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Old 01-17-2011, 10:08 PM   #1
lostknight
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If Josh McDaniels had been fired last year, and John Fox hired, we would have hired someone with one of the best winning ratios of active coaches in the NFL. Ten losses last year was is a insane outlier from a coach who has either dominated, or at worse been average around the middle of the pack. Yet this year we hired the one coach in the league who had a worse record then the man he replaced.

It's imperative to try and figure out what the difference is between Super John - who has gotten three ten plus win seasons, average John who floats around 7-9, and McDaniels edition John, who finishes dead last in the NFL. If Fox repeats his earlier success, we are back to having a team that competes every year. If he repeats last year, nothing good will come of it, and we may someday see the LA Broncos instead of the Denver Broncos.

Every year the NFL varies pretty wildly depending on how good offenses, defense, special teams are. In addition, offenses and defenses vary according to how the other units do, the strength of schedule, etc. So I plotted efficiency (via Football outsiders) DVOA for each unit and then compared it to the winning percentage (not including post-season) for each season. (For the more pedantic I reversed the sign on the defensive DVOA to keep things consistent). This would tell us if Fox failed, where he failed.

The result is this:


In the NFL, you need one really great unit. A insanely good offense, or a insanely good defensive unit will usually keep you competitive in the NFL. However, even when that happens it's the quality of the other unit that determines the difference between being a also ran - Fox was consistently around 7-9 when he offense stalled or being dominating.

His successes came on the rare year that he had both a above average defense (which he almost always had), and a above average offense (which was rare). This means that we should be somewhat skeptical of any offensive philosophy from Mr. Fox. His offenses have not been consistent enough to warrant it.

McDaniels edition Josh was a direct reflection of Fox's failure to be able to develop what was supposedly the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft last year - Clausen. Given all of the things that have come out about Tebow's combine and pro-day with Fox, it's a safe bet that if Tebow was there at the top of the second, Carolina would have grabbed him instead of Clausen. But if Clausen's failure Clausen himself, or a reflection of a HC and a OC that were systematically unable to tailor the offense to the needs of a young Quarterback.

A strong defense isn't enough to save you when you have a ineffectual quarterback and wide receivers. Moore's injury and Clausen's collapse doomed a team that had never been worse then 7-9, to a 2-14 season. How well will he do with Tebow?

We are putting a lot of hope on McCoy and the offensive coaches to do what Fox fell flat on his face in Carolina trying to do. I'm not encouraged about hearing that Gase won't be WR coach. The WR's and QBs have been spectacular prior to Fox's arrival, and Fox's hope of doing well is tied to the offense doing well.

There is also the issue with ZBS. If Tebow is in there, ZBS is a huge asset. If Orton is in there, ZBS is a huge liability. ZBS is really problematic when it comes to giving the quarterback time to make plays in the pocket in pass only situations. It excels at giving them a mechanism to run the ball, but also to give the quarterback ways to escape the pocket if need be. Above the intangiables - The team really did fight when he was on the field, and he is quite capable of carrying the team - Tebow is a much better fit if we go ZBS.

If we go Orton, why is there any reason to think that results will be different from what Fox normally gets? Middle of the run offensive production and heart attacks while pray that the defense bails out a ineffectual offense? Saldy, in my mind there is no question that if Fox had stuck with Jake D, he might still be employed in Carolina, where going to a rookie QB screwed him. I don't think Tebow is the shoe in we fans think he is.

If we go Tebow, is there any reason to think that the coach will tailor things to him like all rookies need? Remember that Jay Cutler's pro-bowl year was with a severely restricted playbook that simplified his reads - and that was his third year in the NFL. More and more I wonder if the Fox era won't look a lot like the Elway under Reeves Era. A offense so mediocre outside of tebow that the head coach limits what the offense does, while the D keeps them in it. Then, when the game is on the line, he unleashes the Tebow?

The good news is that if, by some miracle, we do build a offense that is effective, and a defense that is great Fox, unlike Norv Turner, has proven that when he has both, he can dominate the league and manage a team to victory.

But it's all going to come down to if he can fix the defense, while keeping just enough of Josh McDaniel's weapons - the wide receivers, Orton and Tebow - to consistently perform.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:44 AM   #2
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:09 AM   #3
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I don't see major improvement in the offense until Tebow's third year really.

