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Old 01-31-2010   #1
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Default Passing is the Future of the NFL............

...............if you have a Peyton Manning or a Drew Brees. Can modern day teams offer consistent championship performance with the old formula of strong run and iron man defense? Or has the NFL evolved, leaving behind an archaic blueprint? Do we still really ever see teams maintaining a level of sustained excellence cultivating a truly "balanced" approach? Certainly, there are many ways to "skin" a cat. But, this article from my home town Kansas City Star makes me wonder about a lot of the present day limitations to being an all around "best."

Quote:
Sunday, Jan 31, 2010

Brees and Manning have strong-armed the NFL

By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star


If there’s any question that passing the ball is the way to play for a championship, just look at the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints.

The gaudy numbers that they posted this season — some of them the NFL’s best — were the key to a much-anticipated meeting next Sunday in Super Bowl XLIV.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed an NFL-record 70.6 percent of his attempts for 4,388 yards and led the league with 34 touchdown passes and a 109.6 passer rating.

Colts quarterback Peyton Manning threw for 4,500 yards and 33 touchdowns, and was sixth in the NFL with a 99.9 rating. He became the first quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards in six straight seasons, while Brees joined him as the only other QB with four consecutive 4,000-yard seasons.

“Teams are building for the passing game,” said ESPN analyst and former NFL quarterback Ron Jaworski. “You’re going to see every once in a while a team like the Jets hang around with their running game and good defense. But it’s all about percentages and what’s going to give you your best chance of winning a world championship, and that’s through the passing game.”

Manning is a four-time MVP, and Brees is the NFL Offensive Player of the Year. With them at the controls, the 14-2 Colts and 13-3 Saints are the first pair of No. 1 seeds to reach the Super Bowl since Dallas and Buffalo did it in 1993.

“If you get a guy like Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, it is so much easier to win football games,” said CBS analyst and former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason. “They truly are difference-makers.

“In the case of a guy like Peyton Manning, he is offensive coordinator, he’s coach, he’s the guy who is really running the entire football operation on the practice field. Those players are the ones who step up. And Drew Brees has been that, reigniting his career under (coach) Sean Payton.”

Brees started pitching from the start, throwing six touchdown passes in the season-opening win over Detroit and sparking the Saints to a 13-0 start.

Manning, who had to break in two young wide receivers — second-year man Pierre Garcon and rookie Austin Collie — earned his fourth MVP award in leading the Colts to a 14-0 start.

Indianapolis ranked No. 2 in the NFL in passing, and New Orleans was fourth. They likely would have finished 1-2 had Manning and Brees been allowed to finish out the regular seasons.

The Colts decided to pull Manning and key starters in the second half of game 15 against the New York Jets, forgoing a chance at an unbeaten season. Brees was held out of the regular-season finale against Carolina. He completed at least 35 passes to seven different players this season, joining Dan Marino of the 1995 Miami Dolphins as the only quarterbacks in history to accomplish that feat.

Marques Colston, the 252nd overall pick in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, led the Saints with 70 receptions for 1,074 yards and nine touchdowns in 2009, plus he caught passes for 105 yards and a touchdown in the playoffs. In his four year career, Colston has 60 catches of 20-plus yards, including 10 touchdown catches of 20-plus.

Devery Henderson is the deep threat, averaging an NFL-best 20.4 yards per reception since 2006. He has 16 catches of 50-yards plus in his career, and his average of 24.8 yards per catch ranked first in the NFL last year. Robert Meachem, a first-round pick in 2007, blossomed this season, making nine touchdown catches among 45 receptions. Running back Reggie Bush caught 47 passes coming out of the backfield.

“Devery Henderson and Robert Meacham are two of the best-kept secrets in football,” said former NFL head coach and current ESPN analyst Jon Gruden. “People don’t realize last year Drew Brees was 16 yards from the all-time single-season passing record (of 5,084, set by Marino in 1984). He threw for 5,000 yards without a 1,000-yard receiver.”

