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Greg Blache Says Stats Are For Losers

Old school pimp daddy. (By John McDonnell - TWP)

Greg Blache, as you might have noticed, remains more quotable than Barack Obama at a San Francisco fundraiser.

"Those folks are terrorists with the double move," Blache said today of the Eagles receivers. "I don't think they can go to the bathroom straight."

Or how about this, in response to a question from Comcast SportsyNet's Jill Sorenson about the best-dressed member of his defense. (Look for Jill's "Class Yearbook" piece during Sunday's pre-game show.)

"In my opinion, Shawn Springs could be a male model," Blache said. "Shawn Springs is clean. He is. Of the big guys, you've got to think about Cornelius Griffin. For a big man, Griff dresses like a pimp daddy sometimes. He really does. He's pretty darn clean."

And if mixing in terrorist-and-potty talk with pimp daddy name drops wasn't enough, here's how Blache responded a bit later when asked an innocuous question about his defensive line, a question that involved numbers.

"We don't worry about numbers here," he said. "Statistics are for losers. I'm not a stat guy. I'm not interested in them, because you can do anything you want with numbers, you can manipulate them, and work around with them. Look at all the financial [problems] we're having in Wall Street right now. That's all those guys lying and playing with numbers. And now all of us are suffering. So I don't believe in numbers, because any crook can play with numbers....It angers me. You know? That's the whole thing, people play with numbers."

Obviously the Moneyball debate has long since migrated from baseball to other sports, and obviously some folks have done very innovative things even with supposedly unworkable football stats (see Doug Farrar's column on our very site). But Blache isn't having it. Call him the Don Zimmer of the NFL. I can't wait for Tracy Ringolsby to blame the securitization of subprime mortgages on Billy Beane.

Anyhow, I asked Blache for more. He obliged.

"When the game's over, I'll look at the flip sheet, the play-by-play," he said. "I want to see what the turnover ratio was, what we did on third downs, what we did in the red zone. But past that, we've got boards and boards up in our meeting room, I don't pay any attention to those statistics. If you won, what does it all mean? And if you lost, what does it all mean?

"When you lose, you go to statistics, 'Well, we did this well.' You're making an excuse. I don't see the sense in it, and I cringe when I sit in a meeting and I hear coaches spouting off their statistics. To me, it doesn't make any sense. It's like they're grading themselves. Our job is to win and lose football games. And on Sunday, you either won it or you lost it. The rest of it's for you guys to write about. You know? For me, you either win or you lose; you don't get second place because you had great stats....I've been around a ton of guys that will just sit and spout their statistics. Drives me crazy. It's meaningless."

I wondered whether this was a reaction to the newfound love of stats in every field of athletics, but Blache said that he's felt this way his whole career.

"Honestly, when I was a young coach I got raised old school," he explained. "I was raised in the old school and I coach old school. You win or you lose. When the media started saying, 'Well, this guy's a guru' or 'This guy's a genius,' the guys started planting their numbers or throwing their numbers around to get jobs. And that became a big thing: numbers.

"Like I said, I'm old school. I have no interest in a head job. All I want to do, I want to win Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins a Super Bowl championship, that's my goal. Past that, a good glass of wine, a good Cuban cigar, and hell, life is beautiful."

As for the financial crisis, someone else asked Blache whether he'd be turning into the vice presidential debate tonight.

"I don't believe in politics," he said. "I learned as a kid: Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and politics."

And for the record, he specifically praised Sambuca. Although presumably he doesn't rely on Wine Spectator ratings.

By Dan Steinberg  |  October 2, 2008; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  Redskins  
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My wife drinks Sambuca like its water, then she pukes...

Posted by: sambucaisawful | October 2, 2008 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Greg Blache is my hero. He gives the greatest quotes....stand-up guy.

Posted by: Pablo | October 2, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

I hate it when guys act like they have nothing to learn, as if there's nothing that statistics could possibly teach them.

Blache can say they're meaningless, but it really sounds like he's not smart enough to understand them. Sad.

Posted by: Tank | October 2, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

And that, my friends, is why I don't like Fantasy football. It's meaningless.

rok rok AUN!@

Posted by: The AMAZING Dik Shuttle of the Fabulous ShuttleLOUNGE | October 2, 2008 3:13 PM | Report abuse


He may not be "smart enough to understand them" but he is smart enough to create a defensive system and coach up his players to produce one of the top defenses in the league. That's all the smart I need in my Defensive Coordinator.

Posted by: JS in L'Enfant | October 2, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Great piece.

We need at least two or three quotes per week...Please Greg, please.

We love the Zornisms too, btw.

Posted by: Stumped | October 2, 2008 3:24 PM | Report abuse

regarding greg's pic and the caption under it....

no one is more of a pimp than George W Bush, and those who work for him.

Posted by: Ted | October 2, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

He says he doesn't like or use statistics, and then he tells you which statistics he pays attention to. A lotta hot air, methinks. Very quotable hot air.

Posted by: Choowee | October 2, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

The more and more I read and follow up on Blache, the more and more I like him. Cool dude man, cool dude.

Posted by: BMAC | October 2, 2008 9:14 PM | Report abuse

"Like I said, I'm old school. I have no interest in a head job. All I want to do, I want to win Dan Snyder and the Washington Redskins a Super Bowl championship, that's my goal. Past that, a good glass of wine, a good Cuban cigar, and hell, life is beautiful."

I think I'm in love, except substitute scotch for wine.

Posted by: 44riggosranger44 | October 3, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Wine Spectator? Sambuca? Unless I'm missing something, Sambuca is not a wine. (Though I acknowledge that it's pretty tasty.)

Posted by: Josh | October 3, 2008 10:54 AM | Report abuse

Chowee...The point being...don't get married into the stat game to the extent it has become a way ofdiing business in the NFL. the numbers he's revering to are the ones that dictate your play calling. The ratios. Like how many times a team runs a certain play in a certain down, quarter and distance. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: Fabian | October 4, 2008 2:10 AM | Report abuse

Excuse my typos. I penned that reply on my iPhone.

Posted by: Fabian | October 4, 2008 2:12 AM | Report abuse

Wow, that's ignorant. If you don't go to the numbers after the game (win or lose) and see what you did right and what you did wrong, how in the world are you going to learn from your mistakes and eliminate them in the future? Even going through game film, you count a lot of things, make note of a lot of things -- you're keeping stats even if you don't know it. It's frankly mind-blowing for an NFL coach to say things like this... I understand if you don't base personnel decisions on stats (football ain't baseball, after all), but to ignore your team stats after a game on principle (when instead you ought to be learning from them) is beyond stupid.

Posted by: Goo | October 4, 2008 3:23 PM | Report abuse

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