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25 Nov 2005

FO Mailbag

by Aaron Schatz (and the FO staff)

Time for another look at the Football Outsiders mailbag. We get a lot of e-mail, and there are a lot of comments on the discussion threads, so I apologize if your question doesn't get answered. There simply are too many good questions that require well thought out answers. The best way to get your question answered at this point is to use the contact form. If it is a question not related to the DVOA stats, it is more likely to be answered if you send it to one of the other writers, not me.

Be aware that we reference plenty of our innovative FO stats here, not to mention their unfamiliar terminology, so if you are a recent addition to the readership you might want to read this first.

Flux: I suppose this is the question you'll get the most of from non-FO readers, but how does Steve Smith catch 14 passes for 169 yards against the Bears' pass defense and not make the top five? I didn't see the game, but did Carolina throw him like 25 passes, or what? (I'm in the Bay Area; we get nothing but Raiders and 49ers every week. Yes, it's hell.)

Aaron Schatz: Yep, this question regards this week's Quick Reads over at FOXSports.com, the column which gives the top DPAR ratings for each week. Despite the big numbers, Smith's performance this week comes out exactly at replacement level before applying the opponent adjustment, 2.1 DPAR after applying the opponent adjustment. He was thrown 20 passes: six went incomplete, and another seven went for less than 10 yards without achieving a first down. He also fumbled once.

Brian: How is the Colts' variance so low given their seemingly wildly different games this season? I suppose since the defense was racking up more numbers early and the offense is racking up more numbers lately the total DVOA for each game was still pretty even?

Aaron Schatz: Actually, the Colts are very consistent on offense (30th in variance) and middle of the pack on defense (17th in variance). That early-season "the Colts offense isn't scoring" theme was just overreaction to two games, the 10-3 win over Jacksonville and the 13-6 win over Cleveland. Jacksonville is one of this season's top pass defenses, and the Colts' offense wasn't that bad against Cleveland. They just kept getting stopped in the red zone: Vanderjagt had field goals of 20 and 23 yards, and they ended the game with Manning kneeling on first-and-goal at the Cleveland six-yard line. Since these two games, the Colts have scored at least 28 points every week.

But thanks for the opportunity to break out my favorite little toy for the first time this season -- the week-to-week DVOA graph. I get a perverse joy out of figuring out how to make these things match team colors. Blue here is the Indianapolis offense, black is the defense, and the curved lines represent the trend for each unit. The slight uptick in the trend on offense is really just one mediocre game (San Francisco) and one very good game (Cincinnati) but the trend on defense is fairly clear. Since DVOA represents scoring, that trend shows how the Colts' defense has gradually been giving up more yards and points since taking on the Alex Smith Experience.

Bobman: Seriously, what lawn work do you have in mid-November?

Aaron Schatz: Fall temperatures in New England have been astonishingly mild this year, and the trees in my yard didn't start turning until three weeks ago. The ones in the backyard are particularly annoying because they have lots of little leaves. Scientific ramifications of this can be debated on another website, thanks.

Patrick Leming: I would appreciate an in-depth look at why you were wrong about the Eagles this year. We've seen why you were wrong about the Falcons (at least most of us appreciated that) and why you were right about the Packers. Any detailed look at the Eagles would help brighten up these dark days. They were clearly the team the projections were most wrong on. Do the Eagles have any hope for next year? I'd suspect third-down performance on both sides is a telling indicator. Didn't they defy a trend with their third down defense the past couple of years?

Aaron Schatz: As far as I'm concerned, there was no way to foresee the collapse of the Philadelphia Eagles. I think this team was just hit with a ton of unpredictable problems, all at the same time. It was reasonable to expect one of the other NFC East teams to improve this year, but nobody expected significant improvement from all three. Personality conflicts and contract squabbles like the T.O. situation often completely disappear once the season starts. This time, that didn't happen. There was no indicator that the special teams would collapse. Kicker injuries are not particularly common, so there was no way to predict injuries to both David Akers and Dirk Johnson. Donovan McNabb struggled all year with the injury from the Atlanta game, something we could not predict before the season began. They were 4-2 a few weeks ago, but the Denver blowout was a real turning point, especially since it was T.O.'s last game with the team.

