Saturday, September 8, 2012

Puzzling Scouting Reports

For every week 1 game, ESPN has done a scouting report, which includes a head to head comparison of each position group.  I'm no expert, but one of them included some egregious picks.  In the Green Bay-San Francisco scouting report, it gave the linebacker advantage to Green Bay.  A curious decision, seeing as the Niners have the best linebackers in football.  All-Pros Bowman and Willis, the best inside linebacker tandem in the league, are joined by Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks (who combined for 21 sacks last year).  It's no contest.  Clay Matthews is the only linebacker in Green Bay that would start in San Francisco, so picking Green Bay is a joke.  Equally as terrible of a selection was saying Green Bay had the advantage in special teams.  Apparently slighting the best linebackers in football wasn't enough, so I guess they had to slight the best special teams in football too.  Granted, special teams fluctuates from year to year, but seeing as a game hasn't been played yet, this analysis can really only go off of last year.  And what happened last year?  San Francisco had record years from Andy Lee and David Akers, and the Niners outperformed the Packers in kickoff return average, punt return average, opponents' kick return average and opponents' punt return average.  They literally outperformed Green Bay in every way, and Green Bay gets the nod?  Is this a joke?  I don't know what went into those decisions, but it clearly had nothing to do with what actually happens on the field.

Some other, less egregious, choices that I thought were curious:
Carolina DBs over Tampa Bay's- Tampa Bay signed Eric Wright (one of the best corners on the market), moved Ronde Barber to safety, and drafted Mark Barron 7th overall.  Meanwhile, Carolina's only new addition is Haruki Nakamura (a backup safety last year for the Ravens).  This on top of the fact that Tampa gave up less passing yards and their opponents had a worse passer rating against them.  So the better unit from last year got stronger, yet Carolina has the edge?  Makes total sense.

Atlanta RBs over Kansas City's- The Chiefs get the return of Jamaal Charles and the addition of Peyton Hillis.  The Falcons have a year-older Michael Turner.  Last year, Kansas City (led by Thomas Jones and Jackie Battle) had more total rushing yards than Atlanta.  Are they really going to be worse with Charles and Hillis?  Granted, there's some uncertainty about how they'll both bounce back from last year's injuries, but there's still too much upside.  This at least should've been ranked an "even".

Minnesota RBs over Jacksonville's- Gerhart and Jennings are probably pretty close to each other.  I think the disparity should come from the fact that MJD only sat out camp, while Peterson is recovering from a serious knee injury.  Even though it's mainly a battle of backups, I think MJD is likely to be more effective than Peterson (if Peterson even plays at all).  Therefore, the scales should be tipped in Jacksonville's favor.

Again, I'm no expert, but these all seemed like weird choices.

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