. I said it wasn’t anything special that was deserving of a +1.

      De’Veon Smith doesn’t deserve a -1 if he’s slow. Michael Shaw doesn’t deserve a +1 if he’s fast. I don’t need grades to know whether someone is fast or slow. Otherwise, every play for a slow guy is going to be a -1, and every play for a fast guy is going to be a +1.

      Onwenu holding his own against a guy who’s 100 pounds lighter than him is either a -1 or a 0, because that’s not the best he can do. The best he can do is drive that guy off the ball.

      Mike McCray isn’t as fast as Saquon Barkley. That’s a schematic/personnel mismatch. That’s why MGoBlog has an RPS (Rock Paper Scissors) category, which I like.

      De’Veon Smith and Saquon Barkley could go through a whole season and get the same grade. They could end up with a +15 or a -20 or a 0 or whatever. That wouldn’t change the fact that Barkley – who is physically more talented – is a better back than Smith. That’s because the results are what really matter. If you’re a QB who makes bad decisions (let’s say Brett Favre) but ends up throwing for 300 touchdowns (I don’t know how many he threw) and winning a Super Bowl, good for you. If you’re a QB who makes good decisions (let’s say Aaron Rodgers) but ends up throwing for 300 touchdowns (I don’t know how many he has thrown) and wins a Super Bowl, good for you.

      Good grade or bad grade, the OL – including Michael Onwenu – isn’t getting the job done.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 5151
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        Lanknows
        Sep 13, 2019 at 11:14 AM

        What value is there in a scoring system that gives the same grade to Saquan Barkley and Deveon Smith? If you produce better you should get a better grade. The better player should grade out better over a season.

        “The results are what really matter.” — Here we agree. Your hypothetical grading system is counter to that. It’s not what you do (the result) its what you do relative to what you COULD do (result relative to your potential).

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5151
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          Lanknows
          Sep 13, 2019 at 11:15 AM

          We don’t need to be making guesses about who is trying harder or who has more physical talent. This is totally subjective. Way more so than results.

          The flipside of your 370 pound argument is that there is no way a guy that big should be able to get to a much smaller athlete in space. He shouldn’t be able to move that fast if he is that big.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3215
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:20 AM

            He wasn’t in space. He was lined up across the line from him.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
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            Lanknows
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:33 AM

            On the play you linked Onwenu blocks a WLB 2 yards downfield on the opposite side of the hash.

            At the handoff he is a couple yards off the guy running toward him. Obviously the guy is trying to dart around Onwenu rather than take him head on.

            It doesn’t work. Because Onwenu wins the matchup.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:34 AM

            It’s a successful play. Credit is deserved to the player who executed it.

            If MO isn’t the MVP of that play, he’s among them. Along with Mayfield, Ruiz, and ZC.

            They’re all just doing their job but these are the ones who made the play work.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 5151
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Sep 13, 2019 at 11:23 AM

          RPS is primarily about playcalls. I know Brian Cook sometimes puts talent mismatches like Barkley/McCray in that bin when it’s a blatant mismatch but that’s not where player ability and talent are tracked. That’s in the player grades.

          • Thunder
            Comments: 3215
            Joined: 7/13/2015
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:30 AM

            …and that’s just one of many reasons that I take the UFR grades with a grain of salt. If Chris Wormley peels off to take a running back in coverage, I expect the running back to win. That’s no great feat. If Vincent Smith has to block Joey Bosa, I expect Bosa to win. It would be insulting to ask a senior student to spell “cat” for a grade or add “2+2.” They’re not graded on those things, because they’re simple tasks.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:35 AM

            Everyone takes UFR with a grain of salt.

            It’s a useful tool as an indicator of looking beyond the boxscore and highlights.

        • Thunder
          Comments: 3215
          Joined: 7/13/2015
          Sep 13, 2019 at 11:23 AM

          LOL @ “If you produce better you should get a better grade.”

          4.5 yards per carry
          6.1 yards per carry

          Which guy produced more and should get a higher grade?

          (Hint: Ty Isaac had a career 6.1 YPC, while De’Veon Smith had a career 4.5 YPC. You shot yourself in the foot with that one.)

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:39 AM

            Dude – this again. RB production is more than YPC. YPC is context dependant (down and distance, opponent, etc.)

            You rightfully take UFR with a grain of salt but YPC is the be all end all. OK.

            The stat that matters is Ws. Deveon Smith did a shitload more to contribute to Ws than his backups.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:47 AM

            You’re sitting here arguing Barkley and Smith can get the same grade because Smith has less talent.

            You’re sitting here arguing Isaac deserves a better grade because than Smith because he ‘produced’ better*

            Some might see this as a moving target. Grade the guy however you want. Base it on who you like more. I think that’s what Skene is doing.