Manning, of course, has an array of receivers in wide receiver Reggie Wayne and tight end Dallas Clark, who caught 100 passes each in the regular season, plus the emerging Garcon and Collie.

Garcon, a sixth-round pick from tiny Mount Union (Ohio) in 2008, caught 47 passes for 765 yards and four touchdowns in the regular season and set an AFC championship game record with 11 catches for 151 yards and a touchdown. Collie, a fourth-round draft choice from Brigham Young in 2009, caught 60 passes for 676 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season and seven catches for 123 yards and a touchdown against the Jets.

Former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe, an analyst with CBS, gives Manning credit for bringing out the best in Garcon and Collie.

“You take a Pierre Garcon or Austin Collie, and Peyton Manning says: ‘You know what, they’re probably going to take Reggie Wayne away. They’re probably going to double Dallas Clark. You two guys are going to have favorable matchups. I need you to step up and play for me.’ You don’t know what that does for a person’s confidence,” Sharpe said.

“If you really look at it over the next four years, you can just hand Peyton Manning the MVP … because he’s going to have between 4,000 to 4,500 yards, between 30 and 40 touchdowns, and his team is going to win 12 to 14 games every year.

“He’s that good.”
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Old 01-31-2010   #2
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

This is what the NFL wants. They have been slowly changing the rules for the last ten years, trying to force this to happen.

Just look at how badly the rules of the game favor the offense now. It's a joke. The average fan wants to see points and passing yards and by golly they are gonna get it. And if the NFL has to change rules to make it happen then they will.
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Old 01-31-2010   #3
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Trent Dilfer nailed it the other day. Stop the run and run well only works if you have a GREAT defense. Not a good defense, not a really good defense. You have to have a GREAT defense. Those teams simply aren't built to overcome adversity. They have to pound you into submission from the first second of the game.
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Old 01-31-2010   #4
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

"Defense wins championships" is becoming more of a misnomer every season.
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Old 01-31-2010   #5
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Another reason for the offensive explosion has been the proliferation of domes. With the addition of multiple southern teams playing in decent weather and many traditional northern teams opting for domes, the odds of a team playing in the snow and freezing temps up north have been diminished.

Its the old complaint from traditional outdoor stadium northern teams that they are forced to play in the outdoor conditions durring most of the season, then forced to play the Superbowl in warm weather.

Kinda miss seeing the Vikings play outside in December.
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Old 02-01-2010   #6
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Passing isn't the future, passing is the now. Look at the teams in the SB this year. Colts and Saints. Yeah. Last year? Cardinals (Fitzgerald, Boldin, Warner) and Steelers (Roethlisberger, Ward, Holmes). Brett Favre led the Vikings attack when AP became a pedestrian RB this year. The Jets were the lone run-first team in the championship level games. The Texans have started aspiring to become a playoff team right after Schaub and Johnson got elite.
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Old 02-01-2010   #7
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

After watching the Pro Bowl, it wouldn't surprise me to someday see the NFL extend the ban on the blitz to the regular season in order to bolster the pass-happy excitement factor....................I'm not truly sure if I'm making this statement in pure sarcasm or not.............
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Old 02-01-2010   #8
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Quick strike offenses, and risk taking turnover causing defenses.
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Old 02-01-2010   #9
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
After watching the Pro Bowl, it wouldn't surprise me to someday see the NFL extend the ban on the blitz to the regular season in order to bolster the pass-happy excitement factor....................I'm not truly sure if I'm making this statement in pure sarcasm or not.............

That will be the day I no longer watch.
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Old 02-01-2010   #10
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Passing is just superior over a good run game and
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Old 02-01-2010   #11
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

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Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
"Defense wins championships" is becoming more of a misnomer every season.
Call me old school, but I still believe it. Or, maybe I just want it to be true.

