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Can we talk about the sexual harassment that women face in Dota 2 esports?

I don't think there has been much discussion about this in the Dota 2 subreddit.
Over the last few hours, several prominent female Dota 2 esports personalities have come forward and have made allegations of sexual harassment.
The Tweets:
(I wanna just add that the fact that this needs a compilation is sickening)
Sajedene (Former Digital Chaos Manager, Former Streamer, esports manager, and consultant):
Know what happened when I tried to speak up about my abuse in the industry to people in my circle? I watched my colleagues and people who I thought were friends stay and side with the abuser and talk shit behind my back. That's why we stay silent. Outcome is rarely positive.
Moxxi (Dota 2 Caster)
1. "Everyone is talking about sexual harassment in gaming as if it hasn't been occurring the whole damn time. How are y'all surprised that sexual assault is happening when we regularly get harassed and when we complain, the response is "iTs JuSt PaRt oF tHe CuLtUrE." Fuck off.
2. The fact that I hesitate when parents approach me at events saying their daughters love my casts and want to be a part of esports breaks my heart. Esports is amazing but the amount they'll have to fight and constantly be on guard (just as a gamer, not even as a pro) is insane.
Reinessa (Streamer, Host, Writer)
1) I've been harassed, hit on, cornered, inappropriately approached, propositioned, grabbed at events etc. My stories are mild. For many of them, I even educated them about why it was bad.
BUT to do so - I surround myself with trusted & large men. I'm never alone. I'm very careful
2) The first thing I teach my cosplay volunteers for DreamHack is how to check in with cosplayers, identify if they are uncomfortable, and give them specific tools/phrases to give the cosplayer an easy escape from any situation
It's heartbreaking that this is necessary.
3) Now this is an old one from dota that someone reminded me of recently - comments about a dota caster from a pro player that referred to a trans woman as ‘it’ and apparently the ‘pro’ community thought this an appropriate topic to bet on.
[Attached Tweet of Dota 2 Caster LlamaDownUnder calling out ixMike.]
Tobiwan's replies (1, 2) are unsavoury at best
Kips (Former Coach of Complexity, Vega Squadron, Fnatic and TNC)
1) Reading today's stories of sexual assault in esports has been heart-wrenching--not because I didn't know these things happened, but because the victims had to wait so long before they could feel moderately safe talking about it. And they are just the tip of the iceberg.
2) Believe victims. Out loud. Not just because they deserve support but also because all the others who stay quiet deserve to know that they too would be heard and believed.
TI7 Afterparty Incident
@cofactorstrudel (Idk, who exactly she is, I think she writes for LiquidDota or JoinDota She is a mobile game scenario writer)
1) We telling esports sexual harassment stories?
TI7 afterparty. One drunk caster slurring at me and literally wouldn't let go of my hand, I had to wrench it off him with all my strength.
Another person aggressively propositioned me for sex, even started undressing.
2) A new friend I'd made thankfully noticed the latter situation and came and got me out of that situation because FUCK was I uncomfortable. People talk about the fight or flight response.
For some reason nobody talks about the fucking deer in the headlight response.
3) I don't think anyone could accuse me of not being an assertive person. But I freeze like a fucking prey animal in those situations, and the shame that brings on afterwards is massive.
Please, if you see these situations be like my one friend. "Hey can I talk to you for a sec?"
Replying to a question: (Did u report that caster?? Does he still do casting??) she says:
4) Report him to who? The DOTA police? 😂 Yeah he still does casting, more popular than ever. Nobody would care. I just privately urge other girls to stay away from him if I know they'll be around where he is. That's how we've been handling things for years.
5 When I went to TI4 I got messages from other girls warning me some DOTA personalities to stay away from.
@WickedCosplay (Cosplayer) replying to this thread.
Ah yes, the year I pulled away a very distressed looking girl from a dude who was aggressively touching her at the afterparty, to dance with me, and the dude running shoved me from behind, called me a bitch, and when his friends came to get him they told me to mind my business.
Replying to the same thread Reinessa said:
yeah that was the event I got the 'hey baby where you going, the party is over here' line for the first time. 10/10 never again pls
Edit:
Moxxi Replying to this thread.
This is a real thing. I can't tell you how many guys I've been warned about at after parties by other ladies telling me "Don't go anywhere near x, dude's a creep"
Edit 6:
@cofactorstrudel:
Fuck it. The hand-grabby person was Grant Harris. He didn't hurt or threaten me (well, he hurt my wrist a little bit not letting go when I pulled). Just made me feel gross and slimy.
Grant Harris=GrandGrant for those unaware.
Edit 7:
GrandGrant's Response:
No one should ever Feel uncomfortable or slimy in any situation or at an event , What I did is inexcusable alcohol or not, And I sincerely Do apologize for the pain I put you through. Thank you for opening up to me when I messaged you, You didn't have to.
I know my community will not be harsh, they are much better then I am. Also my DM's are open, I want to talk and I want people to help me learn what I can do to help the community , so please anyone dont hesitate to message me With concerns or ways you think I could help Improve.
Edit 8:
@cofactorstrudel:
Grant. You should know that someone else has reached out to me to say that you assaulted them. I don't know the specifics, but is it possible I'm not the only person you need to be making amends with right now?
Edit 2:
Ashnichrist (Twitch streamer, Youtuber, Podcaster, Cosplayer)
Ashnichrist:
Women don't owe you sex just because you buy them stuff, get them connections, or help their careers.
We are not piggy banks you put kindness tokens into and sex falls out...
Nahaz:
I’ve known lots of guys who otherwise conducted themselves in exemplary fashion but still expected this kind of quid pro quo with women. If you act this way you’re an asshole, period.
Ashnichrist:
I will never forgive Zyori for what he did to me.
@n00ance:
Uh you saying he did something, ash?
Ashnichrist:
Yes I am
Edit 4: Ashnichrist's Full story about this incident
Edit 5: Zyori's Response
For what its worth, I think it is very important to listen to his response and his side of the story.
Final Edit: A TL;DW of Zyori's version of events
During The Summit 2 after-party, after hitting it off and confirming that she was indeed interested in him through a mutual friend, they slept on the same bed. He too confirmed that since they were tired from the event, nothing happened. He acknowledged asking her if he could lie to his roommates (he clarified that it wasn’t the community) and say that they something did indeed happen that night in order to look cool in front of them. She agreed to this proposition.
He corroborates that he invited her over to the BTS house for Christmas and that she agreed. He acknowledged that Ashnichrist said that she was on her period, so she says they can still hang out, but nothing more. He stated that he said the period wasn’t a big deal for him. He confirmed that they did sleep with each other during this period but that he thought that it was mutually consensual up until now.
He says that he remembered sending the pictures of the bloody bedsheet, but he doesn't remember the context. He says that he probably sent it because he thought it was funny and that he never meant for it to appear as a threat.
Edit 3:
Nahaz's comments on the matter
Several other non-Dota 2 esports personalities have also spoken about this issue over the last 24 hours.
Please don't start witch-hunting.
submitted by lonerwithboner to DotA2 [link] [comments]

McKamey Manor, a “haunted attraction,” is a participation event “where you will live your own horror movie.” Critics have argued that McKamey Manor is not a haunted attraction, but a torture chamber. Founder Russ McKamey denies these claims, and maintains that the Manor has an element of mystery.

