Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

RiversPhi04.jpg

» 2014 KUBIAK vs. ADP: The Underrated

Going too low in your fantasy draft: veteran quarterbacks, running backs who do more with their hands than their feet, and Houston's (only) two good receivers.

04 Dec 2012

Week 13 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

Late in the third quarter against Sunday's game against Arizona, with his offense getting shut out and his fanbase begging for a change, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan decided he'd seen enough of quarterback Mark Sanchez for the day, and sat him down in favor of second-year passer Greg McElroy. McElroy proceeded to do just enough to beat a Cardinals team whose own offensive performance was bordering on catastrophic. After the game, Ryan refused to name a starter for next week's meeting against Jacksonville, leaving Sanchez and McElroy, plus the entire fanbase, in limbo. Really, though, it doesn't matter who starts against the Jaguars. After four years of the Mark Sanchez era in New York, it's fair to say that he's never going to develop into the next great Jets passer. However, it's just as fair to say that McElroy won't be that man, either.

It's plain that Sanchez hasn't grown like the Jets had hoped he would, and even more clear when we look at his career numbers. The following table shows Sanchez's rate statistics for each season of his career. Completion percentage and yards per pass attempt are self-explanatory and fairly common. "TD%" and "INT%" are simply touchdowns and interceptions as a percentage of all pass attempts, while "Sck%" is the percentage of all dropbacks (pass attempts plus sacks) that see the quarterback hit the ground. The next column shows ESPN's Total QBR. Finally, we have DVOA, Football Outsiders' exclusive metric that analyzes every play of the NFL season and adjusts it for down, distance, field position, score, quality of opponent and other factors. (More information on DVOA is available here.) If Sanchez has progressed much during his career, it's hard to see it in these numbers:


Mark Sanchez, year-by-year
Year
G
Comp%
Yds/Pass
TD%
INT%
Sck%
QBR
DVOA
2009
15
53.8%
6.71
3.3%
5.5%
6.7%
31.6
-26.6%
2010
16
54.8%
6.49
3.4%
2.6%
5.1%
48.0
-4.3%
2011
16
56.7%
6.40
4.8%
3.3%
6.7%
33.6
-12.5%
2012
12
55.0%
6.57
3.2%
3.5%
7.3%
28.4
-17.6%

Aside from some fluctuations in touchdowns and interceptions, what we have here is a series of consistently unimpressive numbers. DVOA shows that while Sanchez showed plenty of improvement between his first and second seasons, he was never as valuable as a league-average quarterback, and he's declined now for two straight seasons. QBR tells a similar story. Sanchez hasn't just stagnated, he has gotten worse.

Could anyone have expected Sanchez to crash and burn like this? Well, yes. I did. I'm not right all the time (two weeks ago I wrote that the Cowboys were good enough to make a playoff run, and they've since lost at home to Washington and needed an onside kick recovery to hold off Philadelphia), but this piece I wrote four years ago comparing Sanchez unfavorably to JaMarcus Russell has proven somewhat accurate. That column wasn't very popular among Jets fans, and they let me know about it loud and clear. I don't hear from them much anymore though. They're far too busy booing Sanchez to worry about booing me.

Regardless, we've all seen enough of Sanchez now to form our own opinions, but the jury is out on McElroy. Is there reason to believe he can be a star in the NFL? At Football Outsiders, we like to use college numbers to forecast quarterbacks' success in the NFL, and on the surface McElroy's numbers are good to excellent. He started two seasons at Alabama, leading the SEC in completion percentage in 2010, and improving in NCAA passer rating as a senior. However, we also use scouting data in our forecasts, and the scouts saw little in McElroy to get excited about. We usually write off quarterbacks who aren't drafted in the first three rounds, and the Jets didn't take McElroy until the seventh round in 2011. He was the 208th player selected, which means every team passed on him several times -- including the Jets, who picked up Muhammad Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Bilal Powell, and Jeremy Kerley before they grabbed McElroy.

ESPN's pre-draft scouting report on McElroy gave him the highest possible grade in "toughness/leadership," but emphasized the quarterback's physical limitations. It said he had "below average arm strength," that his deep ball "tends to sail," and that he would not be able to "drive the ball vertically in the NFL, especially in windy conditions." It has been known to get windy in the Meadowlands from time to time.

McElroy's performance against Arizona fit well with that scouting report. Yes, he completed 5-of-7 passes with one touchdown and no sacks or interceptions, but he gained only 29 yards. His average completion came just 5.8 yards past the line of scrimmage. Of course, that's only seven passes, hardly a solid sample size. We also have two years of preseason data, though, and those numbers tell a similar story. McElroy has gone 52-of-82 for 474 yards in the preseason. That's a solid completion rate of 63.4%, but a paltry 9.1 yards per completion and 5.8 yards per pass. No quarterback this season is picking up real estate in chunks that small.

In four seasons, Sanchez has yet to show any sign of exceptional passing talent. There's little reason to believe that McElroy will do any better. Whoever the Jets' next great passer is, he's probably not on the roster right now.

