Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Oct 2010

Week 5 Quick Reads

by Bill Barnwell

In Football Outsiders Almanac 2010, I wrote the following player comment on Brandon Lloyd:

His presence on the roster was a waste of a spot by Josh McDaniels; Lloyd’s never been a remotely competent NFL wide receiver, and that’s not going to change seven years in. That roster spot should have gone to a young player needing practice reps, not a wideout without any discernible abilities beyond being tall. Lloyd is on the 2010 roster, and while he’s being talked about as a possible replacement for Brandon Marshall because they’re both tall, don’t pay that discussion any heed.

Through five games in Denver, something downright remarkable has happened. Brandon Lloyd is playing like a NFL wide receiver. A good one. A really good one.

How good? When the latest updated FO wide receiver stats are uploaded later today, they'll note that Lloyd is second in the league in DYAR, behind only Miles Austin. He's 11th in DVOA. Lloyd has 589 receiving yards; that's more than he's had in his previous three seasons combined. In only one of his seven previous seasons has Lloyd finished the year with more than those 589 yards. His 30 catches mark the third-highest total of his career. And he still has 11 games to go.

So, I was wrong. Nothing new. But what should folks expect from Lloyd the rest of the way? Is it possible that he'll just turn back into a pumpkin?

I went through and looked at the receiving stats for every wide receiver in the DVOA Era (1993-2010) through five games. Lloyd's accomplishments became even more impressive: Only five wideouts had more receiving yards through their first five games of the year. Terry Glenn paced the league with 636 receiving yards through five games in 1999. Just behind him were seasons from Santana Moss, Isaac Bruce, Jerry Rice, and Tim Brown, with Lloyd beating Henry Ellard, Marvin Harrison, and Chad Ochocinco to sixth place.

What stands out, though, is that there's simply not a receiver who got off to a big start like Lloyd's that either wasn't already a very good player or about to become one. The worst receiver in the 500+ yard start club was probably Marty Booker, and he was coming off of a 100-catch season. Expand it out to 400 yards, and marginal players like Peerless Price, Albert Connell, and Brett Perriman come into the discussion, but Lloyd's at nearly 600 yards.

Over the timeframe, there were 66 receivers who picked up more than 450 yards in their first game and went on to play 11 more games in the season. The average receiver tacked on nearly 845 yards over the final 11 contests of the year. The worst performance was by Carl Pickens in 1998, when he finished with 497 additional receiving yards.