“The reason why the manor is so controversial is because nobody is saying what’s actually happening in here and that’s out of respect for the manor and myself and what we’re trying to produce here. If the people who go through the haunt want to spill all the beans and say everything that happens, they certainly could but they don’t and that makes the haters crazy because they don’t know what’s happening. That’s why you hear all the insane rumors because they’re just making things up in their mind of what is happening.” - Russ McKamey
What is McKamey Manor?
McKamey Manor, founded by Russ McKamey, is known as the most extreme “haunted attraction” in the United States. However, what separates this attraction from the rest is the fact that there are no zombies or ghosts. Rather, there are actors who are legally allowed to bind you, gag you, and push you to your mental and physical limitations. Of course, the experience isn’t for the average person. To even get the chance to experience the Manor, you would be required to be at least 21 years of age (or 18 with parent’s permission), pass a physical exam, a background check, and a drug test. The tour, which operates year-round and can last up to 10 hours, offers participants the chance to earn $20,000 upon full completion. According to McKamey, not a single participant has ever successfully endured the full 10 hours.
Just a handful of patrons are permitted to enter each weekend. There is no entrance fee, though McKamey asks that participants donate a bag of dog food upon their arrival. Besides meeting the necessary qualifications, McKamey requires that his participants refrain from swearing and physically engaging with the actors. Violation of these rules would be grounds for subsequently ending the tour.
Now based in Summertown, Tennessee, and Huntsville, Alabama, the Manor bills itself as “an audience participation event in which YOU will live your own horror movie.” However, others describe it as a “torture chamber.” McKamey Manor has received criticism from the public, the “haunt” industry, and even some participants. Critics have branded McKamey a “psychopath” who found a “legal loophole” to fulfill his sadistic tendencies.
Frequently asked questions range from “Is this legal?” to “Is this a hoax?” McKamey assures the public that not only is the attraction 100% within its legal rights of operating, it is also not a hoax.
Waiver
If all goes to plan, prospective participants are required to sign a 40-page waiver prior to the tour. The waiver asks that the participant understands and agrees to:
“19. Participant was warned numerous times about the intensity of MM and by the Owners and other members of the crew that YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO DO THIS.
“20. Participant agrees and understands that your life in reality is not in danger and this is just a game.
”21. Participant agrees and understands that during the Tour and Participant is in the van, they will not be secured by a seatbelt or other safety device.
“22. Participant understands and agrees that they are not being tortured and this is just a game.
“23. Participant understands and agrees that they are not being beat up, kicked, slugged, or actually physically harmed. You will be roughed up but no one is there to hurt you. Knowing that, MM is very rough and not for the meek. Participant will have bumps, bruises, possible black eyes, swelling of the face, etc.
“24. Participant understands and agrees that they are never being held against their will.
The waiver continues to stress that the experience is just “a game” several times. By number 28, the waiver starts to detail what the participant may be subjected to:
“28. Participant fully understands that by signing this waiver that they are giving MM permission to keep nothing off the table (except sexual or inappropriate situations). Everything else imaginable can and will happen inside of MM. You are aware of this and are giving full permission for any action that may happen inside of MM.
“29. Participant agrees to and has full knowledge that if selected to visit the barber, Participant may leave MM completely bald, including eyebrows.
“30. Participant agrees and knowledges that mousetraps are used within the Tour which may result in bruising, cutting, or breakage of fingers.
“31. Participant agrees that if selected, they could be buried alive under 12 feet of dirt and rock to which they will have a limited amount of air and that they will have to figure out how to escape and they could possibly breathe in a significant amount of dust, dirt, or foreign objects that may cause death if Participant does not breathe properly or hold their breath at the right time.
“32. Participant agrees to partake, if selected to participate, in a height stunt that involves walking a plank 25 feet above ground without a safety net.
“33. Participant agrees that if selected they will come in contact with a variety of live poisonous animals. It is the Participant’s responsibility to not panic or agitate the animals. If Participant is bitten, it is because the Participant made a sudden movement within a confined secured environment.”
The waiver continues for several more pages, the intensity increasing with each page.
Consenting Participants or Victims?
One San Diego participant, Amy Milligan, says that experience was more than “just a game.” According to Milligan, she suffered several injuries beyond “cuts and bruises.” Milligan was waterboarded during her tour. Milligan claims that, while exclaiming she could not breathe, actors laughed while they continued to waterboard her.
“My hair is wrapping around my neck and I start freaking out. I’m telling them I can't breathe and they’re just laughing and doing it more.”
Despite the “traumatic” experience, Mulligan spoke highly of the tour during her exit interview, going as far as adding that she did not feel like she had been “tortured” and treated it “as a game.”
However, Mulligan claims that the only reason she left a positive review was to ensure that McKamey would upload the footage of her tour to YouTube. Mulligan had intended to use the footage as evidence of her excessive abuse. However, Mulligan found herself disappointed when she watched the video. According to Mulligan, the most distressing portion of her tour had been edited out of the footage.
In an interview, Mulligan says that she begged to go home but was forced to continue to tour. “I’m like ‘I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I need to go home let me out, let me out,’ and they’re like ‘you’re not done.’” Mulligan adds, “[They] shoved my head back in the water and I was like, ‘They’re not going to let me out. I’m going to die in here.’”
Another San Diego participant, Laura Hertz Brotherton, shares a story similar to that of Mulligan’s. Like Mulligan, Brotherton left the tour with more than just cuts and bruises. Prior to Brotherton’s scheduled tour, McKamey sent Brotherton tasks that she would have to complete in order to prove her loyalty to McKamey. Brotherton was required to purchase an adult onesie that she would wear on her tour and videotape her visit to a nearby Halloween store. Brotherton described her initial interactions with McKamey as “fun,” and was looking forward to the day of her tour. McKamey instructed that Brotherton upload her assignments to Facebook. While navigating McKamey Manor’s Facebook page, Brotherton became romantically involved with another fan on the other side of the country, despite the fact that they were both in, albeit estranged, relationships. To Brotherton’s surprise, her affair had struck a nerve with McKamey. So much so that upon Brotherton’s arrival to the Manor on October 23, 2016, McKamey publicly exposed Brotherton, who was in the company of her boyfriend. While Brotherton’s boyfriend was aware of the affair, her online partner’s wife was not aware.
According to Brotherton, McKamey was cold to her for the remainder of the tour. Despite that Brotherton had just been humiliated, she was determined to power through. Brotherton had traveled to San Diego from Colorado and felt that it was too late to turn back. According to Brotherton, her experience was more extreme in comparison to others. Brotherton believes that McKamey was particularly harder on her. Brotherton believes that McKamey’s knowledge of her affair factored into the excessive abuse, noting that he appeared to be “personally offended” by it. Speaking of her experience, Brotherton says,
“I was waterboarded, I was tased, I was whipped. I still have scars of everything they did to me. I was repeatedly hit in my face, over and over and over again. Like, open-handed, as hard as a man could hit a woman in her face…” More graphically, Brotherton adds that she was blindfolded with duct tape and submerged underwater by her ankles. According to Brotherton, she was submerged underwater for so long that her body started involuntarily thrashing. Brotherton was later forced to dig a hole in dirt with nothing other than her bare hands. Brotherton was then forced to lie in the fresh hole while they covered her and her face with dirt, giving her only a straw to breathe through. “[The dirt] started to go into my throat, and I started to swallow it. I’m coughing and I keep saying ‘I need water,’ and they would just splash water in my face. That went on for, I want to say, 20 to 30 minutes.”
Brotherton repeated the safe word for several minutes before the actors finally relented. Like Mulligan, Brotherton had to record an exit video. In the video, Brotherton also spoke positively about her experience. Though according to Brotherton, it was because she was “forced” to.
“Before Russ turned the camera on he said to me, if I do not say good things about McKamey Manor and I start telling what actually happened, he’s going to sue me for $50,000. I signed a waiver saying this could happen. So Russ forced me into saying all these great things, like, ‘Oh my God, my tour was so amazing, it was exhilarating,’ blah, blah, blah.”
After her experience, Brotherton went to the hospital but refused to tell the hospital staff who or what caused her injuries. As a result, the hospital staff called the police. Brotherton, however, was discharged and left before the police arrived. Brotherton says that she later worked up the courage to report the incident to the police, but was told that she didn’t have a criminal case because of the waiver she signed. Brotherton took photographs to document her injures. According to journalist Megan Seling, who interviewed Brotherton for her article, Tennessee's McKamey Manor: Torture on Demand, the nature of Brotherton’s injuries included:
“In one photo, Brotherton is in a neck brace and a hospital gown and her face is markedly swollen. She has scrapes on her cheeks and a lump on her forehead, her lips are red and puffy, and there are small cuts at the corner of her mouth.
In another image, you can see a large, bloody wound on Brotherton’s left knee. She says that’s an old surgery scar that opened up after McKamey’s actors cut off her knee pads and made her crawl on the ground. Her legs are covered in scratches, and there’s a large purple bruise on top of her left foot. There are also two pictures of her torso, showing large purple bruises that stretch across her hip and stomach. She says X-rays showed a hairline fracture in her foot, and the inside of her mouth was so scratched up from the hitting and “fish-hooking” (“Where they take their two fingers and they put them inside your mouth and they stretch your mouth open”) that the hospital sent her home with medical mouthwash, which she had to use every two hours for three days.”
According to Seling, McKamey didn’t deny Brotherton’s claims, though he did shed doubt on the fracture in her foot. McKamey also admitted to exposing her affair but claimed that it didn’t affect her tour in terms of increasing severity. Rather, according to McKamey, “Any personal information we have, we’ll use it against you in the tour.”
Towards the end of the article, Seling states, “Here’s the thing: There is no $20,000. There’s no caiman named Ralphie, there’s no quicksand-like mud that will swallow you whole, and McKamey will certainly never slather your body in flame-retardant gel and lock you in an incinerator somewhere in Huntsville, Ala. None of that is real.”
McKamey himself commented on the article, suggesting that Seling reported her opinions rather than facts. The comment read,
“Russ here, I'm posting this FB post here because I think it's worth mentioning. There really is only one part of your story that I have an issue with. Sure the way you went on and on about Laura B. without having the real facts was to be expected. Clearly if things happened the way you suggested in the piece...I would be in jail. I can assure you, Laura's tour was no tougher then other "Chamber" tours in San Diego. If you would have spoken to other contestants who have taken multiple tours (up to 5), including the same tour that Laura took...you would have received a balanced take on the San Diego shows. I offered you their names, but you decided to go with the most salacious participant. The person who has been banned by all other extreme attractions. Why...because she causes trouble and she does not speak the truth. The bottom line Megan Seling is this. Why did you feel it was important to get one final (unsubstantiated), dig in at myself and the Manor. Would you top off a story about a magician or illusionist with a statement about what is real or nor real? But for some reason you felt it necessary to do so covering the MM story. It may have been understandable to include your final paragraph if for some reason you really felt inclined to complain because I wasn't giving away my secrets, but you did so much more then that. You left your readers with the impression that what you were saying was fact. And that's were I have a big issue with what you presented to your audience. You deceived your readers by presenting your "opinion" as a factual statement. You even admitted to other FB readers that you you knew what you did was going to upset me, but you went full steam ahead nonetheless. In hindsight, that's probably the effect you were looking for. As you and I both know, I called it from the first phone call and several hours working with you on your story, how you would eventually spin the article. And as usual in these cases deal with the media...I was correct. But let's get back to the actual statement you presented to your audience as fact...not opinion. You wrote the following: "Here’s the thing: There is no $20,000. There’s no caiman named Ralphie, there’s no quicksand-like mud that will swallow you whole, and McKamey will certainly never slather your body in flame-retardant gel and lock you in an incinerator somewhere in Huntsville, Ala. None of that is real." That is not an opinon...you're stating this as fact. I would like to offer this challenge to you publicly here in your papers comment section. I have already done so numerous times as you're well aware. Because you're so keen on exploring what is real and not real at MCKAMEY MANOR, and because you're so inclined to make that the final impression of your story, I have a very simple way to bring this to a very exciting conclusion. All you have to do Megan is to actually take the tour. I would think as a professional journalist you would be more then happy to participate in this little adventure. If for no other reason just to get the actual facts correct. Unfortunately we all know you will never do that. Instead you'll sit behind your desk in the comfort of your safe space, writing about second hand information instead of actually seeking the truth from your own experience. I understand that there are those that are "participants" in the world, and others who simple watch from the sidelines. In your case I'm offering you a chance to actually become an active player and not just a computer warrior. If you would care to sign up for the tour, I'm pretty sure you would change your statement. What do you have to loose? Don't just toss opinions out as fact. Maybe you're absolutely correct that MCKAMEY MANOR in not real in the faintest, and that nothing is what it seems. My challenge to you is to be a real real journalist and find out the facts. Imagian the great story you would have, and I know your supporters would love to see you get away from your desk and safe space to show us all what MCKAMEY MANOR is real all about. Is MM just "Smoke and Mirrors," or it it something much more exciting and magical. This would make an excellent follow on piece for your paper. Do you have what it takes Megan to actually find out the truth? If anyone would like to participate in the MM experience, please fill out the contact form at www.Mckameymanor.com. Be advise you must be able to meet all basic requirements and you must provide a doctors letter stating your mentally and physically cleared to participate in our little adventure called MCKAMEY MANOR. And no matter what you may have read in this article, the chance to win 20,000.00 is absolutely real. Do I believe that will ever happen...not on your life ladies and gentlemen. MM is looking forward to meeting each and every one of you. One final note, I'm the most transparent individual you'll ever have the opportunity to meet. If anyone one of you reading this comment have any questions for me, feel free to call me directly at (omitted by u/BubbaJoeJones). I will answer any and all questions...concerning anything. Thank you for reading my little rant :-). Russ McKamey”
Questions and Theories
Real, or Staged?
McKamey, who is a fan of filmmaking and acting, uploads footage of participant’s tours to YouTube. Or, he used to. McKamey has since stopped uploading to YouTube, presumably because of backlash. However, McKamey hasn’t stopped uploading footage of the tours entirely. According to Facebook users who are in McKamey Manor’s private Facebook group, McKamey still privately uploads, and occasionally live streams, the tours. The tours, which resemble movies backed by professional editing, lighting, and props, raise questions as to whether or not what we’re seeing is staged.
In one video, the footage shows three individuals reading the waiver aloud prior to signing. During the reading, McKamey repeats the Manor’s tagline, “You don’t really want to do this.” While the individuals are attempting to read the waiver aloud, they are having their hair pulled out of their scalps, being smacked in the face, and being choked with rope rung around their necks. Footage later shows the individuals having their eyebrows and hair shaved off (and later being forced to eat it), including other sadistic acts such as having drills forced in their nose and mouth, being locked inside a freezer, and being forced to eat raw dead animals.
These acts lead some people to theorize that it’s “just a movie” and that the participants themselves are actors.
People speculate that not only what is shown on camera real, neither is the alleged waiting-list. According to McKamey, there is a waiting list totaling about 27,000 prospective participants in 2015. However, there is no evidence to support the claim that there are 27,000 prospective participants on the waiting list.
There are also people who question the existence of the $20,000 prize upon completion. According to McKamey’s comment, “the chance to win 20,000.00 is absolutely real.” However, some people, including Seling, find it suspicious that nobody has ever been able to claim the prize. McKamey has said on record that though the prize exists, it’s “impossible” to attain. Though, as Seling pointed out, it’s not due to being unable to complete the tour in its entirety, it’s by design. According to some participants, McKamey decides when you’re through, even if you never withdrew your consent. As a result, despite what McKamey claimed, many believe there was no $20,000 prize.
How Does McKamey Afford it?
One question that remains unanswered is how McKamey is able to fund the Manor. McKamey, who is a US Navy Veteran, does not profit off the Manor. As mentioned before, McKamey accepts his payment in the form of dog food, which is later donated to Operation Greyhound. Additionally, McKamey invested $500,000 out of pocket into the establishment of the Manor in San Diego. According to McKamey, he was shelling out about $250-275 a night for an on-site EMT and somewhere between $15,000-20,000 per year on specialty insurance. McKamey estimates that it cost around $500 per haunt. How is/was this experience bankrolled?
Theories and rumors have ranged from believing that McKamey sells the entirety of his footage on the Dark Web, to taking a cut from a betting pool who watches the live streams from Las Vegas.
Though according to McKamey, he doesn’t profit off the Manor “at all.” McKamey admitted to struggling financially after having lost his job as a Veteran’s Advocate. As a result, he found that he had to move the Manor where it would be more affordable. As a result, McKamey moved San Diego home and purchased property in Tennessee and Alabama.
According to McKamey, his only source of income is his $800 monthly retirement check.
Is it Legal?
There has been some debate regarding the legality of operating McKamey Manor. As mentioned before, Brotherton reported the incident to the police and was told that there was nothing that can be done as she had signed a waiver. Moreover, the police were called to McKamey Manor on more than one occasion. According to Seling, police arrived to find one woman in a basement, shivering and bruised with duct tape over her mouth. When police asked the woman if the interaction was consensual, the woman said yes. Police had no option other than to leave.
According to the Brent Cooper, District Attorney of Lawrence County, Tennessee, McKamey Manor is legal. Cooper says that as long as McKamey participants are there voluntarily, no crime is being committed. However, Cooper does add that a participant can withdraw consent in the state of Tennessee at any time. If McKamey were to disregard the withdrawal of consent, a participant would then be classified as a victim who is being held against their will.
McKamey Manor Today
McKamey Manor’s Tennessee location is, according to McKamey, far less physically involved than it was in San Diego. According to McKamey, the experience in Tennessee and Alabama is more of a “mental game.” Rather than being physically tortured, the participant is manipulated into believing that torture is being inflicted upon them. In response to an online petition demanding that the alleged “torture chamber” be “shut down,” McKamey clarified,
“There’s no torture, there’s nothing like that, but under hypnosis if you make someone believe there’s something really scary going on, that’s just in their own mind and not reality. If you’re good enough and you’re able to get inside somebody’s noggin like the way that I can, I can make folks believe whatever I want them to believe. I’m like the most strait-laced guy you could think of, but here I run this crazy haunted house. And people twist it around in their little minds. It really is a magic act, what I do. It’s a lot of smoke and mirrors.”
However, that isn’t to say people escape the Manor unscathed. McKamey stands by the possibility that one may leave with cuts and bruises, as stated in the waiver.
Despite people having attempted to shut down McKamey Manor by signing petitions and filing police reports, McKamey Manor is still operating year-round in Tennessee and Alabama. According to McKamey, some people have grown so defiant to his presence that they have sent death threats and shot through his windows. Out of the hundreds of threats that McKamey has received over the years, McKamey recalls the one time that he was involved in a potentially life-threatening incident. Shortly before McKamey moved to Tennessee, a single bullet flew by his head while he was working outside in his yard. However, McKamey never reported the alleged incident to the police, claiming that he didn’t want to bring any more attention to himself.
Conclusion
“I’m not going to open it to the masses–I like keeping it a secret. I like the mystery of the manor. If you saw everything it’d be like any other haunted house. That’s my goal, even when I’m dead and gone, to make sure people are still talking about McKamey Manor. That’s why nobody is really going to ever see behind the wall.” - Russ McKamey
To date, little is known about what took place at McKamey Manor in San Diego. Mulligan and Brotherton maintain that they were subjected to excessive abuse, despite that they signed the waiver. As McKamey said, many of his participants choose not to detail their experiences out of respect for maintaining the mystery of the manor. Thus, there are very few accounts available on people’s experiences at the Manor. Although McKamey claims that the Manor in Tennessee and Alabama is the most “toned-down version of the Manor ever,” people continue to sign petitions in an attempt to shut the Manor down. Despite their efforts, McKamey says that he will continue to run the Manor as long as he is able to.
Links:
McKamey Manor
An ‘extreme’ haunted house requires a 40-page waiver. Critics say it’s a torture chamber.
San Diego terror attraction McKamey Manor runs into opposition at new Tennessee home
'There's a chance of death': Extreme haunted tour employee explains their terrifying 40-page waiver
McKamey Manor 'victim' speaks out
Terror attraction McKamey Manor is leaving San Diego for the south
submitted by BubbaJoeJones to UnresolvedMysteries [link] [comments]

NFL teams most likely to go from worst to first in 2020

We have talked a lot about the draft, biggest remaining needs for every NFL team, some breakout candidates and other stuff, so let’s now get back to more of a big picture and look at some teams from an angle of where could they go next season. In this article, I am analyzing those teams that finished fourth in their division this past year and why they could win it in 2020 or land at the bottom once again, plus an outlook where I actually see them.
Of course much of this is about these eight teams and how much better or worse I feel about them than the general public, but it was heavily dependent on their three division rivals as well. The top half I could certainly see earn a playoff spot and surprise some people if everything goes right. After that a lot of my faith is more built around the lack of great competition and giving some hope to these respective fan bases. As the cliché goes – everybody is 0-0 right now.


