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13 Nov 2012

Week 10 Quick Reads

Vince Verhei

Michael Vick's concussion against the Dallas Cowboys may have signaled the end of the Philadelphia Eagles' playoff hopes this season, and more importantly, it may have signaled the end of both Vick and coach Andy Reid in midnight green. Those two are symbols of the Eagles' past, while the future lies in rookie quarterback Nick Foles. A third-round draft pick out of Arizona, Foles saw his first NFL action on Sunday after Vick went down. Predictably, he suffered through some highs (most notably a 44-yard touchdown to Jeremy Maclin) and lows (giving the Cowboys one touchdown on an interception and another on a fumble), and at the end of the day the Eagles had once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. With his team realistically out of the playoff race, Reid may choose to start Foles now to see what the youngster could do. And even if Reid wants to stick with his veteran, Vick may fail to recover in time for next week's game against Washington. Either way, Foles is likely to see extended action at some point this season. Is there any reason for optimism?

Foles was a three-year starter in college, and a good one. In his senior season in 2011, he led the Pac-12 in completions, attempts, and yards, and ranked second behind Andrew Luck in completion percentage. On the other hand, he was also second in the conference in interceptions, and the Wildcats went just 4-8.

At Football Outsiders, we evaluate collegiate quarterbacks and their chances of success in the NFL with a method we call the Lewin Career Forecast, named after David Lewin, who invented the system in 2006. The specific methodology has since been tweaked several times, as further research has shed more light on which collegiate statistics have most accurately predicted success in the past. The most recent version, published shortly before this year's draft, looked at seven total variables, including BMI and rushing data, but the two most important factors haven't changed since Lewin began researching passers in the last decade. In general, quarterbacks who start a lot of games in college and complete a lot of passes in college tend to fare best in the professional ranks, and so NCAA games started and completion percentage remain the best indicators of NFL performance. That's good news for Foles, who completed 67 percent of his passes while starting 33 games at Arizona.

In March, we projected Foles to be the fourth-best quarterback in this draft, but that is not a slight. Of all quarterbacks drafted in the first three rounds since 1998, the highest LCF projection belongs to Seattle's Russell Wilson, and the second-highest belongs to Washington's Robert Griffin. Indianapolis' Andrew Luck also makes the top ten. (If you're curious about the accuracy of the LCF, other names in the top 10 include Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, and Peyton Manning.) Though Wilson's LCF is probably artificially inflated by his transfer from North Carolina State to Wisconsin -- read our earlier story for more info – it's hard to argue with the success those three have enjoyed this far into their brief careers.

Foles falls next in line among 2012 draftees. In truth his LCF is much closer to those of the two names behind him (Washington's Kirk Cousins and Cleveland's Brandon Weeden) than those ahead of him, although he still scored much higher than Miami's Ryan Tannehill.

There is one other aspect to the LCF we haven't mentioned yet, though, and it's an important one: draft status. We're big fans of numbers at Football Outsiders, but we know that our numbers don't account for everything, and we rely on NFL scouts to grade physical talent better than we can. Kellen Moore completed nearly 70 percent of his passes as a four-year starter at Boise State, but he barely has the arm strength to make an NFL roster. That's why he went undrafted before joining the Lions as a free agent. When we evaluate quarterbacks with the LCF, we ignore those drafted in the fourth round or later, which is why Moore, for all his NCAA success, does not have an LCF projection.

Foles, meanwhile, was a third-round pick, which verified his cautiously optimistic LCF projection. However, he was still a third-round pick, and there are reasons he was passed over 87 times in a quarterback-driven league. ESPN's predraft scouting analysis pointed out several holes in Foles' game, saying that he "will miss some open receivers at times," and "still makes some questionable decisions," and calling him a "limited overall athlete" who "takes too many sacks."

The fact is, it's hard to find many successful NFL quarterbacks who were drafted in the third round or later. Tom Brady is always hailed as the ultimate diamond in the rough, but it has been 12 years since New England took him in the sixth round in 2000. In the ensuing decade-plus, 97 quarterbacks were drafted in rounds three through seven. Only five of them – Matt Schaub, David Garrard, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Matt Cassel, and Kyle Orton – were NFL starters for more than three seasons, and only one of those is likely to be starting next year. This does not guarantee failure for Foles (or Wilson, who was also a third-rounder), but it shows that when teams let quarterbacks slip past the first or second round, it's usually for good reason.

