Ask Us Anything: ITP Takes Questions

soxfan121

JAG
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If I may interrupt your regular scheduled F5 of the DFG thread with an important announcement: Inside the Pylon is coming up on our birthday and our 600th article published. To celebrate, we're starting a new feature - Ask Us Anything (about football). 
 
Do you have a football question? Want to know more about Logan Ryan? Or what "torque" is and why it's important?
 
The writers and contributors of Inside the Pylon want to answer your questions. 

Oh, and if you want to write for ITP, we're always looking for new folks to join the team.
 
Happy football season!
 
 

Drocca

darrell foster wallace
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Jul 21, 2005
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Really cool idea.

When I am watching football, is there something I can be focusing on w/r/t the offensive line to get a sense of how they are doing? I always hear or see references to a team having a great offensive line or a bad offensive line, but other than looking at rushing stats and lack of stats, I don't actually know how to judge that stuff.

Other than QB, what is the most important position on the field in today's NFL?

Thanks!
 

soxfanSJCA

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Aug 3, 2005
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ITP team, I appreciate your site and find the content fresh and substantive. I have several questions:
 
1. Are there any subtle (or not so subtle) emerging trends in NFL offensive or defensive schemes that you find interesting?
 
2. Given the rapid rule changes in response to eligible/ineligible plays, has the NFL now reached a level of intolerance for innovation?
    Were aspects of the West Coast offense ever considered unsportsmanlike? Other innovations?
    For perspective, I view game plans of  throwing hail marys with the clear intent of drawing a PI penalty to be significantly less sporting and cerebral than a eligibility/substitution play.
    
3. Were you Josh, what would you do to make up for Shane Vereen's departure? It seems to me that Shane extended more than his fair share of drives, and most importantly was totally in sync with TB. The return of 2 big TE's is one aspect, but i view Shane's previous role as more specialized. any thoughts on this?
 
4. Has a professional sports collective ever exhibited more effort to overtly tarnish and defame one of its GOAT players ever without any proof? 
 
 

Reverend

for king and country
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soxfanSJCA said:
4. Has a professional sports collective ever exhibited more effort to overtly tarnish and defame one of its GOAT players ever without any proof? 
 
Spartacus?
 

mwonow

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It's often said that drummers are people who like to hang around with musicians. Is the same true of kickers and football players?  :buddy:
 

NortheasternPJ

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Chuck Z said:
Someone ask about kickers. Or punters. But preferably kickers.
Many NFL players don't consider kickers or punters as football players or real athletes. Zolak today referred to kickers as glorified nerds. How does a kicker react to 50+ people giving them no credit as athletes on their team?
 

soxfanSJCA

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Chuck Z said:
Someone ask about kickers. Or punters. But preferably kickers.
Does every kicker utilize a precise foot location that is common, or is the point of contact between the ball and the foot a giant variable?
Has anyone ever measured the force generated by a kick?
What is the peak speed of a kicked ball?
That you know of, has anyone ever been knocked out/rendered unconscious by a kicked ball (in practice or in-game)?
 

Section30

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How about a in depth analysis of what differentiates Revis from other DB's? Is it technique, natural ability? Can we get a frame side by side comparison throughout individual plays?
 
Thanks
 

Rook05

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I'd be interested to hear your take on Scott Chandler's impact on the offense, particularly inside the red zone. Do you see the Pats adopting more of a road grader approach with a lot of heavy sets, or do you see them aggressively using him in the passing game down near the end zone?
 

Super Nomario

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Section30 said:
How about a in depth analysis of what differentiates Revis from other DB's? Is it technique, natural ability? Can we get a frame side by side comparison throughout individual plays?
 
Thanks
In general we're going to be answering these in an article, but I've written a lot about Revis already:
http://insidethepylon.com/film-study/film-study-nfl/defense-film-study-nfl/2014/09/29/the-secondary-revised/
http://insidethepylon.com/film-study/film-study-nfl/defense-film-study-nfl/2014/12/01/secondary-revisited-covering-number-one-receivers/
http://insidethepylon.com/film-study/film-study-nfl/defense-film-study-nfl/2014/12/12/keenan-allen-spends-evening-revis-island/
 
I think the clip that best sums up Revis' special ability is this one:

 
What stands out to me about Revis on tape is how smooth and balanced he is. He reacts extremely quickly to changes of direction or stop-and-start motions like in this clip, and because of this he doesn't need to give as much cushion to receivers as most players. His tape is qualitatively different than the other corners on the team. I imagine a lot of this is footwork and technique and knowing tendencies from film study, but there's also got to be an element that is inherent talent.
 
Revis is fast but occasionally did struggle with real blazers like Mike Wallace. He's not Richard Sherman but he's pretty big; you can match him up guys like Green and not worry he's going to get beaten on jump balls or out-muscled at the line of scrimmage.
 

PaulinMyrBch

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This shouldn't clog things up. But on Butler's INT, had he just taken a knee in the end zone, we get the ball at the 20 right? Momentum of the INT-Hit took him into the end zone? I understand why he came out even if that is true, but I've thought of that a few times since Feb. 
 

deanx0

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I have a punting question. For years, punters looked to perfect the "coffin corner", punting balls that went out of bounds somewhere between the 5 and goal line. This seems to be a lost art and instead teams look to down punts in the middle of the field as close to the goal line as possible. When did this change happen, and it it really a better choice on field position as it seems that a number of kicks end up in the end zone?
 

soxfan121

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Thanks for the questions thus far, folks. We're hard at work answering them, and the first edition of the ITP Mailbag will arrive sometime early next week. 