            *He did not.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3215
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Sep 13, 2019 at 11:52 AM

              LOL. No, I’m not. I’m saying grades are different than stats, and production is what matters most. Barkley can get a bad grade but produce more, simply because he’s more talented. That doesn’t mean you bench Barkley.

              You agreed that results/production matter most.

              I NEVER said Isaac deserves a better grade. I said if production is the only thing that matters – not grades – then you have to accept production.

              Winning isn’t what matters for an individual player. Lots of running backs have won more games than Barry Sanders. Heck, Kevin Faulk probably won more games in his career than Barry Sanders did.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5151
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 13, 2019 at 12:15 PM

                The grading systems are a stat. They measure individual production. They are relevant to winning or losing but not the be all end all.

                Yardage is a different stat. Also relevant to winning or losing but not the be all end all. Yardage is a team stat credited to an individual in the box score.

                Player evals are precise but subjective. Yardage is imprecise but objective.

                Both are useful.

                Both need to be taken with a grain of salt.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3215
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Sep 13, 2019 at 12:25 PM

                  I disagree that the grading systems are a stat. Anything subjective is not a statistic. Brian, Doug Skene, and I don’t know exactly what any player is supposed to do on any given play, so it’s impossible for us to keep stats. A “stat” is a fact or a piece of data, and Brian’s ideas are not data points. Nor are mine or Doug Skene’s.

                • Lanknows
                  Comments: 5151
                  Joined: 8/11/2015
                  Lanknows
                  Sep 13, 2019 at 1:36 PM

                  There is subjective judgment in all stats. On the front end, on the back end, or in between.

                  Counting a sack as rushing yards is a subjective decision. The implicit allocation of rushing yards to ball-carriers is subjective. Penalties are subjective. The spots on the field are subjective. Credit for tackles are subjective. NFL draft position are subjective. etc.

                • Thunder
                  Comments: 3215
                  Joined: 7/13/2015
                  Sep 13, 2019 at 1:52 PM

                  I give up, man. I’m not going to sit here and argue about whether or not rushing yards are subjective. This is silly.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5151
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 13, 2019 at 12:30 PM

                Some day we’ll have automated player grading and when it happens they’ll review the tape of the 90s cowboys and 90s Lions.

                The YPC battle between Sanders and Smith went back and forth in their primes.

                It is my feeling that Sanders was a far better player and stats will eventually get sophisticated and comprehensive enough to show that.

            • Thunder
              Comments: 3215
              Joined: 7/13/2015
              Sep 13, 2019 at 11:59 AM

              I don’t know what Skene is doing. It doesn’t really matter to me. I don’t pay much attention to his analysis. I’ve watched about two or three of his videos over the years, and I only listened to that podcast because commenters brought it up. He might have some flaws, too.

              Unirregardless, Onwenu’s not exactly tearing it up from what I’ve seen. If someone sees room for criticism, I sort of agree. If someone wants to say he’s doing his job, I sort of agree.

              • Lanknows
                Comments: 5151
                Joined: 8/11/2015
                Lanknows
                Sep 13, 2019 at 12:21 PM

                You didn’t have to defend Skene. You did so this discussion. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

                It does illustrate the degree to which grading is subjective. Skene is certainly entitled to his opinion and it’s interesting to have an outlier from the other sources. I’m skeptical he is right because of his trackrecord and inconsistency.

                We’ll see how the rest of the year goes and how his NFL career or lackthereof turns out.

          • Lanknows
            Comments: 5151
            Joined: 8/11/2015
            Lanknows
            Sep 13, 2019 at 11:47 AM

            Barkley is better than Smith. Grading should reflect that.

            Smith is better than Isaac. Grading should reflect that.

            These are realities that should get represented in any quantifiable grading system. It doesn’t matter what we THINK the guys talent is.

  7. Avatar
    Comments: 11
    Joined: 9/3/2015
    Joby
    Sep 13, 2019 at 1:46 PM

    Socrates-Plato. Lincoln-Douglas. Washington-Du Bois. And now Thunder-Lanknows!

    Thanks for making this discussion so lively. I’m not surprised the discussion about Skene’s take on Onwenu was so ignited. To me, this discussion is pretty revealing about how we view and talk about football. We’ve discussed:

    —Our biases around absolute production vs. expected production

    —why we personally expect a level of production (size, speed, recruiting star status, veteran status and more implicit stuff like nostalgia, race and relatability, etc.)

    —the limits of objective measurement and subjective rating

    — How, and with whom, we build narratives around players, player types, scheme, problems or teams

    That’s good stuff, on the topic of one of our shared favorite things in the world, for free.

    Thanks!

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 5151
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Sep 13, 2019 at 2:00 PM

      Ha. Impressive summary of topics covered.

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