If the Eagles are ready to give up on 2012, then they have nothing to lose by throwing Foles to the wolves and seeing how he survives. (ESPN Insider Matt Williamson explains what the Eagles can do to get the best out of Foles this season.) If they're expecting him to turn this season around, however, then they're probably in for a bitter disappointment.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Drew Brees NO
21/32
298
3
1
140
140
0
Brees was much more efficient throwing to his left (12-of-14 for 164 yards and eight first downs, including a touchdown) and up the middle (5-of-6 for 78 yards and four first downs, including another touchdown) than he was when throwing to his right (4-of-12 for 56 yards and three first downs, including a touchdown, plus one interception).
2.
Andy Dalton CIN
21/30
199
4
0
129
129
0
Thanks in part to a plethora of turnovers (see the end of this table), nine of Dalton's 30 passes came in the red zone. He completed five of them for 37 yards and three touchdowns, with one other first down.
3.
Peyton Manning DEN
27/38
301
1
0
123
121
1
Manning started out 16-of-17 (including 13 completions in a row), albeit for just 135 yards and eight first downs, with one touchdown. Then he started the fourth quarter going 1-of-7 for 6 yards before finishing the game with a 46-yarder to Demaryius Thomas.
4.
Joe Flacco BAL
21/33
341
3
1
121
116
5
On deep passes, Flacco went 6-of-9 for 199 yards and a touchdown. And in the short middle, he went 8-of-9 for 102 yards and six first downs, including a touchdown. So he only ran into trouble when he threw short to either side (7-of-15 for 40 yards with three first downs and an interception).
5.
Matt Ryan ATL
34/52
411
3
1
111
114
-3
Ryan started out 9-of-9 for 114 yards and six first downs, including a touchdown. he finished 8-of-16 for 73 yards and only three first downs. The game ended when Ryan failed to convert in the red zone, but it's worth noting he threw three red zone touchdowns before that.
6.
Josh Freeman TB
14/20
210
2
0
105
100
5
In the second half, Freeman went 8-of-10 for 92 yards and six first downs, including a touchdown.
7.
Sam Bradford STL
26/37
275
2
0
101
101
0
On the San Francisco side of the field, Bradford went 8-of-10 for 111 yards and seven first downs, including two touchdowns. By the way, John Hekker went 2-of-2 for 40 yards and 32 DYAR on his fake punts.
8.
Tom Brady NE
23/38
237
2
0
91
91
0
The Bills nearly pulled off a comeback win in part because Brady let them back into the game. In the fourth quarter, he went 4-of-11 for 46 yards and only two first downs.
9.
Tony Romo DAL
19/26
209
2
0
83
83
0
In his first five passes and last five passes, Romo went 10-of-10 for 118 yards and six first downs, including two touchdowns. In between he went 9-of-16 for 91 yards with two first downs and three sacks, with 49 of those yards coming on one play. He didn't throw a single pass in the fourth quarter.
10.
Philip Rivers SD
29/37
337
3
2
64
68
-4
At one point in this game, Rivers was 22-of-26 for 271 yards and 13 first downs, including three touchdowns, with one sack. Then he threw a god-awful pick-six to Leonard Johnson (as discussed in this week's Audibles), and from then on he went 7-of-10 for 66 yards and only three first downs, with another interception.
11.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
27/40
339
2
1
52
49
3
A lot of quarterbacks have beaten New England with deep balls, but Fitzpatrick nearly beat them with a heavy dose of screens. On passes to receivers at or behind the line of scrimmage, he went 7-of-8 for 90 yards and four first downs.
12.
Matt Stafford DET
28/42
329
3
1
52
51
1
On third downs, Stafford went 2-of-6 for 11 yards with two sacks. His only conversion was a 6-yard gain on third-and-2 when the Lions were down by 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Jake Locker TEN
9/21
122
2
0
40
19
21
Locker had thrown six incompletions in a row in this game, and after the sixth he was 4-of-15 for 37 yards and three first downs (including a touchdown) with a sack. And then he went nuts, completing five passes in a row for 85 yards and four first downs, including another touchdown. He finished up with two more incompletions, but by then the Titans were up by 31 points. He also ran four times for 36 yards and three first downs, including conversions on third-and-1 and fourth-and-2.
14.
Russell Wilson SEA
12/19
188
2
0
40
31
9
On the Jets' half of the field, Wilson went 6-of-7 for 123 yards, plus a zero-yard DPI, for two touchdowns and four other first downs. He also had five runs for 37 yards, including first downs on third-and-2 and second-and-9.
15.
Michael Vick PHI
6/9
70
1
0
32
40
-8
A pretty good start that ended too early due to concussion. We're sorry, this comment was intended for Alex Smith.
16.
Alex Smith SF
7/8
72
1
0
29
25
4
A pretty good start that ended too early due to concussion. We're sorry, this comment was intended for Michael Vick.
17.
Byron Leftwich PIT
7/14
73
1
0
28
28
0
18.
Christian Ponder MIN
24/32
221
2
0
25
35
-10
On first downs, Ponder went 7-of-10 for 16 yards. One of those completions went to himself for a 15-yard loss, which completely skews his average, but none of them gained a new set of downs.
19.
Jason Campbell CHI
11/19
94
0
0
24
23
1
Campbell's only two first downs came on completions of 18 and 45 yards. Otherwise, he went 9-of-17 for 31 yards.
20.
Carson Palmer OAK
29/45
368
2
1
23
23
0
The Raiders have a reputation for acquiring receivers with blazing speed but little technique. So it's a little fitting that Palmer excelled on the deep ball (5-of-9 for 164 yards and two touchdowns) but struggled in the red zone (4-of-6 for 7 yards with one sack, one fumbled snap, and no first downs or touchdowns).
21.
Chad Henne JAC
10/16
121
1
1
22
22
0
Henne benefited from some great field position. Only five of his passes were thrown on Jacksonville's side of the field, and his average pass was thrown from the Indianapolis 40-yard line. He threw a touchdown on his first drive, but his other ended with an interception on fourth-and-1.
22.
Andrew Luck IND
18/26
227
0
1
5
-15
21
I noted this on Twitter Monday night: Andrew Luck leads the league with 90 deep passes. Joe Flacco is second with 78. Luck only threw nine deep balls against Jacksonville, one short of his average. He completed four of them for 110 yards, but also threw an interception.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Colin Kaepernick SF
11/17
117
0
0
4
-33
38
Third-down passing: two incompletions, a 17-yard gain on third-and-18, and a sack. He also ran seven times for 66 yards, with four runs of 10 yards or more and a 7-yard touchdown.
24.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
9/18
84
1
0
2
-3
5
25.
Nick Foles PHI
22/31
219
1
1
-24
-24
0
On third downs, Foles went 2-of-4 with a sack. The completions went for 8 yards each, on third-and-13 and third-and-24 yards. His only third-down conversion came on a 20-yard DPI on third-and-2. The only good news for Foles is that he had the good fortune to make his NFL debut in a weekend where many veterans proceeded to throw up all over themselves, as we shall discuss in graphic detail immediately.
26.
Matt Cassel KC
11/25
154
0
1
-45
-49
4