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1. Arizona Cardinals


Why they can win the division:
Let’s just start with the main point here – this Cardinals squad has all the ingredients to make a big jump in 2020. I expect Kyler Murray to enter the superstar conversation in year two, after impressing with his arm talent and ability to extend plays in a (somewhat controversial) Offensive Rookie of the Year campaign. Steve Keim managed to unload a bad David Johnson contract and basically acquire an elite receiver in DeAndre Hopkins for a second-round pick. Kenyan Drake now has a full offseason to learn this offense and make himself a major factor once again, following up an outstanding second half of the season once the Cardinals traded for him with Miami. He perfectly fits into this offense with a lot East-West based rushing from shotgun sets and his involvement in the pass game, including those quick throws as an extension of the rushing attack. Arizona’s defense should be a lot better with run-stoppers being added in the draft that fit their 3-4 base front with Utah’s Leki Fotu and LSU’s Rashard Lawrence, since they can stay in those packages against the other teams in their division running a lot of 12 and 21 personnel probably. Add to that a do-it-all player with ridiculous range and overall athleticism in Isaiah Simmons at eight overall, plus all the other guys being in their second year under DC Vance Joseph. I love Budda Baker as a missile from his safety spot and I think some of the other young guys on that unit will take a step forward, like second-year corner Byron Murphy, who I talked about last week. Now let’s get to rest of the West – every other team in that division has some issues. The 49ers are facing the objects of a potential Super Bowl hangover and some limitations with Jimmy G at the helm. The Seahawks have question marks on the edge on either side of the ball with Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Shell fighting for the starting gig at right tackle and Jadeveon Clowney still on the open market, with a bunch of draft picks these last couple of years having to step up. And the Rams had one of the worst O-lines in football last season and they lost some pieces on defense. The Cardinals already gave all these teams issues in 2019 and have now added pieces that were clearly missing when last matching up against each other.

Why they could finish last again:
Most importantly, I am still not completely sold on the Cardinals offensive line, with D.J. Humphries being signed to a rather expensive deal as a below-average left tackle, third-rounder Josh Jones – while earning a late first-round grade from me – still needing an overhaul on his footwork before he can slide in at right tackle and guard Justin Pugh finally having played a full 16 games for the first time since 2015 last season. NFL coaches had a lot of time to study Kliff Kingsbury’s Air-Raid offense, which when you break it down is pretty simplistic in the amount of schemes they run. Yes, he diversified it a little as last season went along, going under center and running some pro-style rushing plays, but at its core, you can learn how to create some issues for all those mesh concepts and spread sets. As far as the Cardinals defense goes, it is more about pieces than proven commodities. Patrick Peterson is seemingly on the decline, they are thin in the secondary and could Chandler Jones follow soon, after he has been one of the most underrated pass-rushers in the league for a while now? You are staring the reigning NFC champs in the eyes, a team that was a few inches away from earning a playoff bye and another squad that went to the Super Bowl just two years ago. This is probably the best division in the entire league.

Bottom line:
I still believe the 49ers have done enough to repeat as division champs, re-tooling for all the losses they have suffered this offseason. However, I’m feeling pretty good about the Cardinals earning a wildcard spot. While I believe in the Seahawks quarterback and the Rams head coach respectively to not allow their teams to not have throwaway seasons, I also see enough issues with those squads to make me believe the Cardinals could have the second-best year of anybody in the West. To me they are pretty clearly the best of these eight teams, because they have a young phenom at quarterback, stars at pretty much every position, a different type of system around them and what I’d like to call “juice” coming into 2020.


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2. Detroit Lions


Why they can win the division:
Matt Stafford is back healthy and when he was in the lineup last season, this was a team that defeated the Eagles, Chargers and only didn’t finish the job against the eventual Super Bowl champion Chiefs because of some crazy stuff going on late. The veteran QB stood at 19 touchdowns compared to five picks and was playing at a near-MVP type level. However, Detroit’s identity will be built on the run game with re-investments in the offensive line as well as adding D’Andre Swift to form a dynamic one-two punch with him and Kerryon Johnson. Kenny Golladay and Marvin Jones may be the most underrated receiving duo to go with Danny Amendola as a tough guy in the slot and T.J. Hockenson coming into year two as a top-ten pick a year ago, having shown flashes when he was healthy. The defense is finally starting to take shape with third-overall Jeffrey Okudah as an elite corner prospect being added to an underrated secondary, Jamie Collins being a chess piece in the front seven after already having worked well with Matt Patricia and some young guys up front trying to prove themselves to go with the versatile Trey Flowers. Maybe more importantly than the Lions themselves – Nobody else got that much better and none of the other three really stand out to me. Other than the Vikings probably – who had the advantage of making a record-breaking 15 selections – the Lions might have had the best draft within the division. Thanks to that last-place schedule, they get to face the Redskins in the East (instead of Eagles & Cowboys) and Cardinals in the West, who I just talked about taking a step forward, but are still a better draw than the reigning conference champions or possibly having to travel to Seattle. I believe that new regime in Detroit has finally built an identity on both sides of the ball with the heavy investments in the run game and back-seven on defense. Winning ten games might earn you a division title, if everybody plays each other tough.

Why they could finish last again:
Can these guys finally stay healthy? Matt Stafford to my surprise played a full 16 games in eight straight years before last season, but a lot of that had to do with his toughness to fight through pain and he had major issues with that shoulder early on in his career before basically breaking his back after putting the team on it for the last decade. Kerryon Johnson has missed 14 of 32 possible starts and he has never carried the ball more than 118 times a season. Their receiving corp has been banged up quite a bit too. More glaring even – how will all these additions of former Patriots players work out? Can Matt Patricia build a New England 2.0 in Michigan or is he just bringing in players he knows will listen to him and the way he wants things to be done? Detroit could also rely on a lot of rookies to be immediate impact players – possibly two new starting guards on offense, running back D’Andre Swift probably sharing the load with Kerryon, Jeffrey Okudah having to immediately become their CB1 and Julian Okwara being asked to become a much more consistent player if they give him major snaps. And I recently talked about how their uncertainty at punter could be an issue for their ball-control, defense-minded style of play. They also have an early bye (week five), which I’m never a big fan of, after facing the Bears, Packers, Cardinals and Saints, which probably includes three playoff teams. If Chicago can get any competent QB play, all these teams should be highly competitive.

Bottom line:
I don’t think any team in this division wins more than ten games. Unfortunately I don’t see the Lions go over that mark themselves either. The Packers won’t come out victorious in so many close games (8-1 in one-possession affairs), the Vikings have lost a few proven commodities and look for young talent to immediately replace those and the Bears still have a quarterback competition going on. So if Detroit can do any better than just split the season series with those three teams, I see them finishing above .500, but ten wins is the ceiling for me. In terms of the competition inside the division, the Lions may be my number one team in this conversation, but I see a much clearer path to things crashing down for Matt Patricia and them having another disappointing season than I do with the Cardinals. No team in this division may finish below that 8-8 mark.


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3. Miami Dolphins


Why they can win the division:
When you ask the general public, the Buffalo Bills right now are the favorites to win the AFC East, but they haven’t done so since 1995 and they still have to prove they really are that team. The Patriots lost several pieces on defense and Tom Brady of course, which probably leads them to starting a quarterback, who over his four career pass attempts has thrown more touchdowns to the opposing team than to his own. The Jets are still building up that roster, with GM Joe Douglas trying to plant seeds on burnt earth, and they face a BRUTAL schedule. So Miami has a lot of things going in their favor for an organization that I believe in what they are trying to build. Depending on what happens at quarterback, you could have a veteran in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was by far the best inside the division in several key categories last season and/or Tua Tagovailoa, who had one of the most prolific careers we have seen from anybody in the SEC. They added at least two new starters on the O-line, they now have one of the premiere cornerback trios in the league with the all-time highest paid player at the position in Byron Jones and first-round pick Noah Igbinoghene to go with Xavien Howard and with some added beef up front, they are finally looking a lot like what Brian Flores had in New England. DeVante Parker really broke out over the second half of 2019 and Miami should have a much better rushing attack because of the additions up front and two quality committee backs in Jordan Howard and Matt Breida being added. They have two other young pass-catchers ready to break out this upcoming season in tight-end Mike Gesicki and a UDFA receiver from a year ago in Preston Williams. Whenever Tua’s name is called upon, he will be a perfect fit for Chan Gailey’s horizontal passing game.

Why they could finish last again:
As much as I like what I see from this entire organization, it is probably just a year too early for Miami. So many young players could be thrown into the fire and a lot of them I look at as needing that experience – 18th overall pick Austin Jackson (USC) is more of a developmental tackle still with his footwork and hand-placement issues, 30th overall pick Noah Igbinoghene (Auburn) has only played cornerback for two years and was bailed out by his athletic tools at times, third-rounder Brandon Jones has to develop more of a feel in deep coverage and at least one more rookie lineman will likely start for them. Even outside of this year’s draft class, they already had several players on their roster that are still moving towards their prime. Whether you look at last year’s first-rounder Christian Wilkins, a lot of second- and third-year pass-catchers or their young linebackers outside of Kyle Van Noy. The Bills are entering year four of that turn-around under Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane, the Patriots still have the greatest coach of all time and will be a tough matchup solely based on that and the Jets at least have people playing for their jobs, plus a very talented young quarterback I still believe in. As much as I doubt Adam Gase, as long as Sam Darnold doesn’t get mono again, the offense should at least be competent, and the defense could potentially have a top-five player at every level with All-Pro Bowl safety Jamal Adams, an 85-million dollar linebacker in C.J. Mosley and my number one prospect in last year’s draft on the interior D-line with Quinnen Williams.

Bottom line:
As I mentioned before, the Bills are the front-runners in this division for me. As much respect as I have for Bill Belichick, I haven’t seen enough from Jarrett Stidham to make me a believer and he shrunk in some big moments at Auburn. The Jets to me could be a lot better than they were in 2019 and still go 6-10 just because of the type of schedule they are up against. So the Dolphins to me could easily finish anywhere from second to fourth, depending on how some of the players on that roster progress. I wouldn’t bet on them actually making the playoffs, but they could absolutely be a pain in the butt for some of the better teams in the AFC and in 2021 they might be the pick here.


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4. Los Angeles Chargers


Why they can win the division:
First and foremost, this Chargers defense is absolutely loaded with no real hole that you can point to. Derwin James is back healthy after a first-team All-Pro rookie campaign, Chris Harris Jr. comes in to make this secondary one the elite units in the NFL to go with two more Pro Bowlers among it and they have some guys I expect to break out like Jerry Tillery, Drue Tranquill and Nasir Adderley. In terms of having matchup pieces and a versatile pass rush to challenge Kansas City, nobody in the league may be on the same level as these guys. Offensively, Ihave talked about how the left tackle spot is concern for L.A. with a battle between Sam Tevi and Trey Pipkins for the starting job, but the other four spots are as good as they have been in a while, acquiring Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner via trade, signing a top five right tackle in Bryan Bulaga and getting Mike Pouncey back healthy. Tyrod Taylor can steer the ship and even if Justin Herbert is thrown into the fire – which I wouldn’t recommend – they have the skill-position players and willingness to run the ball to take pressure off those guys. While the Chiefs return 20 of 22 starters from a year ago, this wouldn’t be the first time we saw a Super Bowl champion have some issues the following season and as much as we want to hype up the Broncos and Raiders, both their quarterbacks (and other players of course as well) have a lot to prove still. Outside of KC, the Chargers likely have the smallest changes to what they do other than moving on from Philip Rivers and we saw that formula work the year prior, when they challenged Kansas City until the very end for the division crown and the conference’s top seed potentially. While they probably would have liked to bring in Tom Brady over the offseason, the fact they decided against signing Cam Newton to a roster that is ready to win right now, shows you the confidence they have in that quarterback room.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m not a huge fan of Derek Carr, but the Chargers will probably have the worst quarterback in the division in 2020. And their starting left tackle could be the worst in the entire league. As good as their defense will probably be, you can not consistently win games in which your offense doesn’t put up 20+ points in the league today – especially when all these teams in their division have spent so much on acquiring offensive firepower these last couple of years. I believe all three of their division rivals got better this offseason and the Chargers spent their top draft pick (sixth overall) on a young quarterback, who might not even help them win games this season. As I already mentioned, Kansas City brings back almost their entire starting lineups and they went 12-4 despite Mahomes seemingly having his knee cap facing the sideline while laying on his back. I have uttered my thoughts on Denver several times now, which you can read up on later. As for Las Vegas’ new team, they did start last season 6-4 and just heavily invested into their two major issues – wide receiver and linebacker. And while I don’t like to talk about it – injuries have been a huge issue for this Chargers team in recent years and I don’t really know what it is even, but I can’t assume that they all of a sudden can stay healthy.

Bottom line:
In terms of talent on the roster outside of the quarterback position, you could make a pretty compelling argument that the Chargers are ahead of all the other teams on this list. That’s the reason they have a pretty high floor of finishing around .500 and if everything works out, they could absolutely be a playoff contender. However, for this exercise in particular, I believe their upside is capped by what they have under center. Tyrod Taylor can be a top-20 quarterback in the NFL this season and in terms of upside, Justin Herbert has all the tools to become a difference-maker once he steps on the field, but they don’t have the explosiveness the Chiefs or the Broncos have for that matter. With so much continuity on a team that has the best player in the entire league, I can’t go against the Chiefs and in the end we are evaluating the chances to actually win the division.


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5. Washington Redskins


Why they can win the division:
These guys are very reminiscent of the 49ers with their defensive line, in terms of having invested a lot of high draft picks into the unit these last couple of years and now with that second overall pick bringing in a true stud from Ohio State – this time in Chase Young. When you look at all those guys up front – with the Bama boys patrolling the middle, Matt Ioannidis capable of moving around the front, Montez Sweat looking to break out in year two and Ryan Kerrigan still being there as a productive veteran – they will wreak some havoc this season. Ron Rivera could finally bring some structure to this organization and help them turn it around on defense with the addition of an old companion in Thomas Davis, plus some high-upside players like Reuben Foster and Fabian Moreau looking to prove themselves. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins had a very underwhelming rookie campaign, but he clearly wasn’t ready to be out there and found himself in a bad situation in terms of the support system around him. I like a lot of their young skill-position players the front office has surrounded him with, when you look at Terry McLaurin trying to become a young star in this league, who produced despite shaky quarterback play last season, Kelvin Harmon and Antonio Gandy-Golden being two big-bodied targets I liked these last two drafts, Derrius Guice hopefully finally being able to stay healthy to lead this backfield and this year’s third-round pick Antonio Gibson being a chess piece that you can manufacture touches for. Somebody I forgot to mention in this discussion recently is Steven Sims Jr., who is a jitterbug with the ball in his hands. New offensive coordinator Scott Turner will implement a system that should make life easier on his second-year signal-caller as well, while relying heavily on the run game.

