Earlier in the week, you may have seen mention of two former Jacksonville Jaguars meeting up at a Detroit Lions training camp practice. Current Lions quarterbacks coach Mark Brunell was a longtime starter for the Jaguars, but who was the other player? It was franchise career rushing leader Fred Taylor, who was a dynamic offensive threat for the Jaguars for years. Taylor was in Allen Park as part of a visit to Lions practice by the hosts of The Pivot.
The new podcast/YouTube show, hosted by Taylor with other former NFL players Ryan Clark and Channing Crowder, is a tremendous success story of 2022 sports broadcasting. The Pivot posted a 39-minute video on YouTube with footage from their visit, focusing on Lions quarterback Jared Goff:
In this great program, the hosts strike up a conversation with Goff about all kinds of topics in a fun and engaging atmosphere. Obviously there is the football side with the transition from Los Angeles to Detroit, how he deals with social media and outside pressure that comes from being the first overall pick, and how he figured out football was the right sport for him as a sophomore in high school. He and Fred Taylor strike up an amusing exchange about the interconnectedness of the run and the pass, and later in the interview they discuss his input with the coaches on offensive scheme.
The guts of the interview, though, explores deeper aspects of leadership, confidence, and philosophy on life. At various points in the interview, Goff talks about putting his career success in perspective, the importance of family and everything else outside of football, and things he’s learned from losing a Super Bowl. He talks about putting in the effort and work to feel good about what he’s done regardless of what critics on the outside think. That kind of commitment to a higher personal standard and doing things the right way is both impressive and inspiring.
The positivity with which Goff talks about wishing his friends in Los Angeles well on their championship, trying to make everyone around him better, and even about being on Hard Knocks (again) makes him such an easy guy to root for. This is a fantastic discussion, and I encourage everyone to give it a shot. The Pivot Podcast is available on numerous platforms including Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and YouTube.
Now, on to the rest of your weekend Notes:
- We frequently post analytics articles by ESPN’s Seth Walder with praise, but occasionally there are some less impressive efforts. On Friday, he posted an article to ESPN’s Insider paywall section (subscription required) that ranked the league’s offensive lines by predicted win rates in run and pass blocking. Due to the methodology used, which considers two years’ worth of data (in which the current Lions starters were not playing in the same spots and with the same lineup), one of the best offensive lines in the league ended up near the bottom of the rankings. The lesson here: methodology matters. Understand how a metric is created before you trust it.
in fact, this list has the Lions with the worst offensive line in the NFC North.
— Ryan Mathews (@Ryan_POD) August 5, 2022
- For an extremely cool but technical look at play-calling tendencies in the NFL, check out Cole Jacobson’s article on Football Outsiders titled “Pete Carroll, Andy Reid, and the Psychology of Play Calling.” There is a considerable amount of detail and even example programming code in the text, but the main takeaways are this: given a particular down and distance situation, NFL teams are more likely to pass than they otherwise would would in that situation if they just ran the ball. Also, succeeding on the previous play matters a bit too, but it matters more if they ran the ball on the last play. If you are into programming and thinking about advanced analytics, the article is a great read thanks to the depth of explanation provided by Jacobson.
- Here is a fun throwback clip of Detroit Lions running backs coach Duce Staley showing us how it’s done:
- The Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement of the Class of 2022 was held on Saturday. You can read about the ceremony and find links to the acceptance speech videos on the official site.