Next season is mostly going to be like the last couple of games from Tebow. A lot of exciting plays where Tebow runs with the ball or extends drives with this feet, and a lot of quarters where he looks just lousy passing the ball.

The development of this team is really going to hinge on our next two drafts for the front 7 and Tebow's delevelopment into this third year.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:12 AM   #4
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I agree with fontaine. Of course my eyes went crossed from the OP.
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Old 01-18-2011, 04:57 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fontaine View Post
I don't see major improvement in the offense until Tebow's third year really.

Next season is mostly going to be like the last couple of games from Tebow. A lot of exciting plays where Tebow runs with the ball or extends drives with this feet, and a lot of quarters where he looks just lousy passing the ball.

The development of this team is really going to hinge on our next two drafts for the front 7 and Tebow's delevelopment into this third year.
If Fox pushes this team towards run first and we go out and get a better RB, we could see a major improvement next season.
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Old 01-18-2011, 06:12 AM   #6
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- Terrible rookie QB started most of the games

- Starting RB missed 12 games due to injury

- Lost best defensive player(and one of the best def. players in the league) to free agency

Those are the reasons the Panthers sucked last year.

As for the Broncos, expect the defense to improve simply by the return of Dumervil and the presence of a more competent/proven defensive coaching staff and philosophy. However, there are glaring personnel holes all over the defensive side of the ball that will take several seasons to correct. The offense currently has enough weapons to move the ball effectively, probably needs to add a receiving TE and another RB to spell Moreno.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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If Fox dixes the defense, then baseline is that we are competitive. That means that it's up to the offense to get us over the hill. How long will that take? When you look at Fox (and I should have left the year before Fox in there for reference), the defensive DVOA improvement is staggering in that first year. It actually regresses the second year, but the offense more then takes up the slack.
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Sewell View Post
- Terrible rookie QB started most of the games

- Starting RB missed 12 games due to injury

- Lost best defensive player(and one of the best def. players in the league) to free agency

Those are the reasons the Panthers sucked last year.

As for the Broncos, expect the defense to improve simply by the return of Dumervil and the presence of a more competent/proven defensive coaching staff and philosophy. However, there are glaring personnel holes all over the defensive side of the ball that will take several seasons to correct. The offense currently has enough weapons to move the ball effectively, probably needs to add a receiving TE and another RB to spell Moreno.
Let's not forget that he was also derailed by a prima donna WR (albeit a pretty damn good one) that basically according to all reports wasn't enamored with a rookie being his QB. At least Josh brought in guys that had less ego like Lloyd and Gaffney....

I think if Fox builds a good defense we'll definitely be improved as we won't be playing catch-up every game. He also did a pretty good job in creating a power run game in Carolina when he had Stephen Davis as well. And when his QB's have played well, his team's have been effective offensively.

Dumervil's return should help alot, but we definitely need to find someone besides him to pressure the QB...also be interesting to see what he does with 2nd overall pick...does he trade down for more picks or does he go for the big DL guy we all generally believe we'll need?

This defense definitely needs more playmakers than we currently have....
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Old 01-18-2011, 09:36 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostknight View Post
If Josh McDaniels had been fired last year, and John Fox hired, we would have hired someone with one of the best winning ratios of active coaches in the NFL. Ten losses last year was is a insane outlier from a coach who has either dominated, or at worse been average around the middle of the pack. Yet this year we hired the one coach in the league who had a worse record then the man he replaced.

It's imperative to try and figure out what the difference is between Super John - who has gotten three ten plus win seasons, average John who floats around 7-9, and McDaniels edition John, who finishes dead last in the NFL. If Fox repeats his earlier success, we are back to having a team that competes every year. If he repeats last year, nothing good will come of it, and we may someday see the LA Broncos instead of the Denver Broncos.

Every year the NFL varies pretty wildly depending on how good offenses, defense, special teams are. In addition, offenses and defenses vary according to how the other units do, the strength of schedule, etc. So I plotted efficiency (via Football outsiders) DVOA for each unit and then compared it to the winning percentage (not including post-season) for each season. (For the more pedantic I reversed the sign on the defensive DVOA to keep things consistent). This would tell us if Fox failed, where he failed.

