Over the last week or so, news has slowed down even more than it usually does during the offseason. With minicamps ending, there is literally nothing going on in terms of news. And if there is something going on, that's usually a bad thing for the player/coach in the news. For example, New Orleans starting cornerback Malcolm Jenkins made the news yesterday. Why? He got schooled by a high schooler at his own camp.
In all seriousness, the less news there is right now for the Colts, other than signing their draft picks and free agents, the better. I don't want to see what's happened to the Lions this summer occur in Indianapolis.
That being said, I hate slow news periods. It makes journalists reach at anything for a story. Because, without doing statistical or film studies over the summer, there really is very little of substance that we can say that hasn't already been said. It makes people go crazy.
Craziness abounds in this article by Brad Wells, and while I'd usually try to restrain myself, I'll bite on this one.
Comparing Mewelde Moore to Joseph Addai is laughable.
A good game for Moore over the three years was playing 20 snaps, averaging about 25% of the offensive snaps from 2009-2010. Last year he never played more than 18 snaps, and averaged abou 11 per game (16% of offensive snaps). Addai, as injury prone as he could be, usually played between 45-55 snaps when healthy, and per season usually was about 60% of the snaps. Addai was a full time running back when healthy (problem was he couldn't stay healthy), while Moore was very durable, he is a third down back AT BEST.
First round backs are not generally expected to start right away.
Brown has been a disappointment to be sure (I'm adamantly against the drafting of running backs in the first round), but saying that "First round running backs are supposed to be no-brainer starters their rookie year" is just plain wrong. Backs taken in the latter half of the first round often times are not slated to start in their rookie year. Here is a list of all 17 running backs taken in the last half of the first round in the last ten years:
Doug Martin, David Wilson, Mark Ingram, Jahvid Best, Donald Brown, Chris (Beanie) Wells, Felix Jones, Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Laurence Maroney, DeAngelo Williams, Joseph Addai, Steven Jackson, Chris Perry, Kevin Jones, Willis McGahee, Larry Johnson
Guess which ones started during their rookie year?
Willis McGahee (11 games) , Kevin Jones (14 games), Chris Johnson (14 games), and Jahvid Best (9 games)
Only four of the 17 were primary starters at any point in their rookie year, and only two of them were really feature backs right from the beginning (Jones and Johnson). Expecting backs picked in the late first round to start right away is just poor analysis. There's no excuse for that.
Brown is a much better pass blocker than given credit for.
We've been over this, but Brown got a bad rap in 2011 for his pass protection. He showed marked improvement in 2011, but people are still holding on to the stereotype that, in Wells' words: "He can't pass block." According to Pro Football Focus, Brown was 40th in pass blocking efficiency in 2010 (among backs with at least 35 snaps in pass protection). In 2011, he was 8th. Brown actually did very well in 2011 pass blocking, although he still can improve in reading the blitz. He's not perfect, but he's doing well, and it's something that caught Coach Pagano's eye, and something that he specifically spoke about a few weeks ago. Interestingly enough, Moore was rated one of the 15 least efficient backs in pass protection from 2008-2011.
Brown is a fairly efficient receiver.
This has generally been one of the accepted positives about Brown, that he can succeed with the ball in open space. With Manning throwing him the ball, Brown had incredibly high DVOA rates, and averaged over nine yards per reception after the catch. Wells called him an "unreliable receiver." I'm not sure where that came from. He's dropped four balls in the last three years, just one in 2011. I would love to see Luck use Brown more out of the backfield.
Brown doesn't need a fullback to succeed.
To Wells' credit, he doesn't exactly say that Brown needs a fullback, instead sticking with a very generic criticism: "He only runs well in a specific blocking scheme and style." Of course, Wells doesn't elaborate on that, but I'd assume he means behind a fullback, which is the general statement that's been made about Brown. While I think using a fullback periodically would help the offense, saying Brown only runs well behind a fullback is again, wrong. Brown rushed for 4.66 yards per carry behind a fullback during the three game study I did last month, while averaging 4.8 yards per carry on the season. He doesn't need a fullback.
