Summary of “The NFL’s Most Likely Surprise Contenders”

After a fourth-place finish in the NFC East the year before, the Eagles went into last year with its win total set at eight-lower than 18 other teams.
Last year the Bengals were forced to design plays that got the ball out of Dalton’s hands quickly, and he finished with the third-shortest average time to throw last year among all regular starters.
The Broncos defense had a relative down year in 2018, but relative is certainly the operative term.
Keenum doesn’t need to light it up and throw the ball all over the field; he just needs to take care of the football like he did last year for Minnesota.
Bill Musgrave, now officially the offensive coordinator after finishing last year in an interim role, would do well to implement many of the same concepts Shurmur leaned on to help Keenum to a career year in 2017: run-pass balance, personnel and formational diversity, plenty of play-action, and some college offense concepts.
Most people probably assume that Alex Smith is going to fall back to earth after putting together a career year for the Chiefs in 2017, posting 26 touchdowns and just five interceptions, averaging 8.0 yards per attempt, and registering a league-best 104.7 passer rating.
It’s going to take a smart plan from head coach and play-caller Jay Gruden-they may borrow a few concepts from the Chiefs’ scheme-and Smith will need mismatch tight end Jordan Reed to play most of the year, but the wily veteran passer proved last year he has the upside of a top-10 quarterback, throwing with the type of aggressiveness and confidence he lacked earlier in his career.
In addition to Reed, Smith will be throwing to one of the most dynamic slot receivers in the game in Jamison Crowder, a field-stretching contested-ball specialist in Paul Richardson, an elusive open-field missile in running back Chris Thompson, and, if he can finally break out in Year 3, a jump-ball red zone threat in Josh Doctson.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The A’s Changed Baseball Once. They May Be Changing It Again.”

After winning 42 of their last 58 games entering Friday, the A’s have cut that deficit to 1.5 games, and they now have an 89 percent chance of advancing to the postseason and a 22 percent chance of winning the AL West.
Oakland has the game’s eighth-best run differential, at +94 runs, and has seen the greatest improvement in FiveThirtyEight’s team rating since the start of the season.
The A’s meteoric rise Major league teams by change in Elo from the preseason and the All-Star Game, as of Aug. 22.
The A’s have instead pursued different paths to become one of the better teams in the major leagues despite opening the season with the game’s lowest payroll.
According to WPA, Treinen has been the most valuable pitcher in baseball this season – ranking ahead of aces Max Scherzer, Jacob deGrom and Aaron Nola.
Without a legit ace – or even a household name – the A’s rank second to the Red Sox in pitching WPA. Signed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract in the winter, Cahill has become one of the biggest bargains in baseball in part by reducing the use of his fastball and generating more swing and miss with his slider, more than doubling its usage.
Cahill had once been heavily dependent upon his sinker, but he told FiveThirtyEight that the A’s have given him “Weighted pitch” data, which he’s used to diversity his overall pitch mix.
The makeshift pitching staff is also aided by one of the best infield defenses in the game.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Browns’ Suckiness Defies Math And Reason”

After the team lost its final game of the 2017 season to give the 2008 Detroit Lions some company in the 0-16 club, Cleveland fans held an ironic parade to “Celebrate” the team’s anti-accomplishment.
According to Pluto, the amount of time between owner Al Lerner being granted the new franchise and the team’s inaugural game was the shortest for any expansion club since the New Orleans Saints in 1967 – and the third-shortest of any new team since 1960.
Even given the disadvantaged start, the Browns simply haven’t progressed like other expansion teams of the modern era.
The Browns have also been – by far – the worst drafting team in the league, in terms of the AV its picks have actually produced relative to those expectations.
At QB, the Browns are the bizarro Patriots Most, and least, total yards above backup quarterback for NFL teams since 1999.
Since the Browns were reborn, no team has made more season-to-season switches at general manager or quarterback, and only one has changed coaches more often.
Our research shows that these moves come with a heavy price: Even after controlling for a team’s Simple Rating System score the previous season, teams that change primary quarterback tend to decline by 1.31 points per game of SRS the following season, while that number is 0.91 SRS points for teams changing coaches, 0.36 SRS points for teams changing GMs and 0.26 SRS points for teams with new ownership.
For the Browns, who never stick with any strategy – whether concocted by old-school scouting types or newfangled math nerds – long enough to give it a chance, it’s fair to wonder whether this endless string of calamities was always more likely to happen in Cleveland, thanks to the scattershot way the team operates in the big picture.

