Here's the thing about my friend Bernie - the dude is totally and completely unpredictable.
It's for that reason that one time when we were hanging out and the seminole "Men In Black" by Double You Eye Elle Elle Smith (that's Will Smith, guys) from the movie of the same name came on and he lost his mind... I didn't blink an eye.
The thing about the MIB title track is that it has the sickest intro of all time. Don't believe me? Give it a whirl.
"Men in black" performed by Will Smith Album: Big Willie Style (1997) About: "Men in Black" is a song by Will Smith (featuring singer Coko from double diamond selling group SWV) from the movie Men in Black, in which he also starred. The song plays during the movie's closing credits.
The other thing about the MIB song is that at one point Will Smith breaks into a full-out dance routine with an alien. I miss the 90s.
So back to my buddy Bernie. One day he tells me, "Let's learn the dance! We can break into it and it'll be ill!" (Sidebar: I fully support the usage of the word ill in a positive context. I also support "Sidebars", we should use them more often!). So what do I do? You know me, Inside The Star fam. I learned it. I still know it today. Don't challenge me on this. You'll lose. Just like those pesky aliens in Men In Black 1, 2, and 3 (it's pretty amazing what's allowed to be a trilogy these days).
It doesn't take a hypnotizer or a neuralizer to turn my vivid memories to fantasies, though. All it takes is Price Per Yard.
I debuted my methodology behind this metric with the 2013 Price Per Yard Analysis. I followed suit (the Men In Black wear suits, this whole things is tied together I tell ya!) with the 2014 Price Per Yard Analysis which proved that the Dallas Cowboys are financial wizards.
Jay, Will Smith's MIB character, protected Earth from aliens. RJ (that's me!) is serving this world up with running back financial cookies and I've got a fresh batch for you today. Welcome to the 2015 Price Per Yard Analysis.
How's that for the sickest intro of all time?
2015 NFC Price Per Yard
**Click the image to zoom in.
It's important to remember before we begin that the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams don't have any data available to collect. They don't want to play with us and that's just fine. WE DON'T NEED THEM ANYWAY!
It doesn't take a genius to see that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the dominant team at Price Per Yard in the National Football Conference last season. The repetitive theme surrounding PPY is that if you can get elite production from a rookie or veteran on a cheap deal then you're going to be in business - good business.
Tampa Bay rode the Muscle Hamster (I will never understand why Doug Martin hates that nickname, it's awesome!) and Co. to a league-leading 1,949 yards in 2015 (For a refresher on the yardage calculation please visit the Price Per Yard Introduction).
The only team that paid less per yard than the Bucs in the NFC, and actually the entire NFL, was the Atlanta Falcons; however, the little Doug that could and his fellow RBs outgained their division rivals by more than 400 yards. Charles Sims and his low cap number are the icing on top of the Doug cake here.
Arizona saw a re-emergence from Chris Johnson in 2015, and we all saw it on Amazon Video's All or Nothing (which you can hear all about during my interview with Director Shannon Furman on the RJOShow). His veteran deal, and David Johnson's rookie one, helped make the 1,884 yards that they tallied look brilliant from a Price Per Yard perspective. Also just throwing this out there... doesn't Bruce Arians kind of remind you of Tommy Lee Jones' Kay from MIB? Yes? No? Oh well.
Last year's version of the Minnesota Vikings, having Adrian Peterson at their disposal for every game, encompassed what basic business is (ideally) all about - you get what you pay for. The Vikes paid more than anyone in the conference per yard, but they came in third in total yardage collected. I watched The Big Short on Netflix a few weeks ago so I'm basically a business expert now, and I can explain exactly what the Vikings are doing pretty simply.
Minnesota wants to run the ball well. They pay guys to do that. The guys do that. Hooray.
2015 AFC Price Per Yard
Sometimes when it's late at night I wonder if the Bills still laugh about the fact that they got Chip Kelly to trade them LeSean McCoy in exchange for Kiko Alonso.
Philly really did whip out a neuralizer on their coaching staff when they fired Chip Kelly and removed any and all things that he ever touched as an additional precaution... more like a sterilizer than a nerualizer, to be honest.
The Bills took their new toy and ran with it - literally. Buffalo led the AFC in rushing and did so at an insane bargain price. Shady McCoy and his many talents are well compensated, but we saw Buffalo prove a Price Per Yard rule of thumb to be totally true - have a good rookie. Karlos Williams, although now suspended for four games, helped the cause while doing so at a great rate.