Pro-rated to 16 games, Lloyd's career performance before this year amounted to 32 catches for 468 yards and three scores. He's already put up a line in 2010 that compares favorably to those totals, and if he stays healthy, there's no historical precedent for him turning back into the mediocre player he once was. After nearly a decade of disappointment, it appears that Brandon Lloyd is actually for real.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Kyle Orton DEN
24/38
314
2
0
162
162
0
Lloyd's quarterback finished first in this week's ratings by virtue of avoiding most anything resembling a negative play. He was 14-of-20 on first down against the Ravens' excellent pass defense, including two 40+ yard touchdown passes to Lloyd. (Lloyd also had a 31-yard defensive pass interference penalty, but otherwise, he caught three of the 12 remaining passes thrown to him for 49 yards. That lack of efficiency caused him to finish sixth amongst wideouts.) Considering how inconsistent his offensive line has been, perhaps the most impressive thing about Orton's day is that he took only one sack and a lone intentional grounding penalty on 40 dropbacks.
2.
Philip Rivers SD
27/42
431
2
0
141
134
7
Rivers led the league in passing YAR, but even the adjustment for playing the Raiders at a weight of 50 percent dropped him down to second. And as great as Rivers was at times, he left opportunities on the board. The game-sealing "fumble" had an obvious impact, but Rivers was also stripped on a sack by Matt Shaughnessy inside the red zone in the first quarter, and he missed an open Patrick Crayton in the endzone just before halftime, forcing the Chargers to settle for a field goal.
3.
Shaun Hill DET
21/32
227
3
0
131
133
-2
OK, so most of Hill's success comes by virtue of the fact that he can just lob a ball up in Calvin Johnson's direction and Megatron will make a miraculous catch. There's been quite a few quarterbacks in Detroit during Johnson's tenure, though, and the Lions haven't made it to 44 points since the Jon Kitna days. When Hill wasn't throwing to Johnson on Sunday, he went 18-of-25 for 179 yards with two touchdowns. Hill didn't turn the ball over and took just one sack, while picking up five of the 11 third downs he faced. Against what had been an above-average pass defense before Week 5, Hill had an efficient, highly-effective day.
4.
Alex Smith SF
25/39
309
3
2
114
115
-1
Before the "We Want Carr" chants? 15-of-23 for 186 yards, with ten first downs, a touchdown, a pick, and two sacks. That's not great, but it's certainly not the sort of performance that should call for David Carr chants. The problem was that he started that stretch 6-for-6 and ended it with that ugly stripsack and three straight incompletions. Benching him would have been a desperate attempt to scapegoat someone for the greater failings of the team, something Mike Singletary has excelled at during the 49ers' 0-5 start. After the chants, though, Smith went 12-of-16 for 123 yards, with two touchdowns before that ugly final interception. Maybe he's not the solution. But Sunday wasn't the game that should have told the Niners he wasn't.
5.
Joe Flacco BAL
14/25
196
0
0
82
67
15
As mentioned in Audibles, the Ravens basically decided to start using Flacco as a short-yardage back; his four carries went for 21 yards and a touchdown, with all four carries winding up as successes. He got off to a great start -- his first 11 dropbacks produced 170 yards on eight completions and a DPI -- but after that, he picked up eight consecutive incompletions before finishing 6-of-8. Didn't matter much because the Ravens were up two scores, but it could have made the second half a lot more comfortable for Baltimore.
6.
Tony Romo DAL
31/46
406
3
3
81
78
4
7.
Eli Manning NYG
27/42
297
3
2
80
82
-2
25 of Manning's 28 passes to his wide receivers went to Steve Smith or Hakeem Nicks. On those throws, Manning was 18-of-25 for 219 yards, with nine first downs and three touchdowns. His other 17 attempts produced just two first downs, both on throws to Kevin Boss. The Giants are going to end up being a very weird matchup problem for teams; a team with great cornerbacks and little else like the Bengals would match up fantastically against them, while a team with good overall coverage but weak corners, like the Ravens, would probably struggle.
8.
Peyton Manning IND
26/44
244
0
1
74
74
0
The Chiefs were able to successfully take the big play away from the Colts. Peyton Manning had a 23-yard DPI, but he otherwise didn't complete a pass that traveled further than 17 yards past the line of scrimmage, and that was only one of two completions 15 or more yards downfield. On the other hand, the Chiefs were only able to get Manning down for one sack, and Manning picked up nearly seven yards an attempt on first down.
9.
Seneca Wallace CLE
11/15
139
1
0
72
72
0
Wallace got to that DYAR figure without running the ball and while only playing one half of action. Eight of his 15 attempts produced a first down or a touchdown. He was in the middle of leading an effective two-minute drill when he was sacked by John Abraham and sprained his ankle.
10.
Vince Young TEN
12/25
173
2
0
68
57
11
Young picked up two pass interference penalties on back-to-back throws to Kenny Britt in the first quarter that add 48 yards to his total. That was part of a stretch that, much like Flacco, saw him get off to a hot start: His first nine dropbacks produced 124 yards, five first downs, and a touchdown. After that, he had one 52-yard completion to Kenny Britt. Besides that, he was 7-of-18 for 55 yards with one first downs and a touchdown. Of course, the 52-yard completion is still very useful, but my point is that the Titans really struggled to move the ball throughout the second and third quarter. That allowed the Cowboys to get back into the game.
11.
Jason Campbell OAK
13/18
159
1
0
66
69
-3
You'd be forgiven if you saw Campbell's start -- two sacks and two incompletions -- and wrote his impending bad day off as another sign that he's permanently shellshocked. And he struggled some more after that. But his final nine dropbacks resulted in nine completions, five first downs, a touchdown, and 118 yards. He didn't throw a single pass to Darrius Heyward-Bey, which suggests that Campbell at least has good taste.
12.
Josh Freeman TB
20/33
280
1
1
63
52
11
DVOA does not grade passes on artistic merit, but if it did, Freeman's trio of grotesque back-foot lobs would have yielded no positive value. Instead, Freeman turned them into one interception, one completion that yielded a fumble, and one defensive pass interference penalty against Leon Hall in the end zone. Freeman was also stripped twice on sacks, but he picked up 57 DYAR on his final three plays of the game, which included the game-tying touchdown pass to Mike Williams and the deep out to Micheal Spurlock that set up the game-winning field goal.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
David Garrard JAC
16/20
178
3
1
56
61
-5
14.
Kevin Kolb PHI
21/31
253
1
0
55
47
8
Kolb ended up having a day roughly similar to what Michael Vick produced in his two starts. Like Vick, he was playing against a pretty bad pass defense (although, unlike Vick's opponents, this pass defense was actually good a year ago). When Kolb got pass protection, he looked like an very effective quarterback, capable of making plays downfield while remaining cool and collected in the pocket. Where Kolb struggles, though, is when he gets stuck in third-and-long or has issues in front of him. Once his pocket breaks down, Kolb devolves into the early-2008 Matt Cassel before our very eyes, which isn't a surprise; like Cassel back then, Kolb lacks the pro reps that you need to grow comfortable with pressure. It may end up that Vick is the better quarterback for this Eagles team because of his ability to make hay with a terrible offensive line, even though Kolb is probably the better passer.
15.
Donovan McNabb WAS
26/49
357
1
1
45
51
-6
How do you throw for 357 yards against a very good pass defense and end up in the middle of the pack? A lot of weird things have to happen along the way. McNabb gets punished for an aborted snap and a loss of 22 yards on his opening "dropback", even though it was a shotgun snap over his head. He converted only four of the 17 third or fourth downs he faced, and his three dropbacks in the red zone produced six yards and no touchdowns. His interception, of course, is treated as a Hail Mary.
16.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
20/30
220
3
0
32
32
-1
It was probably the most efficient, effective game of Fitzpatrick's career, but it also came against what might amount to the worst pass defense he'll play during that career. Amazingly, Fitzpatrick was 7-of-8 with one sack on third down, but those completions produced just one first down and a touchdown. He was up against third-and-10 twice, third-and-11 twice, and both third-and-14 and third-and1-5 once.
17.
Matt Ryan ATL
16/28
187
1
0
13
12
1
Rarely will you see a first- and second-half split as remarkably divergent as Ryan's from Sunday. First half: 6-of-18, 75 yards, one sack, four first downs. Second half: 10-of-10, 112 yards, one touchdown, one stripsack.
18.
Aaron Rodgers GB
27/45
293
1
1
9
9
0
19.
Matt Cassel KC
16/29
156
0
0
-3
2
-5
Cassel wasn't helped by Dwayne Bowe, but it wasn't like he put together very much on his throws to other receivers on Sunday, either. After converting his first third down of the day, Cassel failed on each of his remaining seven attempts, with four incompletions and a sack. He also failed on a key fourth down attempt in the first quarter, missing an easy checkdown to his fullback that would've picked up the two yards while opting to force a pass into a triple-covered Bowe instead.
20.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
21/43
191
0
0
-5
-5
0
Sanchez threw an interception every 18.2 attempts last season. That was always going to improve this year, but he's now gone 147 attempts without a single interception, which would be remarkable even if Sanchez was a particularly accurate quarterback. Not much else has changed -- he's completing 55.1 percent of his passes after hitting 53.8 percent of them a year ago, and his yards per attempt have gone from 6.7 a year ago to 6.1 this year. He's throwing touchdowns once every 18 attempts as opposed to once every 30. His sack rate's improved from 6.7 percent to 4.7 percent. He's a little better across the board, but the big change amounts to interception luck. While he got some bounces in his favor (as well as some drops from his teammates) on Monday night, the picks are coming. He won't throw 20 or anything, but they're on their way.
21.
Carson Palmer CIN
21/36
209
2
3
-18
-19
2
22.
Drew Brees NO
24/39
279
2
3
-21
-19
-2
The talk I saw after the game was that the Saints are suddenly some checkdown-happy offense that can't produce big plays, but I don't think that's the case. Brees and company had five different plays of 15 yards or more on Sunday. Eight of their 39 pass attempts (20.5 percent) traveled 15 or more yards downfield, the category we classify as "deep" passes. In 2009, 21.3 percent of Drew Brees's passes were in that category. The Saints lost because the Cardinals picked up key fumbles and Ladell Betts couldn't hold onto a checkoff in the shadow of his own endzone. Not because there's some fatal flaw with their offensive scheme.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Matt Schaub HOU
16/34
196
0
1
-34
-34
0
30 of Schaub's 37 dropbacks came while his team was down two scores or more, but he didn't contribute very much to the cause. He fumbled on two of the three sacks he took, losing one of them, and gave the Giants the ball in Texans territory on a first-quarter interception. A year after nearly averaging 300 yards per game, Schaub is down to just 246.6 per start.
24.
Brett Favre MIN
14/34
264
3
1
-43
-41
-2
The only thing Brett Favre's 500th touchdown pass was missing was that canned crowd noise PartyPoker used to make when you'd win a hand.
25.
Matt Moore CAR
5/9
35
0
2
-49
-49
0
Two interceptions in nine attempts, sure, but one was a Hail Mary. And, well, there's only so much damage you can do down two touchdowns to a very good pass defense.
26.
Sam Bradford STL
23/45
215
0
2
-85
-85
0
27.
Max Hall ARI
17/27
168
0
1
-99
-99
0
Hall appears to have made friends with Larry Fitzgerald. Despite the fact that the Saints shadowed Fitzgerald across the field with Jabari Greer all day, Fitzgerald caught seven of the nine passes thrown to him, gaining 93 yards. Before Sunday, he was 19-of-45 for 208 yards, and it wasn't Fitzgerald's fault. If Hall can just keep the conversation going with Fitzgerald, he'll be a significant upgrade on Anderson. And that may be enough to win the NFC West.
28.
Jake Delhomme CLE
13/23
97
0
2
-121
-108
-14
Nine successes on 25 attempts. A pick-six that made Kroy Biermann's name. And then an interception to seal it inside the red zone. He reportedly is now in possession of both a high ankle sprain and a low ankle sprain, having suffered the latter injury in one of the more ignominious manners imaginable: Getting sacked by Jamaal Anderson. Delhomme's enough of a team player to get shot up with a painkiller before the game just in case he was needed, and then promptly play through an aggravated ankle injury for the final quarter and a half of action, but he just wasn't very good.
29.
Jimmy Clausen CAR
9/22
61
0
1
-204
-204
0
Collins wasn't the only quarterback benched in that epic Bears-Panthers tilt. The Panthers went to Clausen after Matt Moore struggled at the beginning of the season, and they have since found that Clausen isn't much better. Playing in a Panthers offense without Steve Smith is obviously going to hinder any quarterback, but Clausen started the game with a muffed snap, an interception, and a stripsack on his first three dropbacks. In all, he fumbled three times and took five sacks before his benching, and converted exactly one of the 12 third downs he faced before being dumped.
30.
Todd Collins CHI
6/16
32
0
4
-235
-235
0
Collins had one of the worst performances in a win you'll see. Before Sunday, starting quarterbacks who tossed four picks in the DVOA Era were 9-133, for a winning percentage of just over six percent. Those nine winners threw an average of 42 attempts per game while getting those four picks. Collins threw his four in 16 attempts. The -5.8 fantasy points he accrued during the win amount to the worst performance by a winning quarterback during that stretch, just narrowly beating out the -5.5 gathered by Rex Grossman in the legendary "Crown 'em" Monday Night game against the Cardinals in 2006. Finally, his -235 DYAR rate as the 17th-worst performance by any quarterback in the 17 years and counting we have DYAR calculated for. Grossman's -285 DYAR in that Cardinals game ranks second-worst. The only reason why Collins didn't head even lower is that he was benched for Caleb Hanie in the second half. Collins and Clausen combined for -439 DYAR, a colossally bad figure that should rate as the worst performance by a set of starting quarterbacks in a game during the DVOA Era by the time the season is over.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Matt Forte CHI
166
2
22
0
70
55
16
Forte was en route to a career day after running for 102 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter, but he was kept mostly to short gains after that, with a long run of 14 yards. He remains poisonous in short-yardage -- the Panthers stuffed him for a two-yard loss on third-and-4, and with ten carries on third or fourth down, Forte has just one first down. That includes seven cracks with just one yard needed for conversion.
2.
Ray Rice BAL
133
2
26
0
59
39
20
Because of a historically atypical performance inside the five-yard line last season, the Ravens decided before the year that Willis McGahee would be their goal-line back, with Ray Rice serving as the lead runner most everywhere else. After being stuffed twice in the first quarter on Sunday, McGahee had only managed to punch the ball in once from the one-yard line on four tries this year. So ends his run as the goal-line back. Rice took over and promptly scored on both his attempts from the one, had 16 successful plays in 31 touches, and ran for 12 yards while moving the chains on his only third-down attempt of the day. Grumbling fantasy owners and concerned Ravens fans: He's back.
3.
Cedric Benson CIN
144
0
19
0
51
43
8
23 carries yielded nine first downs and a success rate of 65 percent, and he converted both of the third downs he faced. Only two of those carries went for either no gain or a loss of yardage. His 13 runs on first down yielded an average of 6.3 yards, and two of the three passes he was thrown were caught for first downs. He also converted a third down with Sabby Piscitelli hanging onto him for dear life like Piscitelli was Jeff Van Gundy.
4.
Michael Bush OAK
104
1
31
0
40
19
21
While Jason Campbell struggled before playing well at the end of the game, Bush was basically a one-man offense during the second and third quarters. His long run was just 14 yards -- and it was the rare 14-yard run considered to be unsuccessful, since he gained 14 yards on third-and-15. (That run still has positive DYAR, it just counts as a minus in our Success Rate statistic.) He also picked up a key third down in the third quarter as a receiver, which set up a touchdown pass to Zach Miller.
5.
LeSean McCoy PHI
92
1
46
0
37
34
3
Throwing dumpoffs and checkdowns isn't the worst thing in the world when you're throwing them to McCoy, who will put our charters through a busy couple of hours for marking broken tackles. And this is with a rib injury that was expected to keep him out. One thing to improve: His work on first down. 11 carries on first-and-10 yielded just 33 yards and a 36 percent success rate.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Chris Wells ARI
35
0
5
0
-52
-56
4
Of Wells's 20 carries, six went for no gain or a loss of yardage. Four went for one yard. Five went for two yards. His long carry of the day was seven yards. He fumbled inside the red zone. He picked up just one first down, with a two-yard gain on fourth-and-1. And all this against the Saints run defense. Tim Hightower only got four carries.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Malcom Floyd SD
8
10
213
26.6
1
99
Could you hear Vincent Jackson's market value crashing down through the television? Admittedly, average receivers can have fantastic games -- among the members of the 200-yard club are such luminaries as Jabar Gaffney, Roy Williams, Chris Chambers, Rod Gardner, Albert Connell, and Kevin Williams. That doesn't take away from Floyd's production, though; he actually got up to 224 yards if we include an 11-yard pass interference penalty, and anytime you can have four different plays of 30 yards or more in one week as a receiver, you're doing something right. Because of the opponent adjustments, though, his 99 DYAR only rank 30th amongst wideouts in the single-game history of the statistic. As the adjustments become stronger (they're currently at 50 percent), Floyd should fall further back towards the pack.
2.
Miles Austin DAL
9
12
166
18.4
1
71
As Jerryland burns around him, Austin continues to make plays. Cowboys backed up to a second-and-15 by a penalty? No big deal. Austin just picks up 16. Tony Romo lobs up a pass that Michael Griffin has an easy play on? Austin just jumps in front of Griffin and beats everyone else to the end zone. Austin also had just three incompletions in 12 attempts on the day; he's at a 78 percent catch rate through four games, remarkable for how deep his routes can be at times.
3.
Kenny Britt TEN
4
6
86
21.5
1
54
4-of-6 for 86 yards seems like a pretty mundane day, but Britt also drew both of those pass interference penalties in the first quarter for another 48 yards. 6-of-8 for 134 is a lot more impressive. Both pass interference calls came against Pro Bowl cornerback Mike Jenkins, who also dropped an easy interception and allowed Britt's 52-yard reception later in the game.
4.
Mike Thomas JAC
4
4
51
12.8
0
50
Thomas did fumble on a punt return, but that's not included in this analysis. The Jaguars gave him three carries on what I believe were end-arounds (as opposed to lateral passes considered to be runs), and in all, his seven touches from scrimmage produced 104 yards and four first downs.
5.
Roddy White ATL
5
8
101
20.2
1
42
Each of White's five catches went for first downs, including his 46-yard touchdown catch on a deep post to give the Falcons the lead. The Falcons should get Michael Jenkins back next week, which should take some of the load off of White and Tony Gonzalez while moving the ineffective Harry Douglas into his preferred slot role.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Brandon LaFell CAR
1
8
16
16.0
0
-36
Shocking: Brandon LaFell was not ready to be the Panthers' top receiving threat. He had four incompletions within six yards of the line of scrimmage, which is pretty impressive considering the standard completion rate of those passes. Even when he did have a shot on a long touchdown, Jimmy Clausen couldn't get the ball to him. This is going to be an ugly offense for the next few weeks.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 12 Oct 2010