I don't get the play-by-play breakdown of the Monday Night games early enough to study any splits, but I will note that the Chiefs, as a team, went 3-of-14 on third and fourth downs, and that in the second half and overtime Cassel went 6-of-16 for 76 yards with one sack and a game-losing interception.
27.
Matt Schaub HOU
14/26
95
1
2
-47
-47
0
The Bears defense is really good. Without opponent adjustments, Schaub would rank 30th. With them, he still sucks. He threw nine passes on first down: three completions that gained 1, 3, and 11 yards, and six incompletions that gained zero, zero, zero, zero, zero, and zero yards.
28.
Cam Newton CAR
21/36
241
2
2
-66
-46
-20
Third downs, and I swear I'm not making this up, this is really what happened: 1-of-5 (the completion an 8-yard gain on third-and-18) with an interception and FIVE sacks, one of them for a safety. He also had two runs on third down, a 4-yard gain on third-and-10 and a 4-yard loss on third-and-2. Now here's the amazing part: This was not the worst third-down performance of the week.
29.
Jay Cutler CHI
7/14
40
0
2
-73
-93
20
Cutler's only two first downs were a 9-yard gain on second-and-8 and a 14-yard gain on first-and-10. His other completions: a 6-yard gain on first-and-10 (which was then fumbled away by the receiver), a 7-yard gain on second-and-10, a 4-yard gain on third-and-10, and two zero-yard gains on third-and-1 and first-and-10. Those are his completions. Those are the good plays. Everything else was an incompletion or an interception.
30.
Blaine Gabbert JAC
18/31
209
0
1
-98
-103
5
Third downs: 2-of-7 for 7 yards, with the completions going for 6 yards on third-and-10 and 1 yard on third-and-3.
31.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
9/22
124
0
1
-105
-105
0
Go back and re-read the last six entries and then let it sink in that we are only just now getting to the Jets. Also, there are two quarterbacks left to go. Sanchez did hit Jeremy Kerley for a 43-yard gain from the 50, which technically counts as Seattle's half of the field. Beyond that point, though, he went 0-for-4 with an interception and a sack. Sanchez's first third-down pass was a 10-yard gain on third-and-9. That was his only third-down completion of the day. After that, he went 0-of-6 with an interception and two sacks. This was not the worst third-down performance of the week either. While I'm here, I'll mention that Tim Tebow had more touches than he has in any game this season. He went 3-of-3 passing for 8 yards, one first down, and 12 DYAR. And he rushed four times for 14 yards, two first downs, and 6 DYAR.
32.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
23/39
217
0
3
-191
-191
0
Third downs: 6-of-10 for 67 yards, which doesn't sound too bad, but he only picked up two first downs while giving up three interceptions (one of them a pick-six) and a sack. He did this against a defense that coming into the game had given up 20 touchdowns and only recorded six interceptions. This was not the worst third-down performance of the week. Just kidding. It totally was.
33.
Eli Manning NYG
29/46
215
0
2
-201
-194
-7
To be fair, Manning never reached the uncontrollable self-vomit stage like some of his peers. This was more like he threw up in his mouth, over and over again, all day long, desperate for a Mento or Tic Tac, with no mints to be found. At halftime the Giants were only down 17-6 and the game was still within reach. But then their first five drives of the second half went lost fumble (not Manning), interception (Manning), interception (Manning), turnover on downs (when Manning threw incomplete on fourth-and-4), lost fumble (Manning). In that stretch, Manning went 9-of-19 for 63 yards and two sacks, with as many first downs (three) as turnovers. The Giants then proceeded to pad their stats with a meaningless 98-yard touchdown drive. Twenty-nine of Manning's 50 passing plays had negative DYAR. Eight of his completions had negative DYAR.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
C.J. Spiller BUF
70
0
61
0
66
36
30
Each of Spiller's nine carries gained at least 1 yard, and four of them gained at least 10 yards. (Spiller only has 87 carries this season, but he's averaging 7.3 yards per rush. Only three players have ever average more than 7 yards per carry with at least 100 rushes: Beattie Feathers in 1934, Randall Cunningham in 1990, and Michael Vick in 2004 and 2006.) He also caught each of the four passes thrown his way for 61 yards, including gains of 14, 20, and 25 yards.
2.
Steven Jackson STL
101
1
26
0
43
31
12
Only four of Jackson's 29 carries were stuffed for no gain or a loss, but ten of them gained 5 yards or more. Jackson also caught two of the three passes thrown his way, one a first down on third-and-14, the other a 12-yard gain on second-and-13. He gets a big boost for doing this against the mighty 49ers' D.
3.
Chris Johnson TEN
126
1
8
0
39
35
4
Three of Johnson's 23 runs were stuffed for no gain or a loss, but ten of them gained more than 4 yards and four gained more than 10, capped off by a 21-yarder. He also caught one of the two balls thrown his way for 8 yards.
4.
Frank Gore SF
97
1
18
0
35
34
0
Four of Gore's 21 runs were stuffed for no gain or a loss, but nine of them gained more than 4 yards, three gained more than 10, and he picked up seven first downs, including a 20-yard touchdown. He also caught three of the four passes thrown his way for 18 yards and a first down.
5.
Marshawn Lynch SEA
124
1
27
0
32
18
14
Three of Lynch's 27 carries were stuffed for no gain or a loss, but 10 of them gained more than 4 yards, three gained more than 10, and he had five first downs, including a touchdown. He also caught the only pass thrown his way for a 27-yard gain on second-and-15.
OK, so right about now I imagine you're all wondering where Adrian Peterson and his 171 rushing yards are. Peterson was eighth among running backs this week, mostly because he had -8 DYAR receiving (three catches in four targets for 5 yards and no first downs). Even if we ignore receiving stats for all runners, though, Peterson would have been about even with Johnson and Spiller, and all three of them would have trailed Andre Brown of the New York Giants (65 yards with five first downs and a touchdown in seven carries). So why was Peterson's day not as valuable as you'd expect? He was stuffed for no gain or a loss seven times, and only six of his 27 carries gained more than 4 yards. To put it another way: Peterson gained 101 yards on three consecutive carries in the fourth quarter. The rest of the day, he averaged 2.9 yards on 24 carries.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Michael Turner ATL
15
0
0
0
-52
-42
-10
Seven of Turner's 13 carries were stuffed for no gain or a loss, only two of them gained more than 4 yards, and only one of them was a first down. He had two carries on third-and-1 and lost yardage both times. This makes Mike Smith's decision to kick a field goal on fourth-and-goal down four in the fourth quarter more understandable.
OTHER BACKS OF LITTLE VALUE: Matt Forte, CHI (16 carries for 39 yards; five catches in five targets for -3 yards); Jonathan Dwyer, PIT (19 carries for 56 yards; one catch in one target for four yards); Isaac Redman, PIT (eight carries for 21 yards; three catches in three targets for 18 yards; one fumble).


