Tuesday Takeaways: Week 1

Welcome back to Corner Three, and welcome to Tuesday Takeaways – on a Wednesday – as we kick off football season and get the juices back flowing!

 

What Happened to Revis Island?

091216-NFL-Cincinnati-Bengals-AJ-Green-1.jpg

For many years Darrelle Revis has been considered one of the best corners in the business, consistently adding new residents to the famous “Revis Island.” However, Revis did not play at the level we are accustomed to seeing from him last season, and received his lowest Pro Football Focus grade of his career at 78.4. To put that into perspective, he had previously never graded lower than 80 and his incredible 2009 season earned him a 97.6 grade. Questions of his decline will only continue after his performance on Sunday. Revis found himself guarding AJ Green on 8 targets; Green hauled in all 8 targets for 100 yards. Revis may be calling on his front seven to help make his job easier. Yes, the Jets’ defense sacked Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton 7 times, but his numbers under pressure compared to his numbers when not vary drastically. Dalton threw the ball 30 times on Sunday – on 25 of those throws he felt no pressure and completed 21 passes for 344 yards and a touchdown. On the remaining 5 attempts, he only completed 2 passes for 22 yards, and threw an interception. It will be interesting to see how Revis continues to fare against the best of the best at the wide receiver position. He lucks out and may not have to face Sammy Watkins this Thursday, who is dealing with a foot injury.

 

Cowboys’ Red Zone Struggles Cost ‘Em

The Cowboys’ first three scoring drives this past Sunday accounted for 41 plays, 190 yards and 21 minutes and 57 seconds, but only resulted in 9 points. You hear coaches preach it constantly: when you get in the red zone you must find a way to walk away with 6 points. Dallas did find the end zone in their third trip inside the 20, finishing the day 33.33% inside the red zone. This should be concerning for Cowboys fans considering their struggles inside the red zone last season – Dallas’ red zone touchdown scoring percentage ranked 30th in the league at 44.44%. Although unable to throw for a touchdown in the red zone, rookie QB Dak Prescott did complete 4 of 6 passes in the red zone, a sign of optimism for fans of America’s team.

 

You Like That?! Nope

After a breakout season last year, many were quick to jump on the Kirk Cousins bandwagon. After last night’s performance, many will be jumping off even faster than they’d jumped on. Despite having solid protection and only taking one hit all night, Cousins was unable to work the ball downfield against a secondary that allowed the 5th most passing yards per game last season at 264, and the highest opponent passing touchdown percentage of 78.95%. Both interceptions that Cousins threw occurred against no pressure and he only completed 4 of 8 passes on throws that traveled 10 or more yards, including an interception. The road does not get much easier for Cousins, who has to face division opponent New York Giants, who this past Sunday held Dak Prescott to a passer rating of 69.4 and limited all-pro wideout Dez Bryant to eight yards on one catch.

 

by Sean Fener, Saint Joseph’s University

Bryce Harper: $400 Million Man?

Fresh off of his 2015 National League MVP season, including a league leading 9.9 WAR, Bryce Harper is one of the most exciting and talented young players in baseball. At the tender age of 23, Harper’s best years likely lie ahead of him, though his contract with the Washington Nationals will keep him off the free agent market until after the 2018 season. With 2016 right around the corner, and considering the outfielder’s potential, it’s certainly not too early to start conjecturing about the possibilities that surround his future and, perhaps, the first $400 million contract in professional sports.

Continue reading

Are the Mets Squandering a Billion Dollar Opportunity?

The New York Mets are coming off of a very pleasantly surprising season in 2015, making a thrilling run to the World Series after not previously making the playoffs since 2006. They also have plenty of cause for optimism in the future, with a young and still improving pitching rotation that could already be considered the best in baseball. However, some of the moves (and non-moves) they’ve made this offseason have the fanbase scratching their heads and even calling for the owners to sell the team. Why?

Continue reading

The Spurs: Not So Far Behind

Though it’s finally over, the Golden State Warriors’ winning streak was the talk of the NBA during its run, and why not? The dominance of the Warriors has been more than apparent this season. Their already-defending-MVP Stephen Curry has been by far the best player in the Association this season, contributing over 1.5 wins more than the next best player in our WAR rankings. Golden State is 24-1 with an average point differential of +13.1, and there’s no doubting the already-defending-champions have been the NBA’s best team, but by how much?

Continue reading

Week 1 NFL Takeaways

Seven long months without the joy of football are finally a thing of the past. Week 1 provided us fans with some much deserved good football. The NFL’s opening weekend had it all: underdogs pulling off big upsets, wild comebacks, and games that went down to the last play. It is unwise to jump to conclusions after only one week, but there are plenty of things to take away from the first week of football.

Continue reading

How Conventional Wisdom Helped the Mets Sweep Matt Williams

It’s been quite a week for both the New York Mets and Washington Nationals, though the two teams have seen very different results. The Mets, currently riding a five-game win streak that included a sweep of the Nats, are back in first place in the National League East for the first time since early June, despite the returns for the Nationals of injured starters Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth. Many factors allowed the Mets to sweep the Nats this weekend, including their fireballing young trio of Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, the overall – and sudden – ineptitude of the Nats’ offense (see figure below, courtesy of ESPN, for an overview), the addition of two-time Home Run Derby champion and 4.2 WAR outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a suddenly-deep Mets lineup, and the magma-hot bat of Mets first baseman Lucas Duda, who had an incredible run that saw nine home runs hit in an eight-game span, and was awarded co-National League Player of the Week for his efforts.

Continue reading