Chat with KC Joyner
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN NFL Insider KC Joyner, will be here to answer your NFL questions.
Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, uses game film to track, tabulate and analyze nearly every measurable statistic in an NFL game. He is a regular Insider contributor and has his own website at thefootballscientist.com.
Send your questions now and join KC Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:32 PM)
Hang on folks, it looks like KC may have gotten tied up with something.
KC Joyner (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon! Let's talk some football!
The Nature Boy (San Francisco)
KC is Tre Mason an NFL starter next season? Thanks!
KC Joyner (4:02 PM)
Might as well start with a question about The Nature Boy. He's in a tough spot, what with having two teams to cheer for this week. Carolina fans are said to be very mad at him right now, let's hope that passes. Mason has terrific burst and RB is a position that many teams need upgrades at, so seeing him as a year one starter (or at least a strong platoon player) is quite possible.
Greg(MD) [via mobile]
With the plethora of offensive needs the Ravens have right now (OL,WR,C 1-2 TE) why would the Ravens draft defense?
KC Joyner (4:03 PM)
They could draft defense under the idea of best player possible. Let's not forget this is a team that once won a Super Bowl largely based on the overpowering strength of its defense.
Ed (Queens Village)
What is more likely an NFC South Championship or NFC West Championship?
KC Joyner (4:04 PM)
NFC West championship. That is actually the TFS pick for this week in the ESPN Experts NFL picks - http://espn.go.com/nfl/picks.
KC Joyner (4:04 PM)
Had a tough opening week of the playoffs but finished second (behind Jaws) in the regular season rankings.
Higher ranked wr next season in a PPR. Harvin or Crabtree?
KC Joyner (4:04 PM)
Crabtree. He'll be more likely to be a workhorse WR.
KC - when you break down tape, how many times do you watch each play? Do you need to look at each position to get your metrics?
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
Depends on what is being looked for. If it is a quick overview, it can sometimes take only a couple of views to get the necessary info. If the review is more detailed, it can take a lot longer.
Rjich (New Jersey)
Hi, which of the four home teams do you see losing this week, I see Carolina and Denver as possible victims of an upset?
KC Joyner (4:06 PM)
Agree on Carolina. They already had vertical pass game limitations and that was before Smith got hurt. Not as concerned about Denver.
you think Blount gets 15-20 carries this week or does Belichek throw us all a curve ball and decide vereen gets majority of carries
KC Joyner (4:07 PM)
Would lean more towards the former, as Belichick is likely to use a power back against a defense that doesn't fare as well against power rushes. Still expecting NE to pass a lot this week, as they won't leave that suspect secondary untested.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi, Bridgewater and Manzel, how high will they go in the NFL Draft?
KC Joyner (4:08 PM)
Barring injuries or other unforeseens, they are both likely to end up as top 10, and probably top 5, picks.
Can you use Football Science to determine if the Bills will make it to the playoffs by the year 2050?
KC Joyner (4:09 PM)
Even using the law of averages, they ought to make it. I mean, that's 37 seasons worth of chances. No way they could miss out for that long, right?
KC Joyner (4:10 PM)
Or we could look at it this way - with the way the NFL keeps expanding the playoffs, by the time 2050 rolls around, we'll probably have 28 teams making the playoffs. Regular season will eliminate four clubs and will only be used to set playoff seedings. Bills could make it under that scenario.
I have been offered Alfred Morris (10th rd) and Harvin (12th rd) for my 2nd round pick (PPR League). Do I pull the trigger? My only value as a keeper right now is Bernard (5th rd) and can keep up to 4.
KC Joyner (4:12 PM)
Tough call without a bit more information. Gut instinct is to say yes, as Morris is a good PPR value in the 10th round. That would give you two quality starting RBs for a relatively low price. Only issue is Morris adds very little in terms of PPR added value, but all in all it sounds like a good move.
What do you think of the Dolphins move's lately and do you think they are done cleaning house?
KC Joyner (4:13 PM)
It looks like the Fins primary goal is to get their organization on the same page. It's hard enough to win in the NFL without having players vs. coaches battles or coaches vs. front office battles. If the new regime can prevent that kind of infighting, it's a positive move overall.
Matt (Kansas City)
What is it going to take for the Cowboys to get over the 8-8 hump? With FA an afterthought, I'm concerned about lack of DT options in this draft outside of top 12
KC Joyner (4:15 PM)
A new trainer might help. That team just seems to get a lot of injuries. This draft is thin at some positions (there is really only one good safety and he'll be gone early in the draft) so this might be a case of best player available.
What does Denver have to do that they didn't do a month ago to beat San Diego?
KC Joyner (4:16 PM)
Protect Peyton and throw a ton of passes at Wright. And use a lot of sets that force SD to play more CBs, as they don't have a lot of quality depth there.
