Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

Both these guys sure could have used one.

A cottage industry has formed around second-guessing NFL head coaches. Thanks to pioneers of the field like Bill Barnwell and Brian Burke, we’re all aware of how poorly some coaches manage football games according to metrics like WPA. Yet fourth-and-short across midfield is still generally a punt situation, coaches routinely give up at the end of the second half with timeouts in their pockets, and third-and-long has become a give-up down for draws and screens.

The question we set forth to answer in this episode is: When will this change? When will we have head coaches with a better process?

We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

Stream with the player below:

If that doesn’t work:

- You can listen on our iTunes page. (While you’re there, you can rate and subscribe to it. Every little bit helps!)
– You can stream it from Libsyn’s page.
– You can download it here. (Right-click, “Save As”)

Below are the show notes:


SHOW NOTES

Mailbag: (00:50– 29:30) — How close to parsimony are we in football statistics? (i.e.: the smallest number of inputs to get the most predictive results) This is served with a heaping helping of “yards run by linebackers” “advanced statistics” snark.

Main topic: (29:30-end) Can we trust coaches to become better at game theory?

– Do we trust NFL coaches to actually improve at game theory? (Ron Rivera, sure, but who else?)
— If not, should this become a major point of contention when teams are looking to hire a new coach?
— Will there ever come a day when teams hire a coordinator specifically to take control of these things, publicly?
— Would hiring a game theory coordinator make players lose respect for their head coach?
— Would hiring a game theory coordinator sit well with most NFL head coaches? (Tom Coughlin would probably challenge him to a duel.)
— Given how the playing field is mostly even as far as mistakes, is game theory actually a “red barn” issue?

Mentioned In This Post: The Essential Smart Football

Musical credits: With The Quickness…And in Her Self-Loathing and Despair, She Found Wrath


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

–Who should we interview next? Please let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
–I have a topic I’d like you to cover! Please send it to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, and we’ll turn it into a mailbag question or a segment.
–I have a suggestion to improve the show!: Again, please send to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, or leave a comment.
–Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here. The show runs on your kindness.
–Subscribe to The Three-Cone Drill on iTunes.
Non-iTunes RSS feed

doug_farrar_400x400

Sports Illustrated’s Doug Farrar is our latest big-ticket guest. Formerly of Football Outsiders, Doug worked his way up from the Scout.com ranks and is now one of the most highly-regarded tape-watchers in the football writing industry. We asked him several football questions, several questions about his experience, and also tried to see if he could get Rivers into metal.

You can check out Doug’s Sports Illustrated archive here, and also make sure to check out the return of his podcast with Greg Cosell (and Amy Trask!) at BlogTalk Radio.

We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

Stream with the player below:

If that doesn’t work:

- You can listen on our iTunes page. (While you’re there, you can rate and subscribe to it. Every little bit helps!)
– You can stream it from Libsyn’s page.
– You can download it here. (Right-click, “Save As”)

Below are the show notes:


SHOW NOTES

– Doug essentially was mentored by Greg Cosell as far as his work with the tape goes. We ask him how important Cosell’s influence was on him, and how important it was for him to make this connection.
– How did Doug make it up the ladder from free-time writer to Sports Illustrated? Why will Yahoo! not be getting any Christmas cards from him?
– Which scouts does Doug trust, and how does he decide on who he can trust?
– We ask Doug about the Percy Harvin trade. Do the trades of Harvin and DeSean Jackson mean the wide receiver position is getting somewhat undervalued by successful coaches?
– How did the Chargers turn things around under Mike McCoy? What did Norv Turner fail to do for Philip Rivers?
– Does Doug think the Cowboys should run DeMarco Murray into the ground? (Yes, yes he does.)
– Why does Doug believe some coaches get caught up in their scheme rather than just using the personnel they have to their greatest natural effect?
– Does Doug believe in Pro Football Focus grades?
– What books or videos would Doug recommend to those who want to learn the art of tape study?
– Finally: if a heavy metal fan had one metal album to recommend to a non-metal listener, which one would it be?