Last season's Tennessee Titans are sort of the opposite of the Vikings. They didn't invest a ton financially in the run game and as a result didn't get a good one.
It's honestly pretty hard to be as bad at this as the 2015 Jaguars were. Hey, at least they're good at something! Jacksonville dropped a bigger chunk of change in the run game than most teams and produced a sub-par product. Hey Will Smith, how do you say "This was atrocious" in cool alien jargon?
2015 Price Per Yard: Applying The Base Value
The Base Value (BV) helps bring light to exactly how good these teams are at Price Per Yard relative to the Top 10 rushing teams in the NFL. (For a refresher on the Base Value calculation please visit the Price Per Yard Introduction).
The light shed here indicates that the Buccaneers, Cardinals, Bills, and Broncos all had great returns on their investments. They didn't pay a lot relative to the Top 10 teams, but they still had serious success in the yardage department. Bravo!
Price Per Yard: The 2015 Dallas Cowboys
I've evaluated three full seasons of teams and their respective Price Per Yard calculations. I believe that the 2014 Dallas Cowboys were one of the best to ever do this, or anything similar, in the history of professional football.
Any time you do something absolutely incredible, it's hard to top it immediately afterward. That lesson rang true for last season's version of America's Team.
Saying that the Dallas Cowboys have the best Offensive Line in the game is both a luxury for us and a cold, hard fact. Even though that elite production is coming off of a minimal investment, it still wasn't enough to carry last year's stable of running backs to another historic Price Per Yard performance.
The 2015 Cowboys indicated, via their financial investments, that they didn't need a high-quality running back to yield great results in terms of yardage. They were unequivocally right in that regard, I'm not disputing that.
Unfortunately, relative to the Base Value, the Cowboys didn't yield enough of a great result to totally justify their low-level investment. They paid 7.11% less than the BV in the run game, which is cool, but in turn yielded 30.20% less yardage than the BV. We saw this team just a season before have one of the greatest returns on investment in NFL History, and remember that in the world of business you ideally get what you pay for.
The Cowboys responded by paying for Zeke.
The 2015 season may be the last one with data calculation that we have at our disposal, but the Price Per Yard series lives on!
Next Monday (July 25th) I'll be debuting a Price Per Yard summation for seasons 2013, 2014, and 2015 combined. Three seasons is a strong enough sample size for us to be able to see trends that teams are taking. I'll have all of that broken down for you here at Inside The Star.
Additionally on August 1st I'll be putting out a projection regarding Price Per Yard for the 2016 season and including yardage markers that each team will have to hit in order for them to get a legitimate return on the investments that they're making this season.
If you have any comments or questions about Price Per Yard, the philosophy behind it, the formula that went into it, or just simply want to talk and/or debate it… you can comment below, email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa.
Cowboys Chill While Pats & Rams Set to Thrill
If you were to check out the line on the Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams, you might wander over to Sportsbook Review, where you could read a 5Dimes review and see what all the best online sportsbooks, first and foremost among them 5Dimes, are dealing on this intriguing matchup. Tom Brady and the Patriots, much to everyone’s chagrin outside the six New England states, are back in it – again – and are currently slight favorites over the emerging LA Rams.
In New England’s 37-31 victory over the Chiefs, the Patriots did what they always seem to do, which is rally late and win in dramatic fashion. It’s become almost a ho-hum experience in New England while the rest of the country bites on a bullet, cursing the embarrassment of riches and success that has been the standard of this Patriots’ franchise for two decades. But this was supposed to be the season that the dynasty would end after viewing Tom Brady’s often mediocre performances and his All-World tight end, Rob Gronkowski, hobbling up and down the field without the same reckless abandon as we’ve seen in year’s past. And then their only truly talented speed merchant capable of stretching the field, Josh Gordon, left the team under a cloud of suspicion.
Unfortunately for the rest of the nation, the Patriots' once porous defense coalesced into a rather stout unit and apparently, the two weeks between the end of the regular season and the start of the Patriots’ postseason was enough time for Brady to heal from his rumored sprained MCL that he had been dealing with in silence all season long.
Gronkowski must have also visited the same shaman as Brady because he looked as dominating as ever in ripping the Chiefs on every critical third-down throughout the final quarter. Finally, the conduit to much of Brady’s success, Julian Edelman, is now being mentioned as a Hall-of-Fame candidate when his run is done.
It’s all a bit much for everyone else, but not for Patriots Nation.