Why they could finish last again:
Haskins is by far the least proven QB of the bunch, with Daniel Jones even being head and shoulders above him in their respective rookie seasons. No pass-catcher outside of Terry McLaurin had any major production to speak. Counting on a 37-year old Thomas Davis to not only be a leader for them, but also make plays on the field, could create issues, and Washington lost some pieces in the secondary. This offseason is a challenge for any team, that is looking to implement a new system on each side of the ball, but I think especially for a motivator like Rivera, who can give his squad a heartbeat and push them to success, not being there in person with those guys will hurt. Most importantly however, this division to me will be a two-man race between the Eagles and Cowboys – as it has been for a while now. They both will likely have top ten quarterbacks, better receiving corps, better offensive lines and more experienced defenses. The Giants may not blow anybody away coming into 2020, but looking at the two matchups from last year between them and the Redskins, Big Blue beat them 24-3 the first time around, when Daniel Jones threw one touchdown compared to two interceptions and then he diced them up for five TDs and no picks in week 16. The one area Washington would have had the clear upper hand was with their front-four, but New York just invested a lot of draft capital into their O-line to prevent that. Just go through the Redskins’ schedule and show me more than six wins. I dare you.

Bottom line:
These last two sentences really say it all. Even if Philly and Dallas split the season series and Washington can get a game off either one of them, it will be tough to turn around this squad as quickly as this season – with reduced practice time and team activities – to a point where they can finish above both of them. Both of them could easily win double-digit games in 2020 and while I think the Redskins are on the right track if Haskins looks more like the Ohio State version of himself, other than their defensive line, no unit for them is ready to compete for the division quite yet. Just going through their schedule in an objective manner, it is tough to find any lay-ups and say Washington has some baseline of wins they count on. To not have them any lower than this is more due to the respect for Riverboat Ron and how high I was on a lot of the guys they drafted recently.


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6. Jacksonville Jaguars


Why they can win the division:
I was going back and forth between my number six and seven teams, because the Jaguars are projected to pick first overall come next April for a reason – they did lose a lot of pieces. However, to me it came down to the fact that the AFC South might be won at 9-7 or 10-6 and this coaching staff actually has to win to keep their jobs. There is a lot noise about the Colts, but when you go back to last season, Philip Rivers was a turnover machine with serious questions about his arm strength. Bill O’Brien made some very questionable decisions for Houston and Tennessee is counting on a formula that is built on a 250-banger running the ball 25+ times and Ryan Tannehill finally repeating a career year, as they are coming off an AFC title game appearance. As far as Jacksonville goes, Gardner Minshew was the highest-graded rookie quarterback according to PFF and altogether I would have put him second only behind Kyler Murray. D.J. Chark broke out as one of the young star receivers and I had a first-round grade on Colorado’s Laviska Shenault if he can be healthy, because his talent is off the charts. I think the O-line would have benefitted from another tackle to kick Cam Robinson inside to guard, but those guys are some road-graders to make the run game work. Defensively the only real contributor from that Sacksonville group a couple of years ago who actually wants to be there is Myles Jack, but I really like their young duo off the edge in first-rounders Josh Allen last year and now K’Lavon Chaisson (LSU). There are some questions about the back-end, but they were built front-to-back with a lot of zone coverage behind it and depending on the development of ninth overall pick C.J. Henderson, they can roll away from him matching up with the opposing team’s number one receiver. Avoiding some of the better AFC squads altogether is pretty sweet as well, to go with facing no playoff team from last year outside their division until the middle of November.

Why they could finish last again:
I’m just not sure if all of these players are ready to fight for that coaching staff and organization. Two of their remaining veterans (Leonard Fournette and Yannick Ngakoue) have openly talked about how they want to be traded, they only have a few actually proven commodities on that entire roster and with the way they have unloaded big cap numbers, they have set themselves up for a true rebuild potentially, as they are expected to be in the Trevor Lawrence-Justin Fields sweepstakes come next April. Even if they can get a few breaks and the division is up for grabs, does this organization even want to win this season? If not for the injury to Jacoby Brissett in the middle of the season, all three other teams in that division would have almost certainly finished above .500 and the Colts are actually the team that improved by far the most among them. That Texans, who have actually won the South four of the last five years, including last season, may be the smallest challenge and still sweep Jacksonville. Vegas rarely misses completely and the Jaguars right now are the odds-on favorite to pick first overall come next April, with an NFL-low OveUnder of 4.5 wins on the season. And as favorable as the early portion of their schedule looks like right, check out this eight-game stretch after their week seven bye – at Chargers, vs. Texans, at Packers, vs. Steelers, vs. Browns, at Vikings, vs. Titans, at Ravens. Ouch. They might go winless over that period.

Bottom line:
The Jaguars to me are a very interesting team, because I believe they have accumulated a bunch of young talent, which gets lost a little when you see all the names that aren’t there anymore. There is a lot to like about this roster, when you look at what these players could develop into, but that doesn’t mean they will have success this year already. The Colts have the best 53 currently in the division (or 55 now), the Texans have the best quarterback and the Titans are coming off an AFC Championship game appearance. Gardner Minshew could make this kind of a tough decision if they end up picking anywhere after first overall and I think some of those other kids will put up pretty good numbers, but they are still pretty clearly fourth in the South as for now.


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7. Carolina Panthers

Why they can win the division:
Nobody knows for sure what Matt Rhule and his new coaching staff will throw at them. Joe Brady gets to work with Teddy Bridgewater once again, who he already coached in New Orleans – so there will be familiarity for him in this system and they already “speak the same language”. That young receiving corp with D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel, free agency addition Robby Anderson and even an up-and-coming tight-end in Ian Thomas is pretty underrated actually, plus of course they have one of the truly elite weapons out of the backfield in Christian McCaffrey, who is probably set to break his own RB reception record once again. The Panthers defense-only draft has brought them a monster in the middle in Derrick Brown (Auburn), a really talented edge rusher in Yetur Gross-Matos (Penn State) on the opposite of last year’s rookie stud Brian Burns, a super-rangy safety with linebacker size in Jeremy Chinn (Southern Illinois), what I think is a starting corner in Troy Pride Jr. (Notre Dame) and some other pieces in the secondary. The talent is clearly there and now you bring in a scheme that is probably going to be unique for the NFL level as well, when you look at that 3-3-5 Baylor ran under Rhule and defensive coordinator Phil Snow. As much as we want to praise our legends of the game, the quarterbacks of the two front-runners in this division will be 41 and 43 years old respectively and let’s not forget that Atlanta started out last season 1-7.

Why they could finish last again:
Especially this offseason, without certainty if there will be anything like training camp or even a real preseason, that completely new staff with new systems they are trying to teach will certainly have some growing pains. Bridgewater has been a top-20 starting QB maybe one year of his career and even when he was applauded for the way he filled in for Drew Brees last season, he finished dead-last in intended air yards among quarterbacks with at least 100 pass attempts. How will that mesh with a lot of vertical targets around him? When he has those guys running free on slants and dig routes, the ball will get there, but will he be willing to throw that deep post or give his guys a chance on go-balls? Defensively they are counting on a lot of young players and they have nobody to even come close to replacing Luke Kuechly, as well as making the switch to an unproven scheme possibly, if they actually use some of those 3-3-5 looks coming over from Baylor. When you look at Rhule’s track-record, it always took him until year two to show improvement and then in that third season is when those teams can really make some noise. And that was in the AAC and Big 12 respectively. Now he is in the NFC South with a team that just went 13-3 in the Saints and a Bucs squad that already was 7-9 and lost six of those games by one score, only because despite finishing fifth in takeaways, they ranked in the bottom five in turnover differential due to easily leading the league with 41 giveaways. That should get a lot better with Tom Brady coming in, who has never even quite thrown half of Jameis Winston’s 30 interceptions in any of his 20 years in the league. Even the Falcons – for as poorly as they started last season – went 6-2 after really coming together and making some changes in their bye week last season.

Bottom line:
The Panthers are clearly the most unproven team in this division. While new systems that haven’t been scouted yet certainly have an advantage in terms of game-planning early on, especially in this offseason with heavily limited live reps most likely, that might equal a net minus. You have to root for a guy like Teddy Bridgewater and the way he has worked his way up to a starting spot again, but I just don’t look at him as a surefire franchise signal-caller. The other three teams in the South all have top ten quarterbacks in the league in my opinion and much more continuity around them. Until the Panthers finally get to their bye week at the start of December, I don’t see them winning more than four of those twelve games. At that point they may have their eyes on a different goal already, if Teddy B isn’t the clear answer under center.


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8. Cincinnati Bengals


Why they can win the division:
We’re not that far away from 2015, when the Bengals won the AFC North with a 12-4 record as the fifth year in a row making the playoffs. Since then this is the first time I feel like there really is change happening with this team. Marvin Lewis was replaced by a young Zac Taylor, trying to prove himself to the league, they drafted Heisman trophy winner Joe Burrow first overall to replace as average a quarterback as we have had over the last decade in Andy Dalton and the front office finally spent some money in free agency. While you would think a quarterback going first overall usually comes into a situation, where he is devoid of talent around him, Cincinnati suddenly has one of the better group of skill-position players in the entire league, assuming A.J. Green is back healthy. Tyler Boyd is a stud in the slot, who will be Burrow’s version of Justin Jefferson, a 50-50 ball specialist in second-round pick Tee Higgins (Clemson) matches perfectly with Burrow’s expertise of winning with ball-placement and if they get anything from former first-rounder John Ross at least as a decoy with his speed, that’s a plus. I expect Joe Mixon to be among the league leader’s in running back receptions and be more effective in space with those receivers around him as well. The signings the Bengals have made on defense gives them a lot more talent and complements very well what they already had. D.J. Reader is one of the most underrated defensive linemen in the league and frees everybody up along the front, they completely overhauled that linebacker group, which was a major issue these last couple of years, they brought in a starting CB2 and nickel from Minnesota to pair up with William Jackson III, who is ready to announce himself as one of the best corners in football, and Von Bell is a great match with the rangy free safety Jessie Bates.

Why they could finish last again:
As talented as all those guys throwing, catching and running the ball may be, it all starts with what’s happening up front and the Bengals offensive line is still in transition. They could have two of the worst starters in the league at both guard spots and right tackle once again, with the prior ones close to reaching that bust status and Bobby Hart still somehow having a starting job. As great as Joe Burrow was last year at LSU and how clean his evaluation was, how much better than Andy Dalton will he be right away, especially going up against those scary defensive fronts inside his division? Defensively they could easily have six new starters, which obviously can be looked at as a positive sign, considering they allowed 20+ points in all but two games last season, but there is also a lack of continuity and reduced time to fit all those pieces together. Cincinnati’s coaching staff hasn’t really proven anything yet and they will be facing a massacre of a schedule, with three occasions of back-to-back road games and while three of their final four games of the season are at home, they will face the Cowboys, Steelers and Ravens, to go with a trip to Houston in-between. If they don’t beat the Chargers in the season-opener, they probably don’t get that first W until week four against the Jaguars and then they have to hope they can sneak out another one until their bye week. Baltimore is tied with Kansas City for the highest projected win total with reigning MVP coming into just his third season, Pittsburgh is favored to make the playoffs with Big Ben back under center and Cleveland was the offseason favorite in 2019, while fielding an even better roster this year.

Bottom line:
I feel bad for putting this team last, because I thought Joe Burrow was the top quarterback and definitely worthy of that number one pick and the Bengals finally spent big money in free agency to retool the defense. To me this is less about them than the Ravens, who just were the number one overall seed in the playoffs at 14-2 and haven’t done anything other than get better themselves, a Steelers team that made a run at the playoffs with the worst quarterback play in the league now getting Ben back and a Browns roster that is among the top ten league-wide in most people’s opinion. Still, there is a lot to like about this team at the skill-positions, which is probably behind only Cleveland in terms all the weapons they have, some young standouts on defense and hope that all of this brings a fresh breath of air.


If you enjoyed this content, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece (with video clips) - https://halilsrealfootballtalk.com/2020/06/16/nfl-teams-most-likely-to-go-from-worst-to-first-in-2020/
You can also listen to my breakdown on Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9kCcuPobNU
submitted by hallach_halil to nfl [link] [comments]

Investigation: Can you design a more predictable D/ST Scoring Scheme?

Hi everyone, it's your "Defensive Maneuvers" projection guy here. I'm excited to (hopefully...) get back to weekly projections and accuracy scores in a couple months.
But for today, I have this little oddball topic, to mix up your news-feed. I've done some analysis of the D/ST scoring scheme, to investigate whether it could possibly be improved. I know that this post won't appeal to everyone, but if you're curious then read on.
TL;DR - D/ST scoring can be made a bit more predictable (correlation increasing from 0.15 to 0.20) while focusing on strictly defensive traits alone. Projection models could give correlations of 0.42 instead of 0.37. If you want less variance and more predictability from your league's D/ST position, then: (1) reduce the reward for TDs to 2 points, (2) crank up the effect of yards-allowed while shrinking the effect for points-allowed, (3) eliminate sacks, (4) shrink-- but don't eliminate-- the reward for turnovers.

Motivation

Since I have worked so closely with forecasting D/ST scores with statistics, I have long wondered if we could improve fantasy predictability by changing the points structure. For example, some people have suggested reducing randomness by making TDs count less. Contrary to popular belief, I recently showed that the predictability of the D/ST position is actually decent, when compared to other fantasy positions (during the last 3 years). But still-- can we improve the score weightings, to improve consistency and reduce variability?

Framing the problem

I defined my target as creating the most "meaningful defensive predictor", based on 4 criteria:
  1. The new scoring should use the same, familiar variables (sacks, ints, fr, score, yards, tds).
  2. The variables should be weighted in simple linear combination (no arbitrary "tiers").
  3. The best solution should best reflect that "past fantasy scores are useful for predicting future fantasy scores."
  4. As a final but soft target, it is necessary to define a range of outcome scores. I wanted my scheme to produce a narrower range than usual, more similar to kickers-- approximately 0 to 20 fantasy points. Avoiding negative scores is important, in order to avoid the strategy of "maybe I just won't roster a D/ST at all".
In other words, a D/ST scoring scheme will be considered "best" if it optimally "predicts itself", and is based on purely defensive traits (not tuned to the predictability of opposing offenses).

Remark on chasing predictability alone

I often see a comment that fantasy is already so random that we should use any opportunity to remove as much randomness as possible. It turns out that, if you only care about predictability, then you will end up strongly weighting outcomes that are controlled by the opposing offense-- but the point should be to reward skills under the defense's control. Furthermore, chasing predictability alone would make the D/ST position almost equivalent to betting on Vegas lines. So I disregarded this line of optimization, believing it gets away from the spirit of things.

