29 Sep 2005
Over at the PROTRADE site, Ben Alamar takes a look at the best and worst quarterbacks of 2004 in a variety of situations: 3rd downs, blitzes, and red zone. (You may remember Ben as the guy who helped us create the DVOA-based win projection system.) The moral of the story: blitz Marc Bulger but not Peyton Manning, and try to trap Tom Brady in third-and-long.
However, there are a couple of places where I would take issue with Ben's assumptions. He's using STATS Inc. numbers here, and -- as I have mentioned numerous times on this site -- I have no idea what STATS Inc. means when they refer to a play as a "blitz." If a 3-4 defense sends a linebacker, does STATS Inc. count that as a blitz? STATS Inc. also gives a YAC (yards after catch) number for each quarterback, and Ben takes that out, saying that quarterbacks who throw short passes should not be rewarded for the efforts of their receivers. But often YAC is about hitting an open man in stride, not a receiver who is able to avoid multiple defenders as he runs down the field. Even a screen pass shows quarterback talent; one of Tom Brady's greatest skills is his ability to allow blocks to develop, look off defenders, and then, when they've all committed, throw the screen pass at just the right time.
24 comments, Last at 02 Oct 2005, 3:30pm by David Keller
The Giants and Ravens set a record in Super Bowl XXXV with 21 total punts. That record may well be in jeopardy. But in this battle of top defenses, Carolina's superior and more flexible offense gives the Panthers the edge.