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 Defense So Far So Good as Seahawks Up Next
Dallas may only be 1-1 on the season, but the Cowboys are officially tied for first-place in the NFC East, and fresh off a workmanlike victory over divisional rivals, the New York Giants. It was a game they should have won, and did win, but the takeaways so early in the season are that, although the offense has not clicked on all cylinders, the defense is getting high praise.
The Cowboys sacked New York’s Eli Manning six times and limited the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 draft, Saquon Barkley, to a mere 28 yards rushing. It was also a night in which Dak Prescott not only out-gained Barkley by 17 yards on the ground, but torched the Giants’ secondary on a 64-yard touchdown strike to Tavon Austin which proved New York’s Safety Landon Collins wrong when leading up to this game he remarked that the key to a Giants’ victory would be getting Prescott to throw. When Prescott was made aware of the comment in a midweek interview he replied, "…challenge accepted," and the third-year veteran made good on his word leading to the 20-13 victory.
However, Prescott ended the night with just 160 yards passing yet the ankle injury he sustained in Week 1 showed no signs of rearing its head as Prescott moved seamlessly in the pocket and ran the ball well.
As we move ahead to the Cowboys meeting in Seattle, we take a quick check over to one of the most reputable online sportsbooks in the industry - Intertops according to the reviews - where we can monitor the line on this pivotal NFC clash as the week progresses.
Seattle boasts a talented quarterback of their own in Russell Wilson but one who will find the sledding tough if the Dallas defense continues to shut down All-World wide outs like Odell Beckham Jr. and contain future rushing stars like Saquon Barkley. Outside of Wilson, Seattle is not loaded offensively, with their biggest target, Doug Baldwin, ailing with a knee injury and a backfield which consists of two young rushers in second-year man Chris Carson and a first-round rookie in Rashaad Penny who dealt with nagging injuries throughout the preseason and looked unsettled in Seattle’s 27-24 loss to the Broncos.
The Cowboys defense has already proven its worth in Carolina with Cam Newton under center and again last week against New York. The unit is surrendering an average of 14 ½ points per game and is incorporating more blitz packages than we’ve come to expect.
The difference this year is that the players they have on defense are capable of getting to the quarterback quick enough so that the coverage linebackers and secondary aren’t alone on an island for too long. The one concern is the status of Linebacker Sean Lee, who checked out of the game in the fourth quarter Sunday night and brought to mind his hamstring issues of a year ago, but apparently it was in fact cramping, and not straining, of the hammy which allowed Lee to return.
The bottom line in terms of the Cowboys' upcoming matchup on Sunday afternoon is that they will get the Seahawks coming off a short week, as Seattle played on Monday night and should be relatively healthy for the contest.
Dak Prescott may not have the formidable offensive line that he has had in the past, nor a top-tier arsenal of receivers, but he does have the elusive Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield and is capable of extricating himself from pressure situations when no target is available.
If the Dallas defense continues to play at the current level, it will not only be limiting the opposition on the scoreboard but putting its offense in good field position throughout. So check out Intertops, one of the most trusted and reputable online sportsbooks, to see where this line goes because a Dallas win and an ATS cover are just days away.
Taco Tuesday: Cowboys DE Taco Charlton Starting to Dominate?
There has been quite a bit of talk about what a bad decision it was for the Dallas Cowboys to draft Taco Charlton with their first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Nearly everybody wanted someone different, not a player that needed time to develop.
Well, fast forward a year later and it looks as if the Cowboys made the right decision.
Don't look now, but Defensive End Taco Charlton is starting to live up to that first-round pedigree. In the first two weeks of the 2018 season, Charlton has already looked like a much improved player from what we saw a season ago. Imagine that, a little bit of time to develop and he's turning into a solid player.
I know I may be getting a little bit ahead of myself, especially suggesting that he is starting to dominate, but I can't help myself. I'm that excited about how much he has improved in one offseason. I may be alone here, but I have high hopes he could turn into something special.
In 2017, Taco Charlton failed to start a single game for the Dallas Cowboys as a rookie. That's not really what you want from your first-round draft pick. To makes matters worse, in 16 games he only registered 25 total tackles, four QB sacks, two passes defensed, and one forced fumble. As you can imagine, it didn't sit well with most Cowboys fans.
