Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

20 Aug 2007

FO Mailbag: Champ Bailey's Four Receptions

John L., Seattle: On the MNF opener, Mike Tirico claimed that Champ Bailey only gave up four receptions all last year on balls thrown to him. If that's true, he should have been the unanimous MVP. Do you know where Tirico came up with that stat, and what does FO have to say about it?

I have no idea where Tirico came up with this stat, but it is completely ridiculous. Four completions over the entire season? According to our game charting numbers, he gave up more than four completions in just one game -- to the same wide receiver!

In PFP 2007, you'll see Bailey listed with 86 passes. Some of those are double coverages, etc. He actually had 83 passes where he was listed in the DEFENDER1 column. Oddly, not one of those 83 passes had another defender listed in the DEFENDER2 column.

On 40 of those passes, Bailey allowed a complete pass. That's FOUR-ZERO, as in, ten times four. I understand that it is hard to chart defensive coverage with standard television camera angles, and surely we're giving Bailey responsibility on some plays where the Broncos were actually in zone coverage and some safety was responsible -- but could those really represent 36 of 40 complete passes? No, of course not.

Remember that a complete pass is not necessarily a failure by Bailey. In Week 11, for example, Philip Rivers threw to Antonio Gates with Bailey in coverage and the play actually lost a yard. Marvin Harrison had a catch for zero yards on third-and-5. Bailey's 62 percent Success Rate was fifth in the NFL.

However, the man is not perfect. He's not even 95 percent perfect, which is what his Success Rate would be if he really allowed only four completions all year. The zero-yard Harrison catch was one of five from Week 8 where we have Bailey marked as the defender in coverage. Three of the other four catches earned first downs. On one of these catches, the charter wrote "Quick slant breaks Bailey's ankles. Hey, he's not perfect." Trust me when I tell you this guy was one of our most reliable charters. Actually, trust me when I tell you it was me.

What else is marked as a completion with Bailey in coverage? We have a 63-yard pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Hines Ward which went five yards through the air with 58 yards after catch -- the charter marked down that the Broncos missed four tackles on the play, and one was by Bailey. We have a 35-yard pass from Alex Smith to Arnaz Battle, a 27-yarder from Matt Hasselbeck to Darrell Jackson, a 26-yarder from Steve McNair to Derrick Mason, and a 26-yarder from Trent Green to Samie Parker. Four completions total? We have five completions here over 25 yards.

Seriously, where on earth did Tirico get this number? I don't blame Tirico, I blame the research staff at MNF.

You want a number that shows how good Bailey is? I've got one for you. Zero. Champ Bailey may have given up 40 completions according to our game charters, but not a single one of them was a touchdown.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 20 Aug 2007

20 comments, Last at 22 Aug 2007, 5:28pm by Cam

Comments

1
by Len (not verified) :: Mon, 08/20/2007 - 11:55pm

Bailey is becoming mythological.

Are there any other corners in the league who gave up zero touchdowns in 2006? In 05?

2
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:02am

yeah, what a joke stat. Good call fo guys

3
by Sir Malcolm (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:08am

I don' know where this stat is from, but KC Joyner received a question that mentioned it in his ESPN chat on Thursday:

Adam, Kitchener, Ontario: I just read an artical that claimed Champ Bailey had only 4 passes completed against him all last year! This cant be right can it?

SportsNation KC Joyner: Adam, I heard that same thing and have no idea how in the world anyone could come up with that metric. I had Bailey with 65 passes thrown at him and 28 of them being successful. His YPA was phenomenal and his success percentage superb but four completions is simply not an accurate assessment.

http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=16887

4
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:50am

QBs throwing towards Bailey had around a 48% completion rate, and a 12% interception rate. That's AWFUL.

Andrew Walter had a 53% completion rate and a 4.7% interception rate in 2006.

5
by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 1:33am

But is he "NOW?"

