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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:28 am 
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themunn wrote:
FlyingGreg wrote:
And I have stated repeatedly I am very optimistic about this team. I just don't think it's necessarily our time right now. I'm not so sure why that's such a leap to believe - we have a very tough road ahead. How confident are you when this team takes the field on the road? I wish I could get excited about projections and trends when we have put up a 1-5 record -- and that one road win was lucky (Newton missed a wide open receiver in the end zone).

I still think we can make the playoffs this season. But in order to get there, we HAVE TO WIN BOTH REMAINING ROAD GAMES. I don't see us getting in at 9-7 "if" we sweep the last 3 home games (and that would mean beating SF) and lose to Chicago and Buffalo. That's just me, I guess. So somehow this week we are all of a sudden going to "get it"? Perhaps.

As far as what I have seen - I've seen us lose our last two road games when our rookie QB had a 125+ rating and our defense, however you want to explain it, lost the game. Plain and simple. This is why I don't fall in love with statistics and projections. Perhaps they will finally make it happen this week in Chicago - we can only hope.

The problem with throwing season stats out as supporting a point is it's skewed, in both directions. For instance...half of Chris Clemons sacks came in ONE HALF. So is 8 sacks a good season for him, or is it that he only has 4 in all of the other games combined? We lost in Miami, and we forced one turnover and had one sack. Our defense allowed an offense that would never be labeled as "powerful" rack up almost 450 yds, including almost 200 on the ground. And they marched right down the field to win the game in the closing seconds. We lost in Detroit, and we forced one turnover and had two sacks. Our defense allowed Detroit to eat up the last 5 minutes of the game on a 16-play, 80-yard drive to win the game.

Stats and feel-good projections aside -- don't you want a defense that can come up with a stop? What good does it do to be highly "ranked" when this happens?

And as I have said, i respect those who want to use the stats and rankings etc. I don't begrudge you. I just don't see it the same way...which is fine, right?


Before reading this, I'd just like to point out that I kind of agree with you, but also disagree. Stats are a good indicator of the quality of the team but context DOES matter, in a way that also means that things that DON'T count as stats balance out the context of the stats to some extent (take forcing 2 intentional grounding throws against Tom Brady, which don't register as sacks, even though Clemons forced one)

Does a sack matter if the player is forcing the QB to throw the ball quickly, inaccurately and more importantly... incomplete?
Sacks look good on the sheet, but we're 3rd in terms of yards, 2nd in terms of passing TDs allowed, yet we still have more sacks than the 3 teams ahead of us in those stats (Steelers, 49ers in yards, Ravens in TDs).

The reality is, it doesn't matter if we allow 450 yards in a game if the opposition doesn't score a TD. Even if they do, if its tied at 21-21 with 80 seconds to go and 400 yards allowed and we force a 3 and out and go on to win the game in OT, nobody cares.
If it's tied at 21 all, we've only allowed 150 yards all game (special teams has let us down) and we concede 50 yards and a FG in the final 2 minutes, then you've allowed a respectable 200 yards in the game but failed to prevent them from driving when it matters most.

What seems to be the problem is that from 5 games where we've needed to stop the offense in the final 5 minutes of the game, we've allowed Kevin Kolb to drive 80 yards for a TD in 4 minutes 20 seconds, Matthew Stafford to drive 80 yards for a TD in 5 minutes 7 seconds and Ryan Tannehill to drive 80 yards for a TD in 2 minutes 40 seconds, and then minutes later, a further 65 yards in 1 minute 30 seconds to set up the winning field goal.

An honourable mention goes to when we allowed Cam Newton to drive 79 yards in 7 minutes before stopping them from scoring (and essentially winning us the game). Which shows it doesn't matter how many yards you allow or how many sacks you get AS LONG AS THEY DON'T SCORE. It's all about WHEN, not about WHAT. Take the Carolina game again as an example, what do you think was more important, Clemons four sacks in the first half against GB or Irvin's strip-sack fumble to end the Carolina game?
With less than a minute left on the clock it's unlikely the Panthers would have driven down the field for a TD considering they didnt' score one on offense all game, but that fumble ended the game and made sure they wouldn't.

The defense DID come up with big stops against NE and Carolina, but Newton missed a wide open WR in that 4th down throw which could have won the game for them and we'd be looking at our defense allowing 4 80 yard TD drives when we've been up by a score or less in the 4th quarter (out of 5 games).

Is it safe to say our defense simply isn't "clutch"?