Musical credits: Mystical Mist, The Life and Death of Kirby


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

–Who should we interview next? Please let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
–I have a topic I’d like you to cover! Please send it to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, and we’ll turn it into a mailbag question or a segment.
–I have a suggestion to improve the show!: Again, please send to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, or leave a comment.
–Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here. The show runs on your kindness.
–Subscribe to The Three-Cone Drill on iTunes.
Non-iTunes RSS feed

12979486655_9f09cee8f6_o

Bill Cosby played fullback once. You wouldn’t want to make Bill Cosby irrelevant, would you?

Just how effective would an early 1990’s-style pro-offense be if they were warped into today’s game? Would it be a solid underdog strategy? As the field continues to shift towards passing, would this possibility become more and more feasible?

This is the main crux of Episode 7-1: We look at just how sustainable an offense like this would be, as suggested by a reader email.

We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

Stream with the player below:

If that doesn’t work:

- You can listen on our iTunes page. (While you’re there, you can rate and subscribe to it. Every little bit helps!)
– You can stream it from Libsyn’s page.
– You can download it here. (Right-click, “Save As”)

Below are the show notes:


SHOW NOTES

Email Questions (00:40 -35:40): How has being immersed in analytics changed the way that Rivers and Danny approach football from a fan standpoint?, Why did we cop-out so badly on last mailbag’s With or Without You question — can the stat be useful despite the lack of context?
Running as an underdog strategy (36:00 – end): Are we at a point where the value in going against the trend by being a rare rushing team is greater than the value still to be gained by increasing the ratio of pass to run? What are the pros and cons of taking that approach? Why don’t we see more David-style play from NFL teams? Why are teams so reluctant to change the dynamic of the game with inferior talent?
– Successful examples of underdog play at the NFL level — The Tony Sparano Wildcat Dolphins.
— How the reliance on running in SF and SEA factors in to this.
— The question of developing players for the “ideal” roster in the future versus spending spots on players to create wins in the now.
— If the game isn’t at the point where run offense can be an underdog yet, do we think that point will come in the future?
— Ultimately, if we see a situational run offense take hold for half a season, then fall dead as teams adjust … is that a success?
Mentioned In This Post: Nothing that I can think of. Let me know if we used your material and you’d like some credit, though!

Musical credits: Jammin With My NES, Facility (Hacker Mix)


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

–Who should we interview next? Please let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
–I have a topic I’d like you to cover! Please send it to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, and we’ll turn it into a mailbag question or a segment.
–I have a suggestion to improve the show!: Again, please send to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, or leave a comment.
–Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here. The show runs on your kindness.
–Subscribe to The Three-Cone Drill on iTunes.
Non-iTunes RSS feed

SuperPunchOutInline_1238429334

Sometimes, Danny and I have a great off-topic idea for the podcast. Sometimes, we don’t.

This is what you can expect when we don’t. This show is all about what the two of us are doing in the moment, and the things that are affecting our lives in the present.

We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

Stream with the player below:

If that doesn’t work:

- You can listen on our iTunes page. (While you’re there, you can rate and subscribe to it. Every little bit helps!)
– You can stream it from Libsyn’s page.
– You can download it here. (Right-click, “Save As”)

Below are the show notes:


SHOW NOTES

– Danny admits that he has finally blocked someone on Twitter. Rivers has yet to do so. Danny goes into his reasoning, and why he finally got over himself and did it.
– Rivers talks about his subscription to 23andme.com — spit in a jar, gain some DNA knowledge, and how he’s working on learning more about his roots on the side. Rivers and Danny also briefly touch on this lawsuit.
– Danny talks about the writing process for his latest Football Guys article. Rivers and Danny discuss “immersion writing” and the benefits of putting all you can do into a post, versus the shorter “news” blog post model.
– Rivers explains a new side-hobby: video game speed running. Danny rambles about the psychological implications of this, and how it reflects well on Rivers.
– Rivers and Danny review Week 6’s games … before they happened, as this was taped last Wednesday night.
Mentioned In This Post: 


Musical credits: Rock the Plank, Drop and Roll 


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

–Who should we interview next? Please let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
–I have a topic I’d like you to cover! Please send it to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, and we’ll turn it into a mailbag question or a segment.
–I have a suggestion to improve the show!: Again, please send to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, or leave a comment.
–Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here. The show runs on your kindness.
–Subscribe to The Three-Cone Drill on iTunes.
Non-iTunes RSS feed

headerimagefp

Chase Stuart is the founder of Football Perspective, a Football Guy, has co-authored Football Outsiders Almanac 2014, and also writes for The New York Times. He’s one of the most respected statistical football minds on the internet, having been mentored by Doug Drinen.