Luckily, it looks as if Charlton's offseason in the Dallas Cowboys strength and conditioning program has paid off. Already in 2018 he has accumulated six total tackles, one QB sack, one pass defensed, and recovered a fumble. If he keeps this pace up, we could be looking at #97 reaching double-digit sacks this year.
Now, I wouldn't call what Taco Charlton has accomplished so far this season dominating, but he is proving to be a starting quality DE along the Cowboys defensive line. It's a unit that has looked really good in the first two weeks of the season and is expected to be even better once Randy Gregory and David Irving are able to return to the field.
In the meantime, the Dallas Cowboys are happy to get plays like this from Taco Charlton.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
This is a play Charlton is expected to make. He was left unblocked, but we've seen players left unblocked before not make the play. So, it may not be as impressive as some QB sacks. But, I'll take the routine tackle any day over someone trying to make a splash play and failing.
If you're looking for an impressive play from Taco Charlton, take a look at what he was able to do against Odell Beckham Jr. in the passing game.
Check out this video on Streamable using your phone, tablet or desktop.
In case you're wondering, that's Taco Charlton in OBJ's hip pocket 15 yards down the field in pass coverage. It looks as if that's where Eli Manning was wanting to go with the ball, but tight coverage by the Cowboys, and Charlton, across the board ended up resulting in a QB sack.
If you don't find that impressive, I don't know what will. A 275 pound DE covering arguably the best and highest paid wide receiver down the field is almost unheard of. I would count that as impressive.
What do you think of Taco Charlton's play so far in 2018?
A Look Around The NFC East: Week 2
The usually competitive NFC East got off to a shaky start last week, with half the division winning their season opener and the other half falling short.
Now entering week 2, the Eagles and Redskins have a chance to begin to distance themselves from the loser of the Cowboys/Giants game, and both of those 0-1 teams are looking to "save" their season. Yes, that sounds dramatic, but a home loss within the division to fall to 0-2 could be debilitating for the Dallas Cowboys moving forward.
Regardless, let's go around the division and see what each team has on tap for this Sunday.
The defending champs opened up their 2018 campaign just as we expected: with a home victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta sort of gave that game away last Thursday night, but if the Eagles can stack Nick Foles-led wins on top of each other they'll put themselves in a great spot to win the East when Carson Wentz returns.
The Eagles will be on the road this week for the first time, traveling to Tampa Bay to play the 1-0 Buccaneers. The Bucs pulled the upset of the weekend last week, defeating New Orleans 48-40. It's hard to imagine that "Fitzmagic" continuing against the vaunted Eagles defense, though.
Philly is a three point road favorite against Tampa Bay this Sunday.
My "sleeper" team in the NFC East, and pick to finish second in the division, looked rather impressive in their week one drubbing of the Arizona Cardinals. Of course, Arizona isn't a very good team, and will probably be picking top 5 in the draft next April. Still, it was a good showing for the Redskins to open the season.
Washington got Adrian Peterson going on the ground for nearly 100 yards and a touchdown, and Chris Thompson helped keep them on schedule offensively as well. Washington hasn't been talked about much this offseason, but is sitting at 1-0 with a game against the 0-1 Colts on the horizon.
Washington is a 6 point favorite against Indianapolis this Sunday, and has a good chance of starting 2-0 on the year.
New York Giants
Though we are just one week into the 2018 regular season, an important matchup is brewing within the NFC East. After falling to 0-1 with a home loss in their season opener, the Giants will travel to Texas to face the Cowboys on Sunday night football this week.
With both teams sitting at 0-1, neither can afford to put themselves into a nearly-insurmountable hole with a second straight loss. Since the merger 90% of teams who fall to 0-2 fail to make the playoffs, and it would be back-to-back seasons of missing out for both the Cowboys and Giants.
New York is a three point road underdog on Sunday, and it seems like most of the football world is leaning towards them and their weapons coming away with the victory.
Either way, this game will have massive implications on the 2018 season.
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