Good stuff. This is exactly the core of my point:

Quote:
we'd be looking at our defense allowing 4 80 yard TD drives when we've been up by a score or less in the 4th quarter (out of 5 games).


Quote:
What seems to be the problem is that from 5 games where we've needed to stop the offense in the final 5 minutes of the game, we've allowed Kevin Kolb to drive 80 yards for a TD in 4 minutes 20 seconds, Matthew Stafford to drive 80 yards for a TD in 5 minutes 7 seconds and Ryan Tannehill to drive 80 yards for a TD in 2 minutes 40 seconds, and then minutes later, a further 65 yards in 1 minute 30 seconds to set up the winning field goal.


Quote:
The reality is, it doesn't matter if we allow 450 yards in a game if the opposition doesn't score a TD. Even if they do, if its tied at 21-21 with 80 seconds to go and 400 yards allowed and we force a 3 and out and go on to win the game in OT, nobody cares.
If it's tied at 21 all, we've only allowed 150 yards all game (special teams has let us down) and we concede 50 yards and a FG in the final 2 minutes, then you've allowed a respectable 200 yards in the game but failed to prevent them from driving when it matters most.


On your last point, you are right - it doesn't matter if we allow 450 yards if they don't score. But they DID score. So did Detroit. So did Arizona. That's exactly the problem. I could care less about how many yards a game we allow (again, I don't get seduced by stats) -- much more important to me is points allowed and wins/losses.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:42 am 
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I think you all know I pretty much hate stats. This string is a good example cause all sides are using stats to prove their points.

DVOA and all that other crap does mean nothing no matter what even Kearly says. The real record says we are just a barely average team and can't play worth a damn on the road and our early season defense is game by game going away.

Those are the facts pure and simple.

I also would like to point out that now matter what your numbers make you believe a 6-5 team is not going to win the SB. Ok Giants won with a 9-7 record last year. What the hell makes you think this group of guys can duplicate that?

trot out what ever makes you think all of a sudden someone will flip a switch and defense & offense, & special teams start playing the way on the road they play at home.

I can give you the answer on that using your own stats. 1 in 1,000.

One big difference is if I'm wrong I'll admit to it. Kip does that too, but not many of the rest of you.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:45 am 
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Well Les. The year we went to the Super Bowl the team that beat us DID go on the road and won those games. They got hot at the right time / right place.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:55 am 
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Yeah Rob our past history doesn't really support that tho.

I still think that 10-6 won't make playoffs for us this season cause we have lost to many important games for that to happen. And the team that did that didn't play well at home and lousy on the road.

They just plain didn't play well all around. To me that's a major problem here. We only play at a play off level at home.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:06 am 
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Good points in the OP. There are a couple of things that have been hinted at here, but I think are vital to understanding where we are as a team. I don't think we're a mediocre team. I don't think we're a bad team on the road. Those are both assumptions backed up by stats, but they lie. They don't show what's going on with the team.

What's going on is that we're a very young and in-opportunistic team. We lack the experience and drive for that one last gut punch, the one to get us over the hump. We've been dominant in games we've won, and we've won a couple of squeakers. But we haven't been blown out, and we haven't won all our squeakers. In fact, we have a fairly bad record in very close games.

Mediocre teams are teams that can't beat the good teams and look better than they are against the bad teams. They have a middling record because it reflects how they play. Well, our record reflects how we play too, but it's the exact opposite of mediocre. It's the record of a very good team - almost a great one even - except that the difference between being very good and great is the ability to close out games with the win. It's getting that last second touchdown or field goal as time expires. It's stopping the opponents' game winning drives. The difference between where we are and a perfect record is a handful of plays, and they all boil down to not making the play when it ultimately mattered. We haven't been outmatched in any game. We just haven't been able to close out, go for the jugular, in five of our games. That's not mediocre. It's greatness being hampered by the fact that we haven't yet learned how to do that.

And that comes down to youth. We're a young team. We're inexperienced. It's this type of team that appears to overachieve to reach the playoffs, only to get smashed by an older, more experienced team. On the surface, it looks like the losing team is outmatched. Sometimes they are, but sometimes when they're young like that, they simply don't have quite what it takes to make that one play to change the game in their favor.

Let's take a look at five losses:

ARI - final seconds of the game. First and goal for the win. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne would have made that scenario look easy. You'd take them for a touchdown in that scenario 99 times out of 100. A rookie and a second or third year guy just aren't quite there yet.

STL - final minute and a half of the first half. Rams lining up for a field goal. Experience on special teams would have caught the trickery and prevented the touchdown. And an experienced offense would have completed a first down on the following possession, negating the opportunity for another field goal. Our inexperience cost us 10 points in the final minute and a half of the first half of that game.