And, this week, he’s our guest on the Three-Cone Drill. We talk to Chase about his background, his tendencies as a writer, and even try to make him generate some hot takes on specific stats sites. Plus: what is the next frontier of NFL stats?

We should note that our podcast has an “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

Stream with the player below:

If that doesn’t work:

- You can listen on our iTunes page. (While you’re there, you can rate and subscribe to it. Every little bit helps!)
– You can stream it from Libsyn’s page.
– You can download it here. (Right-click, “Save As”)

Below are the show notes:


SHOW NOTES

Interview with Chase Stuart:
– Chase is a lawyer by day, why does that seem to be such a common trend amongst sports writers?
– How in the hell has Chase posted every day since opening Football Perspective? What kind of posts is he attracted to as a writer? Is this a gift he has, or did he learn it?
– What posts does he enjoy most? Which posts are working best?
– Again, we talk about niches, by asking Chase about Matt Waldman’s story from Episode 5-2.
— For aspiring statisticians thinking about the NFL, how much does knowledge of the X’s and O’s of football matter?
– Which PFF and Football Outsiders stats does Chase value? What is he kind of ambivalent about over them?
– Where is the next frontier of football stats? Which football stats would Chase like to see “die in a fire,’ as Danny would say?
Pieces Mentioned In This Post: 500 touchdown passes, Week 5 Game Scripts

Musical credits: Leafcutter, Club del Toro


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

–Who should we interview next? Please let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
–I have a topic I’d like you to cover! Please send it to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, and we’ll turn it into a mailbag question or a segment.
–I have a suggestion to improve the show!: Again, please send to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, or leave a comment.
–Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here. The show runs on your kindness.
–Subscribe to The Three-Cone Drill on iTunes.
Non-iTunes RSS feed

11292475513_13d564fe9d_o

The Todd Gurley Snitch Was A Spiteful Memorabilia Dealer — Barry Petchskey & Tim Burke — Even moving beyond the whole hypocrisy of the NCAA selling Gurley’s jersey while he’s not allowed to profit off it, I love that we live in a world where a shameless dealer can ruin a Heisman finalist’s career because he’s not making enough money. What a crock.

Cardinals Fans Get Ugly In Clash With Ferguson Protesters — Tom Ley – OK, don’t get me wrong, I hate the Cardinals. But this isn’t really a thing I would associate as “Cardinals Fans.” These are just hateful people. All I’m trying to say here is that I don’t think you should use racism to futher bolster your hatred of the Cardinals. You can still hate them for who they are and what they did to your sports life.

Luxy — It’s The Tindr App For Snobs — Doug Gross --  There are young people trying to date online that are rich?

Deny Emotion And You See Only A Fraction Of The Game – Matt Waldman — I can’t wait to have Matt on the podcast again to talk about this with Danny. Talk about a topic with expansion possibilities. I think my best example of this would be Jake Locker — he just seems so much more comfortable without a set offense.

New Biometrics Tests Invade the NBA — Pablo S. Torre / Tom Haberstroh – This makes me think of sports as the frontier for corporations that try so many ways to measure and improve our efficiency that we wind up with our employers controlling our whole lives. It’s both terrifying and a little interesting to me. More the former, especially because I don’t trust corporations to act in good faith when they find flaws.

The First Practical Invisibility Cloak Is Here — John Brownlee — Speaking of things that are both terrifying and interesting. Finally, you can imitate Metal Gear Solid.

Take It Away, 1996 Phil Steele — Bill Connelly — I love the concept of this piece. Nothing is cooler to me than lugging through an old Baseball Prospectus for an hour or so and finding which team Felipe Crespo is on.


The Classic Link

Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room series is a terrific introduction to scouting football on your own. Here’s one he did with fellow Bleacher Report colleague Cecil Lammey


10280669654_8277e4eba0_o

Bleacher Report Pieces This Week

Was feeling a little under the weather this week, so I only put in three pieces.

