So, this isn’t a story about football. It’s a story about good intentions, frustration and failure. No, I’m not talking about the Dan Snyder era of Washington football, but my own personal story of ambition and failure.
I have had the international Game Pass package since 2012, which is how I watch NFL games. One of the cool things about the package is that it includes the All-22 coach’s film for all 32 teams for every regular season game every year.
I’ve always wanted to make use of it for Hogs Haven, but the Game Pass feed, including the All-22 film, can’t be downloaded, and I’ve never figured out how to record it. In the past, I’ve taken screen shots and put up still photos of the all-22 for certain articles, but I’ve always wanted to put up live action plays to talk about them. The problem is, I didn’t grow up using computers. I already had my college degree before the first personal computer was manufactured and sold. In short, I’m an old guy with no real technical understanding.
Still, I’ve never stopped wanting to solve the incredibly difficult challenge of recording the Game Pass all-22 film.
Last week, I wrote a piece on Logan Thomas, and I described in words what I saw when I went back and watched his plays on Game Pass. Despite my incredible ability to paint word-pictures, someone said in the comments section that he’d like to see the all-22 of one of the plays I had described.
Well, I had access to the all-22, so I set my pea-sized and very non-technical brain to the task of figuring out how I could play Santa Claus and deliver the all-22 to the reader.
I’m not totally devoid of skills or tools when it comes to film. I pay a cheap annual subscription rate for a film editing software that I use to create GIFs for the “Ranking the NFC East” series that Andrew York and I have put together during the past two offseasons. I download game film from Youtube and cut out plays that Andrew has highlighted. I use about 1% of the editing power of the film software, but that’s about as far as my technical understanding extends. I’ve always wished I could use the all-22 film from Game Pass so Andrew wouldn’t be limited to game highlights and network camera angles for his analysis. But I digress...
Most regular readers are probably aware that I am a university teacher. I have mentioned several times in the comments section that I have been teaching 100% online since mid-March due to the COVID pandemic (Thailand still hasn’t had a local transmission or COVID-related death since the first week of June — wear a mask; wash your hands).
It’s probably no real surprise that I thought of Zoom (where I currently spend roughly 25 hours of my life every week) as a tool for recording the all-22 film of the Logan Thomas play.
I fired up Zoom, put it in record mode, turned on screen-sharing, and made a copy of the all-22 film of Logan Thomas being wildly overthrown at the goal line in the game against the Eagles.
The video was choppy, and ran at about 80% of normal speed, but for the single play it was watchable. Barely.
So, I managed to put a crappy, choppy, grainy gif in the reader’s Christmas in September stocking, but I wasn’t really satisfied with the solution I’d come up with for recording. There had to be something better.
Today was an interesting day for me at work. I proctored two online tests. The cool thing about proctoring tests online is that there’s basically nothing to do. I have two laptops; I have all the students displayed on Zoom on one laptop while I work on the other. Today, that meant I spent 6 hours grading papers — and that’s 6 hours that I would normally spend teaching class. The upshot of that is that by 4 o’clock this afternoon, I was caught up on my grading.
I decided that I would knock out an article for Hogs Haven. The problem was, I didn’t have a single bloody idea what to write about. When I couldn’t generate any ideas in my tired brain, I did what anyone would — I put on some workout clothes and went for a 10 km walk.
When I got home, my brain had made some connections. I decided it was time to re-visit the issue of recording the all-22 from Game Pass. With renewed vigor, I sat down and started Googling. It didn’t actually take long to find what I was looking for — a youtube tutorial.
I watched it, but it went by really fast. The guy knew what he was talking about, but I had a hard time following his quick delivery. I went to a second video. This guy explained the exact same thing that the first guy had, but he did it more slowly and in a bit more detail. I had the advantage of seeing the concept for the second time, so I rapidly absorbed the basics. I had everything I needed on my computer, the system was fairly idiot proof, and I had the film editing software I needed to process the film down to individual plays once I had it recorded.
When I looked at the all-22, I saw that the entire game represented about an hour and twenty minutes of film. This was more than I’d expected, and I thought that I should probably focus on certain plays.
Initially, I thought about all of Dwayne’s passes, but there’s lots of film on that broken down by people a lot smarter than me, plus that would represent about a quarter of all the plays in the game, which would likely be too many.
