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.
Tony Romo Documentary in the Works
If you've missed seeing Tony Romo on the field, an upcoming documentary may be the cure. The former Dallas Cowboys quarterback is reportedly the subject of a film chronicling his football career going all the way back to high school.
"Now or Never" will tell Romo's incredible story, going from undrafted to one of the top passers in the history of the Cowboys' storied franchise. It's being produced by a Texas-based company run by Christian Hanna (no known relation to James).
According to an article from MyRacineCounty.com, Romo's hometown newspaper, the tale of Tony's football career will be told going back to his days at Burlington High School in Wisconsin. It will follow him to Eastern Illinois University, the same QB hotbed that more recently produced Jimmy Garoppolo.
But what most of us will want to relive is Tony's amazing NFL career, which stands out among the most unexpected rises to stardom of any player in league history.
Romo, who was an undrafted free agent signed by the Cowboys in 2003, didn't play in a game for three seasons. He rose the QB depth chart through practice and preseason play, eventually becoming the backup and earning the respect of then-coach Bill Parcells.
In Week 7 of 2006, Parcells pulled struggling starter Drew Bledsoe at halftime and went with his intriguing young prospect. Tony's first pass in the NFL was one to forget; an interception.
About a decade later, Romo would retire as the Cowboys' all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns. He currently ranks fourth all-time in NFL history for passer rating.
Tony's career never saw the playoff and Super Bowl success of predecessors Troy Aikman and Roger Staubach, but he remains a beloved figure in team history. The controversial end to his football career, losing his job to rookie phenom Dak Prescott in 2016, created a major rift among Cowboys fans.
While no longer playing, Romo remains one of the hottest names in football. His charisma and football acumen have him in a featured role with CBS Broadcasting.
From obscurity to "anointing oil" to one of the most discussed names in sports, Tony Romo's story is fascinating. This documentary crew picked a great subject, and we look forward to enjoying their work and revisiting the Romo Era once the film is released.
Prescott VS Wentz Rivalry is Just Beginning
No one expected Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott to become such an interesting rivalry, but that's precisely what the 2016's second and 135th draft picks have turnt out to be since the day they entered the NFL. The two came into the NFC East with very different expectations. Dak wasn't even supposed to be a starter, but circumstance is what helped this rivalry emerge.
Prescott seemed to lead the race after their rookie seasons were over, having led the Dallas Cowboys to a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC, but Carson Wentz made a huge statement in 2017. Before he went down injured playing versus the LA Rams last December, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback was playing astonishingly well.
Leading the MVP race before tearing his ACL, Carson Wentz had thrown for 3,296 yards and 33 touchdowns through 13 games. Had he not gone down, it's more likely than not he would've been named the MVP instead of Tom Brady.
Despite having won the passing yards race, Dak Prescott's 2017 was rougher than his rival's. His interceptions count went from 4 in 2016 to 13 last season. He threw for only 22 touchdowns, falling eight short of the 30 TDs mark. His completion percentage also went down, from over 67% to almost 63%.
As we all know, it wasn't a good year for the Dallas Cowboys. Suspensions, injuries and poor play led them to a disappointing 9-7 season that didn't feel like a winning season at all, even though that's how it will go down in the books.
To make things worse, the Eagles went into January with QB Nick Foles starting, and overcoming adversity and doubters, won their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Although it was Foles and not Wentz the one who played Philadelphia's postseason, the former second overall pick is one of the main reasons for the team's success.
His sophomore year was way better than Dak's.
But as impressive as Wentz's year was, the rivalry between the two signal-callers is just beginning. There is still a lot of history to write in this duel of two young and hard-working players. Two leader of men in one of the most intense rivalries in the NFL.
Through two years of football, here's how their numbers look like:
Wentz: 29 games, 1,047 attempts, 644 completions (61.5%), 7,078 yards, 49 TDs, 2 rushing TDs
Prescott: 32 games, 949 attempts, 619 completions (65.2%), 6,991 yards, 45 TDs, 12 rushing TDs
There's not a ton of difference between their numbers, but in the NFL, it's about more than stats. Prescott had the better 2016, Wentz the better 2017.