Colts Sit Atop AFC South and Texans Aren’t A Real Threat

Texans Must Control Game Flow to Beat Colts

JJ Watt Can’t Win Games By Himself; Texans Can’t Go Anywhere Without Valid QB


Writing on Other Sites

Audibles at the Line — Football Outsiders

Colts Q&A: How do Texans match up? — Houston Chronicle 

DSCN0734

Why doesn’t the NFL have a minor league system? A place not only for young developing prospects that aren’t ready to play yet, but also for those still hanging on? How many perfectly fine players have seen their careers ended because they were no longer able to put anything on tape for scouts and general managers?

That’s the main discussion we get into here in Episode 6-1 of the Three-Cone Drill Podcast. Our mailbag also yields one piece of reader mail, and thus, we talk about on-field/off-field player splits and why they aren’t used more often in the NFL.

We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.

Stream with the player below:

If that doesn’t work:

- You can listen on our iTunes page. (While you’re there, you can rate and subscribe to it. Every little bit helps!)
– You can stream it from Libsyn’s page.
– You can download it here. (Right-click, “Save As”)

Below are the show notes:


SHOW NOTES

01:15-19:59 — Mailbag segment: Why aren’t player on-field/off-field splits utilized more thoroughly in the NFL discourse? Rivers and Danny go over examples of how it is used, and also explain why statisticians are reluctant to use it.
19:59 – end — Why isn’t there a minor league system for the NFL?
– When players like Arian Foster and Larry Donnell come out of nowhere, why do we assume that every player grows at the same rate? Why isn’t there a league that football players can play in, to put tape out there that isn’t run with gimmicks (like the Canadian Football League and the Arena Football League)?
– NFL Europe failed. Why did NFL Europe fail, and would it have failed today?
– Is the lack of tradition a huge stumbling block in creating and keeping a minor league profitable for the NFL?
– Where could such a league be placed? Would it be to grow the game?
– How big would rosters be? How many off-field players actually have a shot at becoming NFL-caliber?
– Does the NFL’s cautious nature to players coming off bad years or injuries artificially end careers before they are ready to be ended?

Musical creditsSafety in Numbers, Elecman YPOI


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

–Who should we interview next? Please let us know on Twitter or in the comments.
–I have a topic I’d like you to cover! Please send it to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, and we’ll turn it into a mailbag question or a segment.
–I have a suggestion to improve the show!: Again, please send to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com, or leave a comment.
–Do you enjoy this podcast? If so, please leave a short review here. The show runs on your kindness.
–Subscribe to The Three-Cone Drill on iTunes.
Non-iTunes RSS feed

14748363367_f808c62900_o

This is Episode 5-3 of the Three-Cone Drill podcast. Today’s guest is Matt Waldman of Football Guys, the RSP Blog, and Football Outsiders. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @MattWaldman.

You can download it here. Or listen on Libsyn’s page.

Our RSS feed is here, and our iTunes page is here. If you enjoy our podcast — a real labor of love on a daily basis that we actually pay money to create — please subscribe and rate it highly. We don’t have huge ambitions, we just want to be the No. 1 explicit sports podcast.

Speaking of: We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.


SHOW NOTES

– What schemes and coaches does Matt admire? Why will I be saying Dick Bumpas for the rest of time?
– How situational awareness separates great players from good players.
– What was Matt’s background? How did Matt get into the “internet scouting” game?
– There are a ton of scouting sites. A ton of stats-based sites. How do we discern which ones we should pay attention to in an age where there’s so much data?
– Why did Matt stop venturing into the land of stats and find his niche in scouting?
– We go back and ask Matt Waldman a reader question about the victimhood in his Ray Rice column, leading to a larger discussion on victimhood and writing from perspective.

Musical credits: The Skull Fortress, Experiments of a Fiend


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

We would love to permanently have an e-mail segment. To do this, we need a steady stream of questions. Please send us questions for next week’s show at threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com or Tweet them at us @ThreeConeDrill

I have the technical know-how of a beached whale. If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas to improve the show, send them to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Additionally, if you have material we can use for free: logos, music for intros and outros, and so on, please send those to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank you for listening.