(Of course, the Jets have a third option at quarterback, but discussing his potential would require a column unto itself, and until further notice that quarterback is sidelined with a rib injury anyway. However, in the name of blatantly generating cheap pageviews, let me say this: Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow Tebow.)

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Russell Wilson SEA
23/37
296
2
0
235
203
32
Fair warning: There's a good chance this is going to be the longest player comment in the history of Quick Reads. You may want to go get a drink or something before you get too far into this. Ready? OK, let's start with a few notes about Wilson's splits from Sunday's game. On Seattle's first eight drives, he went 14-of-25 for 178 yards with seven first downs and two sacks. He also had four runs for 24 yards and one first down. On their last two drives, the 97-yard go-ahead touchdown drive in the fourth quarter and the game-winner in overtime, he went 9-of-12 for 118 yards with two touchdowns and four other first downs, and also ran five times for 47 yards and four first downs, including conversions of third-and-2 and third-and-5 in overtime. His last seven passes of the game were all complete, five of them for first downs or touchdowns. He did all this against the Chicago Bears, which regular QR readers will know by now has been by far the league's best passing defense. Wilson became the tenth player this year to throw at least 30 passes against Chicago, but the first to do so without throwing an interception. When you account for opponent adjustments and include rushing data, this wasn't just the most valuable game for a quarterback this week, it was the most valuable game for a rookie quarterback in Football Outsiders' database going back to 1991. On passing numbers alone, though, it wasn't even the best game by a rookie quarterback this year. That honor goes to Andrew Luck for his Week 9 performance against Miami. Brandon Weeden also makes the list for what he did against Cincinnati in Week 2. Meanwhile, Washington's Robert Griffin had a game against New Orleans in Week 1 (320 yards passing in only 26 attempts) that would have made this list, but in the months since we've come to realize how lousy the Saints defense is, and as a result that game is now worth 115 DYAR, which is still the best of his short career. Ryan Tannehill's best game was a 117-DYAR performance in Week 4 when he burned Arizona for 431 yards. Here's a look at the top 15 games by rookie quarterbacks since 1991 -- and yes, Ryan Leaf did in fact have one good game during his NFL career (Seattle was the No. 4 pass defense that year).

Top 15 Games by Rookie QBs, 1991-2012
Rk
Year
Player
Team
Opp.
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
2012 Russell Wilson SEA CHI
23/37
296
2
0
235
203
32
2.
1999 Cade McNown CHI DET
27/36
301
4
2
211
200
11
3.
2012 Andrew Luck IND MIA
30/48
433
2
0
205
204
1
4.
1999 Jeff Garcia* SF ATL
26/34
373
2
0
202
193
9
5.
1998 Ryan Leaf SD SEA
25/49
281
1
0
188
183
4
6.
2003 Byron Leftwich JAC TB
21/34
226
2
0
184
179
5
7.
2008 Matt Ryan ATL CHI
22/30
301
1
0
177
181
-4
8.
1999 Jeff Garcia* SF CIN
33/47
437
3
1
174
172
2
9.
1998 Peyton Manning IND CIN
17/26
210
3
0
169
169
0
10.
1998 Charlie Batch DET TB
14/23
195
2
0
165
160
5
11.
1994 Heath Shuler WAS ARI
16/27
287
1
1
165
149
16
12.
2012 Brandon Weeden CLE CIN
26/37
322
2
0
164
163
1
13.
1993 Rick Mirer SEA SD
25/40
282
1
0
160
146
14
14.
2004 Eli Manning NYG PIT
16/23
182
2
1
160
152
8
15.
1993 Drew Bledsoe NE MIA
27/43
329
4
1
159
167
-7
* Though technically an NFL rookie, Garcia had five years of experience with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League.