Predictability of individual variables

For reference, let's first understand how predictable ("self-predictable") each component variable is. I.e. "How well does a defense's season average of TDs (or sacks/ints/etc.) predict future occurrence of the same thing?" So here is a chart of the correlation coefficients between running averages and weekly outcomes, using fantasy data covering every week of the last 3 years 2017-2019:
For most defensive factors, there is a very low correlation between season average and weekly outcome, indicating that these events are not very predictable.
Note that the first bar ("D/ST score allowed") actually describes an offensive trait; its high correlation reflects the fact that such offensive traits are more consistent than the less-predictable defensive results. You can read for more insight in my recent post about points-allowed for all positions. The second bar represents the a typical D/ST scoring system (ESPN default), and it is shown for comparison against the predictability level of its components.
It is also evident from the chart that "yards-allowed" is the most consistent defensive variable = best at predicting its own future outcome, with correlation 0.175. This is already better than the value of 0.145 you see for default D/ST scoring. We will next see that this fact makes Yds-allowed the dominant factor in an optimized D/ST scoring formula.

Designing a more optimal D/ST scoring scheme

Now we put the factors together, mixing the variables in linear combination, with the goal of optimizing the "self-predictability" of the new aggregate indicator. With some math magic... it turns out we can improve on the 0.175 of yards-allowed... but only slightly: up to almost 0.20.
Here is the final scheme:
https://preview.redd.it/udb3f1qyo8851.jpg?width=316&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=4df1d6bdd6cfb4d8be68f24c4bac1bf106317694
The range of scores was somewhat arbitrary-- You could just double all the values, for example, to double the variability. (Obviously correlation is unchanged.) But, to give you an idea of what scores this would produce, here is the distribution of scores (2017-2019) created by my draft scheme:
In the scheme presented, D/ST fantasy points would usually fall between 0-17 points. Predictability/correlation is independent of scale, so you could multiply the scores by any factor, if you wanted to widen the distribution.
And to get a feel for how strongly each variable matters, the following chart shows variable's contribution to score average and the (individual) standard deviation of scores:
The new scoring scheme is essentially dominated by Yards-allowed, with lesser influence from Score-allowed and TDs. FInt/Sacks become practically irrelevant when optimizing for predictability.
I found the following to be surprising:
  1. Sacks essentially just add randomness, once you have already accounted for yards etc. Besides this covariance, another reason sacks disappear is that they depend more on the opposing team. I investigated more and found that defensive sacks have an especially strong tendency to "regress to the mean"-- meaning that defensive sacks trends tend to correct themselves (e.g. if there have been recent fluctuations up or down). This is another way to explain why sacks are worse indicators.
  2. Points-allowed comes out weaker (but mostly because it is so covariant with yards allowed, which is more consistent).
  3. TDs don't go away as much as Ints and FRs. This does not mean TDs are predictable of future TDs (they are not), but it implies that TDs are indicative of an ability to limit yards-- and that the ability to limit yards may be predictive of future TDs. Somehow TDs are complementary to yards-allowed, but not so covariant as to disappear.

Is it more predictable though?

Yes, a full projection model can perform better on the new D/ST scheme than it is able to perform on the default scoring. Without too much work, I was able to show this. The bars to the right show the increase in predictability. I've included the other variables again, for the sake of comparison.
It might be important to note: this modified D/ST scoring scheme would make the position become the most predictable position in fantasy football-- even more than QB.
The right-most bars on this chart represent the projection accuracy for default D/ST scoring and the possible accuracy to predict modified scoring, respectively.

Summary

D/ST scoring can be made more predictable, but it's up to you to decide how significant that is. I've shown that D/ST score self-correlation can be boosted from today's 0.145 up to 0.20. This is desirable and would make D/ST become more self-consistent than RB/TE/WR. Furthermore, the potential accuracy of a full D/ST projection model could get boosted from correlation 0.37 to above 0.42-- higher than QB and every other fantasy position. Nevertheless, I'm sure it's not a big enough jump to convince everyone to change their settings.
But if you do feel like playing around with modified scoring, then I suggest: (1) reduce TDs to 2-3 points, (2) crank up the effect of yards-allowed while shrinking the effect for points-allowed, (3) eliminate or reduce the reward for sacks, (4) shrink but don't eliminate the rewards for turnovers. The result will be that it becomes easier for you to choose a D/ST based on its own historical results; while at the same time your opponent's D/ST is a bit less likely to explode unpredictably.
submitted by subvertadown to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

Defending the Draft 2020: Las Vegas Raiders

Season Review
The final season of the Oakland Raiders and the second in Jon Gruden’s second tenure had a small dose of optimism. After a paltry 4 win season in 2018 the Raiders brought in NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock to be the new General Manager. While few of the free agents that the Raiders brought in were able to make a major impact, save Richie Incognito at Left Guard and Trent Brown at Right Tackle, many of the rookies brought in did. Josh Jacobs, Trayvon Mullen, Maxx Crosby, Hunter Renfrow, Foster Moreau, and Clelin Ferrell all saw significant snaps. Johnathan Abram was on his way to having a starter role but was lost for the season on week 1 due to a torn rotator cuff and labrum. There was also this whole Antonio Brown thing going on. I think it's safe to say that I don’t need to get into the details on that. However, Carr losing the best wide receiver he would have ever had to play with and whom a big chunk of the playbook was geared towards was a mighty bow to the Raiders offense.
When the schedule was released there was no question that the front half was brutal with 5 weeks straight of non-home games (4 away and 1 London). The optimism of a playoff berth in the Raiders final season in Oakland only grew when they made it through that stretch going into week 12 at 6-4. Sadly, that’s when the lack of depth and quality weapons started to rear its ugly head and the Raiders went on to win only 1 of their final 6 games including a dismal 4 game losing streak which had the Raiders getting blown out by the Jets, Chiefs, and Titans. In that stretch the Raiders managed to lose in the final game at the Oakland Coliseum to the Jacksonville Jaguars. Not Great. However, they managed to split the last two games of the year, ending the season at 7-9 and in 3rd place in the AFC West.
Notable Pre-Draft Acquisitions
Corey Littleton, LB, LAR (3 years, $35.25m, $22m G)
PFF Grade - 78.9 (8th of 89)
To say that the Raiders have had a dearth of talent at linebacker over the past decade is an understatement. Such names like Perry Riley, Nick Roach and Will Compton have seemed like upgrades for our team. Not very inspiring. Mayock and Gruden clearly wanted to focus on improving this position and attacked the best linebacker on the market in Littleton. The Raiders have been victimized by tight ends and pass catching running backs and having an athletic coverage specialist like Littleton will only help the Raiders defense.
Carl Nassib, DE, TB (3 years, $25.25m,$16.75m G)
PFF Grade - 69.3 (43rd of 106)
Even with the additions of Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby in the 2019 draft the Raiders had a need at defensive end. Nassib gives the Raiders another long and high motor rusher who can hold the edge. Nassib may not be a high end player, but he’s going to be a valuable piece on the defensive line.
Nick Kwiatkoski, LB, CHI (3 years, $21m, $13.75m G)
PFF Grade - 72.6 (15th of 89)
The Raiders doubled down with linebackers by adding Kwiatkoski to pair with Littleton. The Raiders have since said that they are going to have Kwiatkoski wear the green dot on defense and playing MIKE. Kwiat may be lacking in starting experience but the Raiders are betting on his upside after showing out for Chicago this past season. The former Bear LB showed good coverage drops in conjunction with intelligence and physicality and should be a nice partner to Littleton.
Marcus Mariota, QB, TEN (2 years, $17.6m, $7.5m G)
PFF Grade - 64.3 (27th of 37)
It's no mystery that Raider Nation has a love/hate relationship with Derek Carr. While Carr is the unquestioned starter, Mariota will be there in case Carr is unable to play up to the standards of Gruden. Mariota still has good mobility for the position but the Raiders have been vocal about wanting to get him healthy first and foremost.
Maliek Collins, DL, DAL (1 year, $6m, $5.75m G)
PFF Grade - 65.1 (65th of 115)
One interesting move made by the Raiders this offseason was the hiring of Rod Marinelli (and letting go of Bretson Buckner). Marinelli made his influence and presence known with two signings, the first of which was for Maliek Collins (the other being Jeff Heath but I’m not gonna devote a ton of time to a backup safety/ST player). Collins is a solid interior pass rusher who still has his best years ahead of him. Jon Hankins is locked into our starting 1T role but the 3T is up for grabs between Collins and Mo Hurst, who ended 2019 very strongly.
Jason Witten, TE, DAL (1 year, $4m, $3.5m G)
PFF Grade - 59.4 (43rd of 67)
Yes yes. Of course a Jon Gruden-led team spent $4m on a possible TE2. Overpay aside, Witten gives Carr another red zone threat and the Raiders TE room a role model professional again. It’s only a 1 year deal so this deal won’t be too impactful but anytime you can sign a former Monday Night Football broadcaster you gotta do it right?
Damarious Randall, S, CLE (1 year, $1.5m, $1.5m G)
PFF Grade - 69.3 (40th of 88)
The Raiders secondary was not good in 2019. They attempted to fix this by signing Byron Jones but Miami got him for more guaranteed money. They tried for Chris Harris Jr but he liked the fit of the Chargers deal. They even agreed to terms with Eli Apple but that fell apart due to medical issues. Once that happened they used some of that money to bring in Randall, who will compete with Erik Harris to play FS.
Major Needs Entering Draft
The Raiders entered draft day with 2 major needs, wide receiver and cornerback. They also needed depth all over the defense, especially at running back and linebacker. There was continuing talk of quarterback but despite the signing of Mariota there were still rumblings of a Jalen Hurts or Jordan Love selection.
Las Vegas Raiders 2020 Draft
Round 1 (12th Overall) - Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama
5-11, 185lbs ---- Junior ---- PFF Grade: 75.0
Team Fit: Wide receiver was the clear need for the Las Vegas Raiders coming into draft night. With their pick of the top 3 wide outs in the class they went for the one with the best athletic profile and that was Henry Rugs III. Ruggs should be able to start very quickly for the Raiders and gives Derek Carr an explosive weapon who can win in numerous ways. Mayock also brought up how Ruggs could possibly return kicks and use that 4.27 speed to flip the field in special teams. There were some rumors about the Raiders moving back with Tampa here but were pretty locked in on Ruggs. I’d assume they didn’t want to risk San Francisco getting yet another target in consecutive drafts (2018 was McGlinchey and 2019 was Bosa).
Vic Analysis: Ruggs came into draft day as my 15th overall player and WR4. I had a firm round 1 grade on him as well. It is no secret to say that Ruggs has an elite trump card in his speed and is able to use that speed both deep down the field and in his after the catch ability. Ruggs isn’t the typical speed target with bad hands either. His 10 1/8th” mitts show up on tape and he uses them to make catches outside his body despite his smaller size. The Raiders should make it a habit to get the ball in Ruggs’ hands as often as possible because his speed will stretch defenses both vertically and horizontally. The Raiders have a true #1 target in Darren Waller and a good slot in Hunter Renfrow, meaning Ruggs doesn’t need to put up gawdy stats in order to be influential or valuable. Just by being on the field he will open up things underneath for our other targets. Mayock and Gruden have both raved about Ruggs' work ethic and football intelligence. Ruggs does need to try and improve on his physicality while in his routes and at the catch point but at his size that’s not an easy task. However, with Ruggs combination of athleticism, ball skills, route running, football IQ, and fearlessness he should be a staple in the offense of the Las Vegas Raiders.
Round 1 (19th Overall) - Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State
6-0, 195lbs ---- Redshirt Senior ----PFF Grade: 75.0
Team Fit: If wide receiver was the biggest need for the Raiders, second place would be cornerback. It was heavily rumored that the Raiders were interested in taking Clemson’s A.J. Terrell at 19 but when Atlanta scooped him up the Raiders went to the next guy on their board in Ohio State’s Damon Arnette. It didn't sound like there was much interest from other teams to move up to 19 so the Raiders stuck with their guns and picked up Arnette. Just like Clelin Ferrell in 2019, the higher than anticipated draft slot will shadow these guys throughout their rookie contracts. If they perform as the Raiders expect it won’t matter but that remains to be seen.
