Gregg Easterbrook Has a Novel Solution For You

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to do my usual Gregggg Easterbrooking last Tuesday as I was still busy dealing with Treepocalypse ’11, I’m sure that the two people who read this blog regularly were sorely disappointed. Gregg’s column last week was a monumental turd in the most Easterbrookian of fashinons, unfortunately I simply don’t have the time to sift through the garbage of two columns this week.

So, what do we have on tap this week? Watch as Gregg comes up with a new short yardage solution. Marvel as he extolls the virtues of unwanted players, while simultaneously pointing out the superiority of first round glory boys. Read on, if you dare…

The NFL has been taken over by the shotgun spread, the empty backfield, the no-huddle and the trips formation. Gonzo passing tactics are ubiquitous, with “Spread ‘Em Out” seemingly the league’s motto for 2011. But NFL teams are forgetting that sometimes you need to be able to run up the middle for a yard.

Reaching second-and-goal on the Pittsburgh 1, Baltimore ran up the middle on consecutive downs, failed both times and settled for a field goal. The Ravens would go on to score the winning touchdown just ere the clock struck midnight, but had they not, this sequence would have been seen as determining the outcome.

The Ravens totally forgot that you need to be able to run up the middle for a yard. That’s why they tried it twice.

Defending champion Green Bay, with its ultra-efficient offense, led 45-38 at the two-minute warning, San Diego out of timeouts, the Packers facing third-and-2. A first down concludes the contest. Green Bay ran up the middle and was stuffed, punted, and a beads-of-sweat ending was in store for Packers faithful.

Until they realized that their opponent was quarterbacked by Philip Rivers and coached by Norv Turner.

What do all the plays cited above have in common? The teams that failed on short-yardage rushes all simply lined up, usually in a power set, and ran straight ahead. No misdirection. Nothing to distract the defense. They did exactly what defenses expected.

Fair enough, but you have to figure that you’re running back and offensive line are capable of moving forward at least one yard.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback’s immutable law of short-yardage holds: Do a Little Dance If You Want to Gain That Yard.

This strategy totally works for Reggie Bush.

All the plays cited above involved no misdirection, and all failed to gain one single yard. Now the counterexample. Leading Cleveland 14-0, the Houston Texans faced third-and-1. They lined up in a power set with an extra tight end, and the extra tight end went in motion left. In today’s football this almost always means the power run will go left. Instead undrafted Arian Foster ran right, behind a tremendous block by the undrafted Mike Brisiel. Nineteen-yard touchdown, and the Texans never looked back.

First-round picks would never execute the plays that their coaches called! Also, the success of the aforementioned play was probably largely predicated on the Texans’ opponents being the Browns.

Derek Knowlton of Layton, Utah, writes, “I was on a plane recently and noticed an advertisement for free 30-day medical insurance for travelers to Panama. The country is offering this as a way to entice tourism. The fine print indicates the insurance doesn’t cover injuries as a result of ‘foreign enemy invasion (being the war declared or not) or of civil war, revolution, rebellion, insurrection or other incidents or offenses against the country’s internal security.’ But welcome to Panama!”

Kurt North of Fort Collins, Colo., writes, “I was drinking a free sample of the protein-booster Muscle Milk the other day. This disclaimer appears on their packaging: ‘Contains No Milk.’ Luckily I balance that out, as I contain no muscle.”

This is quickly becoming my new favorite segment of Gregg’s column. It provides the best imaginable illustration of the average intelligence of an Easterbrook reader.

“The Dark Knight” — TMQ’s nominee for the worst motion picture ever made —

This should tell you everything you need to know about how Gregg’s brain works…

 used Chicago for its location shots of Gotham City. The 2012 sequel, “The Dark Knight Rises” — I am guessing Warner Brothers won’t invite me to a preview — uses Pittsburgh and New York to stand in for Gotham. Two American cities couldn’t be more different physically than pancake-flat Manhattan and hilly Pittsburgh. But hey, it’s a movie.

Hurr Durr, how stupid of them to use two very different cities to create a FICTIONAL city. Perhaps they wanted to make sure that it appeared FICTIONAL?

“Fringe” continues to hang in as television’s standard-bearer for sci-fi. The first season of “Fringe” was filmed in New York, though the setting was supposed to be Boston. Now the show is filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia, though the action has shifted to New York. So New York is Boston and Vancouver is New York, while Pittsburgh, Chicago and New York all are Gotham City. Here’s a crazy thought: Why can’t producers simply use Boston to represent Boston?

Various reasons including cost-effectiveness, ability to cordon off parts of the city to shoot, y’know the logistics that go in to making a TV show?

Groupon just had a successful IPO, raising $805 million. Eleven months ago, the same company turned down a $6 billion purchase by Google. Had Groupon accepted the Google proposal, its early investors and founding management would have $6 billion; instead, following the IPO they are holding a much smaller sum. True, they also still hold equity, and could wind up ahead in the long run. Or they may end up way behind: Your columnist noted 11 months ago that Groupon someday may wish it had accepted the Google offer. At any rate, rather than getting $6 billion in 2011, Groupon insiders got $805 million. Groupon issued discount coupons for itself, offering 87 percent off!

Everyone thought Groupon was stupid for not taking Google’s offer, so congrats on being right for once Nostradamus! Also, NOT FOOTBALL RELATED.

The Eagles came into their Monday night contest with the league’s No. 1 rushing offense and with, by Ron Jaworski’s count, Michael Vick already having absorbed 90 hard hits — a disturbing 13 per game. So they ran to take the pressure off Vick, right? Counting sacks and scrambles, Philadelphia Heat coaches called 20 rushes and 43 passes. On the Chicago sideline, Mike “What The!” Martz called 33 passes and 33 rushes. Those are the only stats you need to know about the game.

Leading 24-20, Philadelphia took possession at the end of the third quarter. The stadium was rocking with noise — great moment to run the ball and seize control of the tempo. Instead, short pass, incompletion, incompletion, punt boomed directly to Devin Hester: Bears’ drive starts at midfield and Chicago gets a quick touchdown. The Eagles’ defense joined the Steelers’ and Patriots’ as defenses of hyped clubs that this week failed to hold fourth-quarter leads at home. But the Philadelphia offense didn’t help its defense much.

Hahaha, Andy Reid sucks at coaching football.

Presidential debates are necessary, but does anyone believe the current multi-candidate multi-event food-fight format generates anything other than sound bites?

Everyone knows that these debates are stupid, but we’re talking about the American Republican party, where being stupid is not only acceptable, it’s de rigeur and in fact, celebrated.

Just Explain This, Baby: Since trading at least first- and second-round draft choices for quarterback Carson Palmer, the Raiders have lost two consecutive games at home, with their quarterbacks throwing nine interceptions. Oakland already has traded away its first-, second-, third- and fourth-round choices in the 2012 draft, plus at least its second-round choice in 2013, mostly for quarterbacks Palmer (terrible so far), Terrelle Pryor (not playing) and Jason Campbell (hurt).


Unified Field Theory of Creep: Mark Wegener of Wilmette, Ill., notes a Big Ten basketball player of the year was named several weeks before any games had been played.

Yeah, why do we bother to preview the college basketball games? Why make predictions? Never mind that pre-season All-America teams have existed for years.

TMQ Readers Know Too Much:



Posted on November 8, 2011, in Douchebags, FJM Style, Gregg Easterbrook, NFL and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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