136 comments, Last at 14 Oct 2010, 11:00am by Eddo

Comments

1
by johonny (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:40pm

Todd Collins just knows how to win football games.

12
by JoeHova :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:00pm

Not like Max Hall does.

72
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:53pm

Okay then, Collins REMEMBERS how to win football games. As of today, I think Hall mostly remembers... what the planet is called and that grass is green.

2
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:41pm

The Vikings defensive backs are very poor at exploiting interception opportunities, and last night was no exception. It's the weakest part of what is a reasonably good defense.

Is there any data on qb fumbles being up this year? I heard Elizabeth Hasselbeck's husband say today that these Cancer Awareness footballs being used this year are especially slick, especially in the rain, in talking about the Amateur Photographer's fumbles last night. I do think Ol' Point n' Shoot looked like he had contracted oldmanitis, in regard to fumbling, being able to jump on his fumbles, and, by the end of the game, accuracy, with his elbow about ready to fall off. I can't remember; did The Sanchize have any slips in handling the ball?

5
by Led :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:48pm

No fumbles. Some of his passes were fugly but that's the way he throws sometimes, especially in the rain.

16
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:09pm

What were there; four fumbles in the game, with the Jets getting three of them? It's tempting for a Vikings fan to conclude there was slightly bad luck involved there, but I do think a 41 year old photographer is less nimble at getting on top of a ball he drops, compared to football players in their 20s or early 30s, so I would not say that all fumble recoveries are random, even if they are in a large enough sample size.

40
by Led :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:57pm

I'd say there was some bad luck (or good luck from my perspective) in that the Jets recovered both the fumbled snap and the botched handoff. The one Jets fumble (by Tomlinson) was right on the sideline. I'd guess 9 out of 10 of those go out of bounds, as that one did, so luck had less to do with it.

54
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:26pm

I'm going to go against my habit of ripping the MNF crew, and compliment Gruden on actually informing the audience of something that played a huge role in the outcome, and is something that practically nobody will mention today; the inability or unwillingness of one of the most hyped players in the league, Adrian Peterson, to become barely adequate at one of the most fundamental roles of his position, blitz pick-up. He killed them in the first half, and played a big role in the pick 6 at the end of the game. The contrast with Tomlinson could not be more stark.

56
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:33pm

Gruden also explained why the one fumble was clearly Favre's fault for not having his hands together. I was impressed he corrected himself so quickly after initially taking the easy out and blaming it on the new center.

63
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:19pm

My guess is that Favre was trying to take a picture when it happened.

106
by Dave :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:27pm

I remember him talking about that and I was absolutely shocked, since he spent most of the rest of the night making excuses for Favre.

Then again, there's really not much a center can do to be at fault for the exchange. It's the same motion over and over. You either do it or you don't. If the ball gets through the legs, after that point it's going to be the QB's fault.

108
by dmb :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:42pm

I don't know about that ... long-snappers do the same motion over and over again but occasionally get it wrong, and it's pretty easy to identify when a shotgun snap goes awry -- again, despite an enormous number of repetitions of the same movement.

Additionally, muffed exchanges can happen because of confusion about the snap count -- an error that the center and quarterback are equally capable of committing.

129
by mansteel (not verified) :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:07pm

Yeah, and this idea extends far beyond snapping a football. Anybody that saw one of the top female tennis players (can't remember which one and am too lazy to look it up) serve a ball into the stands last at the US Open last month can testify that you can royally screw up something you've done a million times. Heck, anybody that's ever swallowed a gulp of water wrong and spent the next minute or two coughing moisture out of their lungs can testify to it.

