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Smell Test #21
by
Jan 16, 2015 -- 1:29pm

WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?

It's a contrarian handicapping philosophy. I look for the games where the public is convinced they are right about a point spread and I go the other way. Have fun and as always, this is for entertainment purposes only.
 
PREVIOUS YEARS
 
2006-- 60.4%
2007-- 56.6%
2008-- 63.1%
2009-- 57.5%
2010-- 48.8%
2011-- 48.7%
2012-- 54.1%
2013-- 47.4%
 
THIS YEAR
Last Week: 2-1
Overall:  66-58-2
 
SMELL TEST PICKS FOR WEEKEND OF 1-18-15

Sunday, January 19, 2015
 
Seattle -7.5


Smell Test #20
by
Jan 09, 2015 -- 7:12pm

WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?

It's a contrarian handicapping philosophy. I look for the games where the public is convinced they are right about a point spread and I go the other way. Have fun and as always, this is for entertainment purposes only.
 
PREVIOUS YEARS
 
2006-- 60.4%
2007-- 56.6%
2008-- 63.1%
2009-- 57.5%
2010-- 48.8%
2011-- 48.7%
2012-- 54.1%
2013-- 47.4%
 
THIS YEAR
Last Week: 3-1
Overall:  64-57-2
 
SMELL TEST PICKS FOR WEEKEND OF 1-10-15

Saturday, January 10, 2015
 
Panthers +11
 
Sunday, January 11, 2015
 
Cowboys +6
 
Monday January 12, 2015
 
Ohio State +6
 


Smell Test #19
by
Jan 02, 2015 -- 6:33pm

WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?

It's a contrarian handicapping philosophy. I look for the games where the public is convinced they are right about a point spread and I go the other way. Have fun and as always, this is for entertainment purposes only.
 
PREVIOUS YEARS
 
2006-- 60.4%
2007-- 56.6%
2008-- 63.1%
2009-- 57.5%
2010-- 48.8%
2011-- 48.7%
2012-- 54.1%
2013-- 47.4%
 
THIS YEAR
Last Week: 2-1
Overall:  61-56-2
 
SMELL TEST PICKS FOR WEEKEND OF 1-3-15

Saturday, January 3, 2015
 
Panthers -6.5
Ravens +3
 
Sunday, January 4, 2015
 
Bengals +3.5
Lions +6.5


Allen's Unshackled Report Card
by Kevin Sheehan
Dec 31, 2014 -- 12:14pm
ESPN 980

Bruce Allen just finished up his “State of the Crumbling Union” speech.  He appeared to be the only one that didn't realize it was crumbling.  He gave very little information other than the breaking news that Hawaii now has telephones. 

One year ago, he got the title, the authority, the autonomy, and a boatload of cap space.  Most importantly to many around town and in the organization, he was able to rid himself of Mike Shanahan.  After distancing himself from the disastrous 3-13 ugliness of a year ago and putting most of it on Mike, he bathed himself in the freedom of an unshackled organization. 

How'd that work out for him?  4 and 12.  And let's be honest.  This year's 4 and 12 was much worse than last year.  They had a much easier schedule facing a parade of lower-tier quarterbacks like Fitzpatrick, Henne, Whitehurst, McCown, and Hill.  They had cap room for the first time and a supposed franchise quarterback who was finally healthy and coming off his first full offseason of work.

Bottom line, the season stunk and it started with an unshackled but very unimpressive 2014 offseason.

Let’s do some grading.

1.  Allen's first move was the new coach.  He hired Jay Gruden.

Grade:  Incomplete

Comments:  There’s a chance Gruden is in over his skis but it’s not totally clear at this point.  What is clear is that his team got worse as the year went on.  It’s also clear that his team was undisciplined much of the time.  Additionally, his quarterbacks regressed and his team rarely seemed to have answers before, during, or after the games.  Other than that, we don’t really know much. 

2.  Allen's 2nd move was the decision to unchain Jim Haslett.

Grade:  F

Comments:  Even though he attempted to give Haz some help with 2 free agent acquisitions and some defensive draft picks, Haz has never been able to get more out of less.  The best coaches find ways with good teaching and scheme to get something out of nothing.  Haz never did.  Finally, the team realized it and parted ways with him this morning.