2.
Tony Romo DAL
23/27
303
3
0
167
176
-9
First three drives: 7-of-10 for 40 yards with three first downs and two sacks. Last five drives: 16-of-17 for 263 yards and 11 first downs, including three touchdowns. He completed every pass he threw after halftime, and his last six completions gained 130 yards and six first downs, including two touchdowns.
3.
Aaron Rodgers GB
27/35
286
1
1
134
130
4
On short passes (those thrown within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage), Rodgers went 25-of-28 for 221 yards and 12 first downs. He was especially effective when targeting the short middle area of the field, going 9-of-9 for 88 yards and six first downs.
4.
Jay Cutler CHI
17/26
233
2
0
129
114
15
Cutler did most of his damage with midrange passes. On throws to receivers between 6 and 15 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, he went 5-of-6 for 59 yards and four first downs, including a 12-yard touchdown on third-and-4.
5.
Carson Palmer OAK
34/51
351
2
1
115
112
3
First five third-down plays: 2-of-5 for 9 yards and one first down. Last nine third-down plays (including a fourth-and-1): 8-of-8 for 75 yards and eight first downs, with one sack.
6.
Brady Quinn KC
19/23
201
2
0
114
118
-4
Given the strange and horrible circumstances surrounding Sunday's game between the Chiefs and Panthers, there's very little meaning or long-term value to be found in Quinn's statistics, or those of anyone else who played in Kansas City this weekend. Our computer knows that Quinn went 19-of-23 for 201 yards, with two touchdowns, no interceptions, and only one sack. It knows he went 6-of-8 for 65 yards inside the Carolina 40, with two touchdowns and two other first downs. It can analyze those plays and calculate their value. It can't tell you anything, though, about the heartache and sorrow Quinn and his teammates are going through. Quinn himself is still struggling to come to grips with those feelings. "I'm just trying to get through the rest of today," he said after the game. "The emotions of what has taken place will probably hit home for a few guys the next few days, when they realize what's taken place." Our prayers and best wishes continue to go out to all those affected by this weekend's tragedy.
7.
Eli Manning NYG
21/33
280
1
0
109
107
2
8.
Robert Griffin WAS
13/21
163
1
0
102
90
12
9.
Cam Newton CAR
15/27
232
3
0
92
69
23
On the one hand, Newton went just 4-of-9 on the Kansas City half of the field. On the other hand, those four completions totaled 85 yards and three touchdowns. He also had two runs on that side of the 50, a 4-yard gain on third-and-7 and a 20-yard gain on second-and-10.
10.
Peyton Manning DEN
27/38
242
3
1
80
80
0
On second down, Manning went 9-of-10 for 83 yards. Only four of those plays picked up first downs, but one of them was a touchdown. He also had a pair of 10-yard gains on second-and-11 and second-and-16.
11.
Charlie Batch PIT
26/37
280
1
1
79
79
0
On first down, Batch went 9-of-14 for 44 yards with one first down (which came on his last first-down throw), one interception, and one sack. His first seven second-down throws resulted in four completions for 17 yards with no first downs and one interception, but his last seven second-down throws resulted in seven completions for seven first downs (including a touchdown) and 143 yards.
12.
Sam Bradford STL
26/38
221
0
0
47
29
18
On San Francisco's half of the field, Bradford went 5-of-9 for 47 yards and only one first down. Keep in mind this game went nearly five full quarters.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
13.
Brandon Weeden CLE
25/36
364
1
2
37
43
-6
It was feast or famine for Weeden on deep passes. He went 3-of-7 for 86 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions.
14.
Colin Kaepernick SF
22/32
208
0
0
34
29
5
The botched pitch that was recovered by St. Louis for a touchdown goes down a run for -5 yards and a fumble for Kaepernick, and that certainly drags him down. (It almost exactly negates his brilliant 50-yard scramble later in the fourth quarter.) By the way, wasn't Alex Smith benched partly because Kaepernick has a stronger arm? Kaepernick threw only two deep passes against the Rams, completing one of them for 30 yards. He also threw exactly one pass to the middle of the field, a 5-yard completion. Throwing to his left, he went 13-of-17 for 143 yards and eight first downs. To his right, he went 7-of-13 for 60 yards with three first downs and one intentional grounding.
15.
Nick Foles PHI
22/34
251
1
0
30
30
0
Foles' numbers in the middle of the field demonstrate why completion percentage isn't always an accurate indicator of a quarterback's effectiveness. Foles went 6-of-7 between the 40s for 50 yards, but only gained one first down. He also had a midfield sack-fumble.
16.
Josh Freeman TB
18/39
242
2
1
28
29
-1
Third downs: 3-of-7 for 29 yards and only one first down.
17.
Matt Schaub HOU
21/35
207
2
0
12
10
2
Schaub threw only four passes inside the Jacksonville 40, and that is explained entirely by his performance between the 40s. One of his passes from the MID zone was complete to Lestar Jean for a 54-yard touchdown. (Jean, by the way, has just four catches this year, but he's averaging 30 yards per grab.) Otherwise, he went 3-of-10 for zero yards and no first downs, including six failed third-down plays.
18.
Tom Brady NE
24/40
238
1
1
10
8
2
Brady's splits by down are pretty insane. First down: 4-of-15 for 36 yards with no first downs, one interception and two sacks. Second down: 13-of-17 for 128 yards, one touchdown, and nine other first downs, plus DPIs for 4 and 31 yards. Third downs: 7-of-8 for 74 yards, but only four first downs and two sacks.
19.
Philip Rivers SD
26/47
280
0
1
3
-5
9
Rivers started out 10-for-10 for 92 yards and four first downs (although there was a sack-fumble in there), but his last four passes, each in the red zone with a chance to tie the game, were all incomplete. His last pass was intercepted, although in DYAR it's considered a Hail Mary and treated like an incomplete pass.
20.
Matt Stafford DET
27/46
313
2
1
-3
11
-14
Stafford loses 65 DYAR for playing the woeful Indianapolis defense. He has almost as much to do with Indianapolis' comeback as Andrew Luck did. In the fourth quarter, he went 1-of-6 for 8 yards with a 21-yard DPI, throwing five incompletions in a row at one point, three of them on third down. A conversion on any one of those plays means Luck probably doesn't get enought time to complete his comeback.
21.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
9/17
112
2
1
-4
-11
8
Fitzpatrick's first second-down pass was incomplete. He completed his other six second-down passes for 91 yards (including a 51-yarder) and three first downs, including a 13-yard touchdown.
22.
Andrew Luck IND
24/52
391
4
3
-16
-32
16
The two miracle touchdowns got all the attention, but let's not forget that Luck completed less than half his passes and threw three interceptions. First 14 drives: 17-of-38 for 279 yards with two touchdowns, six other first downs, three picks, two sacks, and one fumble. Last two drives: 7-of-14 for 112 yards with two touchdowns and three other first downs. He also had three fourth-quarter scrambles for 33 yards and two more first downs.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Andy Dalton CIN