73
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:57pm

Never a big Tomlinson fan, but at least one of his blitz pickups folded the pass-rusher in half like a lawn chair. Truly impressive. I am now, officially, tolerant of him. If I was his QB... I'd take him out for some frozen yogurt or something. Maybe ask for a free pass to Canton in case he gets any for his induction....

17
by Joe T. :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:12pm

I believe he was assessed a fumble in the first half after bobbling a snap under center.

EDIT: Disregard, I'm thinking of He Who Shall Not Be Named.

13
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:00pm

...these Cancer Awareness footballs being used this year are especially slick....

It's a small sacrifice, Will. A small sacrifice.

18
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:12pm

Hey, just legalize Stick-em again! Stuff's probably a carcinogen, though......

75
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:58pm

Gets in the water, kills the salmon, no doubt. (that might be funnier on the west coast, not sure)

94
by Reinhard (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:58pm

Very interesting!

Did you notice right near the end of the first half when it was really really starting to pour like crazy, I think the Jets were driving and around the 17 yard line. The center tried to snap the ball. However his hand just slipped off of it! He was afraid that it would count as a fumble (I believe instead there is a dead-ball penalty...) and tried to pick it up, but again, his hand simply slipped off the ball over and over like it was a wet bar of soap. It looked super slippery it was lying right in front of his face but he just couldn't handle it.

3
by shah8 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:41pm

I suppose I can do it myself, were I interested in precision, but losing quarterbacks have to be penalized. Full stop. Say .333 off each point per yard, for every score down.

Kevin Kolb did not have "roughly" the same passing stats. You are out of your $(&% gourd. He was responsible for one TD and a couple of short-field field goals. It's not even what Vick did in one HALF + late 1rst half scramble to set up a field goal against GB.

Eeeehh, I'll stop with that.

10
by dbostedo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:53pm

"...losing quarterbacks have to be penalized."

Why? Their performance is already properly rated. If it was bad, and the rest of the team managed to bail them out, or if it was good and the rest of the team let them down - so what? Why should any adjustment be made based on the whole team for individual player ratings?

15
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:06pm

"I suppose I can do it myself, were I interested in precision, but losing quarterbacks have to be penalized. Full stop. Say .333 off each point per yard, for every score down."

Why? All DYAR is doing is measuring the effectiveness of the passing game, not the ultimate result. Should raw yardage totals be decreased if a team loses, as well? What about rushing yards and DYAR?

20
by JasonK :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:19pm

I love how making up a completely arbitrary adjustment to apply is supposed to serve the purposes of a person who is "interested in precision."

23
by John (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:26pm

Albert Einstein would like a word with you.

36
by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:50pm

Einstein didn't make "completely arbitrary" adjustments. Indeed, the actual data fit his theory. He didn't get his reputation by using a fudge factor.

48
by TomC :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:12pm

What data? When Einstein introduced the cosmological constant, we weren't sure if anything existed outside the Milky Way; any discussion of a static vs. expanding universe was completely theoretical and speculative. Einstein himself admitted that he introduced the term because he wanted to preserve a static solution, which he *assumed* was correct.

77
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:01pm

I think you missed the point--they were referring to Einstein's ability to win the big arch-rivalry game every year. Maybe it was the wing-tip shoes and the suit he insisted on wearing, or the 743 page playbook that required a slide-rule to comprehend, but as a QB he was hardly a winner.

Good thing he had a fall-back career option.

82
by DGL :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:10pm

I think it was that he didn't have enough swagger.

85
by Whatev :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:16pm

My recollection is that the universe appeared to be static to astronomers of the time. The theory is what predicted that the universe was expanding; Einstein calculated a cosmological constant that would make the universe static according to the equations they had. Later, when data improved, that theory had to be discarded. That doesn't make it an ARBITRARY adjustment, because it was tuned to SOMETHING. This... thing with a yardage penalty is not predictive of anything that we know of.

44
by TomC :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:06pm

This may be my favorite comment in 5 years of reading FO. I'm fairly confident there is no other sports website on which you can make a that reference and expect people to get it.

53
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:17pm

That Einstein; he was just havin' fun out there.....

25
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:39pm

Also, the weird implication of this statement seems to be that Kolb played in a LOSING effort and that the Eagles did not, in fact, win?

60
by Semigruntled Eagles fan (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:48pm

The definition of a "winning effort" is relative to the level of expectations for the team and the rate at which the fans tend to drink. As the expectations and drinking rate rise, so does the level of play required to achieve "winning effort" status. For some background information on how this applies to Philadelphia fans, there's this:

http://footballoutsiders.com/walkthrough/2010/walkthrough-mcnabb-deniers

66
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:26pm

Wrong messageboard, pal.

BTW didn't Eagles win? I mean the least you can do is make sense.

93
by shah8 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:55pm

Well, I never did have too much respect for some of the people here. However, it really has been fun reading the comments, especially the ones who think there was a lack of clarity. Even more especially the whole cosmological constant angle. I do hope some people will read the wiki on that since it's pretty interesting.

I am, however, kinda sick/amused at seeing so many losing QBs get such high ratings. I consider it highly evident that this means that the theory that produces such results are flawed. This is not baseball, where pitcher's WL ratio can be influenced by clear factors out of the pitcher's control. Some of these QBs generated their own need to catch up, like Alex Smith. Others don't execute in the red zone, like Kyle Orton. Phillip Rivers choked. I don't really care how it's done, since I don't gamble, nor do I play fantasy football at all. This is just a "somebody's wrong on the internet response".

/me takes a few more thwacks at the hornet's nest out of idle amusement.

97
by Bill Barnwell :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:05pm

Banned for trolling. Thanks for playing!

118
by boog :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 10:45pm

Yes, but he received a 146.2 DTROLL rating.

130
by MJK :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:10pm

Not attempting to feed the Trolls, but he does point out that losing QB's tend to sometimes have very high DYAR ratings.

I think this is a very important point for everyone to remember when talking about DYAR...it's a counting stat. Therefore, it not only measures how well a QB played, but how many opportunities he had and what kind of gameplan the coaches were fielding, and inversly how well his defense and running backs were playing.

A QB could be capable of having the best game of his life, but if his RB's are getting 6 ypc and his defense gives up just 3 points the entire game, he's probably not going to top the DYAR charts even if he plays perfectly. On the other hand, a QB could be playing well but with a sucktastic defense (hello Patriots) or a complete lack of RB production (hi there, Denver), and he would put up quite a bit more DYAR, even if he's not as good or playing as well as the first QB.

So it's important to remember that these ratings do not rate how well a QB played...they rate which QB was part of the passing game that produced the most (or rather, would have produced the most against an average defense, given all other circumstances remain unchanged).

If you actually want to rate which QB played the best relative to their opportunities, use a rate stat like DVOA.

4
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:46pm

Lloyd was capable of the most breath-taking catches I've seen, these one-handed, jumping-up-in-the-air, reaching-over-someone's-helmet kind of catches, so the ability has definitely been there. His aversion to contact and blocking was what got him ousted in SF, I believe, because Nolan wanted that in his receivers. He just never saw the field that much. Those problems seemed to get exaggerated by his coaches, and I have to wonder if that was because of his personality.

Has his blocking improved? Has he lost his aversion for contact? Denver fans?

I always thought it was odd how reviled he was...but then there's that beautiful signature moment, immortalized on Youtube, where he's running a crossing pattern, is wide open, and ducks when the ball approaches his face.

P. S. Dang, Bill. You was wrong along with 99% of the league.

32
by deflated (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:46pm

I'm slowly coming around to the opinion that McDaniels may be something of a genius when it comes to passing offense, and he really can wring superior production out of average parts. His roster management, interpersonal skills and running game frustrate the crap out of me but the passing is a thing of beauty. With a good RB coach he could be one of the great OCs.

Lloyd is looking like a great stopgap for Denver while Thomas, Decker and Royal mature, he'll get a nice payday somewhere else and will never look like a #1 WR again.

38
by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:52pm

I wouldn't go that far. The Patriots' passing game didn't kick into gear until Moss and Welker showed up.

52
by otros :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:17pm

But that was the year McDaniels was promoted to OC, coincidence? Yeah, probably.

67
by MJK :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:33pm

Not quite right.

First, McDaniels' first official year as OC was 2006. However, he was the de factor OC (at least, it was he that was calling the offensive plays for the Patriots) in 2005, when they didn't have an official OC.

