3 yards and a cloud of baloney

By Allen Barra



Salon Staff
September 7, 2000 11:58PM (UTC)

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Barra's analysis looks about right. Would he consider evaluating the condition of the New Orleans Saints? They have changed coaches, players, owners, uniforms and even stadiums (a while back) and are arguably the most pitiful examples of pro football of the last quarter century. But we got a hell of a running game and the best kickers.

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-- Rick Foley

A couple of things I want to comment on:

First, the passing game does help the running game and vice versa. If you can't pass the ball competently, you'll see eight men in the box on defense, and if you can't run competently, you'll see blitzes and extra defensive backs all day long. Unless the defense respects your ability to do both, it's hard to do either.

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Second, the draft is extremely important. Pick out the top 20 or so players in the league. How many of them just showed up on the doorstep of their team, begging to play? The draft is the only significant way to find difference-makers -- Kurt Warners come along about once a decade. [Marshall] Faulk was only available because the Colts wanted Edgerrin James.

-- Andrew Norris

Myth No. 11 is that you can override a lifetime's worth of accumulated statistics and conventional wisdom by picking and choosing numbers from a single year. Does Barra expect the Nasdaq to rise 80 percent each year (as it did in 1999)?

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I encourage him to rerun his column -- except, instead of working from the last single season, let's see use of averages over the last 10 years.

-- Tim Minton

A point to add to Allen Barra's story about NFL game commentators: I remember the ONE preseason NFL game years ago that didn't have any commentators. The network just carried the PA system's game commentary. For my money, that was the most realistic and best-commentated game ever. However, the (well-paid) commentators hated it and managed to limit the trial to one preseason game. Too bad!

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-- Millard Mier


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