1 Is it possible for a defense to be “good against the run” or “good against the pass,” or is it merely good, mediocre, or bad? Chase Stuart, in two excellent posts heavy on the game theory (available here and here), shows that, at the very minimum, it’s difficult to say anything meaningful about a defense other than to comment on its general effectiveness; the two phases are too inextricably intertwined. For fans and commentators I think this is correct, though from a gameplanning perspective it remains possible to identify which defenders are most dangerous and what is most difficult to accomplish, not to mention whether the defense is tilting to the pass or run — i.e. extra defensive backs or guys in coverage, or extra run defenders.
2. Survivor bias on the gridiron. From the Freakonomics blog.
3. Tim Tebow’s loping release. During the broadcast of Florida’s bowl game, Brian Billick showed exactly what is wrong with Tebow’s release: It’s long, he brings the ball down too low (this motion generates no additional power or accuracy), and it exposes the ball both to a fumble and to a defender who might break on the ball. See it here (h/t Doc Sat):
The word I had gotten was that Scott Loeffler, Florida’s quarterback coach, had made significant progress with Tim on this but that come gametime, well, a player’s gotta play how he knows how. And Tebow had earned the right to play his way. Yet it is troubling to the lack of progress, and it will hurt him in the draft. But what if it was worse, than a lack of progress — what if Tebow actually regressed on this point? Check out this video which charts Tebow’s release over time, and you be the judge.
4. “Football Island”:
5. Focus on the Tebow. In other Tebow news, the internets are much abuzz about the possibility of Tebow appearing during the Super Bowl in an anti-abortion ad put on by Focus on the Family:
The former Florida quarterback and his mother will appear in a 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl next month. The Christian group Focus on the Family says the Tebows will share a personal story centering on the theme “Celebrate Family, Celebrate Life.”
The group isn’t releasing details, but the commercial is likely to be an anti-abortion message chronicling Pam Tebow’s 1987 pregnancy. After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim. . . .
Jim Daly, president and CEO of Focus on the Family, said the commercial comes at a time when “families need to be inspired.” . . . “Now that the ad has been shot, we’re excited to tell people it’s coming because the Tebows’ story is such an important one for our culture to hear,” he said.
CBS, which will be broadcasting the Super Bowl, is apparently still deliberating on whether to run the ad. To get it on air Tim may need to appeal directly to a higher power: CBS President Les Moonves.
6. Brian Cook dishes on new Tennessee coach Derek Dooley. Read it here. I don’t have much to add, but one rather silly meme that has gone around is that Dooley got this job simply because “he paid his dues,” as if he would have been hired after two seasons at Louisiana Tech if his name had been Derek McMurphy; being Vince Dooley’s son helps. Now, this doesn’t mean he won’t be successful, or isn’t a good coach, but these big time coaching jobs are akin to winning the lottery, and who you know is always going to be important. If I’m a Tennessee fan I’m fine with it, but I would still be slightly bothered knowing the hire couldn’t totally be chalked up to being based on merit.