6
by im gonna come at u like a spider monkey (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 2:02am

i'm just a bitter redskins so all this champ bailey talk is driving me to alcoholism

7
by kibbles (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 3:49am

My favorite Bailey stat from last year was that his first 6 INTs of the season all occurred inside Denver's 5 yard line or end-zone, meaning of all of the potential "scoring passes" the other team threw, they came down with 0 and Champ came down with 6. Add in the fact that another INT was returned for a score and that's 7 INTs that were as game-changing as they possibly could be, either occurring in Denver's end zone or winding up in the opposition's end zone. Add in the 3.5 scoring TDs he had the season before, and Champ Bailey is fresh off of one of the most amazing two-season stretches in NFL history- made even more amazing by the fact that he's doing it against the toughest anti-DB rules in NFL history. They say that Deion Sanders was the last true shutdown corner, but I question whether even he could have done better in today's environment (and unlike Deion, Champ tackles, too).

8
by Lou (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 3:55am

I think somethings wrong with the MNF stat guys. During the game tonight Jaws claimed the Colts run 68% from the 2 TE set. Here's what I wrote in the discussion forum.

Jaws has twice said that the Colts run 68% from the 2 TE set, but PFP has it at 36%. granted PFP says 2TE plus, but i dont think thats enough to account for the discrepency. whats going on here?

9
by Kuato (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 5:05am

*Jaws has twice said that the Colts run 68% from the 2 TE set, but PFP has it at 36%. granted PFP says 2TE plus, but i dont think thats enough to account for the discrepency. whats going on here?*

In PFP the 36% means that of ALL the Colts running plays 36% were in two TE sets.

Maybe Jaws meant that when the Colts are in two TE sets they run 68% of the time? Just a possibility.

10
by Mats (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 5:41am

Len:
Terrence Newman (DAL) gave up zero completions for TD in 05 and 2-3 completions for TD in 06.

11
by Lou (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 9:00am

#9
I'll be damned. That is what it means in PFP. I've been reading it wrong the last two years.

12
by David (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 10:53am

What about that game against the Chargers last year, where early on Champ Bailey tried to pick off a pass in the red zone but Antonio Gates bumped him out of the way and caught the TD anyway? That doesn't count?

13
by Dan Snyder (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:13pm

Hey, I've got a great idea! Why don't we trade Champ Bailey AND a draft pick for this really neat running back from Denver!

14
by asg (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:23pm

It's the "and a draft pick" that makes me scratch my head every time. What the hell kind of Jedi mind trick was that?

15
by doktarr (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 12:36pm

Now that we have charted defenders on every play, why not come up with a "passing DVOA" for cornerbacks? Just take every pass where that player was the primary defender, and come up with the DVOA. Negative is better.

16
by Lou (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 1:50pm

15

what about all the plays when champ is on the field, but shuts down his guy, and the qb throws elsewhere?

I'd would really like to see each players DVOA when theyre on the field. But that would involve recording all 11 defenders every play. And that would be next to impossible.

17
by Danny (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 2:52pm

David:
On that play Gates wasn't Baileys man, he simply read the play and went after gates instead. I was extremely surprised that he didn't get that int, but then after the game he said gates bumped him from behind and looking at the replay he was right.

18
by doktarr (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 5:53pm

RE: Lou 16,

Yes, there's that, and there's the fact that I'm not accounting for whether the CB is covering the best WR or the #2 guy, and I'm not correcting for whether or not the CB had safety help on the play, and I'm not counting his contributions to running plays, and I'm not counting plays where he is the secondary defender.

I'm not pretending that CB defensive DVOA would be the end-all stat for CBs, by any stretch. It would just be interesting to see, is all.

19
by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 08/21/2007 - 7:43pm

How come PFP doesn't just have raw completion percentages, or even just the number of catches allowed, for DBs? I was curious what Dre Bly's completion rate was, just to see how hard it'll be to pass on the Broncos next year.

20
by Cam (not verified) :: Wed, 08/22/2007 - 5:28pm

Mats- I love this stat, even though the only source I could find was the media referencing Parcells, whose memory I'm not sure I trust.

I only counted two TD passes against him last year, and one was Vick scrambling for as long as he wanted, of which Newman covered perfectly for like five seconds and only missed the deflection by inches.

Maybe now Dallas supposedly has a pass rush he could work on getting more than one INT