Philadelphia DVOA by Down, 2004-05

 

OFFENSE

DEFENSE

Down 2005 2004 2005 2004
1st 13.2% 10.6% -15.9% -9.0%
2nd 10.9% 34.6% 2.6% 1.1%
3rd -4.4% 3.9% 6.2% -3.5%

As far as down-by-down performance, there's no indicator there. If anything, we would have expected the offense to improve this year. When Mike Tanier and I did two Philadelphia-area book signings, however, we both agreed that this team had one issue that they forgot to address in the off-season.

Mike Tanier: The lack of a "big" or even "medium" sized back is significant. We can see it in the red zone this year. Against the Giants, the Eagles couldn't punch the ball in from the one-yard line. Against the Cowboys they had to settle for a short field goal late in the game. Those are difference making plays.

The Eagles didn't need to go sign Jerome Bettis or anything, but the fact that they didn't grab anyone, even Dorsey Levens, is puzzling.

In terms of the future, I am happy to see this new center Jamaal Jackson playing well. I am glad rookie defensive end Trent Cole is playing well. Reggie Brown has a great opportunity right now. The salary cap situation is great. If McNabb didn't throw that pass against Dallas, we could be 5-5 or 6-4 right now. No reason to lament the future. Just the present.

NF: I was just reviewing your article on special teams VOA, and I was wondering if you have considered adding points scored above or below average by opposing field goal kickers to the indicators you use for why teams have bad years, along with third-down performance and fumble recovery rate.

Also, have you expanded the data for average points scored from a yardage by field goals by including data from more years? Theoretically, because there has not really been a great change in the technique of field goal kicking or teams strategy on it in the last 10 years, you could pool data from every season going back at least that far to find average kick success rates.

Aaron Schatz: You'll see a rating on the special teams page called "VOA w/HIDDEN" which includes field goals against and kickoff distance against.

This year, the teams with the worst luck due to opposing field goal kickers have been Dallas (+11.7 points) and Houston (+11.4 points). The only field goals missed against Dallas have been a 50-yarder and a 60-yarder. Nobody has missed a field goal against Miami, though Phil Dawson missed an extra point.

The luckiest team, by far, has been Kansas City (-8.9 points). Rian Lindell of Buffalo missed 28- and 31-yard field goals against them, Jason Elam missed a 46-yarder in Denver, and Sebastian Janikowski missed a 50-yarder. They've also had opponents abort a field goal and an extra point with bad snaps and they've blocked two field goals for good measure (though that's not really luck).

As far as opposition kickoff distance, the numbers are much less extreme. The one team that stands out is St. Louis. Kickoffs against the Rams have averaged 68.1 gross yards, and no other team is above 67. Even after adjusting for the dome, this has cost the Rams about 6.2 points worth of field position compared to the NFL average.

To your second question, there has actually been a change in league-wide kicking numbers (kickoff, punt, and field goal) twice:

  • 1999: K-ball introduced, special ball used for kicks and always taken right out of the box.
  • 2003: League gets really anal about enforcing K-ball rule.

Each time, kicking became harder. Of course, kickers have improved significantly again this year, so who knows, maybe in 2006 they'll make them kick cannonballs or something.

The next question asks about Drive Success Rate, a stat we introduced in Pro Football Prospectus 2005, created by Jim Armstrong and featured on the Drive Stats pages.

Jon Lewallen: I had a question about the definition of drive stats. The site defines Drive Success Rate as the percentage of down series that result in a first down or TD. Does this exclude, then, field goals to win the game? Obviously there's no way to know if it's the "winning field goal" until the clock runs out, but I would think that a team down by one or two kicking a field goal with, say, ten seconds left has made a successful drive.

Jim Armstrong: DSR considers all down series that end in a field goal as an unsuccessful down series, even if it is a "game winning" FG. My reasoning is that most field goals, even game winning ones, occur on 4th down following three downs in that series where the offense was making a legitimate attempt to score a touchdown or, at the very least, gain another first down (which would make for a shorter FG). There may indeed be times when this isn't true, for example when a FG is attempted on first down or is immediately preceded by kneeldown plays to run down the clock. I would guess these are so uncommon that they probably don't have a significant effect on any team's overall DSR.

