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  1. Of course, I was pulling probabilities out of thin air, and I think we understand each other. It doesn't make sense to look at the Rams historically. Five years ago, they were on the McBeane methodology - they drafted their franchise qb, and they were using their draft and free agency much more like the Bills are now. For example, they signed Robert Woods. I think it's fair to say they changed their methodology when they traded Goff for Stafford. That was not a franchise-building trade; that was a win-now trade. Trading for MIller certainly was that, also. Signing Beckham, too. Given his history, no one is signing Beckham for the long-term or for his short-term locker-room presence (contrast signing Beckham with the Bills signing Miller, for example). The Rams clearly decided they wanted to maximize winning potential in the relative short-term. And crushing the middle rounds doesn't mean they are taking a long-term approach. It just means they've been good at drafting there. It's a fool's game to think you're going to load up your team with Cooper Kupp talent just by taking a bunch of third and fourth round guys. Kupp is the exception, not the rule. The Rams didn't draft Aaron Donald in the third round. You need top-end talent, and the only way you can get enough of it in the long-term is by drafting it in the first couple of rounds, or by trading those picks for young talent (Diggs), not old talent (Stafford and Miller). That's my view, anyway.
  2. But, of course, there are no guarantees. It's impossible to know in the beginning of the season that you are guaranteed to win the Super Bowl. There is no amount of moves in the draft and free agency that can assure that. The best you can do is make your team more probable or less probable that you will win it. The choice that you DO have is this: Do we build our team with a low probability of making the playoffs for ten years, but a high probability of winning the Super Bowl when you make it, or with a relatively high probability of making the playoffs and a lower probability of winning it all? The Rams chose the first option. They gave up a lot of draft capital to get Stafford and Miller, and it worked. But it may not have worked out that way, and in either case they've made it more difficult for the team to be good five years from now, because Stafford is on the back end of his career, and Miller is gone. The opportunities to replace that talent are limited, because they traded high picks. McBeane clearly have taken the second option. They've said as much over and over. They won't mortgage the future, as the saying goes. I like McBeane's choice, both from a team building point of view and a fan point of view. As a fan, if there WERE guarantees, I'd take a Lombardi over ten years in the playoffs, but that isn't a choice. What IS a choice is two years in the playoffs with a 50% chance of a Lombardi each time versus ten years in the playoffs with a 20% of a Lombardi each time. As fan, I like the second option because it means my team is in the playoffs every year. I also like it because the probability of Lombardi is the same or better. And, of course, we have two real-time examples: Rams or Bills? The choice is obvious, isn't it?
  3. I'm certainly not the contract expert here, but it seems like there's a clear pattern: In the ideal situation, all of the cap you're using in any year is being used on players actually on your roster. What you want to avoid is spending cap on guys who aren't on the roster. That's true dead cap money, and it limits your ability to sign talent. That's why the Bills were relatively weak in McDermott's second year - they let a lot of talent go that they didn't want, but the guaranteed money for those guys was still being counted against the cap, so there was enough cap to get new talent. They did it intentionally, and cleared out a lot dead cap money in one year, so that the following year they could have a more normal approach to free agency and get players they wanted. Say, you have a good guy you want sign, either who's on your team already or who is coming from another team. He wants a certain amount of guaranteed money. You know the guy is good now, but you don't know how long he'll last. In Diggs's case, you figure he's good for four years, in Miller's you figure two. But in both cases, you know you'll want him longer if he turns out to still be good - you want him for as long as he'll be good. So, you sign him for the longer period (six years for Diggs, three for Miller), but you give him all the guaranteed money over the shorter period. By doing that, you're paying him the money that you're sure he's going to be worth having, and you're also taking the cap hit over the period he's going to be worth having. In other words, you pay for the guy while you're sure he's going to be good. So, Diggs gets all his money in four years, Miller in two, and those are the periods over which you spread the cap hit. That is, you've matched the cap hit with your best guess as to how long he surely will be valuable. Then, a year down the road in Miller's case, or three years down the road in Diggs's case, if the guy looks like he can play out the whole contract, you restructure. You give the player a little more to make him happy, but generally he doesn't care much about restructuring because he's already gotten his money. By restructuring then, you get spread some of the cap hit to those out years that you originally weren't sure he was going to play. By doing that, you create more cap room in the short-term. If you spread out the guaranteed money over the longer term when the contract is first signed, it's true that you have less of a cap hit immediately, but it leaves in the position where you may have to take a cap hit in those out years for a player you cut, because he isn't good enough any longer. So, if Diggs is washed up in four years and the Bills had spread his guaranteed money over six, the Bills have dead cap. That's true dead cap money, and that's what you want to avoid, because it means you're using cap in those years on players who aren't on your roster.
  4. I'd love to be in their heads! I know it was primarily about Jackson; I'm writing for a specialized audience, and I didn't think it was necessary to say much about the McDermott side of the comparison. I think most of the people who are regulars here have a pretty good idea of what McDermott has said about his process. I was surprised to find Jackson saying many of the same things.