SF - second half of the game. Seahawks cannot complete passes to save the game. Drops came up huge in this one, especially a critical drop from rookie Turbin that would have at least led to three more points if not a touchdown. An experienced back makes that catch. And an experienced quarterback has a better day against the 49ers' defense.

DET - final five minutes of the game. Detroit converts seven times for a first down on an 80-yard, game-winning drive. Making a single play on even one of these seven opportunities would have at the very least preserved a tie and forced overtime. Making that play on one of the first three attempts would likely have preserved the win.

MIA - final five minutes of the game. Key missed opportunities on offense, coupled with missed opportunities for a stop on defense let Miami drive down the field for the game-winning drive, and prevented us from doing the same. Their game-winning drive started with 90 yards to go, and we allowed them five first down conversions.

It's all about opportunity. Mediocre teams don't often have the opportunity to make single plays to change the outcome of games. Good teams do. Great teams take advantage of those opportunities and make those plays.

And finally, records don't say it all, no matter how it's spun. Was 15-1 better than 9-7 last year? Was 14-2 better than 10-6 the year before? Was 13-3 better than 11-5 in 2005? Wait, don't answer that last one.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:13 am 
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Good points in the OP. There are a couple of things that have been hinted at here, but I think are vital to understanding where we are as a team. I don't think we're a mediocre team. I don't think we're a bad team on the road. Those are both assumptions backed up by stats, but they lie. They don't show what's going on with the team.

What's going on is that we're a very young and in-opportunistic team. We lack the experience and drive for that one last gut punch, the one to get us over the hump. We've been dominant in games we've won, and we've won a couple of squeakers. But we haven't been blown out, and we haven't won all our squeakers. In fact, we have a fairly bad record in very close games.

Mediocre teams are teams that can't beat the good teams and look better than they are against the bad teams. They have a middling record because it reflects how they play. Well, our record reflects how we play too, but it's the exact opposite of mediocre. It's the record of a very good team - almost a great one even - except that the difference between being very good and great is the ability to close out games with the win. It's getting that last second touchdown or field goal as time expires. It's stopping the opponents' game winning drives. The difference between where we are and a perfect record is a handful of plays, and they all boil down to not making the play when it ultimately mattered. We haven't been outmatched in any game. We just haven't been able to close out, go for the jugular, in five of our games. That's not mediocre. It's greatness being hampered by the fact that we haven't yet learned how to do that.

And that comes down to youth. We're a young team. We're inexperienced. It's this type of team that appears to overachieve to reach the playoffs, only to get smashed by an older, more experienced team. On the surface, it looks like the losing team is outmatched. Sometimes they are, but sometimes when they're young like that, they simply don't have quite what it takes to make that one play to change the game in their favor.

Let's take a look at five losses:

ARI - final seconds of the game. First and goal for the win. Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne would have made that scenario look easy. You'd take them for a touchdown in that scenario 99 times out of 100. A rookie and a second or third year guy just aren't quite there yet.

STL - final minute and a half of the first half. Rams lining up for a field goal. Experience on special teams would have caught the trickery and prevented the touchdown. And an experienced offense would have completed a first down on the following possession, negating the opportunity for another field goal. Our inexperience cost us 10 points in the final minute and a half of the first half of that game.

SF - second half of the game. Seahawks cannot complete passes to save the game. Drops came up huge in this one, especially a critical drop from rookie Turbin that would have at least led to three more points if not a touchdown. An experienced back makes that catch. And an experienced quarterback has a better day against the 49ers' defense.

DET - final five minutes of the game. Detroit converts seven times for a first down on an 80-yard, game-winning drive. Making a single play on even one of these seven opportunities would have at the very least preserved a tie and forced overtime. Making that play on one of the first three attempts would likely have preserved the win.

MIA - final five minutes of the game. Key missed opportunities on offense, coupled with missed opportunities for a stop on defense let Miami drive down the field for the game-winning drive, and prevented us from doing the same. Their game-winning drive started with 90 yards to go, and we allowed them five first down conversions.

It's all about opportunity. Mediocre teams don't often have the opportunity to make single plays to change the outcome of games. Good teams do. Great teams take advantage of those opportunities and make those plays.

And finally, records don't say it all, no matter how it's spun. Was 15-1 better than 9-7 last year? Was 14-2 better than 10-6 the year before? Was 13-3 better than 11-5 in 2005? Wait, don't answer that last one.


