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Black96WS6
09-09-2011, 09:26 AM
The myth of continuity in the NFL - Packers and Saints are further proof:

Winning isn't about keeping the band together.
By Chris Sprow
ESPN Insider

The Green Bay Packers are being tagged with the "continuity" label this season. What will make them successful? Easy: the "continuity and stability" we see written about in many places, and that Mike McCarthy and Aaron Rodgers seem closer than ever. Feel the warmth. And it's absolutely fair. Why meddle with a young Super Bowl champion? The Packers' brass didn't, as the team signed just three free agents -- all its own -- and didn't shuffle coaches. The Packers look primed to repeat.

But consider that just 160 days ago, there was some internal dissatisfaction because the team didn't invite the 16 players on injured reserve to be in the Super Bowl team photo. Feelings were hurt. But hey, there wasn't enough space. This wasn't a big deal -- but is an example. Think about it: The Packers couldn't fit 16 guys in a Super Bowl photo because of all the new guys that had helped get them there (and win). It's an example of why continuity in the NFL is mostly a myth.

In fact, it's really just another word for good quarterbacking. And when the Saints and Packers meet tonight, you'll see a good example of why.

Start with Rodgers. He ended his Favreian purgatory and became the Packers' starter three years ago today. Since that date in 2008, the average NFL team has just 14 players remaining from its Week 1 53-man roster, according to Elias. That's a turnover rate of roughly 24 percent a year. The remarkable amount of injuries the Packers faced last season? It was really just about the average turnover rate for every team, each offseason. And while it's fine to point to a special talent like Jermichael Finley and say he's not the usual cut, remember that turnover isn't just about talent; it's about health, money and scheme, too. And remember, the Packers won the Super Bowl without Finley.

The guy they wouldn't have won it without is Rodgers, who has started 47 of 48 regular-season games since taking over for Favre. And the Saints wouldn't have won it all two seasons ago without Drew Brees, who has also started 47 of 48 regular-season games since 2008. The numbers show that no team is consistently competitive without continuity at quarterback.

Nine teams have won 30 or more regular-season games in the past three years, and all but two of them have had a single quarterback take nearly every start. Only New England, with the 11-5 Matt Cassel intro season, and Philly, which swapped Donovan McNabb for Kevin Kolb Michael Vick last year, really had any sharing.

Teams with 30+ wins since 2008
Team Wins QB Pct of Starts Total QBR Players w/ 40+ catches
Indianapolis 36 Peyton Manning 100.0 77.2 9
New England 35 Tom Brady 68.6 69.5 6
Atlanta 33 Matt Ryan 95.8 66.9 4
Pittsburgh 33 Ben Roethlisberger 89.6 57.9 7
Baltimore 32 Joe Flacco 100.0 51.5 5
New Orleans 32 Drew Brees 97.9 68.3 7
San Diego 30 Philip Rivers 100.0 68.2 5
New York Giants 30 Eli Manning 100.0 63.8 8
Philadelphia 30 Donovan McNabb 62.5 49.2 6
A few remarkable things about this list:

• If not for a fluke injury to Tom Brady and the suspension of Ben Roethlisberger, eight of nine teams that averaged 10-plus wins since 2008 have gotten 90 percent or more of their starts from a single quarterback.


• "Continuity" with targets in the passing game has largely been proved a myth. The average team had 6.3 players catch 40 or more passes in a season during this brief period, and the team with the most wins -- Indy -- used the widest range of pass-catchers and still managed to win at a high rate.


• It doesn't even include Green Bay, which has 27 wins despite a 6-10 season in 2008, and that Super Bowl. Rodgers has started 97.9 of the Packers' games in that span.


Even if you look past this list to close contenders, you see the trend. The Jets have 29 wins and have had Mark Sanchez at the helm for 31 straight starts; the Bears have 27 wins in this span and have gotten 31 out of 32 regular-season starts from Jay Cutler, who has started 68 of 69 games since being named the starter in Denver.

As well, the list shows that most of these quarterbacks are playing at a Pro Bowl level, which is in the 60-70 range, according to QBR. (Joe Flacco can be forgiven for starting as a rookie.)

This isn't a big secret revealed, that consistent quarterbacking creates a winner. But what should be noted is that the importance of continuity over a few years doesn't extend much past the quarterback position.

The Saints and Packers will do battle tonight, both with the hope that they could see each other again sometime in late January. If they do, the continuity you should point to is that the guys taking the snaps tonight are still doing it then.

TheReverend
09-09-2011, 09:34 AM
That was pretty good

LRtagger
09-09-2011, 09:52 AM
What about teams that use one QB until they get inside the 10 and then put in their backup?

Kaylore
09-09-2011, 10:13 AM
Obviously having a good starting QB helps. I think he's nit-picking on the backups issue. I mean, yes, there is high player turnover in the NFL. However what isn't mentioned is system continuity and coaching continuity. One of the reasons we suck so bad is we change coordinators every year. Players need to get comfortable in a system to let it really execute. The other are is that while backups and replacements come and go, you do need a core nucleus of players to build on and play together for chemistry purposes to reach your potential.

So yes, in terms of pure numbers, continuity is impossible to maintain perfectly one year to the next. However system and coaching continuity, and continuity among your best starters cannot be overstated. But he's right that the QB is a major factor in that.

DrFate
09-09-2011, 10:30 AM
What about teams that use one QB until they get inside the 10 and then put in their backup?

There is no such NFL team...

broncocalijohn
09-09-2011, 12:23 PM
There is no such NFL team...

We shall become the first!

Dedhed
09-09-2011, 01:19 PM
We shall become the first!

Until it dawns on somebody that if the specialty QB can put the ball in the end zone more consistently, he can probably pick up first downs more consistently too.

Then it will dawn on them that he's probably just a better football player and it makes sense to have him on the field all the time.

And thus will end the great double QB experiment.

broncocalijohn
09-09-2011, 01:33 PM
Until it dawns on somebody that if the specialty QB can put the ball in the end zone more consistently, he can probably pick up first downs more consistently too.

Then it will dawn on them that he's probably just a better football player and it makes sense to have him on the field all the time.

And thus will end the great double QB experiment.

Whatever works for wins I am for it.

bendog
09-09-2011, 02:07 PM
That's pure bs about Cutler making all those starts.

AlienBronco
09-09-2011, 07:01 PM
That's pure bs about Cutler making all those starts.

So, which starts did he miss with Denver ????

Dr. Broncenstein
09-09-2011, 07:13 PM
Until it dawns on somebody that if the specialty QB can put the ball in the end zone more consistently, he can probably pick up first downs more consistently too.

Then it will dawn on them that he's probably just a better football player and it makes sense to have him on the field all the time.

And thus will end the great double QB experiment.

This epiphany likely will come after the 55% playing time possibility has come to pass. Just coincidentally.