I keep reading about what a good season Riley Cooper had but I just don't think so. Did he have the ntrics of a strong # 2 or 3 WR?
KC Joyner (4:17 PM)
Not really. Don't have the figures in front of me but remember doing an analysis on Philly a few weeks back that showed outside of a couple of strong games (including the Oakland game where Cooper benefitted from the Raiders secondary mimicking the Keystone Cops) his YPA was less than 7 yards. They need upgrades and the good news is the draft has a lot of quality WR options.
Thanks, I feel better. Though even if it's 28 out of 32 teams making it, I'm only a little more confident.... It's the Bills after all.
KC Joyner (4:18 PM)
Yeah, they do seem to find a way to move their performance level below whatever the playoff bar turns out to be. They may be better off aiming to have all 32 teams make the playoffs - just start the playoffs in Week 1.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
What do the metrics say about Cortez Allen? Starter? #1 guy? CB is probably the spot the Steelers need the most help, and he's the only guy certain to be back.
KC Joyner (4:19 PM)
Starter. If memory serves correct, his YPA was under the 7-yard mark, which is the general bar for above average performance in that metric. The draft has some potential CB upgrades (it would be great if Pittsburgh could draft Justin Gilbert) so the Steelers should be able to make a quick secondary turnaround.
Mike (Wheatland )
More info on the keeper trade. 2 round penalty each year. Taking out keepers, I would be looking at someone like Chris Johnson, Rice or Gore with my second round pick.
KC Joyner (4:21 PM)
Not very sold on Rice - am thinking the wear and tear is starting to catch up to him. Gore will be transitioned out of the lead back role in a year or two (at least that is the most likely scenario). And Johnson is a big question mark both from a wear and tear perspective and from a how will the Titans offense utilize him next year?
Dan (Duluth, MN) [via mobile]
If the Vikings were able to land Johnny Manziel would their offense be in the top ten with Adrian Peterson and Cordarrelle Patterson? It would certainly take the 8-9 man boxes away from Adrian.
KC Joyner (4:22 PM)
That's tons of talent but also a lot of talent that needs refining. It would certainly be an exciting offense but one that would need a strong leader to ensure the talent levels were maximized. Got to say, it would be fun to write about that offense, though.
Your opinion on if the Seahawks will be able to cover the spread against the Saints assuming it settles at 7 points or more?
KC Joyner (4:23 PM)
Well, point spreads are one of the few areas of football I don't cover (the NFL, CFB, the Draft and fantasy football already keep me pretty busy). Having said that, I am thinking Seattle is going to win that game something along the lines of 31-21.
The Ultimate Warrior (Places Unknown)
Keeper question in PPR: choose three, but please rank order: Calvin (round 3), Jamal Charles (4), Gio Bernard (8), or Josh Gordon (11).
KC Joyner (4:25 PM)
Isn't he heading into the WWE Hall of Fame this year? Keeper picks would be ranked as follows: Charles, Gordon, Calvin, Gio. Am ranking Gordon in front of Calvin because of the relative keeper round costs.
Is Alshon Jeffery as good as his numbers indicate?
KC Joyner (4:26 PM)
Yes and no. Yes in the sense that his production isn't a mirage. No in the sense that there are limitations to his game. It's great to be able to throw to a WR and know that he can box the defender out and win a jump ball contest. It's better to know that he can use great route running skills to get open and not have to win the jump ball contest. Jeffery needs to work on refining his route running skills so he can do more of the latter.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Yes! Yes! Yes! Don't draft a QB in the first round of the NFL draft. Trust me!
KC Joyner (4:28 PM)
Isn't Daniel Bryan a heel now? Well, at least for the moment - he isn't likely to stay a heel for long. Am with you in a way on some of this year's QB prospects with the exception of Bortles. Having said that, Jacksonville has to know they can't win with their current QBs and the Draft QBs do offer upside.
Matt (Kansas City)
Would it make sense for NYJ to go after Nicks or Britt in the offseason? I can't tell if Geno can't throw or if its his WRs. Or if its OC.....pretty telling that PHI went from like 30th in offense to top 5 in one year...
KC Joyner (4:29 PM)
Maybe, but this year's draft does have a lot of quality WR talent. The preference would be to get a young WR and concurrently develop his talents with Smith's.
Do the Bears have a chance to be an elite offense (top five) next season?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
Sure, but there is always going to be the question of which Cutler shows up every week. As long as that question comes up even, say, 1/3 of the time, it will be hard to post top five numbers.
Mike Ho (Hong Kong)
KC, was the Dolphins O Line more to blame for their poor running than their running backs?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
For the most part, yes. There were games where the Miami run blockers gave their ball carriers good blocking on only 1-2 plays. It's next to impossible to build a rushing attack around that caliber of blocking.