25/39
211
1
2
-32
-45
13
The bulk of Dalton's day was devoted to throwing ineffective short routes. On passes to receivers within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, he went 18-of-25 for 103 yards and only three first downs. His receivers also fumbled twice on those plays, and while that's hardly Dalton's fault, it did make the strategy an even bigger failure.
24.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
13/28
186
0
0
-40
-45
6
Inside the New England 40, Tannehill went 4-of-8 for 42 yards with no touchdowns, two first downs, and one sack.
25.
Joe Flacco BAL
16/34
188
1
1
-43
-43
0
The Ravens took a 13-6 lead into halftime. After that, Flacco went 5-of-12 for 54 yards with three first downs, three sacks, and one fumble.
26.
Matt Ryan ATL
18/33
165
1
0
-55
-55
0
Ryan had only seven first downs on the day, although one of those was a touchdown. On third downs, he went 4-of-10 for 39 yards and just one first down. On Atlanta's half of the field, he went 9-of-20 for 75 yards with two first downs (neither of which came until the fourth quarter) and a sack.
27.
Christian Ponder MIN
12/25
119
1
2
-69
-46
-22
Ponder threw an interception on the last play of the third quarter. It was his second interception of the day, and at that point, he was 5-of-13 for 36 yards and had misfired on seven passes in a row. He had also fumbled the ball on a red-zone running play, though Minnesota recovered.
28.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
10/21
97
0
3
-94
-97
3
It just hit me that a good chunk of my professional football writing career has been devoted to pointing out Mark Sanchez's shortcomings. What if this is the end? I'm getting nostalgic now thinking about all those perfect back-foot passes that hit receivers right in the feet. If this was Sanchez's last start, he went out in fine form. His last eight dropbacks resulted in one 2-yard completion on second-and-7, five incompletions, and two sacks. And that's all after he threw three picks. By the way, Greg McElroy's final numbers: 5-of-7 passing for 29 yards, two rushes for 7 yards, 29 total DYAR. (The minimum number of attempts to be listed in the Quick Reads table is eight, so McElroy just misses.)
29.
Drew Brees NO
28/50
341
0
5
-106
-106
0
I could just say "he threw five picks" and leave it at that, but I'll add that Brees went 4-of-5 for 18 yards with no first downs and only one successful play inside the Atlanta 20.
30.
Chad Henne JAC
18/41
208
1
1
-107
-109
3
Third and fourth downs: 3-of-12 for 38 yards and only one first down. Oddly enough, he failed to convert seven of those plays with less than 10 yards to go, but he did pick up a third-and-17.
31.
Jake Locker TEN
21/45
309
1
3
-121
-120
-1
In one stretch of 15 dropbacks over the second and third quarters, Locker went 4-of-10 for 28 yards with no first downs, two interceptions, and five sacks. He'd add another interception and a sack-fumble later. Locker spent most of his day trying and failing to get out of the shadows of his own end zone. Inside the Tennessee 20, he went 5-of-15 for 32 yards with one sack, two interceptions, and just one first down. And that's all INSIDE the 20. If we give him plays right at the 20, we can add one incompletion, one sack, and one completion for 6 yards on first down. Things weren't much better at the other end of the field. Inside the Houston 20, he went 1-of-4 for 7 yards, no first downs, and a sack-fumble. I need to stop piling on Locker now because there's someone who played even worse to talk about.
32.
Ryan Lindley ARI
10/31
72
0
1
-155
-155
0
All right, get this. Lindley's first pass of the day was complete to Larry Fitzgerald for 23 yards. From that point to the middle of the fourth quarter, he went 8-of-26 for 33 yards with one interception, one sack, and NO FIRST DOWNS. Finally he hit Michael Floyd for 16 yards on second-and-10. And then he went incomplete, incomplete, incomplete, sack, game over, one-point loss. I'm sure Ryan Lindley's a nice guy. But he's not an NFL quarterback.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Bryce Brown PHI
169
2
14
0
50
62
-12
Say hello to perhaps the only good thing about the Philadelphia Eagles' 2012 season. He does have some issues with ball security, with three fumbles in his last two games. Otherwise, though, there's plenty to like here. Only four times in 24 carries was he hit for no gain or a loss against Dallas, but he showed enough consistency to pick ten total first downs (including those touchdowns) on the ground, along with the burst to reel off seven runs of 10 yards or more and three of 20 yards or more, capped off by a 39-yarder. He also caught four passes in five targets for 14 yards, though only one of those plays (a 7-yard gain on second-and-10) met FO's standards of a successful play.
2.
Adrian Peterson MIN
210
1
10
0
46
48
-3
It's getting to be a weekly thing here where I have to explain why Adrian Peterson is not the top-ranked running back. The shortest answer is that he gains an insane amount of yardage on a few carries most weeks, and otherwise doesn't bring a lot to the table. This week, for example, he had an 82-yard touchdown (on third-and-1 at that), plus first-down carries of 48 and 23 yards. His other 18 runs averaged only 3.2 yards apiece and gained only two first downs. Twelve of them gained 3 yards or less. He's also dinged for a couple of short-yardage failures. He's still the highest ranked runner over the course of the season, so it's not as if DYAR hates Adrian Peterson. It just usually finds a player or two who was less explosive but more consistent.
3.
Ahmad Bradshaw NYG
103
0
13
0
37
36
1
4.
Stevan Ridley NE
71
1
0
0
36
36
0
One of the better 3.7-yards-per-carry days you'll ever see. Ridley was only stuffed twice. Six of his runs gained exactly 2 yards, but three of those were short-yardage conversions, including a touchdown. He also had gains of 9 and 11 yards.
5.
Vick Ballard IND
41
1
21
0
32
20
12
Two of Ballard's nine carries were stuffed in the backfield, but they came in long-yardage situations and so they don't hurt him too badly. He also had an 11-yard touchdown, a 13-yard gain on second-and-7, and a 4-yard gain on second-and-3 in the red zone. He caught three of the four passes thrown his way, including a 7-yard gain on third-and-5.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Arian Foster HOU
38
1
15
0
-42
-25
-17
Only two of Foster's 14 carries gained first downs (although one of those was a 2-yard touchdown), and his longest run gained only 7 yards. He was only stuffed once, but he also had a fumble. He caught each of the five passes thrown his way, but only one of those went for a first down, and three of them were failed plays on third downs (including a 4-yard loss on third-and-2).
OTHER BACKS OF LITTLE VALUE: Chris Johnson, TEN (eight carries for 22 yards, four catches for 20 yards in five targets, one fumble); Rashad Jennings, JAC (eight carries for 22 yards, two fumbles); Beanie Wells, ARI (15 carries for 22 yards).