Good post, Jonathan. I like how your Navy mind works. :th2thumbs:

Serious question here....when do we stop using the "we are young" crutch? It's legit... but I hear it from Pete every week to explain lapses and errors -- and I wonder when it's going to expire.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:15 am 
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FlyingGreg wrote:
On your last point, you are right - it doesn't matter if we allow 450 yards if they don't score. But they DID score. So did Detroit. So did Arizona. That's exactly the problem. I could care less about how many yards a game we allow (again, I don't get seduced by stats) -- much more important to me is points allowed and wins/losses.


What it is though, is that to an extent, stats can show the signs of how good a team is - if you use them in context regarding the games being played. There's no point looking at an overall average or total for the season generally (unless, in rare cases the average tell the truth, like the Patriots in 07).
You could look at the Falcons record and be impressed by it, 10-1? Fantastic. But look at the games they've played, and they've struggled against just about every team they've played - and just 2 of those 10 wins have been against teams with a winning record, one of which isn't even in the top 6 seeds for the playoffs. If we made it into the playoffs with the 6th seed, won our wildcard game then went to the Georgia Dome to play the Falcons, I'd be very unimpressed if we lost it, they have the wins to "prove" they're a good team, and the stats say it too - to an extent - but simply put, you watch that team and I don't see a team capable of a strong playoff run.

I DO see it with the Seahawks, because although we rank highly in a lot of stats, the ones that really take my notice are things like the recent offense - 70% of passes in completed in the last 4 games, 9 passing TDs, 1 INT (none in last 3 games), a strong running attack in MOST of those games, and a strong defense that has played well in every game bar the Dolphins and Lions games, and a handful of drives outside of those 2.

I don't think that means we're the best team in the league, but it's certainly above mediocre, to me, a mediocre defense would be allowing consistent, sustained drives in every game, and forcing the offense to win the game, instead, our defense is putting our offense in the position to win the game, then when the offense is doing it's job and handing it back to the defense to see it out, they're collapsing.

It's irritating, to say the least, but I'd rather we were in that situation that say that of the 7th ranked Cardinals D, who despite having 5 more interceptions than us and 1 more sack, is not a defense I would ever put money on to make the big stop to win the game.


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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:19 am 
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We have 74 penalties.......good for 581 yards. Of course that stat does not include points taken off the board and drive stopping INT's wiped out by needless penalties.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:29 am 
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FlyingGreg wrote:

Serious question here....when do we stop using the "we are young" crutch? It's legit... but I hear it from Pete every week to explain lapses and errors -- and I wonder when it's going to expire.


Is it a "crutch" when it's absolutely true? Did you know that the Seahawks have twice as many players with 3 or fewer years in the league than they do players with 6+ years?

Sure, part of the "youth" argument is that young players make mistakes. But part of it - and this is especially true of a team that's going through a rebuild - is cohesiveness. Because of the youth of the team, they haven't built those strong bonds that you see on more veteran teams.

Look at defenses like the Ravens and Steelers, for example. They've cycled through young players pretty effectively across many years, but it's because they were able first to establish that veteran core and then acclimate new players into that core while allowing older players to retire or move on to other teams. If you draft well, that process is self-sustaining. But we're not at that point... we're still developing that core on both sides of the ball. That's why you still get Rice and Wilson thinking that a raised hand means different things. That's why you get miscommunications in zone coverage that lets a Lions WR get so open past Sherman.

The biggest fix for that is time and experience playing together, imo.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:30 am 
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Largent80 wrote:
We have 74 penalties.......good for 581 yards. Of course that stat does not include points taken off the board and drive stopping INT's wiped out by needless penalties.


Ugly, ugly, ugly.

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:37 am 
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volsunghawk wrote:
FlyingGreg wrote:

Serious question here....when do we stop using the "we are young" crutch? It's legit... but I hear it from Pete every week to explain lapses and errors -- and I wonder when it's going to expire.


Is it a "crutch" when it's absolutely true? Did you know that the Seahawks have twice as many players with 3 or fewer years in the league than they do players with 6+ years?

Sure, part of the "youth" argument is that young players make mistakes. But part of it - and this is especially true of a team that's going through a rebuild - is cohesiveness. Because of the youth of the team, they haven't built those strong bonds that you see on more veteran teams.

Look at defenses like the Ravens and Steelers, for example. They've cycled through young players pretty effectively across many years, but it's because they were able first to establish that veteran core and then acclimate new players into that core while allowing older players to retire or move on to other teams. If you draft well, that process is self-sustaining. But we're not at that point... we're still developing that core on both sides of the ball. That's why you still get Rice and Wilson thinking that a raised hand means different things. That's why you get miscommunications in zone coverage that lets a Lions WR get so open past Sherman.

