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Colts @ Patriots AFC Divisional Playoff Game Night Thread

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    • If I had to guess, Rivers will be back on the books.
    • Typically to be a HOFer you have to be dominant for ~a decade.  Leonard and Q are ~2.5 years into their careers (about a quarter of the way there).  Leonard has not played 16 games in a season yet, which is somewhat concerning to me.  This year, while he and Q both look very good, I don't think either is deserving of an all-pro award.     So yes, very impressive that Q has been 1st team all-pro 2x and Leonard has a 1st and 2nd team all-pro under his belt.  That is very rare (Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus are the only other 2 teammates who made 1st team all-pro as rookies).  In no way am I knocking Q or Leonard, they're both critical pieces to this team and at the elite level in the NFL at their respective positions.  Labeling them as HOFers this early into their career is a bit of a stretch, though -- let's give them another 3.5-4 years to see if they're still healthy and performing at an all-pro level.  They're certainly off to a good start, but there are a lot of players who have made 2 all-pro teams in their career and are not HOFers (heck, LeRoy Butler was a 4x 1st-team all-pro and has been eligible for HOF induction for ~15 years and isn't in, Steve Wisniewski was 2x 1st team, 6x 2nd team and not in, etc.).  Also, the vast majority of HOFers were not first team all-pro as rookies.  These 2020 rookies are in perhaps the strangest year of the modern era, with limited training camps, no pre-season games, missing games due to COVID (see Taylor), etc.... Pittman, Taylor, Blackmon have all shown flashes of excellence and all have had their own obstacles on top of a weird off-season as rookies (Blackmon coming off injury getting thrown into starting line-up due to HOoker going down, Taylor having Mack go down and now missing a game on the COVID list, and Pittman with compartment syndrome).   No reason to expect any of them to be HOFers, but also no reason why if they stay healthy and continue improving that we don't start talking about them being at the HOF level in 4-5 more years.     In all honesty, it is way too early to tell if this class will stack up to the 2018 class.  We really won't know for another 4-5 years when we see which guys from the 2018 draft are given/not given contract extensions and when the current class is at the same point.      As far as just judging by rookie season alone, it's not unreasonable to think it won't be another >30 years before we see rookie teammates on the first team all-pro squad together (believe Butkus and Sayers was 1965).  That said, aside from Q and Leonard we got solid contributions from Smith and Hines on O, saw solid ST contributions from Franklin and Adams (with Franklin playing a minimal D role as a fill-in starter 2 games and Adams basically invisible on D), got very little from Turay and Lewis and basically nothing from Fountain, Cain.  Wilkins was OK as a 3rd RB and OK as a kick returner and our only UDFA who did anything noteworthy wad Odum as a solid STer and with a couple decent starts when he was needed due to injury.   Overall we had 4 of 11 picks (or 4 of 12 rookies who contributed) who really didn't do much as rookies (33% vs. 66% percent who contributed significantly in some aspect of the game).     So in short, the 2018 class as rookies had 2 studs (Q and Leonard), 2 guys who contributed solidly on O (Hines and Smith), 4 solid ST contributors (Odum, Adams, Franklin, Wilkins), 4 guys who really did nothing (Turay, Lewis, Cain, Fountain).   Three years later, we still have 2 studs (Q and Leonard), 1 very solid RT (Smith),  2 guys who are doing well in a RB rotation (Hines and Wilkins), 2 unknowns on the DL (Lewis and Turay - by far Lewis' best year, but he hasn't really been great), and 3 solid STers (Odum, Franklin, Adams and 4 if you count Hines).   Then we have Cain (gone) and Fountain (still pretty much doing nothing).  Again, about 2/3 of these guys are still contributing solidly in some way on the team, with the other 1/3 still unknown or not doing much (Turay started to come on last year and Lewis is recently coming on this year, so if they both continue, we may see 83% of that class as solid contributors moving forward).     The 2020 class as rookies -- we have 1 borderline stud (Blackmon), 2 very solid  O contributors (Taylor and Pittman), 3 very solid ST contributors (Rodgers, Glasgow, Blankenship), 1 guy who has been OK in a pinch as a backup or extra lineman (Pinter), 1 guy who has made the active roster after mostly being on the PS (Windsor - IMO, he's about as valuable to this year's team as Lewis was at the same point in 2018), 1 guy who has been very solid the past few weeks (Harris) and 2 guys (Eason and Patmon) who have been on the roster but inactive.  