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Dez Bryant DAL
6
6
98
16.3
2
68
For some reason, Bryant had only one target in the first half, and that came just before the two-minute warning, as he caught a 14-yard pass on third-and-5. His first catch of the second half was a 5-yard gain on second-and-6. That was his last target that came up short of the sticks. His final four plays: 23-yard touchdown on third-and-2; 15-yard gain on third-and-3; 35-yard gain on third-and-2; and a 6-yard touchdown on second-and-goal.
2.
Brandon Myers OAK
14
15
130
9.3
1
61
A sixth-round draft pick out of Iowa in 2009, Myers gained only 250 yards, total, in his first three seasons with the Raiders, and never went over 33 yards in a game. He became a full-time starter for the first time this year, but in the first 12 weeks of the season he averaged 54 yards a game and never went over 86 in a single contest. That all changed Sunday. Eight of his 14 catches produced first downs (including the touchdown), and four of the others counted as successful plays, including 8- and 9-yard gains on first-and-10 and a 14-yard catch on second-and-15.
3.
Golden Tate SEA
5
6
96
19.2
1
56
Tate only had one target after halftime, but he made it count, scoring a go-ahead touchdown in the last minute of the fourth quarter. He had three other first downs on the day, including a 49-yard gain on third-and-6.
4.
Sidney Rice SEA
6
9
99
16.5
1
51
Five of Rice's catches produced first downs or touchdowns. The sixth was a 9-yard gain on first-and-10. He played a big part in Seattle's late-game heroics. He had a 27-yard catch on Seattle's go-ahead fourth-quarter drive, and of course he caught the game-winner in overtime. Those two plays were worth 33 DYAR by themselves.
5.
Josh Gordon CLE
6
7
116
19.3
1
49
The only pass thrown in Gordon's direction that he failed to catch was intercepted, but DYAR assigns that penalty to the quarterback, not the receiver. Gordon's longest catch was a 44-yard touchdown. Four of his other catches gained first downs. The last was a 5-yard gain on first-and-10.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Juron Criner OAK
4
10
26
6.5
0
-50
One of Criner's four receptions ended in a fumble. Oakland recovered the ball, so he was lucky that the play had little impact on the game, but it sinks Criner to the bottom of our rankings. He only had two first downs, a 7-yard gain on second-and-1 and a 3-yard gain on fourth-and-1.
OTHER RECEIVERS OF LITTLE VALUE: Jordan Shipley, JAC (three catches for 19 yards in eight targets); Davone Bess, MIA (one catch for 13 yards in six targets); Michael Floyd, ARI (two catches for 22 yards in 10 targets).