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Calvin Johnson DET
12
13
207
17.2
1
69
Johnson's made so many big plays that he was the top receiver despite a lost fumble. Nine of his catches produced first downs (including an 11-yard touchdown), and a tenth would have were it not for the fumble. Five of his catches gained at least 20 yards, including a 50-yarder.
2.
Jimmy Graham NO
7
8
146
20.9
2
61
Each of Graham's receptions gained at least 11 yards and a first down, capped off by a 46-yarder and touchdowns of 29 and 14 yards.
3.
Danny Amendola STL
11
12
102
9.3
0
56
Each of Amendola's receptions gained 2 to 16 yards. Eight of them picked up first downs, including four third-down conversions.
4.
Danario Alexander SD
5
7
134
26.8
1
54
Alexander ranked seventh on the 2011 Rams in receptions, trailing luminaries like Greg Salas and Austin Pettis, and St. Louis wasn't sorry to see him go after the season ended. When you can't keep your job on one of the NFL's sorriest receiving corps, it's usually time to find a new line of work, but Alexander has managed to find a spot on the Chargers' roster, and it paid off for San Diego when Alexander had the second 100-yard day of his career against Tampa Bay. Each of his receptions came on third down, and each resulted in a gain of 6 to 19 yards and a new set of downs — except the first one, an 80-yard touchdown on third-and-10 in the first quarter.
5.
Greg Olsen CAR
9
10
102
11.3
2
49
Five of Olsen's catches gained less than 10 yards, but two of those were touchdowns. He had four gains of 13 or more yards, including a 26-yarder.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Laurent Robinson JAC
9
15
77
8.6
0
-53
Each of Robinson's receptions gained 7 to 19 yards, but only two of them picked up first downs, and he also lost a fumble.
OTHER RECEIVERS OF LITTLE VALUE: Deion Branch, NE (four catches for 30 yards in eight targets); Mike Wallace, PIT (three catches for 14 yards in eight targets); Kellen Davis, CHI (one catch for 6 yards in five targets

