":rolleyesandyawn:"
by Steve Stegeman
September 29, 2002
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  I received a number of e-mails regarding my “:rolleyes:” piece from August 8th.  My point(s) were caught by most, but evidently lost on not a few, including the erudite (loosely used) author of the following e-mail I received.  Here it is in its entirety for all to enjoy and so that there are no misunderstandings (:rolleyes:) when you are presented with my retort which follows:

“Kind of weak on the Holmes-Richardson and Wheatley-Garner fronts there.

 

After all, didn't Holmes carry the ball only 15 times in the first two games combined?  Or, the same number of carries Richardson had?  If Priest was brought in to be "the guy" like you say, and if we all should have known that ahead of time, how come they didn't use him more in the first two weeks?  Those games weren't exactly blowouts where the Chiefs had to keep passing.  Now of course we all know that, against a very weak Washington team, Holmes went off and ran off with his coaches' new confidence in him.  But cherry-picking after the fact is weak, since it's clear that the RB situation there had not been resolved heading into the year.  The Wheatley paragraph is even worse.  Wheatley was the central cog in a running game that led the league in rushing the year before.  It's perfectly reasonable to think that Garner was brought in to fill the role vacated by Napoleon Kaufman -- change-of-pace back.  That Garner wound up as the featured back was the product merely of Wheatley's nagging injuries and bad attitude -- neither of which had provided pronounced warning signals since he joined the Silver and Black.

 

Wheatley, in fact, carried the ball 29 times the first two weeks, to Garner's 19.  In fact, the third week, even when Wheatley only had 8 carries, Garner still only had 7.  It wasn't until the Colts game, when Wheatley had a costly fumble and failed to pick up a blitzer, when Garner finally, in Week 5, started to wrest the job away.  And yet you'd have us believe that Garner was brought in to be the featured back, and that Wheatley wasn't serious competition for that role?  What's next?  You going to tell us that we were fools for thinking Ricky Watters could hold off Shaun Alexander?  Or idiots for not realizing beforehand the rising star that is Dom Rhodes?

 

I agree with you that Levens (perpetually injured) should not have been viewed as a threat to Ahman Green.  But your reasoning on Biakabutuka/Huntley is waaaay off, again.

 

Huntley had been touted the year before as the heir apparent to Jerome Bettis.  He was released as a salary cap move when Bettis turned out to be better than expected (and the big money they'd spent on Huntley now looked foolish for a backup RB).  He was not signed to back up Tshimanga, or to push him.  He was signed to legitimately compete for the starting job, but hamstring injuries prevented him from doing so (though predictably, Tshimanga also got hurt, which is why some dude named Nick Goings led the team in rushing Week 1.)

 

-Dave M.

This message contains a substantial amount of tendentiousness, i.e., Garner’s impact as a receiver out of the backfield and those touches went tendentiously unmentioned.  Anyway, without further ado...  Lllllllllllet’s get rrrrrrready to rrrrrrumblllllllllle... (Now read this carefully now, skepniks and skeptricks!)

Regarding Holmes versus Richardson last year, without doubt Richardson’s Week-3 injury hastened the process of Holmes’s emergence, but the quintessential word there is “hasten.”  Any kind of understanding of a Vermeil-Saunders offense illuminates Richardson’s being a “misfit.”  Richardson in K.C. 2001 reminded me of Holcombe’s incumbency when Vermeil first arrived in St. Louis.  Actually, as big backs, Richardson and Holcombe remind me of each other, period.  Holcombe is a back who actually has some skills, though they have yet to be realized in the NFL, and could or would be quite effective if in a system suitable to his style of play.  In Vermeil’s system, though, he made a better fullback than tailback.  The same should have been readily seen for Richardson and in that it would have to be known that Richardson’s days as a tailback were numbered.  An injury and for sure the process would be hastened, never to be (intentionally) reversed, which is what happened.

Listen, I am not claiming, as many have (mis)interpreted, that I can read a coach’s mind or be able to empirically deduce all conclusions and outcomes.  I do not only “not claim” that, but that is not even what I want to do.  It does not have to be that complicated or abstruse.  The “art” that I am espousing more involves assessing systems, learning from history, seeing the patterns over the years and not being afraid to put to use some good ole’ intuition.  It is about seeing and observing general trends and patterns and then “feeling it” (the “no mind” of Taoism if you will) rather than analyzing with a fine-tooth comb and “figuring it out” or “cracking the code,” an “it” and “code” which do not even exist.  The prediction that I made for this year that best exemplifies this is Pittman 2002 equaling Wheatley 2000 and Alstott 2002 equating to Crockett 2000.  The situations, if simply and objectively viewed for what they are, with Gruden’s being the head coach in both, make them extremely similar.  Just avoid over-thinking it!

            I did not go out on a limb last year on Shaun Alexander over Ricky Watters, and as for Dominic Rhodes’s success after Edgerrin James’s season-ending injury, well, that was unforeseeable during the preseason, and during the NFL draft for that matter.  For the millionth time, injuries cannot be predicted with any level of certainty and, as such, I, for one, do not even try to do so.  I also did not see Watters slowing down.  Based on that and Watters’s contract, I thought Alexander, though he would likely see more touches in 2001, would be handed the reigns in 2002.  That having been said, Alexander was a more than capable backup who, with a year down, was very ready to take over.  Again, injuries themselves cannot be anticipated, but what happens when one occurs often, no usually, can!  It is akin to anticipation in chess, where the more moves a player can think through/anticipate beforehand, the better the player.  The same stands among fantasy footballers.  I have gone out of my way this year to endorse Kevan Barlow over Garrison Hearst.  Basically, vis-à-vis the Alexander/Watters sitch in 2001, I observed a very similar set of circumstances.  The factor that put it over the top for me is that I also perceived a little “Lamar Smith 2001” in “Hearst 2002.”

With regards to “slip-ups” like those Wheatley made last offseason and preseason, bottom line, you can analyze and debate them to death or you can take them for exactly what they are and anticipate and act.  Even the word “slip up” in this context is passive in nature.  I never saw Wheatley 2001 as “slipping up” (and able to recover). I saw him as simply “slipping,” which, think it through, logically precludes the consideration of recovering or not or at least does not conduce that line of thinking the way Dave’s choice of wording does.  Right or wrong, predicated on one’s ability to see/insight, the latter is a philosophically “active” statement, causing you to think more actively rather than a passive statement, conducing you to probably avoid “making a call” altogether.  If he started “coming back,” then that is what I would have seen at that time and I would have changed my position accordingly.  He never did and, thus, I never did or had to either!  Point being, do not over-think it... moreover, to the point of indecision!  Do not let your brain belie your eyes.  “I know that he sucks or I see him ‘slipping up,’ so I am going to assert that he is going to make a comeback, or at least make my decision based on my indecision.” :rolleyes: and :confused: Would you wager a significant amount of money on a horse well past its prime and coming off of a string of bad races in a Stakes race?  I know I would not (then again I am not a gambling man ;) ) – (and no that is not a double-chin) [smiley=rollinwithlaughter.gif] (“the Gridiron” way).  Just let yourself see what you see without letting your mind get in the way (the “no mind” of Tao).  Doing it the way our respondent suggests/does may make you look like a rational guy in debates, but a loser on the fantasy football gridiron.

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