If they keep the status quo on their defense, should the Bears draft a guy like Tuitt or Hageman? Both seem like good fits cause of their flexibility to play multiple positions.
KC Joyner (4:32 PM)
Agree. Flexibility is a big plus and, let's be blunt - the Bears run D was one of the worst the NFL has seen in a long time. Close to legendarily bad. Chicago should go full bore to upgrading their front seven and safeties.
KC: Everyone has been talking about the Broncos needing to be scared of the Chargers this week. Why don't we put the shoe on the other foot? What does Denver do that poses a challenge to San Diego? How can the Broncos win on Sunday?
KC Joyner (4:33 PM)
It was amazing last weekend that Cincinnati allowed the San Diego CBs to go untested. That says as much about the Bengals unwillingness to trust Dalton as it does anything else. Denver is going to test those CBs and as long as they can keep Peyton protected, they have the personnel to win many, if not most, of those WR/CB battles.
Follow up on Cooper!! Would it be better to keep Jason Avant instead? Offer a 1 year deal to Maclin? What would a scientist do?
KC Joyner (4:35 PM)
Any decision they make there needs to be in the short-term, as none of those players looks to be a good long-term investment. Would say Maclin is the best of the three but in the end would look to potentially replace all three.
Nick Foles had about as good of a year as you could possibly have, and there are still doubters. What are your thoughts about him heading into next year?
KC Joyner (4:37 PM)
He had a great season despite having only one high quality receiving target. Eagles biggest weakness is their WRs struggle against man-to-man coverage and the best way to correct that is via better personnel. Give Foles a better set of wideouts and he'll have top 10 QB potential (and even potentially push close to top 5 caliber).
I think Carolina's defense is a bit overrated as well, what do you think KC? They got smoked by NO, Jets put up 20 on them at home...
KC Joyner (4:38 PM)
Will put it this way - SF is a run-first team but they now have Crabree, Boldin and Davis as potential pass game targets. Carolina's secondary has been more hit than miss but it has a lot of miss potential. SF will test that theory at select times and will likely convert more than a few vertical passes because of it.
Andy [via mobile]
With $60 million to spend do free agents want to go to the Raiders?
KC Joyner (4:39 PM)
Changing the culture is one of the biggest challenges for Oakland. Having said that, their willingness to pay the players (something Al Davis never had an issue doing) can go a long ways towards an overall culture change. In other words, there is still reason to hope things can get better for the Silver and Black.
Matt (Kansas City)
True Draft is "deep" in terms of quantity with like 17 underclassmen WR declaring, but are they quality? Geno needs help now, NYJ can't live off Rex's defense every year(or maybe they can, see: Sanchise)
KC Joyner (4:41 PM)
There absolutely is an abundance of quality. Lee, Watkins, Evans, Matthews, Benjamin - they are all WRs who could make year one impacts if they land in the right team scenario.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Hard to really define heels and babyfaces in today's world of sports entertainment. All I know is Daniel Bryan is over with the fans. Russell Wilson could be the Daniel Bryan of the NFL. Overlooked because he was considered too small to be a title contender and but proving a lot of doubters wrong.
KC Joyner (4:42 PM)
Russell Wilson = Daniel Bryan. I like it! Any other suggestions along this line? Can use new school or old school wrestlers & football players.
Sandman (EC f'n W) [via mobile]
KC!!!! I keep missing your chats. Back around week 6 you told everyone to pick up Keenan Allen, I did as you said and WON! Just want to say thank you for the chats and help!
KC Joyner (4:43 PM)
More than glad to help! Some days I get the bear and some days it gets me. That was an instance of the former.
Dynamite Kid (England wheelchair)
keeper: Better value, Cam as a 6th round pick or K. Allen as an 8th? I just have nerves about Cam being a consistant qb again next year...
KC Joyner (4:45 PM)
He's in a wheelchair now and reportedly wasn't very easy to get along with but the Dynamite Kid was awesome back in the day. He took bumps that made you cringe. Cam put up very good fantasy football point totals this year despite having no vertical passing game. Carolina will upgrade that part of their team soon enough and that will make his upside even higher. To put it another way - Newton should be a top 5 QB. Not sure Allen will be a top 5 WR. Keep Cam.
I don't understand Jay Gruden's rationale, he wanted Dalton over Kapernick in the draft, but then he chooses to coach an even worse pocket passer in RG3?
KC Joyner (4:46 PM)
NFL head coaching jobs aren't easy to come by. And Griffin has maybe more talent that either Dalton or Kaepernick. It's not the easiest coaching situation to be in but can understand why Gruden would say yes to that coaching job offer.
