Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

19 Jun 2008

FO on ESPN: Losing Strahan Might Hurt Giants

This week's ESPN.com column takes a look at what happens to teams that lose a top pass rusher in the offseason. On average, a strong pass rush will take a substantial hit when one of its stars departs -- but adding a top pass rusher has a smaller impact than adding a top offensive lineman.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 19 Jun 2008

15 comments, Last at 25 Jun 2008, 12:42pm by Lance S.

Comments

1
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:18pm

I have the same basic criticism here that I had with the other article- these numbers are meaningless unless the year to year difference is adjusted for expected regression to the mean.

2
by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (aka SJM) (not verified) :: Thu, 06/19/2008 - 11:21pm

Oops, I jumped the gun. The comparison between equivalent teams who did or didn't lose a pass rusher is in there.

3
by inkakola (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 12:45am

i bet you wish you could edit posts

4
by Brian (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 10:26am

That's like a headline from The Onion. Loosing Favre might hurt the Packers. Loosing keys might hurt ability to start car.

5
by johonny (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 11:38am

I wonder what the variance is? A 1 % change with a +/- of 0.1% is more meaningful than a 1 % change with a +/- of 2 %.

6
by Tom D (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 2:36pm

Re 4:

Or an Emmitt Smith line, winning the NFC championship might lead to the Superbowl.

7
by nat (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 3:55pm

4: "Loosing keys might hurt ability to start car."

Snicker. But really, the article is more like "Losing 5 PSI in your tires could reduce your MPG by 10-30%". It's not that Strahan was important to the Giants. It's how important - with at least a glimmer of statistical evidence.

It looks like we can expect a significant drop in the Giants defensive effectiveness, unless they come up with an unexpected way to replace Strahan's contribution. The Giants were about 20% DVOA better on defense than the worst team in the league - a little better than average. Strahan's departure might move them a quarter of the way to the bottom.

Yikes!

8
by Tom D (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 4:49pm

Re 7:

Of course, they could easily get better going with mostly defense in the draft, and coming off year with pretty terrible league-wide defense.

9
by Roscoe (not verified) :: Fri, 06/20/2008 - 5:23pm

I am not sure I buy it. Strahan had clearly lost a step or two last year, and his sack total had a lot to do with the fact that teams couldn't concentrate on him given the skill of the other pass rushers. There won't be that much drop-off (if there is any drop-off) with Tuck in his place.

The team's sack total will go down, but that will be because the Giants had to rely on a lot of crazy blitz packages last year to cover for a not-very-good secondary. If the play shown by Webster and Ross in the post-season continues into next year, hopefully the Giants can run a more conventional defense.

10
by Dales (not verified) :: Sat, 06/21/2008 - 3:44pm

I agree with the approach. When analyzing from a statistical, dispassionate perspective, it makes sense to do it this way.

And I have also said many times that is the way to go because you will be right more often than not, and you avoid the pratfalls of homerism (more times than not).

This Giants team is not normal, though. They are head cases. They have had their injury problems concentrated at positions all at once that crippled them right at crunch time. They are a team that, when you are looking at what usually happens, is bound to not fit terribly well.

They lose a hall-of-fame (possibly) caliber talent who was still performing at near-peak level. And they win the Super Bowl. They have a terrible secondary, and they beat one of the best passing attacks ever in the Super Bowl by having good secondary play. Etc.

I am not saying they will defend their title or even come close to it. They might not even be competitive this year. But either end of the spectrum, or anywhere in between, would not surprise me.

And since they have their ring, as a fan, I am sassified either way.

Go Big Blue. And thanks for the years of performance, Mike. Let's see what we can do with three aces and a jack.

11
by Tom (not verified) :: Sun, 06/22/2008 - 9:52pm

The title - "Losing Strahan Going to Hurt Giants." - reminds me of those sorry stories "Giants One of Worst Teams to Reach SB" and "Here's How the Patriots Will Blow Out the Giants" by the same author. Is the guy nuts?
Good pick up by the webmaster to change it to "Might Hurt Giants"

12
by humor (not verified) :: Mon, 06/23/2008 - 3:51pm

@10: "sassified"

I bet that's how Indy and Pittsburgh fans felt after their respective super bowls too.

Sassified.

:-)

13
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 06/23/2008 - 4:17pm

Losing Edge James might hurt the colts. Losing Tiki Barber might hurt the Giants... If the Giants had a rookie 7th round pick replacing him I might be more worried, but Strahan's age makes him more injury prone and the fact that Kiwi AND tuck can play end... the giants were also still looking at signing vet backups as well.

I love the part where Strahan said " We stomped you".

14
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 06/23/2008 - 4:21pm

At this point I am scared of the loss of Gibril Wilson. Look at the first game of last year ( Giants lone road loss) where Wilson seemed like the only guy who gave a hoot. Wilson was a ball hawk who always had a nose for the ball and was one of the top players at his position last year.

Sammy Knight at his best would be a downgrade, and Kenny Phillips is a rook. Michael Johnson was decent but seems skinny to play SS. The fact that our FS is garbage makes me worry about our deep coverage. As the previous poster pointed out, I'd love to see Webster continue his playoff play.

15
by Lance S. (not verified) :: Wed, 06/25/2008 - 12:42pm

Derrick Thomas wasn't killed in the car wreck. He was paralyzed in the car wreck & died shortly thereafter (a matter of weeks, I think) of a pulmonary embolism.

No biggie, just sayin'.