Then I thought about focusing on the offensive line, but that doubled the number of plays and meant watching five players instead of one. That was going the wrong direction.
I decided to focus on just the Football Team’s running plays. I understand run blocking fairly well, and not many people spend time doing run game break downs.
With that idea, I decided that I would record only the WFT offensive plays. I would fast forward through all the special teams and defensive plays. I could then deliver my offensive game film to my film editing software, cut out all the run plays and put an article together.
I set about doing just that. To start and stop the record function is a simple toggle of WIN-ALT-R. Press it once and the recording starts. Press it again and the recording stops. On. Off. On. Off. Simple!
It took me about an hour or so to record half the game while skipping through the other half, when the Cardinals had the ball. Finally, though, I was finished.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the files were broken up into short clips that started and stopped every time I had toggled the on-off function. This was gonna be sweet! I’d have each WFT offensive drive in its own clip. Doing the cut ups in the film processing software was gonna be a piece of cake.
I turned on the first clip with great anticipation. The recording quality was exquisite. Beautiful, high quality pictures at full speed with plenty of pixels.
There was only one problem. I’d gotten the toggling backwards. I had ended up turning the recording OFF every time the burgundy and gold got the ball, and turned it ON when the Cardinals took possession. It would have been easy enough to just change the focus of the article to the mighty Washington defense, but of course, what I recorded was me skipping ahead through the Arizona offensive plays, punts. field goals and extra points, so I had 14 short clips of... well... of nothing usable.
Which is why you’re reading this story of good intentions, frustration and failure on my part. Frankly, I’m shocked you’re sill reading.
There’s a bright side. To paraphrase Edison, I didn’t actually fail, I just learned one way NOT to record the all-22 film. I’m confident that I’ll do better next time.
But surely this story is way to non-eventful to waste your time with.
Actually, I do have a fairly decent reason for making you read this tortuous tale.
As I was watching the all-22 during my failed attempt to record it, a couple of things crossed my mind.
One was that Terry McLaurin was basically unstoppable on the slant route against the Cardinals. I don’t think the Arizona defense stopped him on that route a single time all game. It seemed so automatic that I started wondering why Scott Turner called anything else. At one point, I decided that the article needed to be every Scary Terry target, because he and Haskins looked machine-like in their execution of that route.
A good way to defeat a good pass rush is to throw quickly, and Haskins is already doing that — his average time to throw this season is 2.40 seconds, the fourth-fastest among quarterbacks with 25 or more dropbacks.
A second thing that occured to me was that I should, perhaps, do a follow up on last week’s Logan Thomas article by putting together every target aimed at the tight end in Week 2. He actually made some good catches, and, while he caught only 4 of the 9 balls thrown at him, Haskins was routinely putting it too high or too far in front for the 6’6” receiver to really get his hands on the ball. In other words, if Haskins was an MLB pitcher, the umpire would be calling him consistently high and wide. I think Logan Thomas may be a bit more capable than his stat line indicates.
The third thing I thought of was that it wasn’t just Logan Thomas who was getting the high and wide treatment. Haskins did it to a few others as well. He’s throwning away from the coverage, but maybe a bit too far. The defense can’t catch the ball, but too often, neither can the receiver. It might be interesting to look at just those passes and see what’s going on there. (I believe that Ron Rivera and Alex Smith have been stressing safety first; incomplete passes are better than interceptions. I think Dwayne is being conservative with ball placement, and throwing a bit too far away from receivers a bit too often).
So, anyway, I found myself wondering what would be the most interesting thing to show everyone on the All-22?
Hence, this article. I can’t promise that I can find the time to do an all-22 article before Sunday’s game — my girlfriend just bought a house and she volunteered me to help move boxes on Saturday, in addition to grading the two tests I proctored today — but I plan to try. Even if I can’t make it happen this week, there’s always next week.
So, I thought I’d ask...
If I can get my shit together and do an all-22 look at something, which of the following would you most like to see?
This poll is closed
Selected throws by Haskins
A focus on the WFT running game
Every Terry McLaurin target
Every Logan Thomas target
Every Matt Ioannidis defensive snap
Kevin Pierre-Louis defensive snaps