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The Brotherhood Laments Via a New Technology Called “Electronic Mail”

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On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 8:44 AM Brad Johnson <bradwbc@comcast.net> wrote:

Washington’s receivers were not very good. Just clueless what to do when the play breaks down. There are two plays in the first quarter where the receivers just run right into each other.

The offense was not good for big stretches of the game. Left a lot of opportunity on the table.

From: Darin Johnson <djohnson@xxxxxxxxxxx

Date: Monday, October 15, 2018 at 8:58 AM

To: Brad Johnson <bradwbc@comcast.net>

Subject: Re: rewatch

I haven’t watched again, but I was wondering if we were going to see trouble from the receivers.

At this stage of the game, Washington is still going to have holes on its roster -- receiver, DL, whatever. That’s not unexpected. That fact that the receivers can’t get separation because they don’t have the size or athleticism is forgivable in a way that them not knowing how to react to blitzes or to the QB moving is not.

There’s a lot of noise “out there” about the decision not to try for more yards on the last drive. I don’t think it’s a dumb point, but I don’t think it’s a slam-dunk, either. The risk of a holding penalty, a fumble, or winding up on the hashmark instead of in the middle is real. At some point your kicker has to be able to make a 37-yarder.

Were you like me: once the kick missed, I knew we’d lose the game. No Gaskin, tired defense, bad kicker. That’s not a recipe for overtime success.

Hugh Millen had bad things to say about Myles Bryant on the 3rd and eleven play in overtime. Said because the safeties were tight, Bryant shouldn’t have been following the seam route, but instead had the curl. It annoys me not to be able to see that stuff for myself.

On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 9:39 AM Brad Johnson <bradwbc@comcast.net> wrote:

Yes, of course there were going to be holes. The receivers should be better next year by a lot. Defensive line probably has one more down year, if the hit rate in recruiting is really high. Linebacker is the trouble spot right now.

There are a few replays from behind. On two play action passes, you see the Huskies keeping both tight ends in to pick up the blitz. Oregon rushes 6 ½, with one linebacker reading the running back to either rush or cover. That means it’s a two-receiver route, with four in coverage. The blocking is outstanding. Browning has all day until he just starts to panic because the clock in his head says “BAD THINGS SHOULD BE HAPPENING!” Ugh.

Right, he has to make that kick. As they say, when you lose on a final kick, you can find five or 10 other plays that were actually at least as impactful as that miss. True for this game.

I don’t think that, in the moment, I’ve ever allowed myself to believe that the Huskies were going to lose. But yes, they were. Oregon “won” with that miss for all the reasons you said. They had all the momentum.

Working hypothesis:

An opposing defense could drop 11 in coverage, and after four seconds, Browning would leave the pocket if he hadn’t made a throw.

From: Darin Johnson <djohnson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date: Monday, October 15, 2018 at 10:32 AM

To: Brad Johnson <bradwbc@comcast.net>

Subject: Re: rewatch

I’m not entirely sure Browning leaving the pocket when there’s not yet any pressure is necessarily a bad thing. There are two reasons to run: to avoid pressure, and to distort the defense. If the receivers responded better, that might be a good decision. When Browning can step up and then run parallel to the line of scrimmage, he looks really good. He’s enough of a threat to run that this puts a lot of pressure on a defense. That’s “peak Browning,” in my view.

I’m a little mystified as to why Browning seems to run to his left so often. Did you know that Browning is left-handed in everything except throwing a football? Could this be why?

The tight ends looked good, based on the one viewing of the game I could stomach. I would like to see the Huskies take more six-yard stick routes and options to them rather than have them block on passes to much. Same with the running backs.

I have come to terms with the defensive philosophy that says you keep everything in front of you and make the offense earn its touchdowns. It’s hard to look at that game and say the defense didn’t play well enough to win. And yet... they seem to be on the field for an awful lot of plays. In my gut, I have diminishing confidence they can get a stop as the game wears on. Partly that’s just me being a nervous fan, of course, but part of it is a rational concern that defenses wear out faster than offenses do. I don’t think the evidence necessarily bears this out, so I’m not prepared to fire Lake and Kwiatkowski just yet.