14716030617_bbf4befd14_o

This is Episode 5-2 of the Three-Cone Drill podcast. Today’s guest is Matt Waldman of Football Guys, the RSP Blog, and Football Outsiders. Feel free to follow him on Twitter at @MattWaldman.

You can download it here. Or listen on Libsyn’s page.

Our RSS feed is here, and our iTunes page is here. If you enjoy our podcast — a real labor of love on a daily basis that we actually pay money to create — please subscribe and rate it highly. We don’t have huge ambitions, we just want to be the No. 1 explicit sports podcast.

Speaking of: We should note that this is being given the “explicit” tag in iTunes. There is cursing. Don’t listen if you have delicate ears or are in a workplace environment.


SHOW NOTES

– Why did Teddy Bridgewater fall in the draft? What are scouts telling Matt about why they don’t consider quarterbacks higher in the draft right now? Is the industry too risk-averse? Is the pre-draft process overblowing criticism?
– How do the draftnik outsiders and the NFL insiders have such a wildly divergent opinion on players?
– What Matt watches for when he’s watching a regular game, and what Matt watches for when he’s watching for the RSP.
– How does Matt decide who should be in the RSP? Who does he double-check his list for? What systems does he employ?
– The “grimy” side of football writing. The kind of effort necessary to be the best. (Praise for Mike Tanier.)
– How being a football writer is simultaneously like eating chocolate-chip cookies everyday and like the song “Moon River.”
Pieces Mentioned In This Post: Teddy Bridgewater’s NFL Personality Assessment

Musical credits: Children of the WickedBlack Genesis


EMAILS, SUGGESTIONS, MUSIC, COMMENTS, ETC.

We would love to permanently have an e-mail segment. To do this, we need a steady stream of questions. Please send us questions for next week’s show at threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com or Tweet them at us @ThreeConeDrill

I have the technical know-how of a beached whale. If you have suggestions, comments, or ideas to improve the show, send them to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Additionally, if you have material we can use for free: logos, music for intros and outros, and so on, please send those to threeconedrill (at) gmail (dot) com

Thank you for listening.

8726024253_a6e4c2240a_o

The Mayor of St. Louis is a Complete Dipshit — Drew Magary – It’s October, so you know it’s time to hate the St. Louis Cardinals. Here’s some fuel.

Antrel Rolle Attributes Prince Amukamara’s Breakout Season to Sex – Jordan Ranaan --  I thought it was amusing that this became such a big story. The whole repressed puritanical culture just loves to focus on sex.

There Are No Names On The Cups At The CIA’s Starbucks Because It’s The CIA’s Starbucks — Mary Beth-Quirk — Mmm. How very surprising that the CIA is all about taking down everyone else’s information, yet when it comes to themselves…

POP plays and the pro-style offense — Ian Boyd — Ian has been fantastic at Study Hall, and this is a great piece about a play that should be seeing more and more time in the NFL someday soon.

The War Photo No One Would Publish — Torie Rose-Deghett — Nightmare fuel picture.

Word of Muth: Ravens Crush Panthers — Ben Muth – Ben is getting into the crux of the offensive line improvement in Baltimore.

How to Put Your Writing In Public — Leo Babuta — There will always be people willing to trash you for having a voice. Don’t let that bother you. Share your gift with us.


The Classic Link

Matt Waldman’s RSP Film Room series is a terrific introduction to scouting football on your own. Here’s one he did with fellow Bleacher Report colleague Ryan Riddle.


Employees honor former district engineer 60 years after legendary coaching career

Bleacher Report Pieces This Week

Jaguars Putting Too Much Pressure on Blake Bortles to Carry Franchise Forward

Blake Bortles’ Poise, Decisiveness Shine Through Despite Jaguars Game Plan

Colts’ Off-Field Woes, Roster Holes a Product of Past Mistakes

Titans Should Consider Trading Justin Hunter Before It’s Too Late

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense Still Working Through Issues Defending the Pass


Writing on Other Sites

Audibles at the Line — Football Outsiders

Any Given Sunday: Bucs Over Steelers— Football Outsiders