3.  DeSean Jackson.

Grade:  A

Comments:  Wide receiver wasn’t on the list but pouncing on the unexpected availability of Jackson worked out.  It was a gamble but they got him on the relative cheap and he performed at a high level.  You could argue the team would have been 1-15 without him.

4.  Brian Orakpo franchised. 

Grade:  D-

Comments:  The only good thing that keeps this decision from being an F is that it was much better than signing him to a long-term deal which is what Haslett probably preferred.  Bottom line, a 1/2 of a sack in six games and then hurt….again.  Orakpo isn’t a franchise player.  Hopefully, Allen now understands this to be true.

5.  D’Angelo Hall re-signed.

Grade:  B

Comments:  This was the right move given the limited secondary talent on the roster.  It’s too bad D-Hall got hurt because he would’ve helped.

6.  Chris Baker re-signed to a 3-year deal. 

Grade:  D

Comments:  The injury to Cofield forced him to play more nose tackle than they had hoped but his overall impact at any position along the defensive front was less than average.

7.  Jason Hatcher. 

Grade:  C-

Comments:  The team’s biggest free agent acquisition was hurt more than healthy but when he was healthy, he was inconsistent.  The Jacksonville game was a major tease.  He never played anywhere near that level the remainder of the year.  It would help if he were surrounded with better players.

8.  Shawn Lauvao.

Grade:  C-

Comments:  Individual offensive line performance play is perhaps the most difficult to evaluate but it certainly seemed that Lauvao’s first year fell far short of the 4-year $17 million dollar deal he got.

9.  Ryan Clark.

Grade:  F

Comments:  He was obviously well past his point of usefulness, hence the reason the Steelers weren’t interested in bringing him back.

10.  Andre Roberts.

Grade:  D

Comments: We found out recently that the acquisition of Roberts was really pushed by Robert Griffin.  Bad choice.  Roberts was brought in to be a #2 and yet he wasn’t much of a #3.  He dropped at least one pass per game and gave the team very little as a returner after the preseason.

11.  Colt McCoy.

Grade:  B

Comments:  They brought him in to be the 3rd-string QB and he led the team to two of its four wins including the stunning upset in Dallas. That’s worthy of a B-grade.  It’s not worthy of thinking he could be a full-time starter.

12.  Tracy Porter.

Grade:  F

Comments:  This didn’t cost much but they took a chance on an injury-prone player who remained injury-prone.  They shouldn't have been surprised.

13.  The Draft.

Grade:  Incomplete.

Comments:  Breeland looks like a potential star at corner.  Murphy is a run-stopper at this point....not much of a pass rusher.  Grant never really got a chance.  Same with Moses and Long.  It’s far too early to grade a draft after one season but this one doesn’t appear to be anything special at this point.

14.  The offseason included several acquisitions (Hayward, Sharpton, Jordan, McGlynn) that intended to upgrade special teams and position depth. 

Grade:  D-

Comments:  Bad special teams and no depth anywhere.  Add to that, they let Sharpton go and he landed in Chicago as a contributor.

15.  Undrafted players like Tress Way andSilas Redd.

Grade:  A

Comments:  Way was very good and Redd will be a factor in the future.

Overall, armed with huge cap space and all but a first-round draft pick, Bruce Allen’s first unshackled offseason GPA was a 1.69 with 2 Incompletes.  He's on academic probation.



Redskins-Cowboys Wrap
by Kevin Sheehan
Dec 28, 2014 -- 5:13pm
ESPN 980

The good, bad, and more from the season-ending 44-17 loss to Dallas.

Good:

ESPN 9801.  DeSean Jackson.  Should be the team MVP.

2.  Alfred Morris. His first carry of the game should’ve been a 2-yd loss but he turned into a 2-yd gain.  That’s what he does.

3.  Trent Williams.  Played hurt and played well.  The block on Jackson’s TD catch was his athleticism on full display.

4.  Keenan Robinson.  Best player on defense.  He should’ve had a pick-6 early.  It may have changed the context of the game.