The LA Rams will be the Patriots’ latest foe on the league’s grandest stage as they have a burgeoning superstar in Jared Goff. Los Angeles tore through the regular season off of the golden arm of Goff and his Juggernauts, winning 13 of 16 and earning a first-round bye. Their first foray into the 2018 postseason was a 30-22 win over the determined but overwhelmed Dallas Cowboys. The Rams then traveled to the lair of Drew Brees and the Saints down on the bayou and came away with a 26-23 overtime victory.
However, had it not been for an inexcusable non-call, it is far more likely LA would be watching, rather than participating in this year’s Super Bowl. If you didn’t see it or hadn’t heard about it, then the question begs; why are you reading this article?
Of course, you know that LA’s cornerback Nickell Robey-Coleman steamrolled New Orleans’ wideout Tommylee Lewis as Brees’ pass was descending toward Lewis inside the five-yard line. It was a penalty without a flag and that one blown call forced the Saints to settle for a field goal that pushed them ahead 23-20. Yet, there was still enough time on the clock to give Goff and his prolific Rams’ offense one last gasp at either tying the game or putting a dagger through the hearts of Saints’ fans everywhere with a touchdown in the waning moments.
It was the former and not the latter that occurred, but an errant pass by Brees in overtime sealed the deal as the Rams picked it off and ultimately ended the contest off the thunderous foot of Greg Zuerlein.
If you want to check out the line movements over the next two weeks for Super Bowl LIII then get on over to Sportsbook Review, read the 5Dimes review, and see exactly where the money is moving the spread as well as the total in the game. Buckle up Cowboys’ fans, it’s gonna get even more interesting as February 3rd draws near.
Cowboys en Español: Hablemos de los Coaches
Lamentablemente, la temporada 2018 de los Dallas Cowboys ha llegado a su fin. Lo hizo cuando el equipo visitó Los Angeles para intentar sorprender a los Rams en su propio campo en la Ronda Divisional de los playoffs. Ni siquiera con una invasión exitosa de la afición de Dallas pudieron ganarse un pase al Campeonato de Conferencia. En vez de eso, los Cowboys estarán viendo desde casa y la afición estará preguntándose: ¿qué sigue para los Dallas Cowboys?
Parece ya una tradición anual que no podemos dejar pasar. Este momento en el que comenzamos a cuestionar, una vez más, que entrenador es digno de quedarse en la franquicia y cual debe irse. En esta edición de "Cowboys en Español," hablaremos específicamente de los tres principales coaches en el equipo.
Coordinador Defensivo Rod Marinelli
El futuro del coordinador defensivo de los Dallas Cowboys no se puede tratar sin mencionar a Kris Richard. Fue la defensiva la que llevó al equipo hasta la postemporada y fue la unidad que cargó al equipo en muchas de sus victorias. Incluso con la llegada de Amari Cooper a Dallas, la defensiva fue siempre el pilar de la franquicia esta temporada.
Jaylon Smith y Leighton Vander Esch sorprendentemente se perfilaron como uno de los mejores duos de linebackers en toda la liga, la línea defensiva fue muy exitosa con Randy Gregory y DeMarcus Lawrence en los extremos y con la grata sorpresa que fue Antwaun Woods en el centro. La secundaria vio la mejor temporada en la controversial carrera de Byron Jones e hizo un excelente trabajo con un talento decente, pero no genial.
Todo esto, y el haber terminado como la sexta mejor defensiva en puntos permitidos (20.2) y la quinta mejor contra la corrida (94.6), hace a Rod Marinelli merecedor de una ronda de aplausos. Sin embargo, Richard probablemente merezca más aplausos.
Fue Richard quien revolucionó la defensiva de los Cowboys y la convirtió en un grupo mucho más agresivo. Fue él quien implementó jugadas de "blitz" en el equipo (algo no común con Marinelli) y quien en un punto de la temporada, comenzó a seleccionar las jugadas desde la banda.
En esta posición, me parece que los Dallas Cowboys tienen que enfrentar la dura decisión de decirle a Marinelli que es tiempo de dejarle el puesto a Kris Richard. Si bien no se llevó un trabajo de head coach, es muy probable que le llovieran ofertas a Richard si no se hace con el título de coordinador defensivo en Dallas.
Coordinador Ofensivo Scott Linehan
Con un equipo tan polémico como este, la afición de Dallas no concuerda en muchas cosas. Sin embargo, lo hacen al hablar del pésimo trabajo que Scott Linehan ha realizado mandando las jugadas en ofensiva. Realmente ha sido doloroso de ver y es en mi opinión, el mayor problema que tiene el equipo actualmente.