The biggest fix for that is time and experience playing together, imo.


I said it's legit -- I believe it. My question was...when does it stop being true? Most of our youth is coming up on at least two full seasons under their belt. I guess what I want to know is when we expect the youthful errors and lapses to be conquered? I have no idea.

To me, it can be dangerous to default to that to explain every problem we are having. I think I'm a little alarmed that Pete seems to always bring it up. After all, the youth movement is his trump card. But I'd almost prefer he just says, "we told you it's a 4-year plan and anything we accomplish in year 3 is icing on the cake". :)

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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:13 am 
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FlyingGreg wrote:
I said it's legit -- I believe it. My question was...when does it stop being true? Most of our youth is coming up on at least two full seasons under their belt. I guess what I want to know is when we expect the youthful errors and lapses to be conquered? I have no idea.

To me, it can be dangerous to default to that to explain every problem we are having. I think I'm a little alarmed that Pete seems to always bring it up. After all, the youth movement is his trump card. But I'd almost prefer he just says, "we told you it's a 4-year plan and anything we accomplish in year 3 is icing on the cake". :)


Youth stops being an excuse when you have more players with 5+ years experience than <5 years experience IMO.
Right now, on offense we have:

Okung 3
Carpenter 2
Unger 4
McQuistan 7
Giacomini 5
Lynch 6
Robinson 7
Miller 6
Wilson 1
Rice 6
Tate 3
Baldwin 2
Turbin 1
McCoy 3
Moffit 2

So our first 11 is bordering on experienced, but our depth is still very young (and in all likelihood, next year, McQuistan and Giacomini are expendeble, and we're looking at a very young team, but with a lot of experience, because they've all come in and contributed as rookies)

Our defense is a strange one:

Bryant 5
Mebane 6
Branch 6
Clemons 10
KJ 2
Wagner 1
Hill 8
Sherman 2
Browner 8
Jones 5
ET 3
Chancellor 3
Scruggs 1
Irvin 1
Trufant 10

We have a lot of really experienced players in there, but of them, Hill and Trufant's age is actually beginning to reduce their effectiveness instead of increase their experience, Browner is only in his 2nd NFL season and Bryant had just 9 games experience until PC took over as a situational player, he's still "young" in terms of experience (he has only 3 more games experience than Ndamukong Suh, for example)


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 Post subject: Re: A random thought on mediocrity
 Post Posted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:30 pm 
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FlyingGreg wrote:
volsunghawk wrote:
FlyingGreg wrote:

Serious question here....when do we stop using the "we are young" crutch? It's legit... but I hear it from Pete every week to explain lapses and errors -- and I wonder when it's going to expire.


Is it a "crutch" when it's absolutely true? Did you know that the Seahawks have twice as many players with 3 or fewer years in the league than they do players with 6+ years?

Sure, part of the "youth" argument is that young players make mistakes. But part of it - and this is especially true of a team that's going through a rebuild - is cohesiveness. Because of the youth of the team, they haven't built those strong bonds that you see on more veteran teams.

Look at defenses like the Ravens and Steelers, for example. They've cycled through young players pretty effectively across many years, but it's because they were able first to establish that veteran core and then acclimate new players into that core while allowing older players to retire or move on to other teams. If you draft well, that process is self-sustaining. But we're not at that point... we're still developing that core on both sides of the ball. That's why you still get Rice and Wilson thinking that a raised hand means different things. That's why you get miscommunications in zone coverage that lets a Lions WR get so open past Sherman.

The biggest fix for that is time and experience playing together, imo.


I said it's legit -- I believe it. My question was...when does it stop being true? Most of our youth is coming up on at least two full seasons under their belt. I guess what I want to know is when we expect the youthful errors and lapses to be conquered? I have no idea.

To me, it can be dangerous to default to that to explain every problem we are having. I think I'm a little alarmed that Pete seems to always bring it up. After all, the youth movement is his trump card. But I'd almost prefer he just says, "we told you it's a 4-year plan and anything we accomplish in year 3 is icing on the cake". :)


Which makes more sense: to assume that an extremely young team will improve, or to assume it won't?

It's also worth pointing out that Miami's final ten points on Sunday were scored at the expense of our two OLDEST defensive players. The question of "when do we improve?" is valid, but hey, when one of the weak link's replacements is already on the roster and has a short but strong record of play, it's easier for me to be optimistic.

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