Of course, DSR doesn't really define whether an entire drive is considered successful, but to me, the successful part of a FG drive consists of those first downs that moved a team into FG range (or within at most nine yards). So a drive that gains three first downs, then attempts a FG would get a DSR of 0.75 (3/4), which is still pretty successful, if not optimal. The drawback of this method is that the offense might not get any credit at all for moving up to nine yards closer for, say, a 39-yard FG attempt vs. a 48-yarder.

Lastly, DSR is really only intended to measure offensive (or defensive) efficiency. Whether a FG attempt is successful or not depends on special teams, particuarly the FG kicker. So in that sense I think it's consistent that DSR rewards the offense for setting up the FG attempt, but not the FG itself, game winning or otherwise.

Dennis Flanagan: Experts are now comparing the 2005 Bears Defense with the 1985 defense, citing the fact that through 11 games they have allowed fewer yards/game and points/game. Using your methodology which is the better defense?

Ned Macey: We not only do not have play-by-play data for 1985, but as far as I know, we do not even have box scores for the 1985 season easily accessible on the Web. So, it is a little difficult to evaluate a defense in these terms. I took a quick look at how each each team's points allowed stacked up based on their opponents played. For the season, the 1985 Bears held opponents to 56.4% of the points they averaged against all other teams. So far, the 2005 Bears have held opponents to 58.7% of their normal point totals. (In case you care, 2000 Ravens were at 56.6%.) So, while the 2005 Bears are allowing fewer per game, they are giving up a slightly higher percentage based on their opponents. Nonetheless, it is very close, and the 1985 Bears had a better offense that could help with field position and limit the number of opposition drives.

Team Pts/G Yd/G Comp% Yd/P Yd/R
1985 Bears 12.4 288.6 47.7% 6.3 3.7
2000 Ravens 10.3 259.1 55.9% 6.0 2.7
2002 Bucs 12.3 271.2 50.8% 5.5 3.8
2005 Bears (so far) 11.0 252.1 56.4% 5.0 3.3

By DVOA standards, the 2005 Bears are truly impressive. If the season ended today, the 2005 Bears would have the best defensive DVOA for the years we have calculated (1998-2005): -38.9%. Using the new second-order opponent adjustments, the 2000 Ravens had -36.7% defensive DVOA, while the 2002 Bucs had -32.4% defensive DVOA.

Of course, we still have over one-third of the season left, and I highly doubt the Bears can maintain this extraordinary level of play.

Aaron Schatz: I actually wrote a bit about the 2005 Bears in today's New York Sun, and I may be writing more about them in Tuesday's power rankings commentary.

Charles Jake: I hate the "line up and try to draw the D offsides" strategy. I was wondering if you could look at all fourth-and-short situations where the O doesn't run an actual play and determine how many are successful (defensive penalty for first down) vs. unsuccessful (delay of game or offensive timeout followed by punt). I know this isn't perfect because there will be situations where someone is penalized or calls timeout when they meant to run a play, but I think it would be cool to get some idea of how often this actually works.

Aaron Schatz: This sounds like a fun research project for the book, but I decided to take a quick look at 2005 play-by-play through Week 11. As you say, it is hard to tell when this strategy is unsuccessful. But we can figure out how often it works: hardly ever. Through 11 weeks of the 2005 season, there have been a grand total of five defensive penalties on fourth down with 1-3 yards to go. One of these penalties is listed as "punt formation," another is pass interference, and a third is an offside that cancels an actual play. That leaves two possibilities, both listed as "run formation" in the play-by-play:

  • Encroachment on A. Haynesworth of Tennessee when Houston had fourth-and-1 on the Tennessee 27-yard line.
  • Encroachment on S. Payne of Houston when Indianapolis had fourth-and-1 on their own 35-yard line.

I would guess that the penalty on Haynesworth was a real play, while the penalty on Payne was a "try to draw the other team offsides" strategy, but I can't be sure without asking someone who has tape of these games.

By comparison, there have been 27 offensive penalties on fourth down with 1-3 yards to go, though a handful of those penalties are listed in field goal or punt formations.