Vic Analysis: Arnette was my CB8 with a round 2 grade. Arnette may lack ideal length but he is an adept press corner and that makes him an ideal fit for Guenther’s defense. The former Buckeye is able to disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage by being physical and aggressive. He is highly experienced and technically sound as one would expect from a senior in an Ohio State secondary. Arnette has buttery hips that flip with ease and his feet are super quick as well, leaving him able to turn and run with receivers throughout their route. Arnette hasn’t had great ball production but he flashes the ability to make plays on the ball by anticipating the receiver and attacking the catch point even with his back to the ball. Arnette may have tested poorly in his 40 time (4.56)at the Combine, but he plays much faster on film and in my opinion his athletic profile is a plus, not a minus.
Round 3 (80th Overall) - Lynn Bowden Jr, RB, Kentucky
5-11, 204lbs ---- Junior ---- PFF Grade: 73.0
Team Fit: Raiders’ leadership has made it clear that they wanted to increase the number of weapons at Derek Carr’s disposal. Lynn Bowden Jr gives the Raiders QB a versatile weapon who projects best as an offensive chess piece, called a Joker in Gruden’s offense. Bowden can back up Jacobs at RB, jump into the slot at WR, and return punts as well. Bowen has overcome a tough upbringing, is gritty as hell, and still has a chip on his shoulder, making him an ideal Raider. Mayock has said that the Raiders are going to train Bowden, “..to be a running back. If he’s able to handle that job, then we’ll be able to do some other things with him. We’ll move him around, let him catch the football and return punts.”
Vic Analysis: Bowden was definitely a fun study. Despite spending much of the season playing wildcat QB after multiple QB injuries, Bowden ended up as my WR17 (RB8 if I put him with the RBs) with a round 3 grade. Bowden is a tough as nails player who thrives with the ball in his hands. As a runner he mixes his solid field vision with a willingness to run with both power and elusiveness. As a receiver he showcases good hands and the traits needed to improve as a route runner. He still requires some work releasing against press coverage and breaking free downfield against tight coverage. While Bowden has had some experience rushing from the backfield, that’s still going to need some development being a running back and not the QB. I expect that year 1 will be more schemed touches and that added development will give him a more defined role in the Raiders offense.
Round 3 (81st Overall) - Bryan Edwards, WR, South Carolina
6-3, 215lbs ---- Senior ----PFF Grade: 77.9
Team Fit: Did you know that the Raiders really, really wanted to improve their weapons? If you didn’t before it should be obvious now. So far, the Raiders have added a speedster in Ruggs, a do-it-all weapon in Bowden and now the big body possession receiver in Bryan Edwards. Edwards will probably start the year as the Raiders WR4, behind Ruggs, Tyrell Williams, and Hunter Renfrow. I suspect in year 2 he’ll end up being our X receiver taking over for Tyrell.
Vic Analysis: Bryan Edwards graded out as my WR15 and a 3rd Round Grade. Edwards is a big bodied receiver who thrives over the middle of the field. He needs to improve the consistency in his hands catching, but he flashes the ability to do so. Edwards is physical and sneakily elusive with the ball in his hands. He has the explosiveness and long speed to win deep and the route running to win closer to the line of scrimmage as well. He’ll need to shore up his releases against press coverage but he certainly has the requisite tools in his toolbox to do so. He had to battle some awful quarterback play while at South Carolina and going from the likes of Jake Bentley to Derek Carr should help him continue to improve and be a contributor to the Las Vegas offense.
Round 3 (100th Overall) - Tanner Muse, LB, Clemson
6-2, 227lbs ---- Redshirt Senior ---- PFF Grade: 83.0
Team Fit: Even with the signings of Corey Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski the Raiders wanted to improve their linebacker room. After trading back from 91 they targeted a hybrid player from their favorite school, Clemson. Muse will start out playing special teams for Rich Bisaccia while growing and learning both MIKE and WILL linebacker. Muse fits the Raiders blueprint of a tough, fast athlete with high football and non-football character. Already good friends with Clelin Ferrell, Muse could end up being the third Clemson starter on defense come 2022.
Vic Analysis: I had Tanner Muse graded as a safety and it wasn’t great. He was S17 with a Late Day 3 Grade. Muse was at his best attacking downhill, shedding and avoiding blocks, and not having to do too much diagnosing. I’m not sure Muse will have the ability to keep up with shiftier backs or tight ends, but the potential is there for him to be a solid man coverage player. Worst case he can still blitz and be an early down contributor along with his special teams work. Are there players I would have preferred at 100? Sure are, but Muse fits the Raiders blueprint and with two locked in starters at linebacker getting a developmental player isn’t a bad move. It just might have been early and like with Arnette, if Muse performs his draft slot won’t matter too much.
Round 4 (109th Overall) - John Simpson, OG, Clemson
6-4, 321lbs ---- Senior ---- PFF Grade: 70.2
Team Fit: Remember how I said Mayock and Gruden love Clemson players? Well here’s another one to add into the mix. The Raiders were surprised to see Simpson on the board come Day 3 and made a trade up to come and get their guy. With Richie Incognito getting up there in age and Gabe Jackson dealing with both injuries and underperformance (while having a cap hit close to $10m) the Raiders made it a priority to find someone to take over if they wanted to move on from either. There have been rumors the Raiders had Jackson on the trade block but couldn’t get any takers so he’s graduated to becoming a potential cap casualty. If that’s the case Simpson would compete with Denzelle Good at RG. Worst case I think he backs up Incognito before ultimately taking over at LG for the 37 year old veteran.
Vic Analysis: Simpson was my iOL10 (OG5) and had a 3rd round grade. Simpson is a big, thicc boi. The former Clemson Tiger thrives using his strength while in a phone booth. Simpson has elite length and hand strength, meaning once he gets hands on defenders he is generally taking them wherever he wants them to go. He lacks ideal foot quickness but masks it with decent vision and awareness. Simpson has an elite anchor but needs to make sure he doesn’t jeopardize it with getting too upright and risking his leverage. Simpson is a great fit for the Raiders west coast offense with a mix of gap/zone rushing concepts.
Round 4 (139th Overall) - Amik Robertson, CB, Louisiana Tech
5-9, 180lbs ---- Junior ---- PFF Grade: 90.3
Team Fit: It was borderline assumed at this point that the Raiders would trade back from 139, what with them not having any picks in the 5th, 6th, or 7th rounds. Instead, they stood pat here and selected the meanest, most fearless nickel corner they could find in Amik Robertson. Currently, LaMarcus Joyner is set to man the slot for the Raiders and if last year is any indication that isn’t the best plan. So, for insurance they went and got potentially the best slot corner in the draft in Amik Robertson. I think it's entirely possible that Amik ends up taking Joyners snaps bit by bit before starting in 2021.
Vic Analysis: Amik Robertson finished up as my CB9 with a round 2 grade. It might be safe to say that If Amik was a few inches taller that he would have gone earlier than that. Robertson plays cornerback like opposing players wanted to take his lunch money. Despite his size Robertson is able to win with physicality, instincts, and ball skills. His ability in short areas is sublime and while he can get over aggressive at times he is usually balanced covering double moves. Obviously he is going to get outmatched sometimes against bigger slot receivers but Amik will make them earn their wins.
Note: Mayock has said one of the reasons he was comfortable not having late day 3 picks was due to the shutdown related to COVID-19. With a shortened camp season he wanted to target players who would no question make the team over taking players who would be long shots.
Post Draft Acquisitions (as of 5.21)
Prince Amukamara (1 year, $1.05m, 50k G)
PFF Grade - 67.4 (43rd of 112)
Even with the Arnette and Amik draft picks, the Raiders had wanted to bring in a veteran corner who could compete with the young defensive backs on the roster for a starting role. Amukamara is a steady type who hasn’t had a ton of ball production but can get the job done in coverage. As of now he would probably be a starter with Trayvon Mullen but if Arnette shows why the Raiders picked him at 19 that could change quickly.
DeVontae Booker, RB, Denver (1 year, $1.0475m, $50k G)
PFF Grade - 65.8 (Not enough snaps to qualify)
Booker gives the Raiders another veteran back to compete in camp. He’s sturdy and good in pass protection so he might make the roster as RB4 behind Jacobs, Richard, and Bowden.
Notable Undrafted Free Agents
Dominik Eberle, K, Utah State
Camp competition for incumbent Daniel Carlson. Eberle didn't miss an extra point in college, finished with a career percentage of 79.0, and handled kick off duties for the Aggies.
Javin White, LB, UNLV
White is a hybrid defender who profiles best as a nickel linebacker and special teams player. If he's able to get ST reps he could make the back end of the roster while developing a true defensive home. Could see a path to playing time similarly to Corey Littleton.
Kamaal Seymour, OT, Rutgers
4 year starter at a mighty Rutgers (for you Looch) program who profiles better on the inside then at right tackle. The Raiders brought in a ton of options at the interior so it will be a battle for Seymour to make the roster. Practice squad candidate.
Nick Bowers, TE, Penn State
Bowers has good size and athleticism for the position. He was behind a possible 2021 1st round pick Pat Freirmuth's backup but dealt with health the majority of his time in Happy Valley. The Raiders have a deep tight end room so it will be tough for him to make the roster but he could be a practice squad candidate.
Madre Harper, CB, Southern Illinois
Strong athlete with press man traits. Needs to improve his transitions and tweak some technical details but could make the roster and see some time as a special teams player while growing at corner.
Siaosi Mariner, WR, Utah State
Jordan Love's go-to receiver in 2019, Mariner shows some decent traits at the receiver position to go with his 6-2, 205lbs frame. The top of the Raiders wide receiver depth chart is mostly set so Mariner is likely to compete for a practice squad spot. Mariner would be competing against Ateman, Doss, Gafford, Zay Jones, XFL Great De'Mornay Pierson-El and Anthony Ratliff-Williams for the final roster spot.
Mike Panasiuk, DL, Michigan State
Strong as an ox with a body made for taking blocks as a two gap defender, Panasiuk has a chance to make the roster backing up Jon Hankins at 1T. Needs to improve his pass rush but I think the traits are there for him to do so.
Liam McCullough, LS, Ohio State
He's a long snapper. He snaps the ball a long way. He will compete with current long snapper Trent Sieg.
Conclusion
The Raiders entered the off-season with major needs at wide receiver, linebacker, and cornerback. I believe they addressed two of those, wide receiver and linebacker, strongly while still needing some development for our corner room. Mayock also made sure to improve our depth all around the roster. If Derek Carr is able to continue his upwards trend in year 3 with Jon Gruden, and the pass defense improves literally at all, then the Raiders could compete for a wild card spot. Like last year they will need to survive a tough opening slate, but this time they will need to keep their momentum and not falter down the stretch. The AFC West will be a battle however as each team has made significant improvements. You could make an argument for each of Denver, LA, or Vegas to come in 2nd, 3rd, or 4th.
53 Man Roster Projection
QB - Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota
RB - Josh Jacobs, Jalen Richard, Lynn Bowden
FB - Alec Ingold
WR - Henry Ruggs, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow
WR - Bryan Edwards, Nelson Agahlor, Zay Jones
TE - Darrren Waller, Jason Witten, Foster Moreau
OT - Kolton Miller, Trent Brown, David Sharpe, Brandon Parker
iOL - Rodney Hudson, Richie Incognito, Gabe Jackson, John Simpson, Denzelle Good, Andre James
iDL - Johnathan Hankins, Maliek Collins, Maurice Hurst, P.J. Hall, Daniel Ross
DE - Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, Carl Nassib, Arden Key
LB - Corey Littleton, Nick Kwiatkoski, Nicholas Morrow, Marquel Lee, Tanner Muse
OCB - Trayvon Mullen, Prince Amukamara, Damon Arnette, Isaiah Johnson
SCB - Lamarus Joyner, Amik Robertson
FS - Damarious Randall, Erik Harris
SS - Johnathan Abram, Jeff Heath
K - Daniel Carlson
P - A.J. Cole
LS - Trent Sieg
2020 Draft Grade: B -
While the Raiders had some slight reaches, and not so slight (*cough*Tanner Muse*cough*), they also found some good values especially on day 2 with Bryan Edwards, John Simpson, and Amik Robertson. I think an aggressive projection has the Raiders with 4 players getting starter reps by the end of the season. More likely, I think Ruggs and Arentte start in 2020 and we see Edwards, Simpson and Amik each get more and more involved in 2021. Bowden will likely be a change of pace weapon throughout his rookie contract and Muse a special teams ace with some improved defensive playing time by 2022.
2020 Prediction: 8-8 (3rd in AFC West)
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[OC] The Chicago Bulls rebuild imploded again this year. How can they pick up the pieces and make it better next time?

