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2015 REWIND: 2014 Preseason Week-1 Dynasty-Fantasy Recap: TB vs. JAC

Date:
January 24, 2018 1:39 AM
July 26, 2015 4:52 PM
— Our offseason ‘Rewind’ reports are where we look at an individual player’s previous season(s) of work–analyzing and researching it for clues on whether it was a ‘blip’ performance, or signs of future greatness…or signs of a mega-bust approaching. We try to do two per week in the offseason. —

I was smitten with this idea the other day, and decided to go through with it for the next few days or so…before the football news really starts going in a few weeks.

I was thinking about how we all get way too excited when we first get football news, and that includes me. I got to thinking that I should go back and re-read all the early preseason game recaps I did, and see what massive mistakes or pure genius I was onto upon witnessing the first preseason games.

So, I am going back through each Week-1 preseason game recap from 2014, and critiquing myself on the spot (in block quotes/italics after various sections). Below is an original, unfiltered, untouched up to avoid my embarrassment, Fantasy-Dynasty game recap from Week-1 of the preseason with my random comments from re-reading them today.

**Our ever-evolving, ever-updating to opening-day, Moneyball scouted, 2015 Fantasy Football e-Draft Guide and Cheat Sheets are available now. Direct link: Draft Guide 2015 options **

 

Note – I did not go back and re-watch these games before critiquing myself a year later. I’m just reading and reacting to what I wrote after what I saw last year. I hate re-reading my own stuff, so this will be the first time seeing it since I wrote it. Actually, it’s kinda like photo album or yearbook review. You know, where you look back and think, “What was I thinking when I wore that?

These 2014 preseason games ‘Rewinds’ will be posting in random order. Here we go…

 

======================

 

— I watched this game with the Jacksonville home announcer feed. I also watched the 30-second highlights on various TV football coverages afterwards. The football ‘machine’ is so emotionally reactive to the rookies they love so hard…that it is damaging to any fair and balanced viewing of preseason games/plays. Blake Bortles is one of ‘those guys’. Teddy Bridgewater isn’t. Johnny Manziel is. Logan Thomas is. Tom Savage isn’t. Mike Glennon wasn’t. Nor was Ricky Stanzi.

I add Glennon and Stanzi, because they too played in this game (not according to the media, but they did play. Trust me. I saw them). Glennon and Stanzi played, but their simple, completed preseason throws did not make people reach euphoria in a way that Bortles’ simple throws did. I tell you the longer I do this ‘football thing’, the more I realize football scouting is more emotionally-based than I thought. The analysts, beat writers, and coaches are more in the ’emotional’ tank than I would have ever realized. Vibes on a player are ‘shaped’ by I don’t know what…highlights, cool uniforms, neat sounding names like ‘Storm’ or ‘Jacquizz’… I’m not sure what drives the masses into the same universal viewpoint, but these ‘vibes’ are then passed down from on high to us the fans…our stupidity is trusting it unquestionably.

 Blake Bortles (7-11 for 117 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) is ‘supposed to be’ good-great. ‘They’ (the paid announcers by the team) desperately want him to be good-great. Thus, everything he does that is simply ‘OK’ is perceived/reported/seen through the lens as ‘great’. Everything he does poorly is someone else’s fault, or a simple rookie mistake.

Three impressions I had with Bortles in this game: One bad, one good, and one ‘shoulder shrug’…

Shoulder shrug: His mid-range passes were mostly one-read/no read throws to spots down the field. Credit to him, he made the throws on the money to the spots where guys were supposed to be. He was not picking apart the defense like a maestro. He just made throws into a zone. No one should expect him to be picking things apart yet. However, the reporting was how brilliant he looked in his debut…he wasn’t bad, so I guess that means he was great. He did nothing more than any other decent QB would do.

Ryan Nassib was, at times, brilliant for the NY Giants in the Hall of Fame preseason game. Technically, brilliant. Does anyone care? Is he seen/reported/salivated as the Giants savior? I mean, why question the future of Eli Manning after last season’s gem he produced? No one cares about Nassib…because Nassib’s not supposed to be good. Blake Bortles is a ‘god’ any time he does not take a crap in his pants on the field…even then it would be reported as a Pro Bowl level fecal event.