I'm the type that'd rather watch a 10-7 slobber-knockin game than a 51-45 shootout.
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Old 02-01-2010   #12
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

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Originally Posted by HOU-TEX View Post
Call me old school, but I still believe it. Or, maybe I just want it to be true.

I'm the type that'd rather watch a 10-7 slobber-knockin game than a 51-45 shootout.
Me too. Everybody went crazy about the Green Bay-Arizona game and I thought it was terrible. It's like watching backyard football.
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Old 02-01-2010   #13
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
After watching the Pro Bowl, it wouldn't surprise me to someday see the NFL extend the ban on the blitz to the regular season in order to bolster the pass-happy excitement factor....................I'm not truly sure if I'm making this statement in pure sarcasm or not.............
It's not as far off as we probably think. I also wouldn't be surprised to see the NFL put a ban on jamming WRs at the line. Right now they only have five yards where they can contact the WR.
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Old 02-01-2010   #14
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

I disagree with this entirely. Just look at what the Titans did last season. Look at what the Ravens have been for this entire decade. Look at what the Steelers were when they won their two SB's. You could say that defense wins SB's the same way.

I'm not underrating what a great passing offense can do or anything, but the Saints high powered passing game has been this way the last 4 years. They didn't become a great team until they finally fixed their defense this season.

One thing no one likes to talk about as far as the Colts is how great their defense has been this season. I think they're the most underrated defense in the league. Every one acts like it's been all Manning but that couldn't be more untrue. The Colts defense are hard to score on and very stingy. They're the type of team that can have a bad half but then completely shut you out in the 2nd half. They did that to the Texans and to the Jets in that last game. They've been pretty consistent all year.

If you build a team through a great running game and a great defense, you've still got to have a QB that can win in the clutch because most games will be very close games when you try and win that way and you've got to have some guys that can make plays at WR's but you don't "need" a high powered passing game.

Just look at the high powered offense from the Packers this season or the Cardinals as well. They had horribly inconsistent defenses all year long and that's exactly why they lost certain games.

You need a well balanced team more than anything.
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Old 02-01-2010   #15
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Quote:
Originally Posted by CloakNNNdagger View Post
After watching the Pro Bowl, it wouldn't surprise me to someday see the NFL extend the ban on the blitz to the regular season in order to bolster the pass-happy excitement factor....................I'm not truly sure if I'm making this statement in pure sarcasm or not.............
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That will be the day I no longer watch.
Yep, I was thinking that's the day I go back to watching Australian Rules Football. When ESPN started out they showed a lot of those games from down under. Pretty cool and tough sport, I wish they'd bring them back now that I think about it.
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Old 02-01-2010   #16
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Quote:
Originally Posted by Texecutioner View Post
I disagree with this entirely. Just look at what the Titans did last season. Look at what the Ravens have been for this entire decade. Look at what the Steelers were when they won their two SB's. You could say that defense wins SB's the same way.

I'm not underrating what a great passing offense can do or anything, but the Saints high powered passing game has been this way the last 4 years. They didn't become a great team until they finally fixed their defense this season.

One thing no one likes to talk about as far as the Colts is how great their defense has been this season. I think they're the most underrated defense in the league. Every one acts like it's been all Manning but that couldn't be more untrue. The Colts defense are hard to score on and very stingy. They're the type of team that can have a bad half but then completely shut you out in the 2nd half. They did that to the Texans and to the Jets in that last game. They've been pretty consistent all year.

If you build a team through a great running game and a great defense, you've still got to have a QB that can win in the clutch because most games will be very close games when you try and win that way and you've got to have some guys that can make plays at WR's but you don't "need" a high powered passing game.

Just look at the high powered offense from the Packers this season or the Cardinals as well. They had horribly inconsistent defenses all year long and that's exactly why they lost certain games.

