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The "supporting cast" argument


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16 hours ago, biggie. said:

Take for example Super Bowl LV. I think we can all safely agree that Patrick Mahomes is one of, if not the, best quarterback in the league. However, he had a bad game because of offensive line injuries. No one is going to be stupid enough to say "See look! He's nothing without a supporting cast!"

Or look at Brady. He looked washed in 2019 because N'Keal Harry couldn't separation from a drunk hobo, but once he got some help in Tampa he was back to normal. No one in their right mind would contnue to say he's a system quarterback.

I think you're sort of answering your own question, though. Brady was not a worse player in 2019 than he was in 2020 in an appreciable way, but his numbers were way worse in 2019 because he had a much worse supporting cast. If you refused to actually consider the impact that a good supporting cast can have on a player's output, then you'd end up missing the forest from the trees in terms of explaining how Brady's performances differed between the two years. 

Benefitting from a good supporting cast doesn't automatically make someone a bad player, but particularly once you get past the point of just deciding whether someone is good or bad, but are instead comparing multiple good players at the same position on an individual basis, it's useful/important context to take their supporting cast into account. 

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On 3/10/2021 at 8:36 AM, Pugger said:

No QB, not even Tom Brady, can win without a good supporting cast.  Football is the ultimate team sport.

Yep. 

In tampa he has an ok-good head coach. 

A gm who can draft and sign great free agents.

A great dc. Bowels is a better coach than Arians imo.

And a top 5 roster for talent.

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On 3/8/2021 at 7:32 PM, biggie. said:

"He's only good because of his supporting cast!"

Why do people use this crap? It's completely asinine.

Take for example Super Bowl LV. I think we can all safely agree that Patrick Mahomes is one of, if not the, best quarterback in the league. However, he had a bad game because of offensive line injuries. No one is going to be stupid enough to say "See look! He's nothing without a supporting cast!"

Or look at Brady. He looked washed in 2019 because N'Keal Harry couldn't separation from a drunk hobo, but once he got some help in Tampa he was back to normal. No one in their right mind would contnue to say he's a system quarterback.

True or they give them the "plays with a great defense" comment. It's really a point that never matters. As for Mahomes he's the best player on their team and he plays great with Tyreke Hill, there's other players who would struggle mightily without their supporting cast. Brady is a intense competitor and still has his elite go to target. 

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This is one case where sites like PFF are more valuable than fans opinions.

For example - most Seahawks fans placed Wilson as a top 5-8 QB before he actually was. When they were making the Super Bowl.

It blew me away because IMO, give that defense to an elite QB and they'd never lose.

He went on to become that. The issue was he looked what way at the time because the defense and running game were good enough to win with - throw is an above average QB (which he was) and you're making the Super Bowl.

It's all about the supporting cast IMO. Which includes coaches.

Ryan's MVP season is an outlier that illustrates this.

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Matt Ryan had Kyle Shanahan and one of the best lines in the league in 2016. He won MVP and they went to the Super Bowl. He’s never had another season close to that. 
 

Philly had one of the best lines ever. Wentz was an MVP contender and they won the Super Bowl with Foles. Wentz has been trash ever since and Foles couldn’t beat out Minshew or Trubisky.

Gurley and the Rams line decline and Goff gets exposed and traded. 
 

Newton. One of the best OLines in the league in 2015. MVP. 15-1. Never had another season close to it.

Ryan Tannehill. I don’t even need to say anything else.

And we just saw what happened to Mahomes with his backup OLine.
 

 

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No one can win without a good supporting cast, and if a player is good, a player is good.  If he produces consistently hes not a gimmick, he's a solid player.

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My biggest gripe is that people don't look at whole picture when it comes to the supporting cast argument. Too often supporting cast is tied into skill position players. O-line gets overlooked when its the most important aspect of supporting cast. 

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On 3/12/2021 at 10:45 AM, FrantikRam said:

This is one case where sites like PFF are more valuable than fans opinions.

For example - most Seahawks fans placed Wilson as a top 5-8 QB before he actually was. When they were making the Super Bowl.

It blew me away because IMO, give that defense to an elite QB and they'd never lose.

He went on to become that. The issue was he looked what way at the time because the defense and running game were good enough to win with - throw is an above average QB (which he was) and you're making the Super Bowl.

It's all about the supporting cast IMO. Which includes coaches.

Ryan's MVP season is an outlier that illustrates this.

Ryan's MVP season was after he had multiple great PFF seasons where he was in the top 5-10 every year before his MVP year. 

Then he got Kyle Shanahan and a bunch of great fits for the scheme and destroyed it.

On 3/12/2021 at 12:05 PM, DontTazeMeBro said:

Matt Ryan had Kyle Shanahan and one of the best lines in the league in 2016. He won MVP and they went to the Super Bowl. He’s never had another season close to that. 
 

Philly had one of the best lines ever. Wentz was an MVP contender and they won the Super Bowl with Foles. Wentz has been trash ever since and Foles couldn’t beat out Minshew or Trubisky.

Gurley and the Rams line decline and Goff gets exposed and traded. 
 