Bortles was OK in this game. Let’s not go overboard yet. It’s not fair to Bortles. 

Good: I was impressed with Bortles’ willingness to throw into the teeth of the defense…throwing into the middle of the field, and into zone coverage pockets. Young QBs don’t normally jump into that fire right away. Bortles did, and I was impressed. It’s enough to make me pause on totally tarring and feathering him yet. E.J. Manuel is never going to make it because he avoids the middle at all costs, and when he goes there it is not good. Bortles was better than that…I want to see more before jumping any bandwagons. Why? Because of the next part…

Bad:  The Bortles’ throws that went into zone pockets were mostly without any thought or read…thrown to ‘spots’ the receiver should be at, which is fine/good. However, most of these throws arrived softly, a little wobbly, and kinda hung WRs out to dry. Bortles didn’t really ‘miss’ any WR on the day. His incompletions were right to a WR, and the passes hit the WRs in their hands. However, several times the WRs had to sit in the zone, and wait for this pass to arrive, and as they tried to catch it they were popped from behind by a DB closing in from his zone spot…forcing an incomplete that looked more like a ‘drop’.

Against vanilla 2nd and 3rd team defenses, those throws hit the WR for a nice catch or the DB comes in quick and bats the ball away. In the regular season, against a 1st-team defense with a game plan, and an amped up pass rush…those passes are potential pick-sixes. It wasn’t just one or two of his throws…it was almost everyone of them. He tends to float passes downfield versus zipping them. That will not result well against a 1st-team everything defense.

There was a little promise with Bortles this day, but he is by no means ready to start day-one/today. The Jags are smart to wait. I’ll bet they wait about 1-5 weeks…

They waited three weeks before they threw Bortles-gasoline on their own season-fire.

I’ve been so right about Bortles from our January 2014, pre-draft scouting reports, to every step of the way since, that I’m not wasting any time on another victory lap. 

This re-read of my recap did make me recall memories of this opening preseason event from last season–I was laughing again because I remember the announcers were so excited, and spinning the coverage for their new ‘savior’ (Bortles)…it’s damaging because they subconsciously give hope to fans. Some of them ‘do it on purpose’–because they have to skew things positive to the team or they will never again be paid by the team to do preseason games…and thus lose a chance to get noticed by the ‘big boys’ for a promotion/’big break’.

Most ‘home’ preseason announcers have no real, broad player study across the league–they just buy into what the writers and magazines tell them, which all have the same thought on every player, and thus they all go down together–safety in numbers.

The whole football reporting and scouting system is broken, and getting more broken-er by the day. More on why that is this week when I address the Colin Cowherd firing. 

 

 

  — The reason the Jags might not ‘redshirt’ Bortles is because Chad Henne (4-7 for 30 yards) should not be a starting QB in the NFL. He was dreadful in this preseason glimpse. The team that drafted, and supported Blaine Gabbert is also the one who defies all logic by making Chad Henne ‘their guy’. As an experienced backup, cool…I guess. As your front line starter…why? What are you hoping for?

The Jags schedule is set up for certain death. The first five games: @ PHI, @WAS, IND, @SD, PIT. Henne will never survive that five game stretch…either via injury or via 2 TDs/10 INTs. The Jacksonville fans are going to riot in the streets, all 11 of them, once the team starts 0-5. They will want Bortles.

The Jags started 0-5, then 0-6, eventually 1-10…eventually 3-13. The Jacksonville ‘culture is changing’, people!!

I was wrong, Henne started two games and threw 3 TD/1 INT, but it was a ‘bad’ 3 TD/1 INT run in three games. I think he did get hurt Week-3, which began the illustrious ‘Bortles era’. 

 

 

 — When Henne fails, they may want Bortles, but they may might wind up with Ricky Stanzi (4-4 for 23 yards, 0 TD/0 INT). That’s probably my Achilles heel talking. However, one of three things is going to bring on a Stanzi shot:

(1) Henne is carted off the field somewhere between the 1st-quarter of opening-day against the Eagles or Week 2-3. The Jags are all “Bortles is redshirting.” The math then becomes Stanzi gets thrown to the wolves.

(2) Henne does not get hurt, but performs so poorly, as a response to the 11 fans rioting, but not wanting to put the golden child in for failure…Stanzi gets thrown to the wolves.