As we continue to wait for real basketball to happen (or not?), it may be a good time to monitor teams that will definitely be missing out on all the playoff bubble hijinks.
Here's a look at the CHICAGO BULLS, with a special shoutout to true Bulls' fans like celsius_two_3_two for helping me review the content.
PART ONE: From Playoff Challenger to Challenger space shuttle
Like any proper degenerate, I like to make a few Las Vegas "oveunder" bets before the season (note: don't try it at home, it's usually a waste of time and money.)
Still, a few win totals jumped out at me. Among them: the Chicago Bulls, oveunder 33.5 wins.
Now, the logical move may have been to pound the "under" here. After all, this was a team coming off two seasons with 27-55 and 22-60 records. However, I couldn't help but overthink this one. Sure, the Bulls had a very bad 2018-19 season (highlighted by Fred Hoiberg getting fired and Drill Sergeant Jim Boylen taking over). At the same time, they played better in the second half of the season. Boylen (douche or not) would presumably keep improving their defense. Moreover, Boylen and the front office were on shaky ground in terms of their job security, which usually motivates an organization to push forward and win as much as possible.
The front office clearly had that in mind as well, signing Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young to sizable $10M+ contracts. Neither are great players, or perhaps even good players, but they're solid and reliable veterans whom the team could immediately plug into a rotation. These Bulls felt deep, balanced, and perhaps ready to strike. After all, star Zach LaVine would be set to enter Year 6 in the league. Otto Porter would be entering Year 7. Some of their other "young" pieces weren't that young; for example, Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine are both 26 right now.
Overall, this felt like a recipe for success. Or at least, semi-success. The Bulls were ready to take a jump. Making the playoffs may have been unrealistic, but 35-38 wins felt doable. "OVER" it is!
Flash forward nearly a year later, and I've got so much egg on my face that vegans won't even talk to me anymore. Turns out, these "new Bulls" were the "same ol' Bulls." They'll end the season with a 22-43 record, which would have put them on pace for 27.8 wins over 82 games, well under the 33.5 set by Vegas.
So what went wrong? How did this potential darkhorse run so far off the rails that it needed to get shot and turned to glue? Let's take a closer look.
PART TWO: Missing Otto Porter III + D
One of the major reasons the Chicago Bulls disappointed in 2019-20 was injuries. Center Wendell Carter missed time, and Otto Porter III barely played due to lingering hip injuries. He appeared in 14 games, and only drew 9 starts (averaging 23 minutes per game.)
On the surface, Porter shouldn't feel like a huge loss. After all, this is a player who's never averaged as much as 15 PPG in any season in his career and has never sniffed an All-Star team.
That said, the loss of Porter had a trickle down effect that hurt the team in numerous ways.
Offensively, Porter is a low-usage player who's about as efficient as anyone in the league. For his career, he shoots over 40% from three (40.4%). Better yet, he's only averaged 0.8 turnovers per game (1.1 TO per 36 minutes.) He's what you'd call a role player / assassin. He gets in, hits his target, and slips out without being noticed. Porter actually has a little more versatility to his offensive game than the average catch-and-shoot player (he can take you down on the block, for example), but most often, he's used as a spacer and he thrives in that regard. Without Porter's shooting, the Chicago Bulls' offense looked even more sluggish than usual. Their offensive rating ranked 27th out of the 30 teams in the league.
Porter's loss also showed up in other ways. Porter's not a great defender -- he's probably "above average" -- but that's still an asset to have in your lineup. He's a savvy player who's usually locked in defensively, despite one infamous Shaqtin' A Fool moment. He also has good size and length for his position at 6'8" with a 7'1" wingspan.
That size is a key element to this discussion. Porter has "plus" size as a small forward. In his absence, the Bulls struggled to fill that void with the same. They ended up shifting Zach LaVine (6'6", 6'8" wingspan) over to small forward quite a bit. LaVine played 67% of his minutes at SF this past season according to basketball-reference. You can take those positional play-by-plays with a grain of salt because it's not easy to track and label, but that's still a notable difference in terms of the roster composition. The Bulls were smaller than average at SF, and smaller than average at SG with rookie Coby White (6'4", 6'5" wingspan) playing the majority of his minutes there.
The natural follow up to this may be: so what? Even with those size limitations, Jim Boylen's Bulls still finished with the 14th best defense (up from 25 last year.) However, the lack of size on the wings helped contribute to the Bulls' problems on the glass. They finished 30th (out of 30 teams) in total defensive rebounds, and 28th in rebounding differential (-3.6 per game). Using rebounding totals isn't always the best metric to use because bad teams miss more shots (and thus allow their opponents more rebounds). However, if you dig deeper, the numbers still aren't pretty. The Bulls' grabbed 75.6% of their potential defensive rebounds -- 5th worst in the league. Overall, they grabbed 47.9% of all potential rebounds -- 2nd worst in the league. "Rebounds" may be not be an en vogue stat in general, but it's a weakness that still hurt the team at the margins. When you're a mid-level team, those extra few possessions per game could mean the difference between a win and a loss.
The good news? Porter will likely be back and healthy next season. The bad news? He's not cheap. He'll almost certainly pick up his oversized $28M player option. In another circumstance, he may try to rip it up and renegotiate a long-term deal with the Bulls or another team instead, but the murkiness around the cap and around his health makes that too difficult to imagine. Barring a trade, he'll be back with the Bulls next year, and will help the team win a few more games.
PART THREE: Misusing their offensive weapons
The Chicago Bulls are a young team, built around young stars like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen. Both LaVine and Markkanen have some limitations overall, but they're both gifted offensive players. So given that, how is it that the team only finished 27th in offensive efficiency?
In terms of the national media, a lot of the blame tends to fall on Zach LaVine. After some inefficient play early on in his career, the narrative has stuck that LaVine is an "empty calorie" or "volume" scorer. However, the results on the court don't really justify that anymore. Sure, LaVine shoots a lot, but he doesn't take as many bad shots as you may expect. He takes 8.1 threes per game (and makes an above-average 38%). He takes 5.6 free throw attempts per game (making 82% for his career.) Overall, that's a winning formula. LaVine's efficiency and true shooting is above league-average, no small feat for a player averaging 25.5 points per game this year. You'd like to see him hammer his way to the line even more, but he's not the problem for this team (offensively.)
Meanwhile, Markkanen has some work to do. For a 7-footer, he's a gifted shooter. He shot 42.3% from three in college (and even flirted with 50% early in the season.) He carried that success over to the NBA for his first two years, netting over 36% from three each year. His results at the free throw line (84% then 87% as a second-year player) illustrated his potential to keep improving from there. 7-footers tend to get labeled as "stretch bigs" if they can get anywhere over 30% from three; Markkanen has the potential to get closer to 40%.
However, that leap didn't happen in Year 3. Markkanen sagged to 34.4% from three, and "only" 82.4% from the free-throw line. But those percentages aren't what bothers me. Percentages will go up and down over smaller sample sizes like that. What's more concerning is how Markkanen's role shrunk offensively. After averaging 15.3 field goal attempts last season, he slipped down to 11.8 attempts this season per game. Even if you account for a few less minutes, he dropped from 17 FGA to 14 FGA in terms of "per 36" numbers.
As mentioned, Markkanen is an offensive player. He's a shooter. I'm no coaching genius (and neither is Jim Boylen apparently), but I'd encourage a shooter to SHOOT. Because if Markkanen isn't a focal point of your offensive attack, then he's not doing much good for your team. He's not a good defender -- he's not a good rebounder. This is like the Justice League sending Aquaman off to the find evil aliens in the desert; we're misusing his talents here, people.
Practically speaking, the next Bulls' coach needs to rethink the approach with Markkanen. Personally, I believe he has more in the tank offensively than he's been allowed to show so far. Maybe he's not Dirk Nowtizki, but he's still an extraordinary talent as a shooter for his size; I'd make a point of funneling him the ball. And if the problem is that he's getting marginalized by ball-dominant LaVine, then Markkanen should come off the bench as a 6th man scorer instead. He needs to be an offensive priority whenever he's in the game. And consequently, a better offensive philosophy and system needs to be installed in order to allow that to happen.
PART FOUR: Natural growing pains
When the Chicago Bulls' playoff chances slipped away, Jim Boylen and the front office finally unleashed their rookie, Coby White.
White took advantage of that greenlight and turned up the gas as a scorer. He'll end the season with a modest 13.2 points per game, but that undersells his impact as a scorer. Per 36 minutes, he averaged 18.5 points per game. That trended upwards over the course of the season as well. White averaged over 20 points per game in February and March (albeit over a limited 14 game size.) If White can do that as a 20-year-old rookie, then it's fair to suggest that he could be routinely scoring over 20 PPG in his prime.
While Coby White has some obvious virtues -- highlighted by his quickness and his cool hair -- there are some natural concerns and growing pains that he showed. He scored, but he didn't necessarily do that with efficiency. He shot only 39.4% from the field, and netted only a 50.6 true shooting percentage that's well below the league average.
Defensively, White also struggled. Playing "up" at SG for 71% of his minutes (and even at SF for 17%!), White's limited size and limited experience showed. ESPN's real/plus minus metric graded him as -1.9 impact per 100 possessions. If you wanted to count White as a point guard, that would rank 89th best (out of 94 qualifiers.) If you envision him as a shooting guard, that would rank 134th (out of 137 qualifiers.)
That debate -- is Coby White a point guard or shooting guard? -- is an important one. Sure, we're in an era of "position-less" basketball to some extent, but players still have certain roles offensively and certain assignments defensively. White's limited size and length (6'5" wingspan) projects best as a point guard. However, he's more of a scorer than a natural distributor. He only averaged 3.8 assists per 36 minutes this season, not far removed from the 5.2 assists per 36 minutes he averaged back in college at UNC. His playmaking can improve, but he's more of an attack dog by nature.
This combination of strengths and weaknesses makes you wonder about the long-term fit next to Zach LaVine. If the Bulls' long-term plan is to play White at SG and LaVine at SF, then they're always going to be behind the eight-ball in terms of length and rebounding (especially with Lauri Markkanen at the 4.) If their plan is to start White as a point guard, then they're going to have to rely on LaVine to be more of a lead facilitator, or on the entire team to adopt more of a ball-moving offense 1-5.
Most realistically, White projects best as a super-scorer off the bench, a la Lou Williams. To excel in that role, he'll need to continue to draw more free throws (he was at only 2.0 FTA per game as a rookie), but the potential is there to improve his shot selection and become a big-time scorer. Staggering White and LaVine would also allow them to be aggressive as scorers without stepping on each other's toes.
PART FIVE: Done with Dunn?
The other reason that it'll be important for the new Bulls' coach and front office to devise a long-term plan for Coby White is because it will affect other decisions on the roster. Among them: the fate of Kris Dunn.
Like Coby White, Dunn has some extreme strengths and weaknesses -- they just happen to be in opposite order. He EXCELS defensively. He has a big frame (6'9" wingspan) and natural instincts on that end. He nabbed 2.0 steals this season in only 24.9 minutes of action. A lot of times, "steals" can be misleading because they amount to gambling. For Dunn, it's more reflective of his actual talent. He has extremely quick hands; he could have made a lot of money as a gunslinger back in the Old West. In some ways, he reminds you of Andre Iguodala on the ball defensively, combining length, strength, and savvy.
The rest of Dunn's game is a mixed bag. He's not a bad distributor (averaging 6.0 assists in both 2017-18 and 2018-19), but he's a poor shooter. He's also had injury issues flare up over the course of his career. As mentioned, he's already 26 years old, so it's unrealistic to expect him to become a wholly different player in the next few years. With Kris Dunn, you mostly know what you're getting to get. So the question is: do you want it or not?
The Bulls will have to make that choice this offseason, as Dunn enters his (restricted) free agency. There's a chance that COVID will infect the cap and allow them to retain him on his one-year qualified offer of $7M. Alternatively, there's a chance that another team will swoop him and sign him to an offer sheet. He'd make some sense for a team like the Detroit Pistons, who could invest in him as an heir apparent to Derrick Rose at PG. If a team like that offers Dunn a deal in the 3 year, $8-10M per year range, will the Bulls match it? TBD.
Again, a lot depends on their views regarding Coby White. If they envision White as a future starter at PG, then there's less of a need for Kris Dunn. The Bulls would be able to start White at PG as soon as next year, with Tomas Satoransky as a combo guard off the bench and Ryan Arcidiacono serving as a third point guard and insurance policy. If the team envisions Coby White as a SG (or combo guard off the bench) then there's more of a need for Kris Dunn to platoon with Satoransky as a lead guard.
This game of musical chairs may be getting more crowded, because there's also another element at play: yet-another lottery pick.
PART SIX: Drafting some Help
Currently, the Chicago Bulls are slated in the # 7 position in terms of the NBA Draft order. They have a 9% chance of moving up to # 1, and a 32% chance of moving into the top 4. If they can make that leap, then that would mean adding another potential star to the fold. It's not a strong draft by any stretch, but SG Anthony Edwards (Georgia) and C James Wiseman (Memphis) have the potential to be good starters. If they can land someone like that, you ignore "fit", take the potential stud, and work out the rest later.
More likely, the Bulls will be picking in that 7-8 range. That's still a good pick, of course, but not one that should cause you to throw the baby out with the bath water and ignore the composition and needs of your team.
Again, this is why the "Do the Bulls need a PG?" question becomes so critical. This is a poor draft, but it's strongest in terms of its point guard depth. According to ESPN's draft experts, 5 of the top 13 prospects are point guards (LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, R.J. Hampton, Cole Anthony). A few of those -- namely Hayes and Anthony -- are "pure" point guards who don't have enough size to switch around and play minutes at the 2.
Among the crop that's likely to be available around pick 7, here are some potential fits.
PG TYRESE HALIBURTON, IOWA STATE (# 8 on espn). Haliburton is one of the easiest "fits" for the Bulls and for basically every team, because he offers a versatile set of skills. He's technically a point guard (averaging 15.2 points and 6.5 assists last year) and can capably fill that role. Better still, he can be effectively off the ball. His three-point shot looks a little wonky, but he converts it well, hitting 42.6% of his threes in college. Defensively he's got good size (6'5" with a 6'10" wingspan) and instincts (2.5 steals, 1.3 fouls last year). In a sense, Haliburton can be a "3 + D" point guard that plays alongside a ball-dominant player, be it Zach LaVine or Coby White. If the team drafts him, you figure it'd be with the intention of using him as an upgrade on Dunn (slightly worse defense but better offense.)
SG DEVIN VASSELL, FLORIDA STATE (# 16 on espn). Like Haliburton, Devin Vassell is another player who could fit well on virtually every team because of his 3+D potential. He's hit 41.7% of his threes in his two years at FSU with a good-looking form that's aided by good size for his position and a higher release than Haliburton. Right now, Vassell is listed around 6'6" with an estimated 6'10" wingspan, but he looks bigger than that to my eye. That's crucial because it would allow him to play both SG and SF and draw some different assignments defensively. I also like Vassell's personality off the court; he seems like a good kid that should continue to improve. Like Haliburton, Vassell is the type of player that should easily into a lineup with LaVine and/or White.
SF DENI AVDIJA, ISRAEL (# 5 on espn). I'm not going to pretend to have as much confidence in my projection of Avdija, who's played in the international youth circuit and has been a rising star with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Based on what I do know, he could be an intriguing boom/bust pick around # 7. He's a big forward (6'9") who can convert inside, and better yet, has a real knack for playmaking. The Bulls' young stars -- Zach LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen -- are all better scorers than passers right now, so perhaps Avdija can operate as a de facto point forward and help the offense click into place. Right now, his shooting results have been shaky though, so he's not someone you can just throw out there and tell to stand in the corner as a 3+D option. If you take him, you need an actual plan to highlight his skill set. The Bulls' top exec Arturas Karnisovas is from Lithuania originally, so you presume that he'd have no qualms about selecting an European like Avdija (whose dad is Serbian) if need be. Of course, that logic didn't quite work out for Sacramento GM Vlade Divac and Luka Doncic.
SHAKIER FITS. Alternatively, there are some players in the Bulls' draft range that may not be ideal fits. As mentioned, Killian Hayes and Cole Anthony are more of traditional ball-dominant point guards; I don't love the idea of that next to Coby White and Zach LaVine. I'd also be wary of Dayton's PF Obi Toppin. Toppin has strong scoring potential with a decent shot and good athleticism inside. That said, he's a little stiff in the hips defensively, and may duplicate Lauri Markkanen in that regard.
PART SEVEN: Buh-Buh Boylen
One of the Chicago Bulls' biggest decisions will be among their first. Technically, the new front office has not fired coach Jim Boylen yet, but it appears that his clock is ticking on that decision. It's only a matter of time.
Candidly, Boylen gets too harsh of a rap from national media and fans. He's not a complete asshat. He's had success as a defensive assistant in the past, and did help the Bulls' defense improve some over the past few years. He'd be a fine assistant coach somewhere in that limited capacity.
However, he does seem woefully out of his depth as a head coach. He's never had success in that role before, and he didn't have any now. His offensive system is virtually nonexistent, and his attitude is boarish. Usually those "Drill Sergeant" coaches get a short-term year or two of improvement from a young team, but he couldn't even do that. We need to pull him out of there before there's a full-on Full Metal Jacket rebellion here.
Looking ahead, the Bulls need to pick a coach that can get the team back on track, especially in terms of their offensive philosophy. That said, the Bulls have to be careful not to "zigzag" too much in their coaching hires. They went from Tom Thibodeau (the gruff, defensive-heavy coach) to the Anti-Thibodeau in Fred Hoiberg (likable, low-key former player), and then jumped on the seesaw again with the complete opposite in Boylen. There's always a tendency to go for the opposite of your last coach, but presumably there's a happy medium in between these two poles. Goldilocks was happy to find something "just right," so Karnisovas should be as well.
According to media reports, Ime Udoka is a top candidate, and would be a natural fit. While Udoka doesn't have head coaching experience yet, he's about as "ready" as any first-time coach would be. He's a former player, and a long-time assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio (and now has worked the last year in Philadelphia.) The Spurs' philosophy is an ideal template for the Bulls to use, both in terms of their offensive ball movement and their locker room culture.
I'd also recommend Kenny Atkinson as a viable candidate. He didn't mesh with the new superstars in Brooklyn, but he'd done a great job prior to that in terms of rebuilding a broken Brooklyn team. He specializes in pace and space offense, and player development. That sounds ideal for this team right now.
There are a few other candidates out there that would be worth interviews (Chris Finch, Wes Unseld Jr., Chris Fleming, Nate Tibbetts, Alex Jensen, Dave Joerger, etc) but Udoka and Atkinson represent a very solid top two. Hiring either of them would be a great first step for this new administration.
TL;DR
The Chicago Bulls' "breakout" didn't happen; instead, they broke down. However, the foundation isn't bad here. If the new front office wants to push for the playoffs next year (manifested by keeping Otto Porter and continuing to play veterans) then it's not unrealistic that they can get up to 35-40 wins with better health and a better offensive system. Conversely, the team may decide they're further away than that, and take a step back to collect their bearings.
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Will the Tennessee Titans win OVER/UNDER 8.5 games? By University Stats Prof!