Dak and Carson have really only played two match-ups in their two years playing in the league. Sitting at an even 1-1 record, 2018 will feature two great games between both of their teams. The defending Super Bowl Champions against the underestimated Dallas Cowboys.
The sport is about winning games and championships, but rivalries like this one make the NFL even more special. Even with Wentz being the MVP front-runner for most of last season, Dak Prescott still has a lot of time to turn things around.
If both turn out to be as successful and important as their franchise wish them to be, then this rivalry will be around for a lot of years.
If Reinstated, Is Randy Gregory A Lock for Cowboys 53-Man Roster?
The Dallas Cowboys will enter training camp in Oxnard with arguably their deepest and most talented defensive line in years. Cowboys Nation continues to hope for the best possible news on suspended Defensive End Randy Gregory, to potentially take this defensive front to the next level. Should Gregory be reinstated, the Cowboys would have another option at right defensive end. This is a position they've bolstered with the signing of Kony Ealy and drafting of Dorance Armstrong, both moves coming behind would-be starter Tyrone Crawford.
This logjam at DE begs the question, amidst optimism for Gregory's situation, is the 2015 second round pick even a lock to make this roster?
Who Does Randy Gregory Need to Outplay?
Going through some form of the Cowboys depth chart at Gregory's position above does little to sort out how Gregory can justify a starting position. Having true starters on the defensive line is not DC Rod Marinelli's way, meaning a possible rotation of Crawford, Gregory, and Armstrong could coexist.
Even with insufficient depth at defensive tackle, the Cowboys seem committed to keeping Crawford on the edge. As he's done with each position change within the Cowboys defense, Crawford is slowly developing into a respectable right end that's great against the run.
This sounds like just the type of player to compliment a speedy rusher like Gregory, but Randy won't be alone in this role should he return to the team. Along with FA addition Kony Ealy, the Cowboys will look to bring Charles Tapper back from an offseason concussion, and also have second-year rusher Taco Charlton in need of a true position.
It's fair to say that Gregory has been anything but reliable since the Cowboys took a gamble on him, but turning his life around to see out this reinstatement would go a long way in beating out the often-injured Tapper.
Given Ealy's ability to play both on the edge and inside, at his best if receiving limited snaps, I believe that Gregory will only have to surpass Tapper in reaching a favorable spot on the Cowboys depth chart at DE.
Comparing Randy Gregory and Dorance Armstrong
Of course, making the roster and making an impact on defense are two vastly different realities for Gregory in 2018. Another player that could stunt his opportunities to hunt down quarterbacks is rookie fourth round pick Dorance Armstrong.
The Cowboys would love to see Armstrong begin his career with a strong showing in Oxnard, owning all of the traits needed to be an effective right end at the next level.
Lacking the true cornering speed that Gregory has flashed in short spurts, Armstrong did produce a ten sack season for Kansas in 2016. This production matches the traits that kept Armstrong a priority for the Cowboys at the draft, despite only seeing him get home 1.5 times in 2017.
Rewind to last year's draft, and the Cowboys spent their first round pick on a defensive end they looked to make a right end, all while knowing his ideal spot is at LDE. This makes the difference between drafting Charlton and Armstrong an important one, as the Cowboys are clearly searching for high-value options to complete their pass rush.
Again, assuming Tapper becomes the odd man out in the Cowboys carrying Gregory, Ealy, and Armstrong as right ends, the work is cut out for Gregory to regain the trust of his coaches and bring what only he can to this defense.
✭ ✭ ✭ ✭ ✭
It goes without saying that Randy Gregory will carry plenty of attention with him if present in Oxnard. This is a player capable of transforming a young Cowboys defense into one of the league's most feared.
While the Cowboys would do well to quickly sort out who plays the 3T-DT position alongside DeMarcus Lawrence, and the 1T inside for that matter too, sticking Gregory on the opposite edge could be the easiest decision they make to see immediate improvements in their pass rush.
Should Ealy or Armstrong have more to say about this lineup for the Cowboys defensive line, the depth of this unit will live up to the hype.
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