You can't say coaches' praise is good sometimes, but bad other times.
Wells makes the point that Colts' coaches have been "talking up" Brown a lot this offseason, proving that they're trying to sell him: "Players who are truly good don't need to be talked up to the media or the fans. Usually, if a player is being talked up in the offseason, something is going on behind-the-scenes." Of course, Wells doesn't use this logic when reporting that the Colts' coaches are talking up Vick Ballard, Jabin Sambrano, or Andrew Luck. Just one day after this article was written, Wells wrote how it was a bad sign that Jerry Hughes hadn't been praised much by Coach Pagano. Does "talking a player up" happen in the NFL? Of course. But you can't apply blanket statements to coach speak like that. Oh, and the quote Wells uses to exemplify Pagano's "love sonnets" to Brown? It was said weeks ago at OTAs (We wrote about it then, but for some reason the rest of the media world didn't catch wind of it until Phil Richards mentioned last week) in response to someone asking a question on Brown. It's not like the coaches have been throwing this stuff out there unprompted.
This whole paragraph was just full of fail.
Donald Brown is NOT an every-down back. If you want an expert to give you his opinion on this subject, just go ask Peyton Manning. He did not seem to trust Brown on third down in '09 and '10, and for good reason. Brownwhiffs in pass protection. This is an important aspect of a back's game today, folks. I don't care how fast a back is, or how many yards-per-carry he has. A runner who cannot block in the modern NFL is as useful as a wideout who cannot catch.
Peyton Manning didn't seem to have a problem with Brown when he was cheering for him as he ran 80 yards for the game clinching touchdown last December. Brown improved by leaps and bounds last season, where Manning didn't play. Manning's opinion on a struggling rookie and sophomore season Brown are A. Pretty meaningless for a running back coming off his best year by far and entering his fourth and B. Unknown. Manning was certainly more familiar and trusting with Addai on third down, but Addai was fantastic on third down when healthy, and should have been trusted over a young, struggling back. Wells, and others, always point to the "God damn it Donald" YouTube clip to prove that he "whiffs" at blocks. It's completely unrelated to the conversation. Wells then makes the ridiculous statement that running backs who can't pass protect are as useful "as a wideout who cannot catch." Of course, that's extremely silly. A lot of the elite backs in the league are not very good at pass protection (Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, etc.), and you rarely hear anyone complaining about it.
Anyway, the point is that Mewelde Moore isn't going to threaten Brown. Shoot, I'd be surprised if he threatened Carter or Ballard either. Moore has two advantages: he stays healthy and he knows Arians' system.
Moore is here to get a few snaps in rotation if somebody gets hurt. If the Colts get that much out of him it'll be a good sign. If they get more, it'll be either a miracle (because Moore suddenly turned into an in-his-prime LaDanian Tomlinson) or a nightmare (because Brown turned back into rookie Donald Brown, Carter fumbles on every other carry, and Ballard quits the NFL to become a Buddhist monk).
Maybe I'm the only one who thinks this, but I don't see the point in writing response articles to Wells. Most of us come to Colts Authority to get away from his domineering tone and his poorly-reasoned arguments; I don't need a re-hash of them here. If we all seem to be in general agreement that he posts mostly for page hits and "buzz," then why do we feed into that by linking to his article and spending our free time discussing it?
@couvy I see your point, and to some extent, agree. The answer is twofold. A. Because sometimes I get frustrated enough that I need to explain why something is completely and utterly nonsense. B. Because as poorly as many of the readers of this site think of Wells, he still has an influence of online Colts' fans, and I feel that it is necessary to combat that influence in some instances.
Also, being somebody who enjoys a good debate, I enjoy going through things I disagree with point by point and explaining my viewpoint on them, which is one of the reasons why I'll occasionally pull out the "BP Watch" series.
