Monday, July 26, 2010

Lombardi watch

Lombardi watch continues as he rounds up his Red chip/Blue chip article with his final rankings. I almost don't know what to say. I'll provide the link to the article at the end but first I just have to go through it and point some things out for your amusement. Remember as well that Lombardi gets paid for this. He gets paid nice dollars by the NFL for his analysis. Theoretically, it should trump anything that you or I could produce. When you count the fact that he's been a personnel guy in some capacity at five NFL teams (49ers, Browns, Rams, Eagles and Raiders) you would expect this list to be almost untouchable, a shining example of the cutting edge eye possessed (and required) only by a select few who have worked in the highest ranks of the business. Take this surgically precise insight for example: Jordan Babineaux is listed as a red chip Defensive tackle. Yes, I know. Jordan Babineaux is a Free Safety. But trust me, providing they haven't spotted the mistake and edited by now, it's right there. I can only presume he meant Jonathan Babineuax. So for those still not in the know, let's clarify what Lombardi is doing. He basically looks at every position in the league and plucks out the top 15 players, giving the top ten "Blue Chip" status and the next five "Red Chip" status. The idea is to get a feel for how the best talent in the league is spread around. He also marks out six blue chip coaches. You get points for being a blue or red chipper, depending on the perceived worth of your position, which then contributes to your team total. At the end he ranks the teams based on how many points they each accrued. Now, before we even get onto breaking down any of the positions and whether he is right or wrong, we need to do a double take. Having explained the rules of the game, I'm obliged to point out that Lombardi promptly drops any pretence of following them as soon as he hits Blue chip running backs, which is the second entry on his table. Instead of a top ten we get a top nine, and instead of then having 5 more players, we get another 8, which makes 17 by my maths. This despite spending the first part of the article justifying why he dumped certain players off the receivers list because he had more than 15. The next thing we must look at is the whole "points for positions" things, trying to judge how valuable blue/red chip players are depending on their position. Based on Lombardi's rankings, I can see that Andy Lee, punter for the 49ers, needs a new agent. Apparently he's worth as much to the 49ers as Patrick Willis (7.5 points). Interesting take there. So, let's get down to the nitty gritty and start looking at some of the position groups. Quarterbacks -- Not a huge amount of argument here except that there are only two red chippers, so what happened to the other 3? It could be argued that David Garrard, Jason Campbell and Kyle Orton should fill out the last three spots, but that would be an argument for the ages. Running Backs -- As already mentioned, there are 9 blue chippers and 8 red, which doesn't quite add up. More serious questions involve Josh Cribbs as a blue. Yes he his a phenomenal player, but is he a blue chip RB? Nope. Cedric Benson? He had one good year, yet Michael Turner is considered Red, along with Frank Gore. And how come Ricky Williams is blue but Ronnie Brown is red (other than the injury)? How is Thomas Jones, the third leading rusher in the league last year, red? And why is Knowshon Moreno even on the list, despite falling behind Fred Jackson of Buffalo, Rashard Mendenhall of Pittsburgh and Ryan Grant of Green Bay (Grant had the 7th most yards of all backs)? Tight Ends -- Only 7 blue chippers and then 9 red chippers? To think that Michael Lombardi was allowed anywhere near player contracts is stunning. No Todd Heap. No Visanthe Shiancoe. But Daniel Graham makes the list as a red chipper? Receivers -- From what I can tell, this is the only list that actually follows the proper criteria that Lombardi laid out for himself. Now on reflection I can give Wes Welker a pass for being removed from list entirely due to the very serious nature of his injury last year and the fact he is only just getting back into shape. But what I don't get is how Sidney Rice and Miles Austin can have a statistically VERY comparable season last year, but one is blue chip (Austin) and one is red (Rice). How does Randy Moss tie Larry Fitzgerald for the most TDs and come fifth overall for yards but only make it as a red chipper? How is Santonio Holmes a red chipper but Steve Smith of the Panthers is blue (Holmes was the seventh leading receiver in yards... smith was 22nd). Steve Smith of the Giants gone from the list, despite being comparable to Holmes. Hines Ward, not on the list. Forget it. Offensive Tackles -- 9 Blue, 8 red. And despite being red chippers, Matt Light, Bryant McKinnie and Jason Peters earn seven points instead of 5 like the rest of the red chip tackles? Fullbacks -- Two red chippers and that's that. I know they're a dying breed but c'mon! Guards -- Apparently there are only seven guards in the league and two of them can't even make it into the top ten at their position! Centers -- There are only seven of them as well, and this time four of them can't break into the top ten. Defensive Tackles -- 20. Nuff said. Defensive Ends -- 13 blue chippers (!) and 8 red chippers. Many of these guys like DeMarcus Ware and Elvis Dumervil technically don't even belong in this category. No Will Smith of New Orleans despite registering the third most sacks of any defensive end. No Aaron Schobel, despite getting more sacks than Roger Mathis. No Juqua Parker. And so on. Outside Linebackers -- Well, it wasn't like there wasn't any room for DeMarcus and company. Just four blue chippers listed and 8 red. I just can't even begin to solve the many discrepancies in this list. Inside Linebacker -- At last, another group with 15! Shame that only eight are blue chippers though. Also a shame that Kirk Morrisons third best rating for tackles wasn't enough to get him even a red chip. The were also a number of very solid rookies who missed out which is kind of acceptable as you never know how they will pan out. Corners -- Another 15. Blimey it's all starting to add up. Except of course, that there only 7 blue chippers. And Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie only makes a red chip, despite equalling the number of Interceptions of Darrelle Revis, as well as coming close to his tally of passes defended (Revis first, Cromartie second) and almost equalling him for tackles, while clocking up 3 forced fumbles to Revis's zero. Brandon Flowers fails to make the list, presumably just because he plays for Kansas. And even though Quentin Jammer makes the list, I see that neither Tracy Porter nor Jabari Greer are getting the credit they deserve for the huge part they played in the Saints 2009 season. Still. And so on. Safeties -- So only three guys are considered good enough to make the top ten at their position, but eleven guys are good enough to be in the top 10 to 15? I don't get it. Head Coaches -- Belichick is pretty obvious, Fischer you can have because of the duration and relative consistency, but if we're going to give Fischer a blue chip then Andy Reid gets one as well for the same reasons. Payton and Tomlin fair enough, but where is Ken Wisenhunt? And how come all through this Lombardi's been rating players partly based on their recent performance, yet Mike Shanahan gets a free pass into the blue chip status? And wait, what's this.... John Fox gets a blue chip. John. Fox. I hate the Panthers. And Michael Lombardi. Check the article out for yourselves here: Have a great day everyone.

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