Dynamite Kid (England wheelchair)
yokozuna - Fridge
KC Joyner (4:46 PM)
Hot Rod (Piper's Pit)
The Bears need a new defensive coordinator and should draft all defensive players...They need to sign a top free agent too...They have the offense and if the defense improves they are a legit Super Bowl contender...
KC Joyner (4:47 PM)
Couldn't agree more on where this team can go if it has a good defense. Although it does seem kind of ironic that when Lovie Smith was the coach, the complaints were about how far this team could go if they only had an offense. Now the complaints are their offense great but they are being held back by the defense.
Were we all wrong about Trent Richardson? Or is he the victim of a bad team in Cle and horrible OL in Indy
KC Joyner (4:49 PM)
Cleveland gave him terrible run blocking and he was banged up last year. Having said that, Indy had better run blocking than generally thought and T-Rich did very little with it. Silver lining is he started making an impact in the pass game late in the year, so maybe his NFL role will just end up being different than his CFB role.
Precious Paul (LOD)
Keeper question: 16 team league, Andy Dalton as an 8th round pick? Passing td's = 4 pts, all others 6 pts.
KC Joyner (4:50 PM)
Dalton is a solid QB in a 16-team league and an 8th round pick is a solid price to pay for a QB in that type of league. As long as the Bengals stick with him as their starter (and it looks like they will be doing that), it's a good way to go.
Don Owens (Salem, OR. Armory)
16 team league, keeping ADP in the 1st round, then possibly Harvin as a 7th rounder. Am thinking, very strongly about keeping Dalton as an 8th rounder. Keeping Dalton would not enure that I don't take a higher rated qb in the 2nd or 3rd. Does this strategy make sense or am I trying too hard???
KC Joyner (4:52 PM)
Very similar question to the last one. Would say this - beyond Peyton or the rushing QBs, there aren't any QBs worth taking earlier than the 7th-8th rounds in most leagues. A 16-team league moves that round range up a bit so an 8th round price for Dalton is a plus in this case.
John (Cleveland OH)
Also, what would you say if I told you another reason the Browns fired Rob Chudzinski is because he di not want to draft Johnny Football?
KC Joyner (4:55 PM)
Manziel has some weaknesses in his game and he is on the smaller side of the NFL QB size scale. Chudzinski wants to operate a vertically-based offense and in that type of system the QB can take a lot of hits. The ways to beat that are a) have a big QB who can take lot of hits and b) have a master QB play caller who can change plays and make sure he doesn't take hits. Manziel isn't a) and he is far from being b) so it's understandable if Chudzinski wouldn't want to draft him.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
What are your thoughts on Kelvin Benjamin? I would like to see him come back for another season and continue to develop his game, but I'm also a biased FSU fan.
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
It's hard for him to go out on a higher note but I'm with you in that he might have been better served to return. He could be the best WR in some draft classes but might end up being the fifth best in this year's draft.
Imre (Missoula, MT)
The key difference between the Bears of the past and the Bears of the future will rest on Phil Emery's shoulders. Can he draft well enough to restock the defense before the window for the offense closes. Yeah, Lovie couldn't find a o-coordinator to save his life. But he didn't exactly have all-pro personnel to put on the field either...
KC Joyner (4:57 PM)
You hit the nail on the head.
Matt (Kansas City)
The arguement Gruden had Dalton over Kaep is easy: The pistol. How many spread offense QB's have we seen fail at the NFL level, or at the very least taken a couple of years to develop? Looking back, did he make the right choice? Not sure...Kaep could easily be worse behind Cincy's line
KC Joyner (4:58 PM)
This is true. Kaepernick does tend to get rattled at times and if he was put behind a lesser O line, that tendency would become much more pronounced.
Tim (El Cajon, CA)
Key KC! Happy New Year! I was just wondering if you have any kind of metrics on defenses like the Chargers just over the like last 4 games or just over the whole season. Just asking because the Chargers now have Melvin Ingram and Jarret Johnson back to help with the defense and it seems to make a big difference. The Charger defense isn't rated very well over the season, but should be better now because of health and all.
KC Joyner (4:59 PM)
Happy New Year to you as well! I did take a look at the Chargers pass D in one of last week's TFS ESPN Insider articles and it showed that SD had been struggling badly in vertical pass D late in the year. That wasn't the case against Cincinnati and if it isn't the case against Denver, they've got a great shot at the upset.
KC Joyner (5:01 PM)
That was a fast hour! Thanks very much to everyone who sent in questions - had a lot of good queries to choose from. Few quick notes before heading out. Links to the TFS ESPN Insider articles are always posted on Twitter @KCJoynerTFS. I'll be taking part in the ESPN.com in-game chats during all of the playoff games, so stop by and talk some football if you can. Thanks again and I hope to see you all here next week!