(3) Henne flops. Bortles flops. There is no other option.

All I want, and I’m sure all Ricky Stanzi wants is that chance to stare down wolves for awhile.

This game didn’t give us a ton of Stanzi clues to work with. Stanzi was 4-4 passing, and had a couple of decent 3rd-down completions, and ultimately led the game-winning drive. Most of his work involved ‘student body’ pitches to Denard Robinson…because it’s important NOT to have a developmental QB (a.k.a. the most important position in the NFL times a hundred) see more pass-attempts against live defenses.

All I will say about this Stanzi glimpse: It’s Tom Brady’s quick release and tight spiral. He had the strongest arm and quickest release of any QB in this game. He doesn’t have to throw it 70-yards in the air to have a ‘strong arm’. He just has to make 5-10-20-30 yard passes on a tight spiral, where the receiver can catch it, and release it so quickly that the DB struggle to react….like Tom BradyE.J. Manuel, and Jake Locker, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will get ump-teen chances…Blaine Gabbert and Terrelle Pryor andMatt Flynn WERE TRADED FOR ON PURPOSE…but no one knows Ricky Stanzi even exists.

I pray to the heavens above that Stanzi is released, and the Chicago Bears pick him up to work with Marc Trestman. The alternative to that is he goes to the CFL and rips things up, and returns. In a league aching for QB talent, with everything about a franchise’s future coming down to the QB…Ricky Stanzi cannot even get an extended look in a preseason game playing for the worst team in the NFL. Hopefully, he gets a full start in Week-4 of the preseason.

Stanzi was dropped the Jags in the preseason, because the team that brings you Gabbert-Henne-Bortles knows a thing or two about QB play. Nice 3-13 season.

Stanzi was grabbed by the Texans mid-season, and he was offered to return after the season (he was a free agent), but he went to join the Giants…where he gets in line behind the very talented Ryan Nassib.

I’m done holding up Stanzi as a ‘model’ example or giving ‘sleeper’ talk for a while, not because I don’t believe in his talent…I more convinced I’m right when the Jags ‘don’t see it’, but I know what happens to young QBs not ordained early by football analysts–they get no ‘real’ NFL look, and they bounce around the league grinding, hoping eventually to get thrown to the wolves off an injury crisis. These ‘drifter’ QBs have to jump into situations having never/rarely worked with the first team, or maybe just joining their new team just a few days/weeks prior. These ‘drifter’ QBs have a thousand hurdles in front of them and maybe will get 10-20 throws in a live game to convince an NFL that is 100% convinced against them no matter what they do. The deck is stacked against these types of overlooked QBs. I hope Stanzi gets his shot someday, but it’s now a deep, deep long-shot to ever happen. 

 

 

 — Bobby Rainey (6 carries for 25 yards) is a much better runner of the ball than Charles Sims (6 carries for 13 yards, 3 rec. for 32 yards on 3 targets). Mike James (3 carries for 12 yards, 1 rec. for 20 yards) is a better receiver than Charles SimsJeff Demps (2 carries for 4 yards, 1 rec. for 8 yards on 2 targets) is faster, and more dangerous with the ball in his hands than all of the Bucs RBs.Doug Martin (3 carries for 6 yards, 1 rec. for 2 yards on 2 targets) is overall more gifted than any of them. The Bucs already, arguably, had the best, deepest, most diverse backfield in all of football. Honestly.

Without a real personnel ‘need’…at a position (RB) that Tampa has proven it can find talent under any rock at…with the #69 pick overall…with a bunch of other needs…they drafted ‘C’ talent Charles Sims. However, Sims is being compared to Matt Forte by his RB coach (which is an affront to all our intelligence), and a local Bucs’ writer predicted Sims as a Hall of Fame talent.

Because of hype. Because of draft status. Because of new coaches. Charles Sims is getting a push he doesn’t deserve. Everyone’s perspective is warped, but they have talked themselves into this reality. Reporters roll with it…and it rolls down to us.

I’ve scouted Sims from college. I watched his preseason debut. He is every solid/’OK’ RB in the NFL, but not ‘special’…not even close. However, he’ll be Tampa’s #2 RB this year. He’ll be taken for Fantasy Football as a handcuff to Doug MartinMike James and Bobby Rainey will be buried. This emotional scouting pattern really drives me nuts.