Posted by: Vince Verhei on 13 Nov 2012

72 comments, Last at 15 Nov 2012, 3:28am by The Hypno-Toad

Comments

1
by Israel P. (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:50pm

Byron Leftwich did not throw a TD pass.

20
by CraigoMc (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:19pm

If he had, I'd be experiencing somewhat fewer heart palpitations every time I read about Roethlisberger's shoulder.

24
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:26pm

Well, you have to be encouraged by his ERA. I say let him pitch a full game before you decide to panic.

Besides, can you imagine the difficulty the Chiefs are having trying to deal with all the flower arrangements sent by Ravens fans? Those things are all going to be dead in a week. Who'll have the last laugh then, I wonder.

2
by Purds :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:52pm

Is there a complete LCF list somewhere?

3
by Otis Taylor89 :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:52pm

I haven't watched many KC games, but the Chiefs receivers did Cassel no favors last night (I won't even speak of the refs) with the drops - they must of had 7 or 8.

Having said that, Cassel still sucks.

4
by Purds :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:53pm

Imagine what Amendola's numbers would look like if his team knew how to line up correctly on the first play of OT.

5
by Aaron Schatz :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:54pm

Just a quick note on Drew Brees throwing left vs. right: Dunta Robinson is on the left, and Asante Samuel is on the right.

8
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 1:31pm

I was going to ask about this. Seems like, admittedly just one game, Samuel is still rather good at playing his particular brand of coverage.

9
by Peregrine :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 1:35pm

Easy decision. Why throw to Samuel's side when you can pick on Dunta?

Romo was #2 in Quick Reads last week and Brees #1 this week. Yep, the smoke and mirrors for the Falcon pass rush and pass defense are no longer working. But there's a cure, and it's the Arizona Cardinals visiting the Georgia Dome on Sunday.

And Turner is simply killing us. I think he's been the worst RB twice this season.

12
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 1:57pm

I agree. Not sure how well Grimes was playing, but losing him was big. The pass rush is also so disappointing given the talent that they have. Saw that Ray Edwards was cut yesterday. I guess he was hurt a lot, but that was a bust of a signing.

16
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:10pm

Always beware of the DE who puts up good but not great numbers while playing with a truly great DE on the other side.

35
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:19pm

What then, is your opinion of B. Robison? He looks pretty good but again, life sure is easier when you have jared allen on the team.

37
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:25pm

He's another guy who'll likely get too much money on his next contract.

40
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:42pm

Its kind of strange. I thought Ray Edwards played really really well in Minny. I know he and robison benefit from williams and allen, but you still need guys who can make plays and its not as if anyone can be put in. The fact that Edwards flamed out spectacularly reminds me how much proper scheme goes into player production than just whos opposite him.

42
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:51pm

Not just Allen, he also played next to an in-his-prime Kevin Williams and some years next to a still-pretty-good Pat Williams.

45
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:12pm

Does that then imply that all of the bears d linemen not named Peppers and probably Melton are overrated and mediocre players that would be cut on the falcons? See, its hard to know, i get that, but its a dangerous argument to make. On face value, you can say, "hey Ray Edwards isn't dominant or elite, but hes clearly pretty good" only to now say, "Man that guy was total garbage"

46
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:19pm

I don't know how people rate the Bear's d linemen, but yeah without Melton and Peppers, it wouldn't be nearly as good.

Idonije in particular I don't think has ever seen a double team. He might be a worse player than Ray Edwards in a vacuum.

49
by Dean :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:36pm

What about in a phone booth?

60
by TomC :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 5:17pm

Yeah, it's tough to evaluate players in a vacuum, what with no oxygen and their brains splurting out their eye sockets and everything.

61
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 5:30pm

I think at this point, the bears don't have just 1 shutdown corner, remarkably, they have 2. Is this the best 1 to 2 tandem over the last 10 years? The only teams in the past that have had great CB tandems were Cromartie-Revis, Joseph-Hall, Vasher-Tilman and maybe a few others I'm forgetting. But really, Jennings is playing about equal to Tilman and while Tilman has been forcing all the fumbles, Jennings has been intercepting all the passes. Just a dominant duo.

This is just mind boggling to us colts fans. I personally watched Jennings get ripped apart by David Garrard and was convinced he would be out of the league in two years. The fact that he developed beyond marginal 3rd corner into dominant corner is hard to fathom.

62
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 5:53pm

The Packers had Al Harris and Charles Woodson a few years back. They were arguably the best DB pair in the NFL at the time. (Not saying they were the best. But definitely in the conversation.) Unfortunately, the third corner was Tramon Williams, who someone at FO nicknamed Admiral Armbar for all his pass interference penalties. Harris and Woodson got old (Woodson at least can still play when healthy) while Williams went from scary bad to Pro Bowl level. I never thought Williams would ever be any good.

64
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:11pm

Yeah that one was pretty good. The McKenzy and Harris tandem was pretty solid too. I actually forgot to mention Browner and Sherman, which is a pretty strong group and rivals the bears.

66
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:27pm

Depends on how far back you want to go.

Dre Bly and Champ Bailey were pretty decent for a year or so on the Broncos, Brandon Carr/Brandon Flowers for the Chiefs, and as a Colts fan I remember unreasoning terror of Quentin Jammer/Antonio Cromartia, although I agree that if that is in the conversation, it is below Revis/Cromartie. Samuel/Hobbs for New England? It's too bad the Raiders didn't hold onto Woodson, pairing him with Asomugha would have been pretty sweet at the end of the last decade.