Semana tras semana, fuimos testigos de pésimas decisiones en la ofensiva de los Cowboys. Vimos como el equipo se aferraba a llenar la caja de defensivos antes de correr el balón con Ezekiel Elliott. Vimos incontables pases pantalla en tercera oportunidad y largo. Pero no solo es lo que vimos, sino lo que no vimos.
A pesar de la innegable habilidad para correr el balón de Dak Prescott, Linehan se rehusó a explotar esta versatilidad de su QB. Vimos pocos "QB sneaks," jugada donde el mariscal toma el balón bajo centro y consigue poco yardage detrás del empuje de su línea ofensiva.
Siendo honestos, los Cowboys llevan dos años sufriendo por este coordinador. Dejarlo volver en el 2019 sería una decisión ridícula. Los comentarios en la radio de Jason Garrett no lucen prometedores, pero realmente sería una sorpresa que fueran ciertos. Linehan no debe volver... punto.
Head Coach Jason Garrett
El futuro en esta posición será muy debatido durante los próximos meses, pero de los tres que hemos mencionado es sin lugar a dudas el más seguro de todos. Nos guste o no, Jason Garrett estará al frente del equipo la próxima temporada.
Garrett está lejos de ser un gran coach y aún le hace falta demostrar que puede cumplir las aspiraciones de los Cowboys de traer un sexto Trofeo Lombardi a casa. Pero siendo honesto, este equipo debería tener suficiente con Garrett y un par de buenos coordinadores. ¿El problema? No hay un par de buenos coordinadores en el equipo.
Sin embargo, Garrett ha demostrado que cuenta con el amor y apoyo de sus jugadores. Ha demostrado que efectivamente, puede ganar la división (lo ha hecho en tres de los últimos cinco años). Este año el equipo le dio la vuelta a la temporada después de comenzar 3-5.
Lo más preocupante en mi opinión, es la falta de urgencia para despedir a Linehan, por ejemplo. Quizá a puerta cerrada Garrett quiere un cambio en su staff, pero nunca lo sabremos.
Jason Garrett no es un coach excelente, pero podría ser suficiente para llevar a los Cowboys a un Super Bowl si tiene un equipo adecuado. Todo parece indicar que su trabajo está seguro (incluso más de lo que pensamos) así que es tiempo de esperar que se arreglen sus coordinadores.
2018 Draft Class Season Review: LB Leighton Vander Esch
As the first round draft pick of America's Team, any player would be under a ton of pressure from all angles. Whether it's from the fans on the outside or the organization on the inside, the expectations around being a first round pick for the Cowboys are immense. But the pressure placed upon linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, from the second he was announced as the 19th overall draft pick, was second to none.
It felt like Cowboys Nation let out a collective groan when Vander Esch was taken, with fans hoping for a more glamorous first round selection. Someone like wide receiver Calvin Ridley or edge rusher Harold Landry would've done the trick, but after Vander Esch's rookie season it's hard to imagine either of those players would have had the impact Vander Esch did in 2018.
Though he didn't start a game until week 4, and didn't become the unquestioned full-time starting WILL until week 10, Vander Esch earned Pro Bowl honors for his rookie season. Tallying 140 total tackles and 2 interceptions, Vander Esch made his presence felt week in and week out.
No counting stats can fully measure Leighton Vander Esch's impact as a rookie, however.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Cowboys defensive success often came down to the health of Sean Lee. When available and playing at his best, Lee led an overachieving Cowboys defense to solid performances each week. But, when Lee went out (as he often did), the entire Cowboys defense seemed to fall apart.
This year, though, that all changed. When Sean Lee was out with injury the Cowboys defense got better. Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith became a versatile, hard hitting tandem the NFL immediately feared, and helped to direct the Cowboys defense to signature wins throughout the 2018 season.
There are arguments against taking any off-ball linebacker in the first round, as the value of the position has been questioned due to the new style of offense in the NFL. Nowadays linebackers are relegated to two-down players, taken off the field in favor of faster defensive backs on critical passing downs.
Leighton Vander Esch is athletic enough to be both an old school run stopper, but also a three down linebacker in today's fast paced NFL.
Despite the doubts which surrounded the pick, the Cowboys absolutely nailed their first round selection in 2018. And Leighton Vander Esch made Dallas' front office look like geniuses each and every Sunday.
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