Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Apr 2009

Just in case you're not yet sick of Broncos/McDaniels talk...

OK, I'll kick this whole forum thing off. This is a link I was going to send in to the Outsiders as a suggestion for an Extra Point. It was linked from the Patriots sub-page on CNNSI, but it is really more of a Denver article.


It's a really interesting read (to me at least) that analyzes Josh McDaniels play-calling tendencies in New England over the past four years, and compares them to the Broncos' play calling tendencies in recent history. The authors look at what each team was good and bad at, how McDaniels reacted to certain situations, and what that might mean for Denver going forward...i.e. what they might be good and bad at this year and next. This was apparently written after the Cutler trade, so the authors also comment a bit on how Denver might react with Simms or Orton instead of Cutler. It's a four part article (only the fourth part is linked, but there are links at the top for sections 1-3), with a lot of quantitative analysis of statistics, and some good football insight.

A few spoilers: It seems to me like the authors are concluding that (1) neither Jay Cutler nor the New England offensive line were as good as a lot of people think they were, (2) Bates wasn't really a very good offensive coordinator, (3) there was actually quite a bit of room for improvement for Denver's offense, and (4) consequently, maybe firing Shanny and hiring an offensive guy like McDaniels wasn't as strange as it is often billed to be.

Posted by: MJK on 20 Apr 2009

2 replies , Last at 20 Apr 2009, 11:18pm by PatsFan

Just in case you're not yet sick of Broncos/McDaniels talk...
by Jimmy :: Mon, 04/20/2009 - 9:54pm

I had a look at the article and it seems to be mainly critical of Cutler's pick throwing over the last two years (it seems to place emphasis on his twenty turnovers). The stuff on the Pats offense is a pretty good read though.

I came across the following stats on NFL.com's page of stats on Cutler in 08.

Total passes 616
Total interceptions 18
Total interception percentage 2.9%

Passes thrown when down by 9 or more 236
%age of passes thrown when down by 9+ 38.3%
Interception %age when 9 points down or worse 4.2%

Interception %age when 8 points down or better 2.1%

He wasn't sacked unless he was down by nine points or more.
6 sacks when down by two scores. 5 sacks when down by three scores.

I was amazed when I saw the stat about Cutler not getting sacked unless he was down by two scores or more and he didn't seem to throw all that many picks until he was down by two scores either. I didn't watch all his games last year so I have no idea if he was in the habit of throwing very costly picks or not. It seems to me that he may begin to try to force the ball when he is behind, which could be reason to expect an improvement now he is playing with a decent defense.

Of course it could be that the stats for Denver's offense last year need to be looked at through the prism of having to try to score more points than one of the worst defenses DVOA has been able to measure was allowing.

Re: Just in case you're not yet sick of Broncos/McDaniels talk..
by PatsFan :: Mon, 04/20/2009 - 11:18pm

Nice find, MJK!

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