Stewart Glickman: I'm wondering how the Chiefs' offensive DVOA looks with Willie Roaf vs. without Willie Roaf. How about when he missed time for the Saints in 2001?

Aaron Schatz: Willie Roaf has missed six games this season: Weeks 2-5 and Weeks 9-11. In 2001 with the Saints, he missed nine games: Weeks 7-8 and Weeks 11-17. The numbers definitely support the idea that Roaf is a great left tackle, but it looks like he has a much bigger effect on pass protection than he does on run blocking.

  2005 Chiefs DVOA 2001 Saints DVOA
  Pass Rush Pass Rush
with Willie Roaf 43.1% 20.5% 3.5% -7.0%
without Willie Roaf -0.2% 13.5% -25.3% -15.4%

Shannon Russell: Are defensive adjustments calculated 'as-of' the date of the game, or renormalized from games that occur after the two teams have played?

Aaron Schatz: They are renormalized each week during the season. There has been some thought to having some sort of "rolling opponent adjustment" that might take into account the way teams improve or decline during the year, but we haven't had a chance to test something like that yet.

Posted by: admin on 25 Nov 2005

40 comments, Last at 30 Nov 2005, 11:57am by doyle

Comments

1
by BillT (not verified) :: Fri, 11/25/2005 - 6:42pm

How far back does your play-by-play data go?

2
by Kevin (not verified) :: Fri, 11/25/2005 - 6:56pm

Re : the Roaf table

Wow . . . and this fact goes almost unnoticed among the talking heads on TV . . . elite LTs have a MAJOR effect on the offense, and it rarely gets mentioned when Roaf misses a game . . .

3
by James, London (not verified) :: Fri, 11/25/2005 - 8:28pm

Re Willie Roaf. When he misses time, who plays LT?
If they simply bring a backup in at LT then the difference in pass protection is jaw-dropping.
OTOH, if Roaf missing time means other O-linemen shifitng positions, then it's at least arguable than the drop-off in pass protection is made worse by the disruption along the whole line.

Either way, I'd say that when Roaf (and Will Shields) hangs 'em up the Chiefs will have issues.

4
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 11/25/2005 - 8:40pm

The Willie Roaf numbers make it even more clear how much better Larry Johnson is than Priest Holmes. Johnson has a significantly better DVOA than Holmes, even though Johnson has been the starter these last three weeks without Willie Roaf. I think Dick Vermeil might be the only person in the world who hasn't realized that Johnson is better than Holmes yet.

5
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 11/25/2005 - 9:38pm

Willie Roafs numbers there are STAGGERING.

and its not even necessarily a case of whoever is starting in his place being bad since 0% of Replacement level and just "average".

I've always thought the Chiefs in general were a group of above average players at the "talent" positions while having an insanely good line that made them all look like Superstar MVPs. This really helps reinforce that notion.

6
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 12:29am

The numbers on Willie Roaf are very interesting, but so are the comments in #4. Is this disparity between Holmes and Johnson just this year, or has Priest always been over-rated in terms of DVOA (I've always thought of him as one of the elite RBs in the league, but must confess to not having paid attention to his career in too much detail) I guess I'm the other person in the world who didn't realize that Johnson was better than Holmes! :)

7
by VarlosZ (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 12:59am

I hate the "line up and try to draw the D offsides" strategy. I was wondering if you could look at all fourth-and-short situations where the O doesn’t run an actual play and determine how many are successful (defensive penalty for first down) vs. unsuccessful (delay of game or offensive timeout followed by punt).

In almost two decades of watch football, I've seen that tactic tried probably two or three hundred times. I've seen it work exactly once, against the Jets (of course).

8
by Pal (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 1:14am

#4, I think Vermeil did not use Johnson much before the Holmes injury because Johnson fumbled the ball quite a bit early on in the season. It is usually a given that nothing gets on a coach's nerves more than a fumble. Because of that, I think Vermeil decided to go with the good back who wasn't fumbling the ball as much over the great back who was fumbling a bit more.