Posted by: Vince Verhei on 04 Dec 2012

138 comments, Last at 07 Dec 2012, 10:52am by peterplaysbass

Comments

1
by Ben :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:14am

The defensive adjustments this year seem a little steep. Wilson having the best game of a rookie ever? Calvin Johnson not even making the top 5 receivers? How much of that has to do with playing the Bears and Colts respectively?

17
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:32pm

FO thinks the Bears have the best pass defense in 10 years, and the 3rd best since 1991. They have been *really* good this year.

2
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:11am

Vince, I relly think it might be interesting to take the top five offenses and defenses at week 10, in each year from the DVOA era, and sort them by median age of starters, and then see how much correlaton there is between older age and regression through week 17.

Having said that, if the only thing keeping an NFL qb prospect from being drafted in the top 5 or top 10 in the first round is two or three inches in stature, that guy should probably not fall to the 3rd round.

6
by mawbrew :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:43am

Who would have guessed that being #1 on a list where Cade McNown is #2, Leaf is #4, and also includes Mirer and Shuler would be a good thing?

Highly regarded QBs don't slip out of the first round. For any QB drafted after the first ropund there is typically a very good reason for believing they won't be successful at the NFL level. They aren't always right.

If we assume that Wilson's ceiling is Jeff Garcia (seems a reasonable pre-draft assumption, one I would argue is still reasonable) with a 50% chance that he achieves that and a 20% chance he's a bust (probably more favorable than justified pre-draft), where does Wilson get drafted? I suspect he still doesn't get drafted in the first round.

9
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:38am

The only reason Wilson wasn't very, very, highly regarded, and likely drafted in the top 10, is two or three inches in stature. My point is that there is not a large enough sample size of college qbs with Wilson's positive attributes, but Wilson's one major negative attribute, to form a strong opinion as to how much that negative attribute lowers his ceiling.

7
by RickD :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:19am

Why should we think that Wilson's ceiling is Jeff Garcia as opposed to, say, Drew Brees?

8
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:36am

Exactly. Other than the simple statistical truth that Garcia's ceiling is more frequently achieved than Brees' ceiling, there really isn't much that was particular to Wilson that suggested that Wilson ceiling was Garcia, and not Brees. I'm not saying that Wilson should have been drafted right after RGIII. I do think, however, that a lot of teams had a bad and avoidable whiff by not taking him either in the latter first round, or in the 2nd round.

39
by mawbrew :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:51pm

I'll preface this by saying I haven't seen a lot of the Seahawks this year. What I have seen leads me to believe the Seahawks are doing some atypical things with their offense to avoid having Wilson's height be a problem. His touchdown pass to Rice that won the game against the Bears is an example. Brees has been successful in a prototypical NFL offense.

I could very well be wrong and Wilson may have the potential to be as good as Brees. At this point, I just think the much more likely ceiling is Garcia, a guy who had a very good career but could not thrive in every NFL offense.

45
by Ghost Shock :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:31pm

That's wrong. The Saints have done a lot to minimize Brees' height being a factor. They consistently have Brees crash right, for example.

46
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:38pm

To echo Ghost Shock, Sean Payton and Mickey Loomis have done a lot to account for how tall Brees is. Mind you, I've always said that Brees is a cut below Manning and Brady, simply because his stature renders him much more sensitive to less than good pass protection. The same will hold true for Wilson, of course, no matter how well he does, but that is not harsh criticism of either Wilson or Brees.

90
by Paddy Pat :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:09pm

First of all, Jeff Garcia was a pretty dern good QB in my opinion. He had that 49ers offense absolutely cranking for stretches. I don't think many players hit his ceiling. 32% DVOA in 2000, good numbers in 01 and 02--short career peak, but a really nice one. That's worth a first round pick. Second, Brees absolutely plays in a non-standard offense tailored to his strengths, but arguably, so does Roethlisberger, so does Brady, so does Manning. There really isn't a "standard" NFL offense. Each of these guys is an individual with strengths and weaknesses and they play in systems that try to emphasize what they do well. Wilson may have an even harder time finding throwing lanes than Brees does, but he's arguably even more mobile. I think the problem for his draft status was simply envisioning how an offense with him could work. There's just no way for him to see over linemen, so he can't scan the whole field. You have to be a very creative thinker to use him well, and I think it's a testament to the SEA coaching that he's been able to shine. They also had to be pretty patient with their scheme; he certainly didn't look good in the first few weeks of the season.

11
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:02pm

Jeff Garcia was 29 years old in his rookie season, and made the Pro Bowl in 3 of his first 4 seasons. I bet the Browns would be ecstatic to get 3 Pro Bowls out of Brandon Weeden's first 4 seasons, and they made him a first-round draft pick at a similar age to Garcia. Considering that Russell Wilson is five years younger than Garcia, if he had a 50% chance of turning into Garcia I'm sure teams would be lining up to spend at least a late-first-round pick on him.

34
by mawbrew :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:29pm

Garcia had a very nice career and was very successful in the WC offense. But he was limited. He wasn't going to be successful in every NFL offense. My guess is that most NFL teams viewed Wilson similarly. Those limitations (perceived or real) made him a lot less attractive to some teams. Combine that with the number of teams that had no real interest in drafting a QB in the first round (because of entrenched starters) and it seems unlikely to me that he goes in the first round. But it's admittedly just a guess.

38
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:48pm

Jeff Garcia is one of the more perennially underrated quarterbacks in the NFL; he replaced Donovan McNabb midseason (at the height of McNabb's powers), late in his career, and the Eagles did not miss a beat. That is not nothing. Are we even certain that Jeff Garcia in his prime was not as good a quarterback as Brees? Or are we simply judging by silly 2010's passing numbers?

Garcia was more mobile, and probably serves as a better comparison for that reason, too.

