Thursday, October 14, 2010

A New Feature?

As you may remember, I have a distinct sentiment when it comes to Lavar Arrington and his suitability as a radio host. If you don't remember, and choose not to click the link because you're lazy, let me sum it up for you: I think he's terrible.

What's kind of amazing is how frequently he says something irrational, obnoxious, or downright wrong. So amazing, in fact, that I'm debating adding a new feature to our blog here, where I listen to the Lavar Arrington Show for 30-60 minutes a day, and coming on here to offer you my analysis. I could use an outlet for relieving some stress, so I'm going to consider it.

And, at least for right now, I'm going to offer you another of their gems; and yes, I'm lumping in his co-host Chad Dukes, who stood by Arrington's argument that, wait for it...

"...Donovan McNabb deserves consideration as NFL MVP."

I pride myself on having pretty intelligent readers, so I'm sure you don't need me to outline why this is ludicrous, but on the off chance you're unsure, or aren't much of a football fan, or are Lavar Arrington, let me give you all the data you'll need.

The first point Arrington brought up was that McNabb has offered leadership that the Redskins haven't seen in a long time. I agree. That doesn't make a player the league MVP; that can make him the team's MVP. Furthermore, I think you'd be hard-pressed to say LaRon Landry hasn't been at least as important to the Redskins' success as McNabb.

Which brings me to Lavar's second point: the Redskins' "success." The team is 3-2. We're all glad they're 3-2, somewhere between glad and ecstatic, but still, they're a single game above .500, and they haven't played in a game yet that we didn't have to watch to the very end, except for the beating we saw our team get in St. Louis. Let's not talk about McNabb leading the team to the promised land just yet.

I will give Arrington a little bit of credit, though. The one point he was halfway willing to concede was that McNabb's stats aren't the best in football. Well, thanks for almost yielding that point, Lavar, but because it's the strongest evidence out there for why someone else should be the league MVP, let's have another look at those pesky "statistics." And, for kicks, we'll only look at quarterbacks, even though there are players at other positions who warrant more consideration than McNabb.

The quarterbacks whose teams have the best records in the league:
  • T1 - Mark Sanchez, New York Jets (4-1)
  • T1 - Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
  • T1 - Jay Cutler/Todd Collins, Chicago Bears (4-1)
  • T1 - Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons, (4-1)
  • T5 - Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
  • T5 - Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs (3-1)
  • T5 - Tom Brady, New England Patriots (3-1)
  • T5 - Ben Roethlisberger/Charlie Batch/Dennis Dixon, Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
Then there are ten more teams tied for 9th at 3-2, a group that includes McNabb as well as Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Peyton Manning, Matt Schaub, and Vince Young, as well as the two-headed monster of Michael Vick and Kevin Kolb.

The quarterbacks with the highest passer ratings in the NFL:
  1. Tom Brady, New England Patriots - 109.0
  2. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles - 108.8
  3. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers - 105.4
  4. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts - 102.6
  5. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears - 102.2
  6. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills - 99.9
  7. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos - 97.8
  8. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints - 95.7
  9. Vince Young, Tennessee Titans - 95.1
  10. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys - 92.7
I could keep going until we got to McNabb, but for two reasons, I won't. First, I'd have to go all the way down to twenty-first, which puts him in the bottom half of eligible quarterbacks. Second, I'd have to put Seneca Wallace on the list ahead of McNabb, and I made a blood oath to never make a list that highlights Seneca Wallace as a good football player.

Is McNabb doing well? I have to say yes. He's opened up the long ball like we haven't seen here since we were dabbling with Jeff freakin' George. Redskins football has become more exciting than it's been in a long time, the team looks like they can play with most other teams, and there's no doubting that McNabb is a valuable locker room and press room guy. But an MVP? God no.

My biggest problem with his performance this year is that the Redskins aren't scoring points. They have the ninth-worst scoring offense and the second worst third down conversion rate in football, despite having the seventh-most prolific passing attack in the league. That means they're never marching down the field (which any fellow Skins fan knows as well as I do just from watching the games); they make a couple big passes downfield each game, and get a touchdown or two off of them. But mostly, they come up short.

Here's some interesting information. As I said, the Redskins have the seventh highest pass output per game in the NFL. The Redskins average 88.6 yards per game on the ground; the six teams ahead of them in passing output average 84.4 rushing yards per game. But here's the remarkable stat: Washington converts just 26.2% of their third down attempts, yet none of the other six teams has a conversion rate below FORTY PERCENT. But sure, that's an offense that deserves an MVP candidate.

To be fair, here are my personal top ten MVP candidates today:
  1. Peyton Manning, Colts - 1609 passing yards, 11 TD, 2 INT
  2. Tom Brady, Patriots - 911 passing yards, 9 TD, 2 INT
  3. Mark Sanchez, Jets - 902 passing yards, 8 TD, 0 INT
  4. Clay Matthews, Packers - 21 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 1 FF
  5. Arian Foster, Texans - 718 total yards, 5 TD
  6. Philip Rivers, Chargers - 1759 passing yards, 11 TD, 4 INT
  7. Osi Umenyiora, Giants - 13 tackles, 6.0 sacks, 5 FF
  8. Kyle Orton, Broncos - 1733 passing yards, 8 TD, 3 INT
  9. Michael Vick, Eagles - 799 passing yards, 6 TD, 0 INT, 187 rushing yards, 1 TD
  10. Adrian Peterson, Vikings - 585 total yards, 3 TD
Donovan McNabb would be somewhere around 25.

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