Today we get started with a hypothetical that makes my mouth water.
The actual answer is far less creepy than that description.
@natedunlevy What's the first move you would make if you were GM for one day?— Tom Gower (@ThomasGower) April 12, 2013
A: They key, as all GMs for a day can tell you, is to make the team better without disrupting the long-term plan.
I'm assuming for the purposes of this exercise that any move made by me would be binding and have the same effect as if the regular GM made it. Now, we know that continuity and sticking to the plan are assets in football as it takes time build a core of players that fit the system.
In this case, the best thing you could do for your team would be to educate your coach.
So I would bring in Brian Burke of Advanced NFL Stats or some other numbers guru and have the whole coaching staff sit down and listen about the perils of punting.
I believe the problem with NFL coaches is that their internal calculations on the topic are mis-calibrated. They think punting is "safer" than it is, and they think going for it is more risky than it is. I would ask the consultant to quiz them on what they think the odds of conversion in various situations is. I would ask him to explain "expected points".
I think a day-long seminar in game theory could drastically help the team in the long-run without causing disruption to the plan. I would also have a someone do a clinic on timeout strategy, assuming there was time.
In just one day, I could potentially net me team an extra win or two on the season.
@natedunlevy How many future HOFer's should we expect Grigson to get in this year's draft - I'm thinking probably 3-4, conservatively.— Pablo Svirsky (@psvirsky) April 12, 2013
A: Why be so negative? Anything less than five Hall of Fame players from a draft would be an embarrassment and a sign of decline.
In all seriousness, this is a huge draft for Grigson. His 2012 draft was epic, but if he can follow it up with a solid effort in 2013, this team will be a Super Bowl contender by 2014.
These first two drafts are about putting down a foundation, and while I think Indy will struggle to get nine wins in 2013, a big draft would make them real AFC contenders sooner rather than later.
A: Hilton stands at just 5'10", so I think it's fair to compare him to other short receivers. The best of the recent receivers 71 inches and shorter were Derrick Mason, Steve Smith and Laveranues Coles.
Smith represents the absolutely ceiling for Hilton. He's 5'9", 185 lbs, and was taken with pick 74 with an eye on kick return skills. Hilton is 5'10", 183 and was taken with pick 92 in the third round as well.
Smith's second year was 54/872/3 and 16.1 yards a catch. Hilton's rookie year was 50/861/7 and 17.2 yards a catch.
If you are looking for a comp as to what this guy could be in a perfect world, you'd find Steve Smith and hope he gets to that level.
A: It's a CBA holdover. At this point, it servers precious little purpose. The NFLPA can talk like it has free agency for those players, but in reality we know that restricted free agents seldom even receive offer sheets, much less change teams.
I think teams could take great advantage of it, but the fact is that first-round picks make so little money now, that teams are loathe to give them up for an expensive veteran.
It's the vestigial tail of the NFL offseason. It's time to amputate it or just let it fall off on it's own.
A: At this point, there's no urgency on players and teams to get deals done. Teams are content to wait for the draft, hoping they might fill their pass-pass rush need there. Freeney and his fellow free agents know that after the draft, teams will start getting serious about plugging the remaining holes.
I still think he lands a reasonable deal before its all over.
A: Well, obviously, Peyton was Michael Bluth. Andrew Luck reminds me of George Michael. He's got that same geeky wide-eyed look, but he's smart and you get the sense he'll keep the family together in the long run.
Jim Irsay is Uncle Oscar, no doubt about it.
Reggie Wayne is Carl Weathers.
Dwight Freeney had a touch of Lindsey about him. Always nice to look at, but gave the impression he wasn't putting out as much as he should. Also he struggled with insolvency.
Finally, Donnie Avery was Buster. He would have been more effective with a claw hand.
A: It's easy to poke fun at Mr. Irsay, but if you are under the age of 25 and don't remember a time when he wasn't the owner of the Colts, it was bleak.
From the moment he took control of the team, the franchise has been on the way up. They've made the playoffs all but three years of his tenure (1998, 2001, 2011).
He spends money. He gives money away. He's accessible. He cares. He's involved but not too involved.
He's about as good as NFL owners get.
I love the response to the GM question.
I have often wondered why so few coaches make the statistically correct call, particularly when it conflicts with established NFL tradition. Beyond the relative novelty of advanced NFL stats and the tradition bound nature of the NFL, do you have any idea why coaches and managers seem to make relativity little use of stats? You would think the very well publicized successes of money ball would motivate them to make stats a bigger part of both building a team and calling the game.
@hankster I think it's that most of them don't believe the data. They think it's meaningless because it lacks context. They've been 'raised' to believe that punts are safe and going for it is risky and nothing will change their faith in that.
They "trust their defense" because inherently they believe defense is easier than offense, even though it's not the least bit true.
Comment on your last point. That is so true. I've been a Colts fan longer than you've been alive and before Jim there were years, even decades, where you had the feeling that the team just didn't care. And if the team didn't care, why should we? Care may not be the right word, but I think you get my point. My friends who've been Browns fans for 50 years know what I mean.
Donnie Avery as Buster is brilliant casting.
But Irsay as Uncle Oscar... well that is just like Al Pacino as Michael in the original "Godfather".
Agree about Irsay. Absolutely love him as an owner (and that's not saying I love everything he does, but as a fan you couldn't ask for better).
Wanted to point out that if you are using height as the point of receiver comparison, then it's not fair to leave Welker off that list (who is under 71 inches). He's a five time pro-bowler who has led the league in receptions three out of the last five years. Arguably the best receiver in the game since 2007.
As for this draft, it's a hard one to call, especially missing the 2nd and 5th round picks. Historically speaking, do you count Davis as part of this draft haul? If so, then we've already got a starting caliber corner out of it (still to be determined just how good), so I'd be happy with two more solid starters or one star player. Solid starters though, not starters who are crap.
TGIF (thank grimm it's friday. HA!)
@rogcohen Welker is a great comp. I'm not sure why he didn't show on my search. Weird.
Davis has to count in this draft, which is part of the reason I'm down on the deal. We got two years of a starting caliber corner instead of the four we'd get with a pick.
And yes, TGIF
@Nate Dunlevy I'm holding off on my final decision on the Davis trade. He showed some potential as the year went on last year, but I think this year will decide whether it was worth it. Obviously the contract situation has to be taken into account too. Having said that, we made the playoffs last year...