Second, it's not quite accurate to say that the Pats' passing game didn't kick into gear until Moss and Welker showed up, but unfortunately for the point that we're trying to make, it also isn't accurate to say that it kicked into gear when McDaniels took over. Weis ran a pretty good offense, too.

Here's the Pats passing DVOA and league rank by year:

2001 (Weis) : +12.2% (10) - Brady's first year starting
2002 (Weis) : +20.0% (10)
2003 (Weis) : +15.8% (12)
2004 (Weis) : +48.7% (2)
2005 (McDaniels): +46.0% (2)
2006 (McDaniels): +32.2% (5)
2007 (McDaniels): +75.4% (1) - The Moss/Welker year
2008 (McDaniels): +18.5% (15) - The Matt Cassel year
2009 (O'Brien? ): +57.0% (2)
2010 (O'Brien? ): +67.4% (1)

The Pats have had an above average, positive DVOA passing game the entire decade, but there is a dramatic increase in 2004--the year before McDaniels became the de factor OC. However, it should be noted that this was exactly the year that McDaniels became the Pats QB coach...and that that same year was the first year that Brady truly looked like an elite QB versus a decent QB who didn't make mistakes and let a good defense carry him.

Also, the worst year of Pats' passing offense since McDaniels took over as a QB coach was the Matt Cassel year...but if you split this year in two, you'll see that in the first half of the year the Pats pass offense was below average, but the second half of the year it was near the top of the year. Half a year is probably about what it takes to transform an offensive system to play to a different set of player strengths...and to coach up a young QB that has been riding the bench his whole career.

The conclusion I draw is that McDaniels really, really knows how to coach QB's...and design plays that play to the strengths of his QB and, by extension, his WR's.

128
by AudacityOfHoops :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:42pm

Bravo.

58
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:38pm

It's only beautiful if you end up in the end zone at the end of the drive. And that happens way too infrequently with the Broncos. Teams are quite happy to let you complete lots of pretty passes between the 20s.

68
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:34pm

When you consistently get 50+ yard bombs from Kyle Orton to Brandon Lloyd behind a spotty O-line, you're doing something right. Or at least something, Ron Turner could not.

78
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:04pm

Sundown,

You know what they say: What happens between the 20s, stays between the 20s.

94
by dmb :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:58pm

+8

64
by dmb :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:21pm

Yeah, I think I would put two Lloyd catches on my list of the best five catches I've seen in football. Both came during his time with the 49ers.

Both can be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YaVwVL2wYuw

The first one is at the very start of the video; the second comes at about 1:30. Watch the replays on both, because the quality is bad enough that it's not immediately obvious how difficult each play was.

69
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:37pm

That first one in absolutely breathtaking. Thats some of the most beautiful work I've ever seen in any sport. He has instant control with one hand, and defies physics by getting his feet down.

YIKES.

83
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:11pm

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. What was that -- 5 one-handed catches when he's completely laid out?

What he's best at are those balls that come in from on high, somewhere outside his body. Seems like he'll catch anything he can get a fingertip on in that case.

He's not so good when the ball comes into his body, or when he knows he's going to get hit after he catches it.

Notice: no blocks on that highlight reel.

But dang...have you ever seen a football player look more like a ballerina? And enjoy hitting somebody as much as one?

96
by dmb :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:59pm

"Have you ever seen a football player look more like a ballerina? And enjoy hitting somebody as much as one?"

This is, by a significant margin, the best description of Brandon Lloyd that I've ever seen.

123
by Andrew Potter :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 8:24am

That first catch... just wow. Incredible.

125
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:53pm

I HAVE FOUND IT!!!

The other side of Brandon Lloyd:

http://blogs.sacbee.com/49ers/archives/2009/06/former-49ers-to.html

(scroll down just a bit).

I only wish I'd found it early yesterday....

More than a year later, and it still make me laugh.

126
by tuluse :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 12:57pm

Wow that gif is blast from the past. One of the funniest things I have ever seen.

6
by marcusm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:48pm

And to think: The Chicago Bears once had both Kyle Orton and Brandon Lloyd on their offense! (How much more could you ask for to establish Ron Turner's terribleness as an objective fact than the performances of Kyle Orton and Jay Cutler on either side of the trade? And you could apparently throw in Brandon Lloyd now for good measure...)

49
by TomC :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:14pm

The Bears got rid of Lloyd because of perceived malingering, not lack of talent. He was very productive when he played (and was Orton's favorite receiver even then), but he missed lots of time with injuries that the coaching staff thought were B.S.

62
by Chip :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:59pm

that and pursuing a rap career on the side (while he was out injured) didn't help.

99
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:31pm

I was just about to post something like this.

104
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:15pm

brandon lloyd have hands like sasquarch. If ever see one in real life or picture notice hands,. Vrey big hands. Could porbably snatch dove out of air midflight and eat it. or really any other sort of lowrr flying bird. Eagles and hawks a little too high flying. Also caould probnbaly catch salmon out of air just like bears do but would be even better than bears at it.

112
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:39pm

speechless from awesomeness.

119
by TomC :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 11:31pm

If ever see one in real life or picture

It's the little details like this that elevate RJ from decently funny to genius.

121
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 3:01am

For me, the clincher was the discussion about what kinds of birds it would be most feasible for Lloyd to grab out of the air with his Sasquatch hands. It brought this amazing level of "I've thought this through" to the whole thing which I really appreciated.

122
by Raiderjoe :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 6:41am

Sorry for confusion. Got distracted. Only first sentennce about Lloyd,. Rest of post about sasquattches. Meant to finish post by writing that Lloyd's hands like hands of a sasquatch. He can catch football like same way a asasqacth could catch bird or salmon or even squirrel jumping from tree to tree. So when see some of great LLoyd catchhes through years and evenn going back to Illisnois days would always make think of sasquatch animals. Most unsure if animal exists. Well it likely does.

131
by Zheng :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 10:06pm

I've figured it out: raiderjoe is sasquatch!

7
by thejoshbaker (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:48pm

If you add Addai and Hart together, do they make the top 5?

14
by Shake (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:05pm

All those failed draws on 3rd and short probably drag Addai's numbers down a lot.

81
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:07pm

I thought Hart might make it--small sample size, but good production on a per play basis. Maybe my definition of good RB production is just lowered these past few years.

8
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:52pm

That Alex Smith figure...I didn't know people could get DYARs over 100 with three turnovers. Yipes.

I reckon I'll take this silver lining and add it to the closet full I've got from our mighty 0-5.

11
by thewedge :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:58pm

Don't worry, I have it on good authority that you'll win the NFC West.

19
by Jenn Sterger (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:14pm

Yeah I was expecting Alex's DYAR to be lower as well. I guess DYAR doesn't take into account the result of the fumble. Was this Alex's best game ever by DYAR? He seems to be negative most weeks.

I was surprised to see Favre below Sanchez in DYAR this week. Favre had more yards on fewer attempts, and generally seemed very effective in the 2nd half. Neither of them had a completion rate over 50% so I guess there were a lot of failed plays - but when Favre connected there were some big gains. I dunno.

21
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:19pm

Jenn, as you surely are aware, Ol' Point n' Shoot sometimes mishandles balls. Last night he did it three times on national t.v.! That'll give you a bad case of the Advanced Stats, when it doesn't grow hair on your palms!

113
by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:05pm

I think Smith might have even been more impressive than his DYAR (and I'm aware that I'm in a very small minority). His first INT to Ginn wasn't a bad decision, just a slightly bad throw and a terrible read-and-react by Ginn (unsurprising, and maybe Smith should get docked for throwing a jumpball to a terrible receiver, even if he's really fast and in one-on-one coverage). The second INT, which closed out the game, looked like it was to an open receiver, except that Smith got hit as he was throwing.

The only really dumb play Smith made, in my eyes, was the fumble and to be fair to him, he was trying to throw it away in the face of strong pressure.

Otherwise, I thought Smith was very impressive with his accuracy and decisionmaking, hitting throws to all areas of the field, and very very good in his pocket awareness, as the Eagles were getting good pressure all game with just 4 pass rushers.

What did in the Niners was terrible, unimaginative playcalling and really horrible play by the O-line. The line is just not getting it done, and so calling runs up the gut on every 1st down and most 2nd downs of less than 10 yards was a strategy doomed to failure. When they opened it up in the second half, they had more success, although the lack of pass protection remained a severe problem. Of course, Gore coughing it up twice did not help.