68
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 9:09pm

Samuel and Law -maybe-. Samuel and Hobbs? No way.

72
by The Hypno-Toad :: Thu, 11/15/2012 - 3:28am

Maybe Dre Bly was good as a Bronco for a while... I can't really remember much of his tenure other than the Zombie King's bomb that just made Bly look like a fool on the first play of overtime the last time he was in Denver with the Packers.
What I remember was being excited when the Broncos signed him, very underwhelmed with his performance early in the season, then nothing until he got torched on that play. But in any case, I would be surprised if his performance while he was in Denver was ever good enough to belong in this conversation.
Also, Cromartia should be the name of a minor medical disorder. Or maybe a prescription drug.

70
by moore2012 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 2:17am

madison/surtain

55
by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:54pm

I said three words when the Falcons gave all that money to Ray Edwards--"Defensive Alvin Harper".

47
by Peregrine :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:26pm

When healthy, which he was for most of the first half of 2011, Grimes was probably our best defensive player. Crazy to say that about a guy who might be 5'8", 180, but that's the truth. He got injured in garbage time in Kansas City on opening day. (Oh, and Sean Weatherspoon, our best defensive player period, got injured in garbage time in Philly, but he might be back this week.)

Falcons fans are ecstatic to see Ray Edwards gone. Guy wasn't playing much but had the big paychecks. I think it didn't work out mainly because he got paid and he didn't have the passion that was necessary to maintain or improve. I know he was single-blocked a lot in Minnesota, but he was single-blocked in Atlanta too. He seemed to be more interested in modeling, boxing, or fashion than in playing football, and word is he wasn't very good in the locker room.

We have three young recently drafted DE who will start getting snaps in some combination. If any one of them is worth a darn that will be an improvement on Edwards.

51
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:42pm

Edwards, reportedly, constantly had to be challenged to play hard in Minnesota, which is why the Vikings had zero interest in retaining him. Coaching staffs always convince themselves that they can get consistent professionalism that could not be coaxed by the last staff that dealt with an indifferent performer.

53
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:52pm

Or they just don't do their homework.

54
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:52pm

Lol, this makes me think of To and Moss. I remember when the Eagles signed To and then cowboys- people said, "Oh, no way he becomes a headcase with Reid or a coach like Parcells with a proven winner like Mcnabb" Ditto for Moss and his headgames with BB. I think we learned, malcontents will be malcontents.

Just as an side though, I wonder if burns TO that moss is able to play on an nfl team after retirement while TO has been begging for a shot for over a year now.

58
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 5:15pm

It's pretty clear at this point the Jets should have signed TO when they lost Holmes. He might not be able to catch great, but he would at least be open on occasion.

15
by LionInAZ :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:06pm

This is the third time Turner has been least-valuable RB this year.

6
by Marko :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 12:57pm

You forgot to add the most important thing that Kellen Davis did which made him even less valuable: He fumbled after his only reception, which was on the Bears' first offensive play.

31
by TomC :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:49pm

Every year we hear that K. Davis is about to become that guy he looks like he should be, and every year it's the same litany of blown blocks, dropped passes, procedure penalties, and fumbles. One of the ways in which Lovie has improved as a coach in the last few years is by admitting personnel mistakes and moving on, but Davis is the incredibly frustrating exception.

(Almost as infuriating as the fumble was the dropped pass deep over the middle in the 4th quarter, after which Davis lay down on the field with what appeared to me to be post-incompletion stress syndrome ("when the fans boo, it hurts my feelings"). Oh, and the lazy cut on the ball the Manning got inside of him on and intercepted. Just a great night for old #87.)

32
by Marko :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:13pm

Agreed. Thankfully, I don't think we'll be hearing that BS from Lovie about Davis in training camp next year, as I expect he will be cut some time after this season.

7
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 1:26pm

Wow, so the Rams punter had a higher passing DYAR this week than more than half of the NFL's Quarterbacks.

10
by Stats are for losers (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 1:44pm

Speaking of Eagles and turning around, Demetress Bell was quite exceptional at staying firmly rooted to a spot in the turf, then turning to watch DEs and LBs go right by him.

I'm by no means an expert on line play, but he appeared to be doing pretty much everything wrong on Sunday.

11
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 1:50pm

The Rams let Danario Alexander go because he couldn't stay healthy. He was the Rams best WR besides Amendola when he was able to be on the field. He played just a few games in 2010 because he had knee surgery. In 2011, his hamstrings bothered him and then he had another knee injury. He was on the Rams squad at the beginning of 2012 only to miss a couple preseason games due to injury. The Rams just finally gave up on him. He also had health issues at Mizzou and wasn't drafted because of that despite being one of the best WRs in college his senior year. My guess is he'll look really good for about 3 games before he misses the rest of the season due to some health issue.

44
by Dean :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:59pm

Can't make the club in the tub. Alexander is on something like his 6th knee surgery already.

He's a guy who can run in a straight line very fast, but can't really do much of anything else. But he went to Mizzou, so a lot of Rams fans invested emotionally in the "local boy does good" story. Combine that and the Rams inept WR corps, and Alexander got much more praise locally than his play actually warranted.