Bad:

1.  Defense.  The defense needs a total offseason overhaul.  Today’s first-half was a joke.  The tackling was horrendous and the coverage was worse.  Dallas had a 65-yard TD run late but had an 80-yarder called back and another big run (Murray in the first half) that got whistled down when Murray actually wasn't down.  Haz and staff need to go and someone in the organization needs to identify some talent in the draft and free agency.  If that talent-evaluator doesn’t exist in the organization, they need to hire someone from outside the organization to find talent.  I like Robinson, Kerrigan, and Breeland.  After that, everyone on D is expendable.  Not saying they’ll get rid of everyone else nor can they get rid of everyone else but none of the others are “must-keeps”.  With that said, P. Thomas showed some ability as an in-the-box safety the last few weeks.  He doesn’t appear to be a free safety right now.  I still like Amerson even though he was bad today and has struggled this year.  This team needs an impact player up front (N. Suh maybe?).  It also needs an outside pass rusher and a minimum of two new DBs. 

2.  Red zone offense.  1-4 with 2 turnovers.

3.  Special Teams.  Another week of zero big plays on SP teams while giving up at least one (the onsides kick) the other way.   

More:

1.  Griffin’s performance:  He was fine on quick-hitch throws, screens, & early-down play-action.  He’s awful on 2nd and 3rd and more than 7.  Nothing illustrates his biggest weakness right now more than two plays on the same drive early in the 3rd quarter.  On 2nd and 9, Jackson is wide open on a sideline comeback rout and Griffin looks at him but refuses to throw the ball.  Instead, he took a totally unnecessary sack.  Then two plays later on 4th and 4, he throws short to Jordan Reed who was doubled on the play.  The picks in the red zone were both on him.  He stared down Garcon on the 4th and 1 at the Dallas 7 and threw into heavy coverage.  The 2nd one was a clear example of him waiting for Roberts to be open rather than throwing him open.  At this point in his career, he gives you very little chance as a drop-back passer in longer-yardage situations.  Additionally, if you fall behind in a game and are forced to throw, it's a problem.  He needs a run-game, a defense, and a very good scheme/play-caller to succeed especially if his heart isn’t into being a zone-read type of QB.  Let's face it.....he's a project right now with no guarantee that he'll develop into anything special.  If the team wants to roll the dice on him being the future at QB, they'll have to show a ton of patience and must upgrade the defense to keep the team from getting blown out as much as it did this year.

2.  Gruden opted not to call a timeout after Romo fumbled the snap and was sacked by K. Robinson with 14 seconds left in the first half.  Down 27-10 at the time, why not take a shot at blocking a punt?

3.  Andre Roberts had another drop.  It seems he’s been good for at least one per game all season long.

4.  Jordan Reed had a TD called back because his helmet was ripped off.  His helmet looked like it was barely on his head to begin with.

5.  Garcon’s penalty on the Griffin TD run was late but I'm not totally sure it was dirty.  I just think he wasn’t entirely sure if Griffin had scored yet.

6.  Why did Dallas play its starters for so long?

7.  If Griffin comes back, they need a good screen/draw back like Helu.



Smell Test #18
by
Dec 26, 2014 -- 1:50pm

WHAT'S THE FRIDAY FOOTBALL SMELL TEST?

It's a contrarian handicapping philosophy. I look for the games where the public is convinced they are right about a point spread and I go the other way. Have fun and as always, this is for entertainment purposes only.
 
PREVIOUS YEARS
 
2006-- 60.4%
2007-- 56.6%
2008-- 63.1%
2009-- 57.5%
2010-- 48.8%
2011-- 48.7%
2012-- 54.1%
2013-- 47.4%
 
THIS YEAR
Last Week: 2-1
Overall:  59-55-2
 
SMELL TEST PICKS FOR WEEKEND OF 12-26-14

Friday, December 26, 2014
 
Rutgers +4
 
Sunday, December 28, 2014
 
Giants -3
Panthers +4


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