Newton. One of the best OLines in the league in 2015. MVP. 15-1. Never had another season close to it.

Ryan Tannehill. I don’t even need to say anything else.

And we just saw what happened to Mahomes with his backup OLine.
 

 

Ryan had a season close to that in 2018. But the defense was terrible and the run game was awful. The Falcons issue is normally their defense.

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On 3/8/2021 at 11:13 PM, biggie. said:

If you have a good quarterback, then you should...*gasp* build around him!

That's incredibly vague. Some people could interpret "buildling around him" as giving him a defense, or giving him receivers, literally any time you enhance the team could be considered "building around him" 

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It's a team sport. No 1 player can drage 52 absolute scrubs for long. Look at the Great Seth Roberts' time in Oakland. That man is a HOF WR if Crabtree and Cooper and Rivera/Walford could draw coverage, our RB could find holes, our O-line block, and Carr hit him in his hands...

 

In reality, it's a valid argument. The league's past is littered with guys who were viewed as among the best at their positions before flopping elsewhere. 

For example, the Raiders just nabbed Yannick via FA, ostensibly pulling Crosby from the field. Now, I believe he himself is better than Crosby and have fairly high expectations for him. However, some think he's gonna come in and absolutely transform our D. My expectations are a bit tempered, because of his production elsewhere. He and Crosby have similar stats for the job we are wanting them for, only Yannick has played with a far better supporting cast. Thus, until he actually plays as I expect him to play, it's fair to wonder about his production being driven by his supporting cast. 

Alternatively, many people tend to use the argument with players who have spent an entire career in one spot (I saw Matt Ryan referenced, for example). I think those arguments are bogus and lazy because it's impossible to prove otherwise unless the player in question gets traded or leaves before age becomes a factor. And typically, those kinds of players don't. It's about as bad as saying "Y.A. Tittle couldn't read today's defenses". How the heck can anyone answer that? 

Basically, it's all about how the point is used. It's fairly valid for relativity's sake when talking about guys who move teams. It's a lazy and undebatable argument in others. 

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On 3/9/2021 at 4:32 AM, biggie. said:

"He's only good because of his supporting cast!"

Why do people use this crap? It's completely asinine.

Take for example Super Bowl LV. I think we can all safely agree that Patrick Mahomes is one of, if not the, best quarterback in the league. However, he had a bad game because of offensive line injuries. No one is going to be stupid enough to say "See look! He's nothing without a supporting cast!"

Or look at Brady. He looked washed in 2019 because N'Keal Harry couldn't separation from a drunk hobo, but once he got some help in Tampa he was back to normal. No one in their right mind would contnue to say he's a system quarterback.

I think the supporting cast argument is overblown. But perfect situations do exist such having a 1st overall pick at LT, All Pro RT, all Pro TE, all pro WR and HOF coach. Or what Tannehill has had in Tennessee or Ryan 2016. Or Jimmy G in 19.

 

The things even out over an entire career and the best QBs come to light anyway.

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On 3/19/2021 at 9:36 AM, SBLIII said:

I think the supporting cast argument is overblown. But perfect situations do exist such having a 1st overall pick at LT, All Pro RT, all Pro TE, all pro WR and HOF coach. Or what Tannehill has had in Tennessee or Ryan 2016. Or Jimmy G in 19.

 

The things even out over an entire career and the best QBs come to light anyway.

Why does Ryan in 16 get put into these arguments? He's been continually a 5-8 range QB his entire career. Yet, people act like he was trash outside of 2016. 

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Supporting cast will always be a factor as well as level of competition. I’m a big hater of USC players coming out just because they play on a loaded roster. Like it’s hard not to look good when everyone around you is great. NFL wise though there are two quarterbacks that immediately spring to mind when I think of supporting cast. They weren’t system guys or bad QB’s hit they benefitted from their team being loaded. Trent Dilfer would have been pretty interchangeable with any average starter in the league when he won his championship and Aikman would not have had a hall of fame career had he not played on such a loaded franchise. That offensive line the Cowboys had and the production they got from Smith made Aikman’s life a whole lot easier. 

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On 3/25/2021 at 12:43 AM, Leoric said:

Supporting cast will always be a factor as well as level of competition. I’m a big hater of USC players coming out just because they play on a loaded roster. Like it’s hard not to look good when everyone around you is great. NFL wise though there are two quarterbacks that immediately spring to mind when I think of supporting cast. They weren’t system guys or bad QB’s hit they benefitted from their team being loaded. Trent Dilfer would have been pretty interchangeable with any average starter in the league when he won his championship and Aikman would not have had a hall of fame career had he not played on such a loaded franchise. That offensive line the Cowboys had and the production they got from Smith made Aikman’s life a whole lot easier. 

Wow talk about a ridiculous comparison.

Dilfer was so highly thought of by BAL that they made him the only QB to start in the SB and not be on the roster the following season; BAL was went right back to the playoffs.

Aikman on the other hand is a 3x SB winner and won MVP in one of them. At his time no other quarterback was nearly as accurate him or had better touch on his passes.

Had Aikman not won any Super Bowls with those loaded teams, everyone would have called him a choke artist.

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