One of my pet peeves about player evaluation is that players like Garcia (and Testeverde) get too little credit for producing in a variety of circumstances with varying levels of surrounding talent (and usually lower levels of surrounding talent than long term franchise quarterbacks like Brees).

Put it this way: The only quarterbacks with a higher career passer rating than Garcia who are also, like Garcia, older than Peyton Manning are Steve Young, Kurt Warner, and Joe Montana.

97
by BigCheese :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:28pm

"he replaced Donovan McNabb midseason (at the height of McNabb's powers), late in his career, and the Eagles did not miss a beat. That is not nothing."

While I agree that Garcia is somewhat underrated, an argument that applies equally well to AJ Feeley probably isn't the best way to make that case.

- Alvaro

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

28
by nennerb15 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:12pm

I don't think that you can say that just because someone wasn't drafted in the first round they wont be able to be a vary successful starting quarterback in the NFL. Remember that one guy that the patriots drafted in the 6th round. Oh what was his name? I think it was something like Tim. Oh no, it was Tom. Tom Brady. The one who has one 3 Superbowl's and is now the quarterback with the most division titles in NFL history. The one who is going to go to the hall of fame as one of the most accomplished quarterbacks in history. It is less likely that a later draft pick becomes a star, but its not out of the question that Russell Wilson could win a Superbowl in Seattle and have a very accomplished career.

31
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:21pm

You could have saved yourself a pulled sarcasm muscle if you had reflected on the meaning of the phrase "They aren't always right.".

3
by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:27am

I'm curious whether you have a similar breakdown for Sam Bradford to the Sanchez one?

Also, couple of questions on McElroy. 1: what would his Lewin Forecast have been if he'd been eligible?

And related to that, 2: is there any evidence of players who were successful despite being late round picks (Brady, Fitzpatrick, Warner) and having great Lewin Forecasts? I'm sure there are tonnes of late round guys with good forecasts who didn't work out, but I'm curious if the few late round/undrafted guys who have worked out also had great Lewin Forecasts.

10
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:53am

From what I remember, PFR did a study that suggested what you should be looking for in a late round quarterback is a guy from a major program who's at least 6'2 but below prototypical weight. I would speculate that you should also want someone with a good college completion percentage - because I think one of the conclusions to draw from Lewin is that accuracy very rarely improves much once players hit the pros and completion percentage is a decent (though imperfect) proxy for accuracy - but with a low start count (because if he started a lot of games, the scouts are probably right about him). McElroy's not too far off that model. However, even guys who fit the profile usually bust, so I wouldn't get too excited.

15
by Led :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:26pm

In McElroy's rookie preseason last year (before he got injured for the year), to call his arm strength "below average" would have given him way too much credit. It was patently inadequate. He could not have contributed in any positive way on the field. He apparently took advantage of his rehab to gain weight and strength. His arm is now probably below average. I don't know if he can continue to improve in that department. He seems to have more smarts and poise than Sanchez already, but then again Sanchez actually played very well in his first start (albeit against the pre-Wade Houston defense) so who knows. He's at least an unknown quantity. Sanchez is what he is.

19
by are-tee :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:46pm

I think a lot of Jet fans are nostalgic about smart, weak-armed quarterbacks from Southern colleges.

23
by Led :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:55pm

I wish I knew how to quit Chad.

109
by dryheat :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 11:13am

Marshall is southern? I assumed you were going back to Broadway Joe.

112
by Dean :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 12:18pm

Nah. They're pining for Livingston.

22
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:52pm

I know Tom Brady increased his arm strength after entering the NFL. So it's not impossible. A lot people think Rodgers did too, but I didn't see enough of him in college to have an opinion.

33
by dmstorm22 :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:26pm

Isn't Rodgers more about McCarthy changing up his throwing motion?

But Brady definitely improved his arm strength after entering the NFL.

35
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:35pm

That's true: Brady's arm strength is now average to below average for an NFL starter. It would be easy to name sixteen NFL starters (and several backups) with better arms. Tebow has a better arm!

Arm strength just is not as critical as scouts tend to think. It is measurable and useful to a quarterback, so it is overemphasized relative to less measurable traits. I have wanted the Jets to give McElroy a try for a while. I think he could be the second coming of Chad Pennington, without the injuries, which would represent the best quarterbacking the franchise has had, maybe ever.

It isn't like Sanchez has amazing arm strength anyway...

37
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:45pm

I know it is fashionable to describe Joe Namath as vastly overrated for a Hall of Famer, or even an undeserving Hall of Famer, but people really need to make era adjustments.

40
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:02pm

Namath occurred to me, and since failing to adjust for era is a pet peeve, I went and evaluated:

His best years were in the AFL. In his best season, he was fourth in passer rating and had more INT than TD. He retired eighth all time in passing yards (actually below eighth, since Fran Tarkenton and others were late in their careers and already ahead of him), in an era when passing was less important.

That said, I should modify the statement. At his best, Namath was a top ten quarterback in the NFL. He is probably in the conversation for the best quarterback of the New York Jets with Pennington. Pennington managed to have even more injury problems, amazingly, which probably puts Namath over the top.