You need a well balanced team more than anything.
It's chicken and the egg now. You could get to the SB being a great defensive team that has a mediocre offense, but teams that have only a run game and no passing game (Think ravens and Titans here) don't make it all the way. On the flip side, you can see a team win a superbowl with a really great offense and a very meh defense. I'm sure both of us can name superbowl winners and losers from this decade and last and come up with maybe 1 or 2 teams in the mold of the '00 Ravens. Most of the other teams feature some kind of talent in the QB or QB and RB/WR/TE.

The way the rules go, secondary players and DL are both at huge disadvantages because they can't "Play too rough" or else they get huge penalties. This favors a big passing game, and pretty much across the board COMP%, TD's, Passing yards and QB ratings are all up up up. I like hard hitting defenses too, but it's getting to the point where you can get away with having a defense that stops the opponent a few times and an offense that regularly puts up 30 pts.

EDIT: And really I expect the Ravens to keep contending now because they have a pretty good QB and RB combo going for them. I expect their defense to slide quite a bit while Flacco and Rice grow together but I imagine we'll still see them as perennial playoff contenders.
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Old 02-01-2010   #17
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

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Originally Posted by b0ng View Post
"Defense wins championships" is becoming more of a misnomer every season.
[citation needed]

passing is the PRESENT of the NFL. the future will be teams stopping the pass and running the ball well. then, after that, it'll be passing again. it's cyclical.
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Old 02-01-2010   #18
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

I agree with kastofsna. These trends are cyclical. A good running game can keep an opponent's high powered offense off the field. Peyton is the exception to the rule (didn't they win a game earlier this year with just 16 minutes of possession in the game?), but Peyton is so good that he's the exception to many rules (i.e. Colts last place running game this year).

NFLN ran a show earlier in the year about "Top 10 Football Myths", and 'defense wins championships' was one of the 'myths' looked at. They ran stats which were interesting (both for an against), but Warren Sapp nailed it. He said that when the team needed to score to win a game, who comes on the field? The offense.
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Old 02-01-2010   #19
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

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He said that when the team needed to score to win a game, who comes on the field? The offense.
And that's it. When the Jets got down I told my wife it was over and she pointed out I normally say the game isn't over until the clock is on zero but my point to here was the Jets aren't built to score quickly. You can't just turn that on and off. You can see a team like the Texans hang 21 points up in a quarter but that just isn't going to be something the Jets do.
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Old 02-01-2010   #20
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Default Re: Passing is the Future of the NFL............

Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
And that's it. When the Jets got down I told my wife it was over and she pointed out I normally say the game isn't over until the clock is on zero but my point to here was the Jets aren't built to score quickly. You can't just turn that on and off. You can see a team like the Texans hang 21 points up in a quarter but that just isn't going to be something the Jets do.
That's because they can't and the reason for that is because they have a rookie QB who doesn't have any big time play making WR's either. That team's got nothing but a running game. They're offense will get better though as Sanchez develops and as they get more talent at WR. Grabbing Edwards wasn't the answer.

The Colts were the perfect team set up to beat the JEts. The Colts have a high powered offense to go up against a high powered defense. Then the Colts also have a very good defense that's extremely underrated going up against an inconsistent offense led by a rookie QB that doesn't have any major weapons in the passing game. That running game was only going to take that team so far and once their running game didn't play great Sanchez wasn't about to beat anyone with his arm.

The Steelers had a very similar style to what's being described as the power running game and great defense type of winning team and they just won a SB and another one a few years before. Their running game wasn't great last season, but it could be at times. Their O line dropped off, but their defense was great. Their key difference though was that Big Ben could always be counted on to win games for them on final drives and in the clutch. Big Ben also had play making WR's to throw to in Ward and Holmes. Neither one of them are great elite WR's but they both can make big plays in the clutch as well. I think you can win with a great defense, but you've got to have a QB that can make things happen when in the clutch. To many games in the post season come down to the final two minutes and who has the ball last and Big Ben can get the Steelers down the field the majority of the time. The problem is, that most teams that are built with a great running game and a great defense usually lack a good QB or good WR's.
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