As someone who fell off the Alex Smith bandwagon a long time ago, I have to admit I was very very impressed with him on Sunday night. I think it's a shame he's with this particular coaching staff, because I think he actually has the awareness and physical skills to be a good QB.

9
by Dean :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 1:53pm

"there were 66 receivers who picked up more than 450 yards in their first game"

Quick, someone tell Profootballreference that they need to update their database!

22
by Jonadan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:20pm

So did Rivers fumble or not? Everything and everyone I've seen says he did, except the FO staff (and especially Bill Barnwell.) I find this contrast mystifying.

(Not that the QB-fumbles-while-attempting-to-do-something-with-the-ball rule categorically couldn't be improved, but as-is it's pretty clear, and the highlights I've seen sure looked like he fumbled by-the-rule.)

26
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:40pm

Rivers definitely fumbled. It isn't even up for debate. '

Also, when Barnwell goes against the conventional wisdom, just learn to ignore him.

59
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:41pm

It was an obvious fumble. His arm went forward, but after the ball had been knocked free. The review wasn't even a case of not being able to overturn...it clearly confirmed the call on the field.

76
by Big Johnson :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:01pm

the play looked exactly like the gradkowski fumble earlier in the game which oddly enough was ruled not a fumble.

80
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:07pm

Then the Gradkowski fumble was called incorrectly.

90
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:39pm

Gradkowski:
- brings arm back to throw
- moves arm forward, still holding ball
- ball comes loose

Rivers:
- brings arm back to throw
- ball comes loose
- moves arm forward, without ball

132
by Big Johnson :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 2:02am

look at both plays again. You get 10 football fans to watch that play and 9 out of 10 will say they were the exact same. The rivers play was simultaneous. I cant complain about the call because its one of the few plays each game that literally could have went either way from the rulebook. Rivers doesnt fumble it the instance he is hit. The gradkowski fumble was in my opinion a pretty clear fumble. I would like to see the videos on both the plays just to clarify it.

133
by Big Johnson :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 2:05am

actually after looking at the video, rivers clearly didnt fumble it. 40-43 seconds shows it

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JvMfmsbDTC4

134
by tuluse :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 2:36am

There is nothing clear about that, but I think I agree with you that was an incomplete pass.

136
by Eddo :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 11:00am

The angle from 40-43 seconds is poor; it looks like Rivers is still holding the ball as his arm moves forward, but he's not. Watch from 46-52 seconds, that's what makes it clear to me it's a fumble. The ball is loose before his arm starts forward.

I agree that "Rivers doesnt fumble it the instance he is hit"; however, that's irrelevant to whether or not it's a fumble.

I may be incorrect about the Gradkowski play, however. I haven't seen a good replay of that, so I was going off memory.

24
by crack (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:28pm

Wait, Bill Barnwell was down on a player?

27
by pm18 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:40pm

How does Favre have a -41 passing DYAR? Are you honestly telling me that a replacement level QB is supposed to get 305 passing yards on 34 attempts (assuming 3 TD and 1 INT ratio) against the Jets defense? This is why DYAR is flawed. The replacement level baseline is screwed. Tell me the last time a replacement level QB had a 9 YPA average vs. a pass defense as good as the Jets? Of course this is the same stat that said a replacement level player should have rushed for 1700 yards in Chris Johnson's place last season.

33
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:46pm

A replacement QB would not be expected to fumble three times and throw an interception, though.

Also, one YAR "yard" is not the same as a raw yard. For example, in raw stats, a five-yard pass on third-and-five and third-and-fifteen are both worth the same (five yards). In YAR, they have different values.

You can't just add subtract YAR from raw totals to get a replacement's expected raw total. YAR doesn't work that way.

39
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:55pm

To get some sense of how damaging those fumbles are, people need to think about how they led to the interception in desperation time, and left the Viking defense out on the field for extended periods, which may have contributed to the Jets' offensive touchdown.

It is interesting how, even after turnovers are talked about by the broadcasters so much, football fans tend to underestimate their centrality to winning and losing.

45
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:08pm

To expand:
Favre had 264 raw yards. Let's use P-F-R's adjusted yards per attempt values to adjust his raw yardage based on TDs and INTs...

Favre's adjusted yards
= 264 yds + (1 int)*(-45 yds/int) + (-24 yds for sacks) + (3 fum)*(-25 yds/fum) + (3 td)*(20 yds/td)
= 264 + (-45) + (-24) + (-75) + 60
= 180 adjusted yards

We don't know the opponent adjustment for the Jets, so let's say they're average. That means (and we're still not taking first downs into the equation) a "replacement" QB would have had 221 adjusted yards against the Jets. That's not really that impressive, now is it?

------

EDIT:
P-F-R also ran a regression on YAR, though leaving fumbles out of it. The equation they got was:
ePYAR ~ -6.57*Att + 3.62*Cmp + 0.97*Yds + 13.27*TD - 43.37*Int

Favre's ePYAR (estimated passing YAR):
= (-6.57)*(34) + (3.62)*(14) + (0.97)*(264) + (13.27)*(3) - (43.37)*(1)
= (-223.38) + 50.68 + 256.08 + 39.81 + (-43.37)
= 79.82 ePYAR

Then, roughly, defensive adjustments and fumbles take away -121 YAR.

34
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:47pm

Jets pass defense has not been other-worldly this season so DVOA doesn't see putting up a lot of raw yardage against them as impressive. Plus, most of Favre's production came on a few big plays - he was completely unproductive for almost the entire game. And then he threw a pick-six to seal the deal. He also fumbled several times. He took several sacks. It was a bad performance with several REALLY REALLY bright spots.

28
by pm18 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:41pm

How does Favre have a -41 passing DYAR? Are you honestly telling me that a replacement level QB is supposed to get 305 passing yards on 34 attempts (assuming 3 TD and 1 INT ratio) against the Jets defense? This is why DYAR is flawed. The replacement level baseline is screwed. Tell me the last time a replacement level QB had a 9 YPA average vs. a pass defense as good as the Jets? Of course this is the same stat that said a replacement level player should have rushed for 1700 yards in Chris Johnson's place last season.

42
by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:03pm

Favre was awful last night. Did you see the first half offense? In their first five possessions, the Vikings ran 16 offensive plays and punted five times - one play above minimum.

It was only 264 yards, not 305. The Favre of the second half was worth watching, although he Yet Again killed the team's chances by throwing a bad pick (this on the heels of overthrowing a wide-open receiver who could have scampered for 40 yards).

Indeed, Favre missed a lot of receivers. That's how you go 14 for 34. So while the yards/attempt is respectable, the completion rate was not only below replacement rate, it was below Jimmy Clausen, who ranks #33 in a 32 team league.

(Aside: Why does Mel Kiper have a job? His most noteworthy feature during the pre-draft coverage was that he loved Clausen much more than any other prognosticator. Small wonder that Clausen is clearly the worst rookie QB of the bunch.)

46
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:10pm

Weird to call Clausen the "worst rookie QB of the bunch"; only he, Bradford, and Hall have played this year, and I wouldn't really consider the undrafted Hall to be part of the "bunch".

61
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:56pm

"Favre was awful last night. "
If only the announcing crew could have aknowledged that even for a moment. I'll grant you he made two incredible TD throws on the night, but that hardly overshadowed all the miscues. I should be used to all the idolatry by now, but by the 4th quarter Jaws and Gruden had completely forgotten about the fumbles and everything else. It's like force of habit: They'd point out things he did wrong, yet the very next sentence would go back to the gunslinger schtick.

The IRONY AWARD goes to the fact ESPN came in ready to cheer him for all the milestones and he managed to grab the fumble record the same night. If only Sears had done a commercial where Favre checks out digital cameras. "Do you have one with a REALLY good zoom lens?"

84
by Bobman :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:16pm

Yeah, I brought this up last week (2 wks ago?) when they were fawning all over Brady--who had an okay game, but it was his D and special teams who dominated, not him. "fiery competitor, yada yada yada," in the last minute like they were reading from cue cards.

Last night with Favre.

We all might just die of exploded heads if, next week, Manning and McNabb both suck (7 INTs, 3 fumbles, 200 combined yards), but the cameras linger on them at the end and the guys in the booth talk about their mastery of the game, work ethic, leadership, McNabb's biblical beard, Manning's drive-in-sized fivehead, yada, yada....