Blitzing by the defense increases the variance of the outcome -- more really good plays for the offense, more really bad ones. The time to blitz is not third and long, when an average play results in a punt, but on first and second down, when an average play keeps the chains moving. There is of course a strategic question, too, that blitzes should be unexpected, so purposefully violating this guideline occasionally is worthwhile. Overall, I think the Huskies blitz too much. In addition to the strategic point above, there’s also the fact that they’re really, really bad at it. Getting no pressure with four is still better than getting no pressure with five.

Herbert didn’t exactly blow me away. You? It’s the Sam Darnold effect: quarterbacks who are 6-4, 230 with rifle arms make the NFL excited, and everybody assumes that makes them great college QBs right here and now. Not always so.

On Mon, Oct 15, 2018 at 10:59 AM Brad Johnson <bradwbc@comcast.net> wrote:

I think he can be absolutely deadly, yes. I also think he’s very prone to tucking the ball away like a running back, eyeing the defenders in front of him, then pulling the ball out to get ready to throw while taking a look down the field, then re-tucking it to run, before getting ready to throw…and then getting tackled right at the sideline because he’s been too indecisive to actually do anything. Or turning a seven-yard gain on a scramble into a two-yard gain because he was indecisive. Or missing an open receiver because he has the ball tucked, only to force the ball into the same receiver who’s now covered.

The things that make him a really valuable QB to the Huskies also can make him really dangerous to the Huskies. I can’t really figure out what it is. I don’t think “indecisiveness” is actually a very good descriptor. It’s something else.

If you do rewatch, when you can see the tight ends and receivers, you’ll see them spinning around like tops trying to move with Browning as he reverses field three or four times. But I think this was maybe the first time we see the ultimate failing of Washington’s protection. Blitz picked up well, all the time in the world, and two receivers way, way down the field with four guys covering them. If they were closer to the line of scrimmage, they can move and get open easier because the shorter pass makes for less recovery time for the DBs. When they get 20 yards down field due to the timing of things, then moving 10 yards side to side has minimal effect. They needed to be coming all the way back to the ball, and they didn’t. Ever.

I think offensive coordinators have an incredibly difficult time just doing easy things over and over and over. It’s shocking how often they just simply get impatient, especially as pressure builds (near the redzone, and the later it gets in games). Washington’s defense gives teams a lot of chances to beat themselves. They almost all take it at some point on a drive.

No, I wasn’t overly impressed with Herbert. He made one phenomenal play in the face of pressure (the TD throw right before the half), but other than that, it was shocking how inaccurate he was when he had to move. Not just “less good,” but fairly bad. Maybe that means the D should’ve invested more into pressuring him. I don’t think so, because he only would’ve had to have been good in the face of pressure around four times to really change the game….

From: Darin Johnson <djohnson@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date: Monday, October 15, 2018 at 11:56 AM

To: Brad Johnson <bradwbc@comcast.net>

Subject: Re: rewatch

I would really have like to get that win. The outcome had two effects:

First, it mechanically reduced the expected number of wins by 0.7 -- since I thought the Dawgs had a 70% chance of winning that game. Second, the Dawgs looked worse than I thought they would (and Oregon looked a little better), which reduces my confidence in each remaining games. Not by a lot, but some. 538, which works with FPI, I believe, says we have a 25% of winning out. I wonder whether one or two more losses is more likely.

Also according to 538, the Huskies have a 32% chance to win the Pac-12, and an 83% chance to beat Colorado. Assuming Colorado is not the best team in the South, I estimate that means UW has a 65% chance of winning the title game if they make it that far. That means 538 thinks the Huskies are about 50/50 to win the North. Would you bet even-money?