That puts us at 7 or 8 guys who have been solid contributors out of 11 as rookies (63% or 72%) and 3 or 4 guys (Eason, Patmon, Windsor, maybe Pinter) for a total of 27-36% of rookies who are not doing much at this point of the season (this could change moving forward if Pinter has to fill in for Kelly for a while and/or if Windsor takes on a bigger role down the stretch, it is not coincidence to me that he was activated the week we cut Day).  So right now, we're looking at 30-40% of our rookies not producing too much, but this could change to 20% (assuming Eason and Patmon don't play this year and Pinter and Windsor see increasing roles).     Overall, Ballard is >60% in both drafts in terms of having productive players as rookies.  It is very unlikely we'll see any team have 2 first team all-pros as rookies again in the near future (or ever).  We may see a DROY from the 2020 draft class like we saw in the 2018 draft class on this team.  Both Leonard and Blackmon have been criticized for being picked too early, etc... Ballard has proven those doubters wrong.     When we look back in a few years, if Eason is a franchise QB and Pittman and Patmon are a solid WR duo (perhaps Harris is still performing well), Taylor is a bellcow >1,200 yard rusher, Blackmon is an all-pro, Pinter is a starter (RG or RT), Rodgers is giving us a TD or more per year as a return guy, Glasgow is a solid STer, Hot Rod is a probowl K, and Windsor is still in the DL rotation and this draft could be better than the 2018 draft.  Again, too early to tell.  If we want to consider Buckner a part of the 2020 draft (the 13th pick), I think there's a good argument that the 2020 draft will exceed the 2018 draft.   Also, something to keep in mind -- our team was in very bad shape when Ballard took over.  In 2017, he was drafting for a team with a coach we pretty much all knew was going to be gone in a year.  In 2018, it was a lot easier to get significant playing time on the roster (at least IMO) because it was so bad.  In a short time, Ballard has put a lot of solid pieces together and this team is a much more difficult team to make the final roster, let alone get significant playing time as a rookie.     I agree with you on your Blackmon assessment.  It'd be cool if he got DROY... and he has made several key plays at critical times (e.g., forced fumble in OT last week)... but he's not perfect.  TBH, I think it was kind of disappointing that the long ball from Rodgers to MVS was not broken up near the end of the 4th quarter.  Blackmon was a step or two behind, but I think most very high end safeties would have broken that play up.     McDaniels dissing Ballard may have actually made Ballard's job easier.  I think Reich was the right guy for this team and after seeing Patricia fired from DET, and looking at stats of Belichick's coordinators who went on to head coaching jobs, they have a pretty poor track record.     Yes, I think Q and Leonard's play has been solid this year, but I don't think either of them deserve to be all-pros (at least not 1st team).  Won't be shocked if Q gets selected though, mainly because of his name and the fact Baldy and other reporters like to really focus on his positive plays.  He's been beaten more this year than I can remember (which is still not a lot) and has more holds than I remember in his first 2 years.     Agree, the most deserving of all-pro on this roster is Buckner (though, I can't see him getting the nod due to lack of stats and the fact that Donald and other interior DL in the league are playing at very high levels).  Second most deserving, IMO, is Hot Rod -- he's likely to be leading the league in points scored after tomorrow's game.  Just hit a big game winner.  Has a solid chance of ending the season >90% FG made and leading the league in points scored -- it'd be hard to vote against him for at least 2nd team K if he finishes the year >90% FG made and leads league in points.
    • I'm surprised we towards the middle on this (37). Thought we'd be lower.
    • The issue is, we simply have a lot of FAs due to many reasons. I'd bet we have near the top of the league in that aspect. We could still sign a big name, but we'd have to cast off some big contributors, and sign a lot of low dollar guys. doubt Ballard is just happy with making the playoffs.   I'm sure JB wants to go to a place where he can compete for a starters gig. Anyway, I don't see him back unless Eason takes over as starter, and at this point, I don't see that happening.  Meh. fear mongering. We'll have meds starting in Dec. People right now aren't happy with lockdowns and are willing to risk things. When we get meds, they'll be even more resolute about being out. 
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