  5. I'm thinking of changing it to "Revisiting the 2017 and 2018 Drafts." How's that?
  6. Obviously, I don't know, but I think the change wouldn't be such a big deal. All they'd be doing is swapping out one guy for another, where the new guy is just a little bigger and just a little slower. What do the Bills get making the change? A lot more flexibility in the defense, more versatility, more ways to create deception and uncertainty about what the defense will be. It wouldn't be the 4-3 they ran with Klein. It wouldn't be a goal line defense. I just don't think the Bills would burn a third-round pick on a special teamer and a spot substitute. I think they intend for him to be on the field, and linebacker is the only place he can play.
  7. Well, you'll get in trouble saying Allen makes McD's job a "little" easier! I'll say! But I agree with the rest. I was in a discussion with someone a few months ago about Poyer and Hyde. I think they are very good players, but I agree with you - a good chunk of their success is because of the scheme and coaching. They get credit for their talent, for sure, but where they really deserve the credit is for buying into what McDermott and Frazier want them to do. And I'm sure if you could sit down with them, they'd tell you that the coaching is what has allowed them to become such an effective tandem. What Frazier and McDermott have done with the two of them shows itself every play, every game, and that's worth so much more than this or that in-game decision.
  8. Thanks for the compliment. I'm with, both about team building and about in-game decisions. I mean, you want to be good at the in-game decisions, and I have no doubt that McDermott studies that like everything else. He gets graded on it, I'm sure, and he works to get better. Still, people are always going to criticize one decision or another. But those decisions, and there are a lot of them, are three hours of a sixty- or seventy-hour week, where he's supervising a dozen assistant coaches, reviewing, revising, and approving game plans, and doing who knows what else. The better he does that job, the fewer in-game decisions he has to make. People here talk about how incredible Josh is, and he is. Year after year, I'm thinking in his own way, McDermott is just as incredible.
  9. I remembered that as I've been reading. Jackson described. He said Jordan wanted to win desperately, and he was obviously better than everyone, so he naturally assumed that it was best if he had the ball and he did the shooting. There's a funny story in the book. Jackson went to Jordan to talk to him about being serious about the triangle offense and about reducing his scoring. Jackson knew that would be a problem for Jordan, because winning the scoring title every year was very important to him. Jackson, of course, was selling it to Jordan from the point of that he could win more. Jordan thought about it for a minute, and then said, "Well, if we're running the triangle, I still can score 8 points a quarter. That's 32 for the game, less than I'm scoring now, but still enough to lead the league. Okay, I'll do it." And that's how Jackson got Jordan to agree. After a year or two, as the team developed it's understanding of the offense, Jordan could see how much better the team was and became a big fan of the offense. On a lesser scale, I think McDermott got to Hughes in order to get Hughes to play the role he needed to handle on the edge.
  10. Hardly a "trite thing" "bashed around business schools."
  11. Why did it make you laugh? It's admirable that he studies the ideas of creative people, not funny.
  12. So true. The Bills actually liked Mahomes, and apparently there those in the organization who wanted to take him at 10. My sense of what happened is that, as always, McDermott took a disciplined approach. He wasn't in a hurry. He wanted the right people around him in the front office to make the decision on the most important position on the team. It's overused, but he knew he was running a marathon and he understood there was no need to sprint to the lead in 2017.
  13. Thanks for this. It's a great summary of how he got to where he is. There's never been much doubt that his nonstop self-improvement philosophy, his intelligence, and his open-mindedness made him the kind of coach he is. There's a little bit, or probably more than a little bit, of Mr. Rogers in him, too.
  14. I've long since given up second-guessing the Mahomes trade, and I don't completely agree with you, but that isn't the point. Your primary point is absolutely true. Jackson and McDermott can coach all day, every day from here to eternity, but if they don't have Jordan and Kobe and Shaq and Allen, they may do a nice job but they aren't recognized for their greatness. (And McDermott hasn't won anything yet.) The real point is that there are coaches who have had superstars and haven't won championships, or won multiple championships. The real point is what the coaches can do not with the superstars, but with the ordinary journeyman players who are playing with the superstars. That's what Belichick did, that's what Jackson did, and that's what McDermott is trying to do. The best example is the Golden State Warriors. The quality of their team play, driven by a superstar and two other excellent players, is exceptional. Coached by Mark Jackson, they were good players and a team that wasn't going anywhere. Steve Kerr made them one of the great teams in the history of the league, and I think he did the same things Jackson did and the same things McDermott is doing..
  15. Thanks for all the comments. I just quoted the part I want to talk about. Oh, yeah, there are plenty of differences. As you say, the nature of the game is different - football requires that any coach install much more discipline and routine than basketball. Basketball flows better, and as such can be much more player-driven on the floor. And Jackson was a counter culture guy, through and through. McDermott is straight-laced and faith-based. But they're both searching for answers and both willing to share the credit. They both want to get better every day, and they want to help the people around them get better, too. McDermott seems always to be studying. I would bet he's read this book, and I wouldn't be surprised if he sought out Jackson at some time to talk about this stuff.
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