Analytics are important and Joe Haden should be a Brown: While We’re Waiting

Friday doesn’t mean so much when you’re on vacation, and I’m on vacation this week. Hope you guys had a wonderful Christmas and hope you have a bunch of safe plans for New Year’s Eve. I am not a big fan of New Year’s so I’m happy to be considering going to bed early that night to be honest. That’s just the boring old man I’ve become. Anyway, on with the WWW.

I’m going to play “I told you so” on Joe Haden now

I know Joe Haden isn’t Darrelle Revis. He never deserved his own island. He’s also had lots of difficulties staying on the field, including this year as a Pittsburgh Steeler. In the end, despite the fact that the Browns found some nice players and Joe Haden had lost a step and likely wasn’t worth his $13.5 million salary, the evidence is in all the way around. Joe Haden can still play football. Joe Haden is still an asset to a roster both in between the lines and in the locker room. The Cleveland Browns weren’t better off for having cut Joe Haden and handing him to the Pittsburgh Steelers 11 days before the start of the season. I love PFF and advanced analytics, but this is beyond all the measurables and hyper-analysis of a guy.

From Cleveland.com’s story quoting Mike Tomlin:

Haden’s value to the team has not been lost on Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, who couldn’t believe his good fortune when Haden arrived. He now has a shutdown corner at left corner, shoring up a secondary that was second in the NFL last week after surrendering 13 completions of 40 yards or more.

“He’s been playing great and been a really good asset to us,” said Tomlin. “We were fortunate enough to match him up on (Hopkins last week) and I thought he represented himself well and really did a nice job. … He is an awesome teammate, a hard worker. He just has been a really good addition to this.”

And far be it for me to listen to what Josh Gordon has to say, but when he lets the cat out of the bag that Haden’s cutting 11 days before the beginning of the season was confusing to the team, it’s easy to believe him.

That’s the Sashi Brown era in a nutshell. It’s not an indictment of analytics anymore than a bad cake is an indictment of pastries with sugar in them. When you’re making a cake, you still have to follow some directions so that it comes out tasty. The Browns are one of those famous Pinterest cake “fails” with the tag line, “NAILED IT.”

When Twitter makes you (me) mad online, you (I) need to log off

I almost got mad on Twitter today. I’m on vacation and I’ve been really good about staying away and yet, I somehow found myself legitimately pissed off at 9:00 pm in the shadow of a new year as I sat down to write something for my WWW this week. It doesn’t matter what was happening or who I allowed to get in my kitchen. What’s important is that I had something I wanted to do and I let a glorified internet chat room where everyone flexes fake internet muscles to piss me off and distract me from something far more important once my kids went to bed. I should know better.

There are lots of reasons that blogs have died, but the biggest is probably Twitter. Yes, mainstream news sites embraced blogging. Cleveland.com and the local TV stations all do some version of the kind of sports blogging that they never bothered to do when WFNY was started some 10-ish years ago. That, plus the proliferation of national sports blogs like SBNation and Bleacher Report really sucked the life out of the independent blogging scene, but there’s something more. Rather than put together a well-reasoned blog post approximating the well-worn high school English lesson on a vanity URL, the five paragraph essay, the next generation of independent sports bloggers are farting out takes on Twitter.

This is not a New Year’s resolution to stay off of Twitter. I love to engage there most of the time. I love floating ideas, getting feedback and honing it a bit before committing it to a post. However, I can’t let that website play to my lesser angels. I can’t make that a place that sates my desire to say something. I’ve been a part of building this platform for the better part of a decade. It’s given me a voice on Twitter too, but this is the place that gave me that relevance. This is the format that got me whatever amount of respect that I do have. If I let Twitter make me the worst version of myself or allow it to steal energy from what I really care about here and on the podcast, then I’m failing to use it as the tool it’s meant to be.

I just need to remember not to get pulled into the suck.

Downsizing wasn’t good enough, but I want to see more…

Rarely do I get more excited for a movie than I did for Downsizing. Conceptually, I loved it so much. The world needs saving from overpopulation? If a portion of the population agrees to shrink down from about five feet down to about five inches, it solves tons of those problems. It’s a fascinating premise for a film and it’s especially interesting when that film stars Matt Damon. Alas, I ended up being really disappointed in Downsizing in the end. It didn’t advance the concept nearly far enough before becoming a film so chock full of allegories that it felt like it failed to go anywhere at all.

That said, the concept is so great I want to see more. I would watch a “Downsizing” movie every single year much like I’d watch a time travel film every single year. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s because I’ve said the same thing about another genre film when they released The Purge. I’d watch one of those every year too. So, despite my disappointment in Downsizing, I’m looking at Hollywood with this concept and simply saying, “take my money.”

Last but not least, while we’re discussing movies, we decided to use our vacation time to take advantage of proximity to an IMAX 3d showing of Star Wars. It was really great to see it in that format. I don’t know if it was “worth it” enough that I’d recommend it to anyone else, but I’m really happy I saw it that way.

Happy New Years everyone.