Non-emotional scouting is my Fantasy Football Achilles heel sometimes/often. I see Bobby Rainey or Mike James, but they seeCharles Sims. There is little FF-value in being right about Antone Smith, while watching Jacquizz Rodgers and Devonta Freeman take all the touches in the regular season.

Charles Sims looked average-solid in this game, as I expected. I cannot believe he will be the Bucs’ #2 RB this year. 

What part didn’t I get right?

The Charles Sims hysteria was wildly overblown. Bobby Rainey was once again a better/equal-to in-season option for an NFL team. I’m not saying Rainey is an all-star, but my point in the recap last year was: He is as good as Sims, so why waste the draft pick?

As an added bonus, I was right about the talent of Antone Smith over the Falcons RB-crowd…and the Falcons were not even involved in this game.

I was also right…none of that proper RB scouting by us mattered here, because most NFL teams chase…I don’t know what thy chase. I could write 100 theories, and I still don’t understand why they are always overlooking the obvious…why they have such poor risk-reward analysis instincts. Charles Sims was a ridiculous waste of an asset (the #69 overall pick in 2014). 

At this time last year, a beat writer was equivocating Charles Sims as Matt Forte/going on to be a Hall of Famer. From the team and local media that brought you their incredibly wrong view of Charles Sims comes their next vision: Jameis Winston. Enjoy.

All you need to know about Charles Sims from 2014: Link2015 Charles Sims “2014 Rewind’ study

 

**I could have spared you from the wasted Charles Sims Dynasty Rookie Draft pick if you were a part of College Football Metrics.com last year! I can save you from Jameis Winston, and explain why in great detail right now–no one is saying what we are on Winston! See the 2015 Dynasty Rookie Draft, like never before with our Moneyball-style scouting reports and rankings. Go to www.collegefootballmetrics.com **

 

 

 — Speaking of Denard Robinson (7 carries for 36 yards and 1 TD)…he looked very good in this game. He has really added muscle nicely, and looks more like a ‘real’ RB versus a skinny QB trying to play RB in the NFL. Of all the players in this game, my mood shifted more on Robinson than any other player. Not predicting stardom, but he’s now moved into NFL-useful range versus thin-framed liability.

Over the following few weeks of preseason games from 2014, I would fully proclaim Denard Robinson one of the best transformations of the 2014 preseason and FF ‘super sleeper’–and everyone thought I was nuts at that time. He didn’t play so bad in 2014, did he? He was white hot in Fantasy for a stretch last season, before he got nicked up.

He should be starting with Toby Gerhart in a RB-duo in 2015…but T.J. Yeldon WENT TO ALABAMA! So you know he’s great. 

 

 

 — I’m not sure what anyone sees in Storm Johnson (9 carries for 21 yards, 1 target), but if they watched this game they saw what our computer scouting models foretold: A stretch to be called ‘mediocre’. Average speed, shaky agility.

Most of his runs in this game looked like what got Steven Houston cut by New England…indecisive dancing around in the backfield, but in Storm’s case: without the athletic ability to stop and start to get him out of trouble. Storm has a cool name, and was drafted, so he’ll likely make the team. He is not the Toby Gerhart ‘handcuff’.

I don’t know how many NFL blurb headlines and FF-analyst reports that predicted Storm Johnson would be the Jags starter either opening day or by mid-season. We were pushing Denard.

Storm is now on his way to getting cut this preseason. Not because of any outside or off-field issues–just that he is so mediocre/poor a prospect he doesn’t even meet the Jags standard of worthiness. 

 

 

 — Not enough targets to get super-excited, but Austin Seferian-Jenkins (2 rec. for 29 yards on 3 targets) looked like an NFL TE on his couple of catches. Just a big body, faster than the LBs, catching the ball well, and taking off for extra yards after the catch. His catches were simple, and he was wide open, so we can’t go overboard, but this was a nice start. Certainly better than Eric Ebron’s debut. That Ebron draft pick is going to go down in history as a complete and utter disaster.

I like ASJ, but I fear Jameis Winston FF-limiting him in 2015. What happens in FF-2015+ with ASJ is speculation due to the QB play, but I can confidently tell you ASJ is exponentially better than Eric Ebron–as we did in February 2014 as well. 