9
by Becephalus (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 2:13am

I am not sure MDS, I think he will be better going forward by a long shot, but I think at say week 2 or 3 it was hard to say who would be better this season. Perhaps Johnson just needed some confindence/experience. Holmes certainly performed well those few years, but it is so hard to separate offensive performance from line play (exhibit A DEN). It has always seemed to me that the only thing poor offensve teams have in common is bad lines. Of course I am the type of person who would probably draft an O lineman first round every third year or so.

10
by Francisco (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 2:15am

"Encroachment on S. Payne of Houston when Indianapolis had fourth-and-1 on their own 35-yard line."

Just for the record, I saw this game, and I'm pretty sure they were really going to go for it. Dungy seems to have a wild hare for 4th-down conversions this year. I think they've gone for it a couple of times in their own territory.

11
by Chris (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 2:18am

In almost two decades of watch football, I’ve seen that tactic tried probably two or three hundred times. I’ve seen it work exactly once, against the Jets (of course).

I've seen a cunning variation of it work once. The Chargers a couple years back had their punt team out. Two Tight Ends are out to block. One takes a step forward onto the line. The other takes a step backward off the line. Defensive player sees it, jumps and starts pointing for false start.

and I've seen it work on 4th and 1 where the Defense thought it was just a fake tactic and it was a run play and they got bulldozed off the line.

12
by J (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 3:14am

3

Does anyone know where to find who started/played Oline for each game for the 2001 NO Saints? (Even better, for any games - esp 1998-present)

I think #3 was right on when saying it would depend on who played; a backup LT or a rearranged line.

For example, I think the biggest difference between the 2003 Steelers and the 2004 Steelers was the health of the Oline. In 2003, the line had many injuries...ALan Faneca at one point was playing LT! Compared to last year, all 5 linemen started every game.

Sure Maddox is not as good as Ben, but I think he would have been just fine as the starter of the 2004, Oline-injury-free Steelers.

Even this past week, LT, Marvel Smith, was out. LG, Alan Faneca, had 2 false starts. He very, very seldom gets stupid penalties like that called against him. I do not think it was a coincidence that the one game he had 2 dump penalties against him, the LT was out.

The numbers for Roaf are insane, but why? Is he that good? Was his replacement that bad? Looking at that table is certainly thought provoking, but the table alone does not mean anything.

13
by Slippery Pete (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 3:25am

The Willie Roaf data only seems to reaffirm my belieft that Walter Jones is the real MVP of the Seahawks, not Alexander. I don't have any DVOA or other stats handy, but whenever I watch Seattle I make an effort to watch Walter Jones for a drive or two. He doesn't dominate on every play, (no player does) but he never seems to be responsible for a play blowing up. Unlike, say, John St. Clair.

14
by Brian (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 5:19am

Thanks for the Indy DVOA graph. Very interesting! Hopefully the trend on the bottom line doesn't continue ;o)

15
by Fnor (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 11:52am

Thankfully, Brian, that won't happen, unless they are really gung-ho about defensive suckitude, at which point they'll just replace the line with riverdancers and be done with it.

16
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 12:22pm

12:

I can try to find some stuff, but it's going to be difficult and emotionally painful. I mean, 1998 was the Collins, Hobert, Tolliver era of Saints QBs...

Regarding the Willie Roaf data, however, I have long felt that Willie was one of many Saints that the organization let go too soon (along with Morten Anderson, Ricky Jackson, Bobby Hebert, Barry Word, Pat Swilling, Mel Gray, et al) But I'm not a bitter Saints fan, and I'm not about to go and compare certain players' DVOA with the Saints v. with someone else or anything like that. Seriously.

17
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 1:10pm

Regarding trying to draw teams offsides on 4th down: does anyone have any stats on how successful fake FGs/punts are? It seems to me like this is an option which is rarely tried, but has to have a higher chance of success than trying to draw a team offsides or going for it with the regular offense, which can both be anticipated by the defense. Of course, if teams tried fakes all the time then they would become anticipated too, but it does seem like such a seldomly used option.

18
by urge (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 1:20pm

What are the chances the week to week DVOA graph for each team could be added to the just the stats section?

