Greetings AP. It has been a while! Steve in RI here. If you don't recall me, I was a frontpage contributor here for one season before my personal life and work life did not allow me to return for the 2012 season. You may recall some of my regular pieces like The Opening Line, The Closing Line and Where are They Now?. I was also an unabashed Todd Haley supporter/apologist, but unlike some (I may or may not be looking at you Aiken) I got over it pretty quickly.
So in the year that has passed, I have seen and read a lot here and wanted to catch up with you all and voice my opinion on some frequently discussed AP topics. Here we go:(H/T to MNchiefsfan for allowing me to learn the value of parenthetical references)
- 2012 Season: Well that did not go very well. My biggest gripe is that many here act as though it was solely the offensive performance that made us 2-14. Our offensive DVOA ranked us 31st overall (thanks Arizona), with a passing rank of 32nd and a rushing rank of 20th. This makes Jamaal Charles' achievements all the more impressive considering we did not run the ball efficiently as a team last season. But on the defensive side of things, we finished 30th in DVOA. The team was 31st against the pass and 28th vs. the run. Against #1 WRs were ranked 28th, and against RB's catching out of the backfield we were dead last. Point is, we stunk all around. But let's not act like it was just an offensive problem.
- Alex Smith/Retread Argument: I was "ehhh" at first about this, and now I am on board. I think it boils down to a common sense approach. If Vikings fans wanted to know exactly about Matt Cassell, would we be able to accurately describe him in tremendous detail? Yes we would. Over the past few months we have seen numerous 49ers fans give very positive reviews of Alex Smith. Combine that with his statistical uptick over the last few seasons and I feel much better about the situation. We didn't get an Aaron Rodgers. We also didn't get Cassel 2.0. We got an efficient quarterback. As for the retread argument, I have noticed that it isn't worth getting into an argument about this. But does it seriously matter where we got the QB if he plays well? Simple answer is no, in my humble opinion.
- Geno Smith: Not going to lie. I am happy we are not getting him. Other than his solid score on the Lewin Career Forecast I fail to have much confidence in his pro career. I know that there are solid starting QBs in every draft, but I truly question whether or not there is one in this draft. I did the YouTube video thing. I watched him as an avid sports handicapper. I do not like him enough to draft him, just so we can have "our guy". Once again, just an opinion. My eye test (not that anyone should care more or less because I see it) says for 2013 that Alex is the better Smith for this team.
- Joe Flacco is an elite QB: Saw this one pop up again the other day. Elite literally means "A group of people considered to be the best in a particular society or category". Joe Flacco has shown (like Eli Manning), that he can win in January. Kudos to him on that. That does not erase the 16 games per season that he is an average to above average quarterback. Briefly, 2012: DYAR (total value) 17th, 2 spots behind Alex Smith and just ahead of Carson Palmer. DVOA (Value per play) 17th, sandwiched between Sam Bradford and Carson Palmer. QBR- 25th, just a teeny bit behind the venerable Jake Locker. Just for fun: 2011- DYAR 14th, DVOA 18th, QBR 15th. 2010- DYAR 11th, DVOA 15th, QBR 12th. Three years, not one remotely elite season. That is all.
- 2013 Draft: Quickly, before I wear out my return. I have literally no opinion on Branden Albert. None. If we keep him, cool. If we don't and get a starting caliber OT then also cool. But I agree for once with the man known as The Dank Dank. I would absolutely love to see Dion Jordan as a Chief.
- 2013 Predictions: Still way too early. It's Denver's division to lose. I saw people saying how easy the schedule is, but coming off a 2-14 campaign it's tough to beat our chests with confidence. I'd like to think though that with Pittsburgh on the decline, Baltimore dismantling some of their core and Indianapolis really not being that great, that we have as good a chance as anyone to win a Wild Card spot at the very least.
Well it's been a long time coming, and I had plenty more but I am well-versed on AP attention span. It's good to be back in the mix and look forward to interacting more on the site with everyone and regardless of disagreements, I look forward to getting back into spirited and friendly debate again with the best fans in the NFL. Have a great night!