48
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:34pm

He isn't just "a guy who can run in a straight line very fast". He's a tall (6'5") guy who can also catch the ball. Finding tall guys who can run fast in a straight line and can actually catch a football is a lot tougher than it sounds. That was pretty much Randy Moss's entire skill set (though Moss was both faster and able to stay healthy).

50
by Dean :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:38pm

OK. So he's a TALL guy who can run in a straight line very fast and not do much of anything else. I'd be curious to see what his catch rates were, because I sure don't recall his hands being anything special.

52
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:52pm

Sounds like he had a least 2 skills most of the Rams receivers don't.

56
by Dean :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 4:55pm

Yep - which is why he got a look in the first place. Although I think Brandon Gibson is supposed to be tall even if he doesn't "play tall."

59
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 5:16pm

Actually, an ability to catch the ball is a skill most Rams receivers don't seem to have.

23
by andrew :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:25pm

Ponder was lousy rushing (7 rushes for 15 yards is lousy and that includestwenty yard gain on third and ten and another seven yard scramble).. and ends with a minus ten rushing DYAR... Would I be correct in assumIng his minus fifteen yards receiving are lumped in with his rushing numbers? If so is he double penalized for not dropping that pass as it also hurt his passing numbers? Or would he rank even lower if it were?
"I was corrupt before I had power!" - Rand

13
by IB (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 1:57pm

(If you're curious about the accuracy of the LCF, other names in the top 10 include Philip Rivers, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, and Peyton Manning)

And the rest?

28
by dbt :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:36pm

Unless I'm mistaken, all of those players were drafted before the LCF was formulated, which means the LCF did not predict their success, rather their success was an indicator for the regression formula that built LCF. Counting them as successes is statistically incorrect; only players drafted after the formula was published should be fairly counted as successes.

(Unless you only created LCF by looking at pre-1997 stats, which seems unlikely).

-dbt

29
by IB (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:43pm

You are right, and FO's continuing use of the Lewin "Forecast" in this way ticks me off to no end.

43
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:55pm

That's a fair point, but seeing as this version of the formula was published this year, there's not much of a track record to point out other than to say boy, Luck, Griffin and Wilson have each looked pretty good for rookies for half a season.

57
by Intropy :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 5:04pm

That depends on whether those players were in the training or judging set. A model can justifiably be said to "predict" an event in the past as long as the event isn't used to create the model.

63
by Alex51 :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 6:50pm

They were all drafted before 2006, but in fairness, this was the career stat line of Philip Rivers when the LCF was first published:

17/30 for 148 yards, 1 TD, 1 Int, and 3 sacks.

That's basically one full game's worth of passing, and not a very good game, either. I don't remember too many people claiming that Rivers would soon become an elite NFL QB. Here's what Lewin wrote about Rivers in March of 2006:
"According to this projection system, Philip Rivers will emerge as one of the top quarterbacks in the league over the next couple of years." I don't think it's unreasonable to count Rivers as a successful prediction for the LCF.

14
by CaveDweller (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:02pm

Regarding Peterson, can anyone explain to me if the value of a home run (or big yardage play) is factored into the DYAR stat. For example, a 7 yard run on first and 10 would be a success and so would a 60 yard run on first and 10. Are both of those plays valued equally because they are both successes? Or does the 60 yard run get some type of bonus?

17
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:11pm

I'm no expert, but I think any run of more than 40 yards is treated equally.

18
by andrew :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:12pm

IIRC his 61 yard td run is treated the same as a twenty yard td run... The assumption is that once you break free the distance is more a factor of your field.position than continued success (though in theory you could make a cases in reverse for the defense having less turf to defend).

Obviously not all breakaway runs are TDs (witness Peterson getting caught at the one last week on a 74 yard run... Which I guess would count the same as a 20 yard non td run)...

Not sure if twenty yards is the thresholds going from memory....

"I was corrupt before I had power!" - RandomSSD

27
by CaveDweller (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:31pm

Thanks for the reply. It makes me wonder how much the value of the big play should be worth. In baseball, a .300 singles hitter would have more "successes" than a .280 power hitter, but the power hitter would potentially have more value because his successes might be worth more. Although Peterson had a lot of stuffed runs, each stuff had the potential to be a home run play whereas with a Toby Gerhart that possibility isn't going to be there.

So are Peterson's stuffs actually worth a bit more because of that home run probability and should DYAR take that into account?

30
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:46pm

Well, through last week, for the season Peterson was ranked 1 in DYAR and 3 in DVOA, despite not being much of a receiver, do it isn't as if FO stats don't recognize him as superior.

I'd say the FO stats miss (this isn't meant to be harsh criticism) on Peterson the most in that it can't take into account the fact that Peterson has only had one season in his career when his teammates were competent at passing the ball. Hell, in the Non-Stubbleface Childress years, there were not infrequently games in which opposing defenses often had 10 defenders within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.

19
by tuluse :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:15pm

Bigger plays earn more YAR, but it's not linear. For instance a 60 yard run would be worth less than 3 20 yard runs.

21
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:20pm

The 60 yard run only gets a bonus if you put all of the beanie babies into the golden hamper on the way.