In the meantime, we're still looking to answer your football questions, either in a future edition of the mailbag or as full length articles. We're working on one of those out of this last batch of questions - thanks for the inspiration!
 
We've also launched our Glossary, which hopefully goes beyond any glossary you've seen before. If there's a term or a bit of jargon you've always wondered about, please ask. 
 

Dogman2

Yukon Cornelius
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Mar 19, 2004
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Can you add in the term/jargon "trips" and a definition for that please?

I'm specifically thinking in terms of formation.

Thanks.
 

soxfan121

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Dogman2 said:
Can you add in the term/jargon "trips" and a definition for that please?

I'm specifically thinking in terms of formation.

Thanks.
 
Absolutely. Exactly what we were hoping for. Look for it Monday or Tuesday.
 

soxfan121

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tims4wins said:
I have a question: why have we never been able to procure Mike Reiss for a chat?
 
ESPN is very restrictive on allowing their talent to appear on other platforms. I'm pretty sure we'll get a complete list of what an ESPN employee can and cannot do when Simmons is free to speak his mind. 
 

mwonow

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There's always a lot of pressure at the edges of the 53 man roster. The White/Lewis (/Boldin?) battle for RB positions highlights the problem - there are six RBs who look like they could be good fits for the Pats, but six seems like a lot. Are there minimum (and maximum?) numbers of players that teams should/do keep for each position group, to ensure having adequate depth?
 

Super Nomario

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mwonow said:
There's always a lot of pressure at the edges of the 53 man roster. The White/Lewis (/Boldin?) battle for RB positions highlights the problem - there are six RBs who look like they could be good fits for the Pats, but six seems like a lot. Are there minimum (and maximum?) numbers of players that teams should/do keep for each position group, to ensure having adequate depth?
Great question mwonow! We are looking for more like it as we plan to do another mailbag in the near future. Ask us questions, whether they be general football questions or specific to teams / players.
 

sezwho

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One of the things I've struggled with over the Patriots astonishing run of success (and being a huge fan), is the belief that this is annually a quite poor defense propped up by a hall of fame QB running the West Coast offense better than anyone since Montana.
 
The patriots 3-4 two gap defense meant big slow lineman who were coached NOT to get up field, and bigger slower LBs (yes of course they want big strong and fast LBs, but they optimize size over speed).  The Pats are statistically poor on D, and even worse on passing downs which are more frequent every season.  Yes, as crazy as it sounds, I think BB is the emperor with no clothes as a D-coordinator but he is so talented as a head coach, personnel man, and O-coordinator that he overcomes this limitation when given hall-of-fame talent in the secondary to 'cover' this inadequacy.
 
So, my question is: is there any information that shows the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of a 3-4 two gap D over the more traditional 4 man front in todays NFL? There are 3-4 teams which also put a premium on aggressiveness and getting to the QB, so it may be tricky to differentiate them.
 
Thanks!
 

LondonSox

Robert the Deuce
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I have a question which has always bugged me.
On the goal line, especially runs, you see so often the refs run in and pull players away to see where the ball is and then rule touchdown or no.
Why?
Where the ball is at this point is irrelevant surely? If they reached it over the goal line after being down or break the plain and be thrown back either way the ball's position is absolutely irrelevant.
I feel like I must be missing some neuance
 

( . ) ( . ) and (_!_)

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The ultimate TE set at the goal line last night was a piece of priceless art. LBers can't cover Gronk 1 on 1 and if the Steelers had put in a lighter package or had two guys follow Gronk then that ball was going to be handed off and run right at them.

I think there is an opportunity for a piece on how the hell a team can try to defend that look. It really puts the defense in a damned if you do damned if you dont situation.
 

HowBoutDemSox

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I think there was a run play last night where the tackle (pretty sure it was Solder) made the pull block, instead of the guard. Is that a common play design, or something unusual (or maybe I just saw it wrong)?
 

pappymojo

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During the game thread last night, I had asked what Brady does on the QB sneak to make it so effective. There were some general comments, such as getting low and picking the open hole, that while valid I'm sure, don't seem to be something that any other QB wouldn't be able to do. It strikes me as an uneducated viewer that Brady is truly great at the QB sneak, but I don't know why. Is there anything he or the team does differently?
 

BroodsSexton

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I missed the Patriots' defensive line shifts that everyone is talking about--one that led to a false start and one that led to a touchdown by the Steelers?  Any chance you guys have video and could break them down?
 

soxfan121

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Dogman2 said:
 
I loved that the Griz were used as part of the illustration.  I was at that game and it was an awesome experience.  Griz stadium is an unbelievable venue for football.
 
Well, we figured why not throw Dogman2 a bone? Thanks for reading. 
 

crystalline

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The Patriots run both power and zone running plays, while some teams run mainly zone. I've heard zone running places a premium on speed and elusiveness, where in a power play the back is often just following a pulling guard into the hole.

Do the Pats have some backs they favor power plays for, and some backs they favor zone? You might think that Blount would be the prototypical power play back with his size and relative lack of speed. In the last few weeks before his injury we saw him run both power and zone plays, so maybe not.

Do the Pats call more power or zone based on their OL? I seem to remember fewer zone plays in previous years. And since the Pats now have total flux at RB, do you expect them to shift the run playcalling around for the new guys?



Extra question: I've seen some zone run playaction end up in a naked QB bootleg. We saw Brady run that play last week but with a quick pass to a weakside WR. Seeing Brady get rid of the ball before a DL might flatten him was good for my blood pressure. Do power and zone run plays have different best playaction plays? And why did Kubiak let Peyton run so many naked bootlegs earlier in the year?