@Kyle Rodriguez That seems fair. Just to clarify, I agree with most/all of your points here, and I generally consider your articles thoughtful and informative.
I can also see the point that there is some need to both a) combat his negative influence, and b) provide a public rebuttal to show that his thoughts don't necessarily reflect the tenor of Colts fans in general. I guess from my perspective, he's just like an 8th-grade class clown... the more you pay attention to his antics, the more it fuels the behavior.
I think I've finally figured it out. Brad Wells is William Henry Hearst reborn, and he'll write literally anything for page views (cuz that's clearly all that matters). Unfortunately, yellow isn't one of the Colts' colors...
man it will be fun if Moore doesnt even make the team, i dont think we are carrying 4 rb.
anyways what do you expect of brad? lol i really laughed when i read the sentence about taling up players and the next day he making an article about how bad it is that chuck is not talking up hughes...LOL
While not quite Mark Cuban vs Skip Bayless levels of glorious smakcdown, this was pretty far up teh list.
BUT WHAT'S WITH THIS LEVEL HEADED ANALYSIS OF MOORE'S SIGNING? WHAT ABOUT PAGE HITS?!?!?!
On a more serious note, it was very kind of you to actually term whatever comes out of THAT GUY's keyboard an "article".
I am excited to see how Brown can do this year. He had his best season behind an injury ridden patchwork offensive line, with three seperate, yet equally terrible QBs under center, which would make his season last year look even better. We know the QB play will be better, and all signs are that the O-line will be significantly improved. I know I will be rooting for "Dammit" Donald to improve his game even further, if for no other reason than to prove Brad wrong... again.
I can't believe I'm going to do this, but I'm going to compliment Brad Wells. He is a master manipulator. He has perfected his schtick to a level that rivals Kravitz.
There is an old saying that if a person wants to make a fool of themselves, then just step out of the way and let them do it. And yet after years and literally hundreds of examples that Wells is journalistic buffoon with all the credibility of a Kardasian show producer, he is still around and his site continues to thirve. Genius... or has he just Forrest Gumped his way along.
There is another saying, that the only way evil thrives is for good men to do nothing. So I LOVE it when you challenge him. This piece was precise in it's facts and brilliant in its arguments. Not even Manny Pacquiao judges would dare rule against you.
But even as I write this, Wells is probably holed up creating his latest story about... hell, I can't even guess how his mind works, but it is safe to say whatever it is will be factually incorrect and garner thousands of hits.
To be fair to StampedeBlue, myself and most of the other reasonable people on the site go there for the other writers, who are quite good, and for the fanposts.
Wells is a joke on his own website. His stories often have a ton of comments, but that's because people are ripping them to shreds.
In summary, StampedeBlue as a site is fine. Wells as the site editor is a moron.
@DougEngland Brad Wells is a passable mimic. He copies Drew Magary's shtick well enough to entertain people who haven't directly compared the two. His latest piece is a pretty good imitation of a Jason Cole "analysis" written off the top of the head. He's still around because he understands the Golden Rule of Blogging, that people will pass up steak once a week for crap every day.
I'm glad to mostly never hear another word about him, until he drops some junk like this that just begs to be shredded. And I can count on CA to do the shredding accurately and quickly, and then get back to coverage that matters.
Well done, Kyle.
@DougEngland Thanks Doug, and I must say, I loved the Pacquiao reference
Ha! Brad Wells and poor analysis? Yeah, that's pretty much synonymous. I don't think Brown is a bust. I have, however, always thought he was drafted too high and that he was overvalued by the Colts. Especially since there were better players drafted behind him. But he's not a bust.
@vinylsoundsgood I don't mind even if someone does think he's a bust. He has been a disappointment to be sure. But to think he has no value, or that he is a bust because he didn't start his rookie year is just silly.