The orginal article.

Summary of “‘Listen to the Kids’: How Atlanta Became the Black Soccer Capital of America”

The city, in collaboration with Soccer in the Streets, a local organization whose mission is empowering and engaging local youth with football programming, refashioned the space as a field, primarily for the enjoyment of idle inner-city kids.
“Niggas always want what’s next,” says Aaron Dolores, owner of Black Arrow, a lifestyle brand dedicated to the intersection of soccer and black culture.
Melissa Franco, Best Buy Soccer’s assistant manager for both the Atlanta and Marietta locations, says that since the 2014 World Cup, youth interest in soccer has “More than doubled” business.
While many young, black ATLiens are finding themselves anew, outside city limits, soccer has long been life.
Generations before the A had an MLS club, before there was a pitch atop the MARTA station, the soccer capital of Atlanta was located in the northeast corner of the metropolitan area in a small suburb called Clarkston.
Jeremiah’s team still gets the W. Clarkston may be the mecca of black Atlanta’s soccer scene, but the city’s relationship to the sport hasn’t always been so warm.
According to Lauren Glancy, director of youth programs at Soccer in the Streets, Atlanta’s youth soccer landscape has a high barrier to entry, which removes the focus from a child’s talent and places it on the economic class of their home.
The future of Atlanta soccer is also the future of American soccer.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The education of Derek Jeter, baseball CEO”

MIAMI – FOR TWO DECADES as New York Yankees shortstop, Derek Jeter distinguished himself with his impeccable work habits and mind-numbing consistency.
“Amid numerous reports that Jeter wants to rid Marlins Park of the”Homer” sculpture in center field, Jeter refuses to be pinned down publicly.
DEREK JETER THE PLAYER developed a great comfort level over 25 years in uniform.
“I’m a frustrated game watcher,” Jeter says.”Over the years, I heard people say, ‘He doesn’t like to watch baseball.
“In my mind, baseball needs to cater to the younger demographic,” Jeter says.”It’s not always about who wins, but the experience you have.
“That’s one of my goals during the season – to pick his brain and talk to him about how he prepared to play 162 games at shortstop,” Rojas says.”I feel like it’s a blessing that we have Derek Jeter around and we can take advantage of that.
It’s all part of the balance Jeter must strike as a new team owner and baseball icon.
He’s the best, most persuasive advocate for the Marlins franchise, but he wants it to be less the Derek Jeter Show and more a long-range team effort to build something that lasts.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Technological Revolution Has Finally Hit the NFL-and the Vikings Are Ready”

Earlier in training camp, in a conversation I had with an NFL team executive and a couple of other people, someone brought up the Minnesota Vikings’ new facility and, specifically, their new draft board.
Now, the Vikings are certainly not the first team to embrace technology, nor are they the first team to use analytics.
The Vikings are the first team to build multiple rooms in a new facility specifically devoted to these things.
Most NFL teams still practice in relatively spartan office parks.
The NFL has finally begun to release leaguewide player-tracking data, which will likely open up a new era of football analytics.
Spielman said the team has been preparing for the release of that data for “Four years,” over which period he started banking an analytics database.
Under an older NFL system, he said, teams would spend more time on an individual report, often simply because a scout visited a school and felt the need to file a report on a player because he was there, not because the player was particularly talented.
During the summer of 2016, I asked the exact question the Vikings are attempting to answer now: What do you do when hours upon hours of your day are suddenly freed up? The answer I got most often from teams was, “We don’t know.” Officials inside the league said that some teams didn’t want to know because all of the busywork, they felt, was a type of job training for younger coaches that should never be replaced.

The orginal article.

Summary of “When Is Teamwork Really Necessary?”

