Much Ado About All 22

Much Ado About All 22

Football junkies received an early Christmas present last week when announced coaches film would be part of the Season Plus package on the site's Game Rewind program in 2012.

For the low price of $69.99, any writer, fan, or student of the game can access the "All-22" view of every play from every game for this upcoming season, which differs from broadcasts in that it reveals what every player on the field is doing at all times. You've no doubt seen All-22 footage dissected on TV before, and as the term coaches film implies, it's what teams use to study their own performance and gameplan for opponents.

Not to make the controversy out to be bigger than it is, as there's a good chance you hadn't even heard the news, let alone the bluster of a few, but there was a surprising amount of backlash to the NFL's latest offering. In providing fans an unprecedented level of access, the concern is second-guessing of players and coaches will increase dramatically as self-proclaimed experts become more certain of their knowledge.

Frankly, I don't see how we could fit any more second-guessing into our culture of watching sports.

Second-guessing is already happening at every level of discourse. Sports writers, whether they're high-profile or on blogs such as ours, are natured to second-guess what we see. Sports talk radio is nothing but a lot of second-guessing, and entire shows on ESPN are based on debating -- or second-guessing -- national stories across multiple sports. And fans, the people who buy tickets and merchandise, are the ultimate second-guessers, and are all too eager to demonstrate their second-guessing right in the midst of the action with a chorus of boos.

Furthermore, we're supposed to believe the tsunami waves of second-guessing as Joe Shmoe targets specific play calls or player mistakes will place additional pressure on the men on the field. I was at Lincoln Financial Field the night half the stadium chanted "Fire Andy," then filed out the gates in a mass exodus that left me wondering if they would ever come back. It's hard to imagine Andy Reid being more scrutinized, his relationship with the fans more strained than they are, yet he's still here. It's in the front office's best interests to block the noise to an extent, and make sound decisions for the future of the franchise, not entirely off of outside reaction.

The idea second guessing will grow is obviously nonsense, but more specifically, some are worried football hobbyists will mistake their obsession for unmistakeable knowledge. I'm sure that will be the case for a sub-set of Game Rewind subscribers, but the only way that's any different from present day is their rationale. People already tend to lend more credence to their own opinions in the first place -- now it will be that, and a smug, "I watched the tape."

Building on the alleged problem, critics of the feature contend that watching the All-22 feed will not make you a smarter football fan. You have the coaches tape, but you still won't know what the play call was, what each player's assignment was, where the quarterback's progressions were, etc. In essence, you'll have a bunch of untrained head coaches trying to decipher that which they cannot possibly understand.

This is where the divide really breaks down. That nothing gleaned from the All-22 look could be accurate without more information and some NFL experience is simply false. I'm not saying watching coaches film automatically transforms the viewer into an expert, but you have the chance to observe parts of the game you simply cannot during a traditional broadcast. Arguing outsiders could never understand what they are seeing is the same as arguing we never understand any of what we see on Sundays, and that's insulting.

While I think the only real controversy here is the bait-and-switch pricing pulled last Friday, quickly raising the price $10 shortly after announcing the availability, ultimately it won't matter in 2012, as the NFL won't be removing a feature that's generated a buzz in a service that had none at all prior. Whether All-22 film remains in future years remains to be seen, but I have a feeling the only change we'll see in the immediate future is an escalating price as more and more hardcore fans and industry types flock to access this cool service.

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Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

USA Today Images

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Snap counts: Connor Barwin's snaps decrease; filling in for Bennie Logan


Snap counts: Connor Barwin's snaps decrease; filling in for Bennie Logan

During the week, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said he thought defensive end Connor Barwin could benefit from fewer snaps during games. 

That's exactly what happened on Sunday. 

Barwin, who came into the game with the most snaps by an Eagles defensive end, played 49 (64 percent) against the Vikings. He came into the game playing 79 percent of the Eagles' defensive snaps. On Sunday, he had a huge strip sack of Sam Bradford. 

Taking away some of Barwin's snaps on Sunday was even more impressive considering Vinny Curry played quite a few snaps inside as a defensive tackle with the absence of Bennie Logan (groin). 

Curry played 41 snaps (54 percent) against the Vikings after playing just 40 percent of the team's defensive snaps before this weekend. 

Beau Allen, who started in place of Logan, played 51 snaps (67 percent), while rookie Destiny Vaeao chipped in a career-high 30. Vaeao has had 58 snaps in the last two weeks. 

Ron Brooks played just seven snaps before going down with a serious leg injury. That meant Jalen Mills played 27 snaps and safety Jaylen Watkins played 46 snaps. 

Malcolm Jenkins continued his impressive streak. He played all 76 snaps on Sunday and the only defensive snap he's missed was that weird fake punt in the opener against Cleveland. 

On offense, Josh Huff saw his role increase some on Sunday and he made the most of it. Huff, who had just nine snaps last week, got 20 against the Vikings and caught four balls for 39 yards. Perhaps Huff's production is why Dorial Green-Beckham's snaps dropped to 28 (48 percent). 

Matt Tobin got some extended playing time (20 snaps) at left tackle thanks to Jason Peters' bicep injury. Peters said that had the game been close, he would have been fine to go back in. 

Zach Ertz got 48 snaps (83 percent) but walked away with one catch for 14 yards. He's been on the field, but can't seem to become a part of the passing offense. 

Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles each got 26 snaps on Sunday. Wendell Smallwood got five and Kenjon Barner 3. On the season, Smallwood has 28 carries on 42 snaps. 

Here's a full look at snap counts from Sunday: 

Allen Barbre, 58 snaps, 100 percent
Halapoulivaati Vaitai, 58, 100
Jason Kelce, 58, 100
Carson Wentz, 58, 100
Brandon Brooks, 53, 91
Zach Ertz, 48, 83
Jordan Matthews, 45, 78
Jason Peters, 43, 74
Nelson Agholor 43, 74
Brent Celek, 28, 48
Dorial Green-Beckham, 28, 48
Darren Sproles, 26, 45
Ryan Mathews, 26, 45
Josh Huff, 20, 34
Matt Tobin, 20, 34
Trey Burton, 13, 22
Wendell Smallwood, 5, 9
Stefen Wisniewski, 5, 9
Kenjon Barner, 3, 5

Malcolm Jenkins, 76 snaps, 100 percent
Nigel Bradham, 76, 100
Jordan Hicks, 76, 100
Nolan Carroll, 75, 99
Rodney McLeod, 75, 99
Brandon Graham, 57, 75
Fletcher Cox, 54, 71
Beau Allen, 51, 67
Connor Barwin, 49, 64
Jaylen Watkins, 46, 61
Leodis McKelvin, 44, 58
Vinny Curry, 41, 54
Destiny Vaeao, 30, 39
Jalen Mills, 27, 36
Mychal Kendricks, 24, 32
Marcus Smith, 18, 24
Ron Brooks, 7, 9
Steven Means, 5, 7
Stephen Tulloch, 5, 7