19
by Nelphonious of Pennefielde (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 1:58pm

Yesiree,Eagles having a bad year==No FO predictor stat for rash of conspiraces to trash a season.When Randall C. broke an ankle in the 4th game of those sesaons in the early 1990's= same thing, tank and gone.
If FO has a predictor for front offices refusing to deal with all off season weaknesses over a period of seven years, try Green Bay,If Bret wants to be Sammy Baugh,have him play 60 minutes at safety and punt.

20
by MAW (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 6:06pm

#17:

It seems this year that teams should go for the fake punt on 4th and less than 5. Just about every time the ball is hiked to the punter, the defense falls back into coverage protection. If the offensive line forms a wedge for the punter to run behind, he could easily gain five yards against the retreating defense.

21
by JonL (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 9:07pm

Perhaps I should submit this more officially for the mailbag, but would there be any utility for a Defensive DSR? And would a "successful" defensive drive include field goals or not?

22
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 9:20pm

Well, the big reason that teams try the "draw-them-offside" so much is the lack of a penalty if it fails. Either you're taking a 5-yard penalty in an area where it doesn't make a big difference, or you use a timeout, which is an asset, but not always a hugely important one. It may not work much, but there's little incentive not to try.

23
by Bruce Dickinson (not verified) :: Sat, 11/26/2005 - 9:37pm

perhaps it's false hope for a bears fan, but what do those other teams have in common? (85 Bears, 2000 ravens, 02 bucs) they all won the super bowl. i guess we'll have to wait and see.

24
by Dan L (not verified) :: Sun, 11/27/2005 - 3:04am

Was there any way to predict the Eagles' demise this year? Your statistics, Aaron, need to include more variables. I think that the Madden curse, the Super Bowl Losers curse, and the curse that is TO in any year predicted the decline and fall of the Philadelphia Eagles fairly well. DVOA and DPAR are good statistics, they just need more cowbell...err, superstitions.

25
by thad (not verified) :: Sun, 11/27/2005 - 3:42am

re 24
All statistics need more variables and more cowbell

26
by Bill Moore (not verified) :: Sun, 11/27/2005 - 10:18am

Reviewing pre-season projections for the Eagles is the equivalent of looking at a car-lease residual value after its been totaled.

27
by Miles (not verified) :: Sun, 11/27/2005 - 1:57pm

Re: FG success. A few weeks back Dallascowboys.com said something like that opponents had only missed 3 FGs each of the past 3 years. Is being lucky/unlucky against FGs this consistent with other teams? (Or for teams that play indoors/on turf)

28
by Miles (not verified) :: Sun, 11/27/2005 - 2:17pm

Re: Roaf.
Looks like Roaf should have an insane DPAR. Is DPAR for OL on the future projects list?

29
by MRH (not verified) :: Sun, 11/27/2005 - 11:45pm

The Roaf factor was in play again today.

Having watched the Chiefs all year, subjectively Roaf's presence was missed much more in the passing game than the running game. Green had a lot more pressure when Roaf was out (compounded by the RT who started the year also missing time).

Johnson vs. Holmes: again subjectively - Johnson has been running better all year except in short yardage. Holmes was more effective there, one reason why the Chiefs have been less effective in the red zone.

Johnson's fumbles have been an issue. One helped turn the PHI game around and kept the Chiefs from putting away the game today.

Also, Holmes seemed to be better in pass blocking, which doesn't show up directly in the stats although it would be interesting to see if there were more pressures/sacks in blitzes w/Johnson in than Holmes. Today Johnson came out in some passing situations where Homes would have stayed in - I'm guessing it was blocking concerns.

One area where Johnson has really made a difference though is in pass catching. Last year, the Chiefs stopped using the check down to Holmes after he drifted out into the middle of the field. Priest was highly effective doing that '01-'03. That play is back - think the Johnson catch-and-run that set up the TD dive against OAK. Green threw that pass to Johnson a number of times today.

30
by MRH (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 12:07am

On the great defenses discussion - I'll chime in with the oft-forgotten '69 Chiefs. They gave up 58.0% of the points their opponents averaged against all other teams. I'll calculate the other stats later, but really they should be normalized to league averages to compare teams from different eras (also true of the 85 Bears).