We should have a poll and a count--what phrases will they use the most for those two guys. Work ethic, for sure, for Manning. Cerebral? Sheriff, to be sure. The name Archie will pop up at least five times. McNabb? They'll remind us of the booing Philly fans on draft day 11 years ago, yeah. His illness during the SB loss, his feud with TO....

87
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:23pm

Uh, I guess you didn't see the Philly/Washington game where the announcers really were fawning over McNabb's leadership and grit and masterful play. And his terrible play was the only thing keeping the Eagles in the game.

102
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:47pm

It's downright funny how differently the name QBs are treated compared to the other guys. Alex Smith had an awesome game vs. the Saints a few weeks back and for every bit of praise the announcers stuck in a disclaimer on how he's inconsistent, a work in progress, etc. They openly questioned if he could play that well again. With Favre last night, all that mattered were the occasional great throws. His 67 QB rating for the year (or whatever it is) was never mentioned, the fumbles were forgotten as quickly as they happened, and even the pick 6 that iced the game was basically ignored--they attributed it to a great defensive play rather than any mistake on Favre's part. He could go 1-10 and as long as the completion was a laser they'd act like it was still the '90s and he was in the running for the MVP.

29
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:43pm

Raiders better be higher in DAVE and dvoa than sd chargesr

51
by Treima6 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:17pm

Yeah, forget those blowout wins the Chargers had against Arizona and Jacksonville, clearly a one-touchdown loss to Oakland negates all that. Also, Oakland's spectacular flameout against Tennessee means nothing!

88
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:29pm

everytema going to have crap game now and then,. nobbody undefetaed. so what Raiders crap up field in Tenenessee. Bwat San Diego tied for 2nd now and going to be in 1st place by Halloween. book it danno

30
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:44pm

What was most surprising to me this week is that LeSean McCoy continued to be effective even without Vick in the line-up. I was convinced his success this year was almost entirely the result of Vick's presence as a rushing threat, but he played very well on Sunday night. If McCoy can produce without Vick in the line-up, the argument in favor of starting Vick over Kolb becomes a lot muddier...

98
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:28pm

What about the fact that Vick's passing DVOA is 20% higher?

117
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:35pm

Well, a) opponent adjustments aren't at full strength and I have a feeling that Washington and SF are going to end up with much better defensive DVOA than Jacksonville and Detroit. b) I just said it was making things muddy: up until Sunday I thought every element was decisively in Vick's favor.

Now, with Kolb playing competent and McCoy producing, I'm not sure the argument to let Kolb take the reins and develop as the QB of the future is such a decisively LOSING idea. Vick has played better thus far, for sure, but that's obviously not the whole argument here...

31
by Nathan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:44pm

Who was it that was ragging on Lesean McCoy all last year saying he was garbage and wouldn't amount to anything? Was that C? Who also ripped on Vick constantly IIRC. Where has he been all this year?

35
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:49pm

Hey, I ripped McCoy constantly last year. You know why? He sucked. Look at his FO numbers: they. are. awful. And he was terrible in pass protection to boot.

To his credit, he committed to the off-season training program. put on a lot of muscle, picked up the play-book to an expert level and has come out looking like a different player. I'm psyched. But saying he looked AWFUL last year is the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

37
by Nathan :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:51pm

Yeah, I thought McCoy looked completely mediocre last year too. His improvement has really surprised me. I just thought it was funny that I haven't seen C around here at all this year when his 2 of his 3 favorite targets have played pretty well.

41
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 2:59pm

And Campbell single-handedly won a game on Sunday, too! It's apocalypse time for C!

43
by RickD :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:05pm

Exactly right about McCoy. People said he sucked last year because he sucked last year. I heard (one of the announcers said this, I don't remember who) he put in a lot of work in the offseason and is much stronger this season.

50
by crack (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:15pm

Or, alternatively, the FO numbers weren't actually telling you much about his talent.

55
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:31pm

Ok - how about this: last year I saw every single down he played including the preseason and my own eyes told me, without a doubt, that he sucked. There is no measure by which he did not suck. I defy you to point to a play where he showed even a strong glimmer of promise. He took a couple passes for long gains, but the Eagles o-line can get long gains on screen-passes from literally any running back. And those 3 or 4 plays were the highlight of his season. The rest of it was missed blocks, going down quick after gentle arm-tackles, not seeing the hole, not having patience to let blockers move into position or let holes develop, running sloppy routes and dropping passes. He was the worst starting running back I have seen for the Eagles since I started watching them play in 1988. James Jospeh is the only guy competing with him for the title. Perhaps Vaughn Hepbron if he counts as a starting RB. McCoy WAS that bad.

And FO's numbers bear out everything I saw.

115
by Boo-urns (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:11pm

I didn't watch every snap of the Eagles, but didn't McCoy have some nice games last year? I was under the impression that he was basically a very quick and fast back, but was not always hitting the right holes and had trouble breaking tackles. He showed some talent (sufficient for the Eagles to be comfortable with him as their main back), but needed to better learn the system and develop his physical abilities, and he's done both of these things.

So basically, it's nice for the Eagles that McCoy has actually developed into the potential they were hoping from him this season (unlike say, Kolb, who has not met expectations yet), but not totally unsurprising.

Either way, to say that McCoy was the worst RB for the Eagles since 1988 seems pretty extreme. Either you're stating something idiotic, or Andy Reid and his staff are totally idiots for putting so much of their offense on McCoy (since the HB obviously plays such an important role in the Eagles system).

116
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:28pm

I said worst "starting RB." Which, is not idiotic, it really is true. Also, remember that last year the Eagles expected Brian Westbrook to be the starter. So, Andy Reid probably wanted to give McCoy a year to develop in his system. So Andy Reid was right: McCoy only needed a year. However, that does not change the facts as I laid them out about McCoy: he was the Eagles waorst starting RB since 1988. It's either him or James Joseph. Or a marginal starter like Vaughn Hepbron. But even amongst the marginal starters, he's probably was worse than most of them. I'm curious what Eagles RB you think was worse. Or so clearly worse as to warrant calling what I said "idiotic."

Also, I would say that Kolb has met expectations, provided your expectations were reasonable. Vick has far exceeded reasonable expectations - and that is what created the issue, not Kolb's growing pains.

47
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:12pm

What the heck is up with the Chargers' special teams? Is there some sort of schematic problem, or is it just a whole bunch of randomness? I mean, if your Special Teams are so bad that you're outgaining your opponents by more than seven feet per play, and you're still 2-3, there's got to be something going on, right?

Also, are fumble recoveries really random? The Chargers have fumbled 11 times and recovered twice; in the last game, they had the same number of fumbles as the Raiders, three each, but the Raiders recovered all six, gaining yardage (after drop) on all three of their own fumbles. Is this really not predictable or repeatable?

57
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 3:33pm

All fumble recoveries are not equally random. Depending on if a QB or a WR or a RB fumbles, there are different % of likelihood for whether the defense or offense will recover. I'd imagine that special teams fumbles fall heavily towards the team that forced the fumble recovering them, so SD's fumble "luck" might be close to normal if they are fumbling (blocked punts count as fumbles?) on special teams a huge amount.

109
by Neoplatonist Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:51pm

That doesn't include special teams.
Mathews 2
Tolbert 2
Naanee 2
Floyd 1
Rivers 4

65
by Anonymous in SD (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:23pm

As you mentioned, SD and Oak each fumbled 3 times and Oak recovered all 6. But it's even worse than just this game. On the season SD has fumbled 11 times, losing 9, while Oak has fumbled 14 times and lost only 2. (I read that on a Chargers board, and tried to verify but every stat page I looked at only shows fumbles lost, not total fumbles.) If true, that's some seriously bad/good fumble luck.

P.S. The default name when posting is Anonymous which was actually registered by someone. (I can't decide if that was malicious or clever by that person.) It'd be nice if the default for a quick anon posting was something that was unable to be registered.

91
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:41pm

"P.S. The default name when posting is Anonymous which was actually registered by someone. (I can't decide if that was malicious or clever by that person.) It'd be nice if the default for a quick anon posting was something that was unable to be registered."

That's awesome, in my opinion. I've been advocating an only-registered-users-can-post for quite some time.

It takes barely any time to register, yet it would be enough to weed out trolls.

Anonymous in SD, I am not directing this at you. Your post seems constructive. You really should register and keep posting :)

70
by Splattered :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:50pm

No comment at all on Carson Palmer? I'm curious how he actually managed to rate that high while handing the game over.