The problem is when leaders try to drive the wrong kind of collaboration on their particular teams.
Catherine, a senior marketing director leading a cross-functional product development team at the same company, provides a contrasting case study.
Before embarking on any team-building activities or even setting up team meetings, leaders must ask themselves one question: Am I managing a high-performing group of individuals or a high-performing team?
He moved from monthly to quarterly team meetings and addressed only those issues that actually required teamwork.
Groups of executives who lead companies or divisions or major functions need to balance leading their own teams and leading the enterprise together.
The table below provides a straightforward way to assess the roles your direct and indirect reports most need to play as a team.
Regardless of the amount of time that needs to be devoted to teaming, how should that time best be used?
As a team leader, you can certainly start this process by making your own assessment of the required extent and focus of teamwork you need.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The History of the Wildcat, 10 Years Later”

Ten years ago, the wildcat ripped the league in half, Aaron Rodgers made his first start for the Packers, Brett Favre played 16 games for the Jets, the Patriots missed the playoffs, and most shocking of all, Jeff Fisher coached a team that won-you’re really not gonna believe this-13 whole games.
Lee, with Sparano’s and Henning’s blessings, talked to the running backs with an idea for the wildcat as an occasional trick play: Williams would play quarterback and Brown would be in constant motion as a threat to run horizontally across the field on any play.
The offense built on itself until Brown was comfortable enough to read plays and run what is effectively a zone read. Cobbs said that against Seattle in Week 10, Brown was running an advanced form-over two years before the so-called zone-read revolution with quarterbacks like Tim Tebow, Colin Kaepernick, and Russell Wilson.
Parcells told coaches long before the wildcat launched that he envisioned both running backs playing simultaneously, similar to when he was an assistant at Florida State in the early 1970s and the team employed the split-back offense.
Polite said Williams was one of the smartest running backs in history and a player who simplified the sport more than any player he’s been around.
During their tenure as teammates, one moment against the New Orleans Saints sticks out: a toss play, which Polite explains, is among a running back’s least favorite plays because the toss is usually so wide that it leaves him with little room to operate.
Most wildcat offenses are not looking to throw, and pressure off the edge can wreck the play.
Henning still thinks the wildcat could work if an ex-quarterback who now played another position could run it with an athletic quarterback who could play receiver.

The orginal article.

Summary of “We Made Aaron Rodgers NFL Commissioner for a Day”

The first thing Rodgers would want to address is “Owners and lawyers” passing rules in the offseason without player involvement: “The owners shouldn’t be able to pass rules without ratifying it through the players.” This, he said, includes rules about the offseason structure and limits on practice time that directly affect players.
Rodgers does not have a blanket idea in mind for an anthem-related policy, saying he simply would ask for the Players Association’s input.
The NFL has no such drama in its offseason; elite players rarely reach the open market or switch teams.
Rodgers has two seasons left on his contract, and he’s widely expected to become one of the highest-paid players in league history when he signs a new pact.
Rodgers is clear that something should be done to increase player involvement in decisions at owners meetings.
He’s skeptical of the new kickoff rule, which owners passed in May. Rodgers doesn’t think the new policy, which bans running head starts before the kick, will make it any less likely that players will collide.
In ESPN’s 2018 “World Fame 100,” which measures worldwide fame, the top NFL player, Tom Brady, checks in at no.
He also thinks teams should do more to highlight the causes players support off the field: “That would help to change some of the issues.” Rodgers said that more people should look at the percentages of NFL players arrested and see that there isn’t an epidemic of crime among NFL players: “Compare that per capita for the population, obviously our numbers are a lot lower. But it’s the summertime, it’s slow, and there’s not a whole lot going on; that’s obviously big news. I wish that we could continue to highlight the things guys were doing with their own causes.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “How to Do. One. Thing. At. A. Time”

I do know that focusing on one thing at a time is the foundation of our company.
Across all our teams and functions, everyone is working to boost user productivity by leveraging data.
Collaboration and teamwork”So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important that working hard.”- Caterina Fake, co-founder of Flickr and HunchDesignate a leaderSports teams need coaches and captains.
Doing one thing at a time isn’t about boring yourself into efficiency.
Doing one thing at a time will preserve your precious energy.
The tech-fueled blur between work and personal time can be difficult - and confusing.
A study in 2015 showed that while 97% of full-time workers had some flexibility to work when and where they wanted, only 40% received any guidance from their employers on what that flexibility should look like.
Even if you’re working hard to build a business or accomplish great things, downtime is not optional.

The orginal article.