 

 

 — If it means anything to you on an IDP front: The best-looking player in this game (looking at it in a bubble) was Jacksonville DTSen’Derrick Marks (4 solo tackles, 1 QB hit). He was virtually unstoppable when the 1st-teams battles each other.

…and then the mostly NFL-unnoticeable for years Sen’Derrick Marks went on to have a career year in 2015. It’s not just The Computer finding hidden talent, it’s my divinely-touched by God eyes as well. Give Him the praise, I’m am but a mere prophet…

 

 

 — One more QB note…that whole Josh McCown (2-4 for 20 yards, 0 TD/1 INT) renaissance thing…you might want to wait before you buy tickets to that show. When Lovie Smith proudly proclaimed Mike Glennon (11-19 for 140 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) as the future of the franchise in the last day or so…it was interpreted as in years, but he may have actually been talking about weeks. McCown was really, really not good in this little flash…and has has been not good for most of his length career, except for that couple of games last year.

Just think about it. In this game you were actually watching Chad Henne vs. Josh McCown, as the on-purpose starters. I cannot imagine why things haven’t been going well for those franchises?

Another plug for Mike Glennon here, but long-time readers don’t tune me out because I’m going to blow you away with a few stats in a moment…

Mike Glennon should be the clear-cut, hands-down starter for the Bucs this season. The fact that Lovie Smith had a year to study (as he was unemployed) going into his new Bucs job, and he looked right past Glennon and pissed money down a rat hole on Josh McCown should be an absolute fireable offense. Turning around a year later and getting Jameis Winston with a #1 pick is a double-down abomination. 

Why do certain NFL teams keep doing things like this over-and-over? They really do not have an eye for judging talent any better than the average fan. They are throwing darts trying to pretend they aren’t. In the end, many of them follow the same ole’ media hype and fall off a cliff. 

Mike Glennon went 1-4 overall as a starter on the world’s crappiest NFL team in 2014. He won his debut against playoff-team Pittsburgh when the Bucs were 0-fer the season at that point. He then lost four in a row, losing three of them by a TD or less. The Bucs were competitive with Glennon, who came into the starting lineup due to a McCown injury…he entered the lineup having not really working with the 1st-team leading up to it. Glennon waltzed in, ill-prepared and threw for 10 TD/6 INTs for the worst team in football last year…God, what a terrible QB.

Josh McCown posted a 1-10 record last season as a starter, racking up 11 TD/14 INT, and looked worse than his awful numbers displayed. Tampa Bay paid big money for McCown, as their beacon…a signal of the new regime’s vision. He went 1-10 for them, and delivered them the #1 overall pick. 

Those aren’t the stats/numbers I wanted to impress you with.

Hold onto your hat for this one…

Mike Glennon has 19 game appearances (not all full games played) over two seasons. Never as a starter or working with the first team regularly…and with multiple head coaches, offensive coordinators, systems, and arguably the worst franchise existing in the NFL. His TD-INT numbers in his two-year career — 19 total game appearances: 29 TD/15 INT. 

Andrew Luck’s first 19 regular-season game appearances: 26 TD/19 INT.

That’s Andrew Luck–the ‘golden boy’, handed the keys to the car from day-one, always working with the first-team, never comes out of a game, throws as often as he wants…Andrew Luck. You could argue, Luck wasn’t as statistically good as Glennon in their first 19 games comparison. 19 games is all Glennon has so far.

 

The number of games with 2 or more TD passes in their first 19 regular-season games: 

12 of 19 = Glennon

9 of 19 = Luck

 

Boy, does Mike Glennon suck. Ha! Ha! What a joke. Make sure every mainstream article ignores him, or mocks him. Lovie, you better go draft the super-flawed Florida State guy that was fully endorsed by all the same football geniuses who unashamedly told you about the greatness of Blake Bortles the prior year. I shouldn’t question the head coach, he did prove us all wrong with the greatness shown by his hand-picked Josh McCown.

The big loser in all this–the people who continue to support the Bucs. They deserve better than smoke up their arse on Charles Sims and Jameis Winston. 

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About R.C. Fischer

R.C. Fischer is a fantasy football player analyst for Fantasy Football Metrics and College Football Metrics. 

Email rc4metrics@gmail.com

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