The result is this:


In the NFL, you need one really great unit. A insanely good offense, or a insanely good defensive unit will usually keep you competitive in the NFL. However, even when that happens it's the quality of the other unit that determines the difference between being a also ran - Fox was consistently around 7-9 when he offense stalled or being dominating.

His successes came on the rare year that he had both a above average defense (which he almost always had), and a above average offense (which was rare). This means that we should be somewhat skeptical of any offensive philosophy from Mr. Fox. His offenses have not been consistent enough to warrant it.

McDaniels edition Josh was a direct reflection of Fox's failure to be able to develop what was supposedly the most NFL ready quarterback in the draft last year - Clausen. Given all of the things that have come out about Tebow's combine and pro-day with Fox, it's a safe bet that if Tebow was there at the top of the second, Carolina would have grabbed him instead of Clausen. But if Clausen's failure Clausen himself, or a reflection of a HC and a OC that were systematically unable to tailor the offense to the needs of a young Quarterback.

A strong defense isn't enough to save you when you have a ineffectual quarterback and wide receivers. Moore's injury and Clausen's collapse doomed a team that had never been worse then 7-9, to a 2-14 season. How well will he do with Tebow?

We are putting a lot of hope on McCoy and the offensive coaches to do what Fox fell flat on his face in Carolina trying to do. I'm not encouraged about hearing that Gase won't be WR coach. The WR's and QBs have been spectacular prior to Fox's arrival, and Fox's hope of doing well is tied to the offense doing well.

There is also the issue with ZBS. If Tebow is in there, ZBS is a huge asset. If Orton is in there, ZBS is a huge liability. ZBS is really problematic when it comes to giving the quarterback time to make plays in the pocket in pass only situations. It excels at giving them a mechanism to run the ball, but also to give the quarterback ways to escape the pocket if need be. Above the intangiables - The team really did fight when he was on the field, and he is quite capable of carrying the team - Tebow is a much better fit if we go ZBS.

If we go Orton, why is there any reason to think that results will be different from what Fox normally gets? Middle of the run offensive production and heart attacks while pray that the defense bails out a ineffectual offense? Saldy, in my mind there is no question that if Fox had stuck with Jake D, he might still be employed in Carolina, where going to a rookie QB screwed him. I don't think Tebow is the shoe in we fans think he is.

If we go Tebow, is there any reason to think that the coach will tailor things to him like all rookies need? Remember that Jay Cutler's pro-bowl year was with a severely restricted playbook that simplified his reads - and that was his third year in the NFL. More and more I wonder if the Fox era won't look a lot like the Elway under Reeves Era. A offense so mediocre outside of tebow that the head coach limits what the offense does, while the D keeps them in it. Then, when the game is on the line, he unleashes the Tebow?

The good news is that if, by some miracle, we do build a offense that is effective, and a defense that is great Fox, unlike Norv Turner, has proven that when he has both, he can dominate the league and manage a team to victory.

But it's all going to come down to if he can fix the defense, while keeping just enough of Josh McDaniel's weapons - the wide receivers, Orton and Tebow - to consistently perform.
Very nice and well thought out post, kudos to you sir. I think this last season is more of an anomoly than true reflection of Fox's ability to be an effective HC and let me explain why:

1. He was a lame duck coach, the team did not want him back and the players knew he was not coming back. It can actually be argued that he was a lame duck coach the last two seasons because ownership never expressed any interest in re-upping his contract and for the most part, a team will do that prior to a coach's final season.

2. The Panthers were in complete rebuild mode. They effectually dumped many productive players like Julias Peppers with the the mind set that the team was re-building with young talent. They also let Jake Delhomme walk and while I don't think Delhomme is all that great, it was a reflection of the team's mentality which was saying goodbye to vets and bringing in youth.

3. Injuries to key players really hampered the team in 2010. If you have a young team, a lame duck coach and key injuries it's very much the perfect storm for having a lousy season. Throw in the fact that Carolina ownership probably wanted the team to tank for a higher draft pick to help with rebuilding and you see the somewhat "no-win" situation Fox was in.
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