1. Introduction

Tennessee’s season completely turned around once they benched quarterback Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

After a 2-4 start, the Titans won seven of their final 10 games to sneak into the playoffs as the 6th seed in the AFC. Fun fact: it was the fourth straight season that the Titans finished with a 9-7 record!

In the playoffs, they knocked off the defending Super Bowl champions New England Patriots, as well as the top seed in the conference, the Baltimore Ravens. Derrick Henry ran like a mad man in those games, becoming the first player in NFL history to rack up at least 175 rushing yards in two games in the same postseason.

In the AFC Conference Championship Game, Tennessee grabbed a 17-7 lead in the second quarter, but couldn’t hold off the Chiefs any longer in a 35-to-24 defeat.

2. Offensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

2.1 Quarterbacks (QBs)

Ryan Tannehill was clearly one of the best Cinderella stories in 2019. After taking over as the starting QB over Marcus Mariota, he led the league in QB rating.

He crushed his previous career-high in completion percentage with as astounding 70.3%; his personal best was 66.4% in 2014.

During his first six years in Miami, he posted a 123:75 TD:INT mark. That equates to a 1.64 ratio. In 2019, he threw 22 TD passes versus 6 interceptions, which amounts to a 3.7 ratio. As you can see, once again he obliterated his past numbers.

The team thinks he can keep playing at that level after handing him a hefty contract. I do believe he’ll do a good job in 2020, but not at the 2019 levels, obviously.

As of now, the backup QB is Logan Woodside since Mariota signed with the Raiders. Woodside was drafted in the 7th round of the 2018 draft out of Toledo. During preseason games, he completed 46-of-76 passes (a 60.5% completion rate) for 539 yards with 4 TDs and no interception. It’s hard to tell what he can bring to the table.

2.2 Running Backs (RBs)

Derrick Henry was a true beast last year. He won the rushing title with 1,540 rushing yards and 16 TDs on the ground (he added two more as a receiver). His 5.1 yards-per-carry average is mind-boggling considering the high volume.

He didn’t slow down in the playoffs. After rushing for 182 yards in New England, he single-handedly destroyed the Ravens with 195 rushing yards. He was quieter in K.C. by accumulating 69 yards on the ground.

Few people remember how he finished the previous year on a high note as well. In the final four meetings of the 2018 season, he averaged 146 rushing yards and 1.75 rushing TDs per contest. Obviously, he followed up with a season to remember.

Henry’s numbers have steadily increased every single year since he joined the league in 2016. Now 26 years old, defensive coordinators must be getting up at night to game plan against him.

Dion Lewis was a nice change-of-pace back, even though he didn’t have a great year. At least he had NFL experience, which is not the case of the remaining potential backup backs. Both Dalyn Dawkins and David Fluellen are undrafted guys who have combined for 19 rushing attempts in the league.

Tennessee filled a need by drafting Darrynton Evans in last April’s draft. The third-rounder complements Henry’s skillset well, as Evans can spell him on passing third-down situations (a role that used to be played by Dion Lewis). Also, he isn’t great running inside the tackles due to his small size, but he is more of a change-of-pace runner who has home-run hitting capacities.

2.3 Wide Receivers (WRs)

Rookie A.J. Brown was hyped as a big-play guy, and he did not disappoint. He didn’t catch that many balls, but when he did he made the most of it.

The Mississippi product led all receivers that caught at least 50 passes with a jaw-dropping 20.2 yards-per-catch average. He scored 8 TDs, while also topping the 1,000 receiving-yard mark (he had 1,051).

Will former #5 overall pick Corey Davis live up to his draft status? It seems unlikely after watching his first three years as a pro. He raised hopes by posting a 65-891-4 receiving line in 2018, but he regressed to 43-601-2 last year. Talent and youth play on his side, though. He may not be a true No. 1 wideout, but he can clearly do the job as a number two or three receiver.

Adam Humphries is an efficient, yet not explosive player. He is good to pick up key first downs. He caught more than 70% of his targets in his final two years in Tampa, and he reached that goal once again in his first season in Tennessee.

Was he worth a four-year deal worth $36 million? Probably not, but having him as your slot receiver is a bonus. His numbers were down last year, but he will be a useful tool as a 27-year old this year.

Tajae Sharpe also made a nice contribution last year with 25 receptions, 329 yards and 4 TDs. He was a nice luxury to have on your roster, but he signed with the Vikings during the offseason.

2.4 Tight Ends (TEs)

Jonnu Smith and Delanie Walker received the most playing time at tight end.

Walker did a decent job, but father time seems to have caught up to him. After being very durable for 11 years, he stayed healthy for just one game in 2018 and seven games last year. Accordingly, the team cut ties with him as he was going to enter his age-36 campaign.

Walker’s absence gave more room for Jonnu Smith to shine. The 2017 third-rounder has seen his numbers increase every year. His 35-439-3 receiving line is nothing to write home about. He could make a jump in 2020, but don’t expect huge steps.

Anthony Firkser will be back with the squad. He doesn’t have the size and speed to become a great TE, but he does a fine job for a guy that was never drafted.

MyCole Pruitt will be the #3 TE. He has never caught more than 10 passes in any of his five years in the NFL. Enough said.

2.5 Offensive Line (OL)

Ben Jones has done a great job at the pivot throughout his entire eight-year career. He raised his game to a higher level last year by finishing at the second-best center in the NFL according to PFF grades. He’s been an awesome pickup when acquired from the Texas a few years ago.

Right tackle Jack Conklin broke the bank in Cleveland, which left a glaring hole in Tennessee. He was a very solid player, and Dennis Kelly or Isaiah Wilson will try to fill his shoes.

Kelly has received his two best PFF grades of his seven-year career in 2018 and 2019, which is a good sign. However, he doesn’t play at the same level as Conklin.

The organization figures to have a better chance at replacing Conklin adequately with Isaiah Wilson, who was taken late in the first round of this year’s draft. This guy weighted close to 400 pounds coming out of high school! He is a mauler.

The rookie needs work for both his footwork and technique, which led to uneven play in college. He has exceptional physical traits and high potential, but may not be great right from the start.

At left tackle, Taylor Lewan is a cornerstone of this offensive line. He’s been good his whole career, never receiving a PFF mark below 76.4, which is remarkable!

Rodger Saffold is the starting left guard for the Titans. He ranked as the sixth-best guard in the NFL last year; needless to say he’s been a valuable piece of the puzzle for this franchise.

The weakest link is Nate Davis at right guard. The third-round rookie struggled big-time last year.

2020 VS 2019 OFFENSE

The Titans did not make a single free agent acquisition on offense.

They lost some depth with the departures of RB Dion Lewis and WR Tajae Sharpe. The team hopes 3rd round pick Darrynton Evans can spell Henry appropriately.

The backup QB will also be weaker due to Mariota leaving for Vegas. And despite his advanced age, Delanie Walker was a decent TE, although he only appeared in seven games last year.

The biggest loss occurred on the offensive line. Seeing Jack Conklin go to the Jets hurts the team. Rookie Isaiah Wilson will do his best to hold the fort, but he is unlikely to play at the same level as Conklin in his first year as a pro.

Finally, how could we expect better production out of Ryan Tannehill in 2020 as opposed to his 2019 heroics?

In conclusion, I am tagging the Titans offense with a moderate downgrade in comparison to 2019.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Moderate downgrade

3. Defensive Position-by-Position Breakdown

3.1 Defensive Linemen (DLs)

Jurrell Casey is a strong run stuffer, while also averaging 5.7 sacks per year over a nine-year period. He was traded to Denver for cap reasons, which will hurt Tennessee’s interior of the line a lot.

With Casey gone, the team will hand a much heavier workload to Jeffery Simmons. After missing the first seven games due to a knee injury, he showed fairly good promise as a #19 overall pick from the 2019 draft. His sophomore year will be critical.

The team will also rely on DaQuan Jones to step up his game. He is an above-average DL, whose main strength is defending the run. He only has seven sacks in six years.

The Titans lost some depth as Austin Johnson went to the Giants.

3.2 Defensive Ends (DEs) / Edge Rushers (ED)

Harold Landry played twice as many snaps in his sophomore year as his rookie season, and he doubled his sack total (going from 4.5 to 9 to lead the team in that category). He graded as the 62nd-best edge defender in the league out of 107 players. He has the potential to take a leap.

The team hopes to improve its pass rush by adding Vic Beasley, formerly of the Falcons. His numbers are a bit puzzling. He led the league with 15.5 sacks in his second season back in 2016. Since then, he has posted 5, 5 and 8 sacks.

Those are not bad numbers, but they are clearly below expectations coming from a fellow that was the 8th overall selection in the 2015 draft. Also, he is a liability in run defense. In other words, he’s been more name than game recently.

Kamalei Correa racked up five sacks despite playing 39% of the snaps. He had just 3.5 sacks over his first three years as a pro. He’s not a game breaker.

Reggie Gilbert is a role player. The undrafted guy has 4.5 sacks in three years is no more than depth.

3.3 Linebackers (LBs)

Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans are the leaders of this group. Based on draft status, Evans is supposed to be the superior player, but that wasn’t the case at all last year.

Evans received poor marks from PFF with a 47.6 grade; he obtained spot #74 out of 89 LBs. He struggled a lot in coverage and wasn’t that great rushing the passer. He does a fine job defending the run though.

As for Brown, his 68.8 PFF grade allowed him to finish as the 20th-best linebacker in the league. His sack total went from 6 in 2018 down to just one a year ago. The former fifth-rounder will try to bring that number back up this season.

Wesley Woodyard’s career is clearly on the decline. He lost his starting job, his PFF grades are falling, he’s 34 years old and he is now a free agent after the Titans failed to re-sign him.

3.4 Cornerbacks (CBs)

Adoree’ Jackson is the team’s number 1 CB. He was the 18th overall pick from the 2017 draft. Even though he has only two career interceptions, he is still a fairly solid coverage guy. He constantly ranks among the upper tier.

Logan Ryan played almost all defensive snaps last year and he filled the scoresheet more than ever in his seven-year career. He had career-highs in tackles (113), sacks (4.5) and forced fumbles (4). He also picked off four passes, his second-best performance.

Yet, he graded as an average corner by taking the 62nd rank out of 112 CBs because of ordinary run defense and coverage skills. The Titans couldn’t meet his salary demands, so he left via free agency.

Malcolm Butler finished once again in the middle of the pack among all NFL cornerbacks last year. The Super Bowl XLIX hero has seen his PFF grades decrease in each of the past three seasons, but he still manages to intercept 2-4 passes every year. He missed seven games last year with a broken wrist.

LeShaun Sims played 30% of the snaps, while producing poor play on the field. He’s never been a good corner, but he still found a new home in Cincinnati when the Bengals signed him in March.

The Titans took Kristian Fulton late in the 2nd round this year. Many reports suggest he’ll be an average NFL starter. He is best in man coverage due to his physicality. He lost the entire 2017 season when he was caught trying to tamper with a PED test sample, where he submitted a friend’s urine.

3.5 Safeties (S)

Kevin Byard is one of the league’s highest paid safety and he deserves it. He has 17 interceptions over the last three years. In those seasons, his PFF rankings were 4th, 3rd and 10th among close to 90 qualifiers.

Byard turned out to be a huge bargain as a former third-round pick out of Middle Tennessee State. Now 27 years old, there is no reason to believe his play will deteriorate in 2020.

Kenny Vaccaro is well known among fans, even though his play is not great. He probably gets recognition due to his former first-round status, but his best PFF grade was 66.7 back in 2013. Just to give you an idea, such a mark would have yielded him the #48 spot out of 87 safeties last year. And that was his best season.

Amani Hooker played 30% of the snaps last year as a rookie. The Titans had actually traded up to secure his rights during the 2019 draft. He did a decent job, but the jury is still out about the fourth-rounder’s future.

2020 VS 2019 DEFENSE

The Titans allowed the 12th-fewest points in the league last year. Should be expect better or worse play in 2020?

Jurrell Casey’s presence will be missed in a big way on the interior of the line. Also, not getting CB Logan Ryan back is hardly good news. Overall, he was an above-average corner who was constantly on the field and has been very durable in his career.

The only good addition is Vic Beasley. I feel like he’s overrated since his sack numbers are lower than what most people think and due to poor run defense, but he still has valuable pass rushing abilities.

Based on this information, I anticipate a small downgrade from this unit.

Final call (2020 vs 2019): Small downgrade

4. Regular Season Wins

According to sportsbooks, the Titans are expected to win 8.5 games this season. Should we bet the “over” or the “under”?

Here is the methodology I used in order to answer this vital question:

Here are the results:

Estimated Probability Sportsbook Odds ROI
OVER 8.5 WINS 50.9% FanDuel -110 -2.8%
UNDER 8.5 WINS 49.1% Pinnacle +129 +12.4%

Tip: Bet UNDER 8.5 wins
Return On Investment (ROI): +12.4%
Rank: 22nd-highest ROI out of 32 teams
Minimum odds required to bet (i.e. ROI = 0%): +104

Here are BetOnline’s point spreads for the Titans’ 16 regular season games:

Note: The “Best odds” from the table above were obtained after looking at 13 well-known online sportsbooks on May 18th, 2020.

I hope you found this article informative, I've got every NFL team covered so check out my other posts! Have a nice day!

Professor MJ
submitted by David-MJ to sportsbook [link] [comments]

The betting business has never been better. But despite this, it still seems like there are plenty of people out there who have absolutely no idea how betting lines actually work. The line from Las Vegas Sports Consultants is a good example of one of these. The LVSC line is the one distributed to Las Vegas Sportsbooks. The lines don't change very much from day to day, because there are no direct wagers placed on these lines, and as such, there are no line moves required to try and balance action. Oddsmakers care less about being right then they care about eliminating risk. Odds are designed to put even money on both sides of the bet. Parimutuel betting (like for horse racing) is by definition even odds, but spread betting needs to be balanced via the odds. Inside Sports the HBO show had a segment years ago on how Vegas sets NFL odds. The head (or lead) oddsmaker has unmatched betting knowledge. Oddsmakers are math experts with decades of experience who know betting like the back of their hand. How does Vegas set the line? In order to come up with the odds on a given game or matchup, oddsmakers use a complex set of mathematical models, formulas and computer algorithms. Finally, there are some interesting betting lines up on the boards at some of the online sportsbooks covering 2020 Vegas election odds. For the longest time, with coronavirus and protests and riots burning bright, these bookmakers were all but snuffed out, letting the betting markets stagnate with obvious stuff like odds on Biden vs. Trump at the polls or which female Vice President candidate

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