71
by tonic889 (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:52pm

I've been thinking about this lately. Is there any kind of adjustment for tipped passes? Seems to me that a tipped pass is about as likely to be caught by offense, defense (or neither), as a fumble is likely to be recovered by offense or defense.

74
by chemical burn :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 4:58pm

Do the official nfl gamebooks mark tipped passes? if not, there's no way to put in such adjustments until the game-charting data gets back, right? so... i'm guessing, "no?"

79
by JasonK :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:05pm

I think they list it the same as they do a pass defended. So there's no real way of differentiating "tipped at the line on a CB blitz" from "made a nice play on the ball in tight coverage downfield" or, in the case of some stadium's official scorers, "nearest defender to a WR who was targeted on an incompletion."

86
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:18pm

In Audibles (I think) a couple weeks ago, someone was talking about making this a part of the Game Charting. It makes a lot of sense to me. If some tipped passes are just "incomplete" and some are "interceptions," then you're pretty harshly penalizing the second kind and hardly at all the first, even though both have equal chances of a turnover. Seems like an easy way to make your stats conform more to reality by making a "tipped" adjustment.

What's the chance a tipped pass is intercepted? How many quarterbacks have more tipped passes than other quarterbacks? How much do tipped passes affect interception rates? How much responsibility should a quarterback have for a tipped pass? How much should defenders be rewarded for tipping a pass?

All cool questions that could be answered with some game charting.

92
by Eddo :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:43pm

I think you'd need categorization of tipped passes. Obviously, a pass that gets tipped by your own teammate is not your fault. But a pass tipped by a lineman sure would be.

Also, certain types of tips might be more likely to be intercepted.

Overall, a great idea if possible, though.

100
by countertorque :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:33pm

Yeah, I've been thinking about that too. It seems like a pass should really be evaluated by first contact. If the first contact is the ground, it's incomplete. If it's the receiver, it's a drop; and if it's the DB, it should be marked as an INT regardless of whether the DB has the skill to catch it. This wouldn't be perfect, but I think it would more accurately rate the QB's performance.

103
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:51pm

What if it's a d-lineman? Is that the QB or the line? Or what if it's the back of an offensive lineman's head?

Or what if it's the back of the receiver because he never turned around>

111
by countertorque :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 8:00pm

A tipped pass by anyone on the defense is clearly a negative play for the QB. It's clearly understood in the FO stats that when they say "QB" they mean "this QB playing behind this Oline in this system." So, I think it makes sense to mark those the same as an INT. My claim is that it's pure random chance whether or not a deflected pass results in an INT, an incompletion, or a completed pass.

I see no issue with calling a pass off of the back of the receiver's head a drop. Is that different than what we're doing now?

Passes deflected by ineligible receivers is a little less clear. My choice would be to group them in with incomplete passes, but perhaps you feel that's bad choice.

As I said, it's clearly not a perfect system. But, I don't think it makes any sense to give a QB a huge negative score for some passes tipped by dlineman and mark others as simply incomplete passes. The QB's performance is roughly the same in either case and they should be graded the same.

120
by dbt :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 2:13am

The biggest problem I have with this system is overthrown balls that a WR gets a finger on and then become easy INT pickings as it flutters deeper into the secondary.

89
by emannths (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 5:35pm

"if he stays healthy, there's no historical precedent for him turning back into the mediocre player he once was. After nearly a decade of disappointment, it appears that Brandon Lloyd is actually for real."

Can I play devil's advocate? I would wager that there's not a lot of historical precedent for him to continue either. The big surprise is that this breakout is coming when Lloyd is 29 and in his 8th year. Yes, there is lots of historical precedent for a hot start indicating a WR is for real. But I think just about all of those guys have been pretty young.

To test this idea out, I filtered the 500yds/5gms to keep only those that accomplished this at age 27 or older. All of these receivers had previously had a 1000yd receiving season, except for Marvin Harrison (who had had 3 seasons of 775-850 yds). So I would argue that there's simply no precedent one way or the other on what Lloyd's hot start predicts.

Interesting footnote: Lower the cutoff to 498 yds and another name shows up: Malcolm Floyd. 498 yds in 5 games, age 29, 6th season.

Here's the list I used: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny/v2gkl

101
by goodhit (not verified) :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 6:39pm

Does anybody else think that the Jets playcalling was suspect last night? They were absolutely dominating the line of scrimmage and averaged almost five yards a carry, yet Sanchez still threw the ball 44 times. In a game which they were dominating and dealt with a hurricane in the middle, they still found a way to target Braylon Edwards 11 times and quite frankly he's not very good at football.

105
by are-tee :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:23pm

Re. Sanchez..."He's a little better across the board, but the big change amounts to interception luck."

Is the implication here that Sanchez's siginificant drop in interception rate is just based on luck? Really?

107
by Dave :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:40pm

Some of it is. He's still throwing terrible, awful, worthless passes close to 1/3 the time. I guess he could be avoiding defenders on purpose at the same time he avoids receivers, but I doubt it.

Last night his bad passes almost always ended up way out of bounds, though...

110
by dmb :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 7:53pm

Also, low (or high) interception rates don't seem to be a very repeatable skill (or lack thereof) at the individual level.* This makes sense, given how many INTs come from tipped passes, the frequency with which potential picks are dropped, etc.

*Here are four sources to get you started:

http://subscribers.footballguys.com/2009/09stuart_qbintrates.php

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=4152

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=4395

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/blog/?p=6068

So call it "luck," "unsustainable success," or "The Great Googly Moogly Interception Deviation of Early 2010" ... the bottom line is that Sanchez's gorgeous snake eyes probably aren't indicative of much when it comes to predicting his future performance.

114
by the K :: Tue, 10/12/2010 - 9:08pm

there were 66 receivers who picked up more than 450 yards in their first game

Whoa, those single game records are way higher than I thought.

124
by Joseph :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 11:49am

I wanted to respond to several things about the tipped passes:
1. For any metric like this, some subjectivity could come in to play.
2. Regarding defensive touches: not all should be marked as an INT by ANY MEANS. For DL, some are completely batted down--they aren't trying to catch the ball, nor would they have the ability to while being blocked. On some, they actually have a chance, and almost never catch it. On others, they slightly detour the pass, often causing an imcompletion which comes up several feet short of the target.
For players actually IN COVERAGE, most times it should be discernable whether: a) the defender simply "slapped" at the ball; b) the defender actually had a reasonable chance to intercept the ball, but "dropped" it; c) the defender separated the receiver from the ball, pushed him OOB, etc.
Now, if you want to "credit" the QB for an INT when the defender drops the ball, or at least get two hands on the ball, that's OK.
Also, considering that QB's frequently throw the ball before the receiver comes out of his break, assigning the receiver a drop for not "seeing" the pass seems a little harsh--if he gets both hands on it, maybe. Considering the timing and precision that goes into a professional passing game, sometimes it's hard to "assign" credit/culpability.

127
by countertorque :: Wed, 10/13/2010 - 1:41pm

1. It could, yes. The goal would be to minimize it.
2. The point is that if a QB throws a pass which touches a defensive player as first contact, that's a negative play for the QB, even if it results in a completed pass and a first down. If you want to break those plays down further and say some of them are more negative than others, that's fine. I think that would be a further refinement of what I'm proposing. I also think that it would be highly subjective.
(3.) I'm not sure how WR drops are assigned now. I was assuming that anything that hits a WR is considered a drop, regardless. In any case, I'm fine with keeping the current definition.

My main point is that I don't feel that it's accurate to assign a QB a huge penalty for a well thrown pass that was tipped high in the air by his WR and happened to be INT'ed by the defense. Similarly, I don't think it's accurate to assign a very small penalty to a pass that is thrown directly to the DB, but is not INT'ed because he happens to drop it.

Maybe FO has already investigated this and determined that making these changes does not improve their metrics. Or maybe the lack of data makes it impossible to make these changes. But, I don't see how you can accurately measure the QB's performance if you aren't taking these things into account.

135
by ammek :: Thu, 10/14/2010 - 8:22am

DYAR doesn't measure performance; if anything, it measures outcomes. Remember that when Quick Reads gives a passing stat for 'Vince Young', it means 'the Tennessee pass offense with Vince Young at QB'. If you've watched enough Titans games, you'll know whether his WRs have butter fingers, whether he's been lucky with tips, and how good he is at judging when to throw the ball away under pressure. DYAR and DVOA can't be expected to measure these 'what ifs' from the play-by-play.