BTW- in the playoffs, the Chiefs' number was 24.6%: 6 pts to the Jets (353 PF on the year, 16 against Chiefs in regular season); 7 pts to the Raiders (377 PF, 27 and 10 vs. Chiefs regular season); 7 pts to Vikings (379 regular season).

31
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 12:26am

Regarding the Eagles demise, I think Carl could easily tell us what caused it - they've had injuries to the positions that cause the most impact on winning percentage - QB, WR (2 if you count Owens's brain injury), and CB. Add on the K/P injuries to massacre the special teams as well, and you've got the makings of a train wreck.

Yah, other teams have had injuries as well - I know the Patriots have had more - but I think most people would agree that losing half your secondary still doesn't quite match up to losing a QB.

32
by GBS (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 10:07am

I was at that Colts/Houston game. Payne jumped offsides when the Colts went into some odd motion out of a double tight end set. While it's true that Dungy seems to finally be seeing the light regarding 4th down tries this year, I really doubt that he was going to go for it early in the game from his own 35, so I'm guessing that was one of the rare instances where attempting to draw the other team offsides actually worked.

33
by Jeff F (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 12:12pm

Maybe not, but losing half your starting secondary (Including a top 3 safety), 3/4ths of the backups (Brown was playing dime back, I think), starting LT, starting RT, starting center, #2 WR, #1, #2, and sometimes the #3 RB, AND star defensive tackle could be argued as being worse than having an injured QB and #1 WR.

That said, losing your #1 and #2 QBs, a la NYJ, essentially means you are screwed. They did *ok* with Carter before, and could do pretty well with Feidler.

34
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 1:59pm

RE: #9 It has always seemed to me that the only thing poor offensve teams have in common is bad lines.

In most instances I would agree with this completely, but as a matter of counterpoint I offer up this years Bears. We have had good to great line play all year, Orton has had all the time in the world, but a rookie QB with accuracy issues and only 1 viable recieving threat that isn't on IR will make even a team with an amazing line a poor offensive team.

35
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:14pm

Jeff: I'm not saying I entirely agree with it, but Carl's main argument before was that injuries at certain positions just don't really matter - one of which is running back. That is, teams don't have a statistically worse chance of winning the next game if their RB is out. (My general opinion on this is that it means that the NFL is very deep at RB) This isn't an idea - it's measured over the past four or so years.

Philly's lost more than that too: starting QB, C, T, WR#1, WR#2, CB#1. In other words, the positions that are the absolute worst to lose. I think New England's better off.

36
by Murr (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 3:37pm

Pat: I know these aren't as important to the stats you're talking about, but don't forget we also lost RB#2 and RG. If you count the 11 players that should start on Offense (with 2 RBs and 2 WRs), the Eagles lost 7 of them. SEVEN - as in, 64% of the starting offense. That's pretty tough to get past.

And the fact that they're still one Roy Williams INT away from being one game out of the NFC East lead is just maddening.

37
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 11/28/2005 - 6:35pm

Hrm? Andrews is the starting RG. The only offensive linemen lost are Fraley and Thomas, right?

Jeff: I should also point out that I'm only mentioning players that are gone for the year. As maddening as it is to have players constantly banged up, it's even worse to know they're gone for the remainder of the season.

38
by Murr (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 3:18am

Sorry - got my directions mixed up. On the left side, the Eagles have lost their tackle, Tre Thomas, and their starting guard, Artis Hicks. (As well as the rest of the positions -- QB, WR#1&2, RB#2, and C). Not good times for anyone involved.

So - there have actually been 3 out of 5 OL lost so far. Hey - good times for all! (Yeesh.)

39
by Brian (not verified) :: Tue, 11/29/2005 - 2:45pm

Care to update the graph for week 12? I'm interested to see if the performance was as dominant as it seemed overall.

40
by doyle (not verified) :: Wed, 11/30/2005 - 11:57am

On the issue of the LTs, how is Marvel Smith's injury going to effect the Steeler's offense?
Can Faneca back up Essex?
How long will Smith be out, and how serious is his ankle?
Steelers are starting to scare me
Big game coming up v. Bengals with evident mismatches