33
by Bobman :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:16pm

That is funny as hell. I just wish I understood it....

36
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:24pm

Bobman, I officially hate the team that had the luxury to let Peyton Manning go, because they had rookie who was ready to be a top 10 performer immediately, as their twittering owner acts like he's a genius.

Damn you horseshoe heads!

38
by theslothook :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:40pm

Well...in fairness, the vikings DID manage not to pay attention to the draft timer, got passed over in terms of picks, and STILL ended up with a hall of fame player. So there!

65
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 7:19pm

Basically, I just don't get DYAR, what it is, how many DYARs make a win etc. I can vaguely understand what the involved factors are but I don't really know what a good figure is or how to judge one player against another and perhaps beanie babies are involved (maybe you have to hide them under the hamper, it really isn't clear).

67
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 8:36pm

I personally think of it as not much different than the database I'm helping develop for my office. There are a bunch of steps in the implementation, but at some point magic happens and nirvana is achieved. In both cases, I'm just happy someone else is the expert who knows how it is supposed to work.

69
by BigCheese :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:29am

"how many DYARs make a win"

Am I correct in assuming that you're comming from a baseball stats background?

DYAR is Defense-Adjusted Yards Above Replacement. It is basically trying to express the value the player had in terms of yards above a replacement-level player. It is not win-shares or anything like that.

As for how to judge one player against another, well, that's the easy part. Whoever has the higher DYAR was more valuable to their team that day.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

71
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 11/14/2012 - 1:23pm

I do understand what it's trying to do. My problem is that I don't know what a good performance is. If someone gets 80 DYAR I don't know how to rank that.

22
by Anonymous37 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:21pm

Um, Vince? You wrote, "at the end of the day the Eagles had once again snatched defeat from the jaws of victory."

Pretty sure that expression is reserved for teams blowing certain wins at the end of games through their own follies. Assuming we watched the same game, I can't see how it applies to the Eagles vs Cowboys...

25
by andrew :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:27pm

I thought the Bills copywrited that phrase...

"I was corrupt before I had power!" - Random

26
by DEW (not verified) :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 2:28pm

Eagles were winning, then gave up two defensive TDs and one special teams TD to lose the game. Unusual and dramatic events overcoming the slightly expanded time-frame of those events.

34
by Will Allen :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:18pm

Ponder is now ranked 25 in DYAR and DVOA. The next 6 games will illuminate a lot, even with pretty uneven (to be charitable) receiver productivity. If he can consistently crack the top 20 in those games, against a tough schedule, with the season on the line, the Vikings will have reason to hope for better things from him in the future. If he shows what he did against the Seahawks, Redskins, etc., they really need to think about taking another qb in the first round, if there is somebody on their draft borad which approximates their draft position.

39
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:41pm

After getting concussed on that quarterback sneak he went completed all three attempts for 16 yards and a touchdown, a perfect quarterback rating and presumably some DYARs. Clearly the 49ers should start using the 'Three Stooges' method of pregame preparation: wallop Smith round the head with a length of 2x4 until when asked who he is he answers with any name other than Alex Smith because having people who think they're Alex Smith under center cannot be a good idea.

41
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 11/13/2012 - 3:48pm

Ponder was lousy rushing (7 rushes for 15 yards is lousy and that includestwenty yard gain on third and ten and another seven yard scramble).. and ends with a minus ten rushing DYAR... Would I be correct in assumIng his minus fifteen yards receiving are lumped in with his rushing numbers? If so is he double penalized for not dropping that pass as it also hurt his passing numbers? Or would he rank even lower if it were?

The reception for -15 yards counts against him as a passer, but not as a rusher. Also, the totals you posted include kneeldowns. In our numbers, Ponder ran four times for 18 yards: a 20-yard gain on first-and-10 (very good), a 7-yard gain on third-and-12 (meh), a 7-yard loss on first-and-goal from the 3 (I have no idea what happened there -- maybe he rolled out to pass and just ran out of bounds? If so it will probably be changed to a sack later), and a 2-yard loss on third-and-7 (this happened late in the fourth quarter and has all the markings of a kneeldown).

Regarding Peterson, can anyone explain to me if the value of a home run (or big yardage play) is factored into the DYAR stat. For example, a 7 yard run on first and 10 would be a success and so would a 60 yard run on first and 10. Are both of those plays valued equally because they are both successes? Or does the 60 yard run get some type of bonus?

From Methods to Our Madness:

A successful play is worth one point; an unsuccessful play, zero points with fractional points in between (e.g., eight yards on third-and-10 is worth 0.54 “success points”). Extra points are awarded for big plays, gradually increasing to three points for 10 yards (assuming those yards result in a first down), four points for 20 yards, and five points for 40 yards or more.

Bigger plays earn more YAR, but it's not linear. For instance a 60 yard run would be worth less than 3 20 yard runs.

Well, that can get a little complicated. The three 20s are worth slightly more DYAR than one 60, but the one 60 might have a bigger boost to a specific player’s DVOA, depending on how many other runs he had and what he did with them. It would be more accurate to say “three 20-yard runs would be more valuable than one 60-yard run and two zero-yard runs.”