Saying Namath belongs in the HOF statistically is silly. But his competitive achievements matter too, and we're not talking about Hall of Fame here, we're talking about comparing him to Chad Pennington's injury-marred career.

42
by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:20pm

I agree with you on your judgement of Namath and Pennington. The main thing to remember about Namath is that he absolutely scared other team's defenses like no other quarterback in Jets history. He called his own plays, which wasn't common then, and hit them for big yardage often. He had a great release, which helped in the playoff run to Super Bowl III. But he also gambled too much.

60
by Mr Shush :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:02pm

Right. The big things that are missing in the stats usually quoted about Namath are that he was incredible at avoiding sacks (because of that great release, and because he was willing to take risks) and that completion percentage doesn't matter. He could be the prototype of the sort of player QB rating under-values.

He's not in the all time top ten, but there are a lot more than ten quarterbacks in Canton and he probably deserves to be one of them.

106
by Jerry :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 8:16am

It was rare that QBs didn't call their own plays in Namath's time.

125
by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 9:47pm

You're right, the switchover happened in the late 70s and 80s. That's what happens when you assume things.

43
by Independent George :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:22pm

Saying Namath belongs in the HOF statistically is silly. But his competitive achievements matter too, and we're not talking about Hall of Fame here, we're talking about comparing him to Chad Pennington's injury-marred career.

I have to disagree - it's not silly in the slightest. Jason Lisk had a good post on the late PFR blog putting his numbers in context.

44
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:29pm

Well, I don't care enough to argue about it, but there is a guy who comments here once and a while, Jim Glass, who has put forth the best arguments I've seen about Namath's merits, and convinced me that it wasn't silly to say Namath was a HOFer, and I was guy who for years would complain about the overhyped career of the charter member of the Suzy Kolber Fan Club. Maybe I'll see if I can search for his posts later today.

48
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:47pm

Compare Namath to Tarkenton, who had a longer career that spanned Namath's, played for multiple teams, and had famously poor pass protection for much of his career. The comparison is not pleasant for Namath. Tarkenton's age-38 season, at the height of the dead-ball era, was as good or better than any season in Namath's career. Tarkenton is the Aaron Rodgers of his era. Namath is the Jay Cutler.

Like Cutler, Namath was good at football! But he's considered an all-time great because he played in New York, was a smart ass, and played in the league-merger Super Bowls, not because he was head and shoulders above his peers.

51
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:58pm

Well, I've frequently argued that a reasonable case can be made for Tarkenton as the best qb of all time, so "Not as good as Tarkenton" isn't anywhere close to synonymous with "About as good as Cutler".

61
by JIPanick :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:08pm

"Tarkenton is the Aaron Rodgers of his era."

That's selling Tarkenton short.

65
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:17pm

I like Rodgers a lot, so I didn't want to get into that, but for Rodgers to approximate Tarkenton's achievement, he'd need to have started his career in, I dunno, St. Louis, then traded to Kansas City this year, not arriving to a team with good coaching and talent until 2016, in a rules environment in which being great at qb was not nearly as determinative as it is now, in terms of team performance.

Somehow, I doubt Rodgers stature would be similar to what he has enjoyed, under such circumstances.

71
by Independent George :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:34pm

How about Fran Tarkenton was the Barry Sanders of QBs?

79
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:24pm

Only if Barry had been traded to, I dunno, Tampa, in 1998, and then made a couple of Super Bowl appearances while having some of his best years.

107
by Yaguar :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 9:55am

"Tarkenton's age-38 season, at the height of the dead-ball era, was as good or better than any season in Namath's career."
No, it wasn't. It was 6.1 yards per attempt in a year where the league average was 6.7. I don't trust you to adjust for eras.

Fortunately, I do trust pro-football-reference. They normalize statistics such that 100 is average for the time period and 15 is the standard deviation.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/tiny.cgi?id=P3H0t

Let's take a look at the Hall of Fame QBs of the era. Namath is 6th of 9 Hall of Fame QBs in era-adjusted yards per attempt. But we can do better than that.

AY/A+ adjusts yardage downward by -45 for each INT, and up 20 for each TD. It's calibrated for today's game, so it probably overestimates the interception penalty; interceptions in those days tended to be long passes. Nonetheless, it will do. It punishes Namath for his relatively poor INT and TD numbers, perhaps too much, and it moves him to last among the Hall of Fame QBs.

But we can do even better than this, too. Some QBs are better at getting rid of the ball quickly than others are. Sacks are costly, terrible plays. That's why PFR's favorite stat is ANY/A, which counts sacks as pass attempts for negative yardage.

Unfortunately, sack data is only available from 1969 on, so the ANY/A+ figures for Namath and other pre-1969 QBs only counts their post-1969 seasons. But we can make a rough guess of pre-1969 ANY/A+. We'll use a simple rule. Find the difference between post-1969 ANY/A+ and post-1969 AY/A+ for each QB, and apply it to his career AY/A+.

So we estimate career ANY/A+ at this:

120 (-2) Staubach
114 (+3) Unitas
112 (-3) Dawson
111 (+0) Jurgenson
111 (+1) Tarkenton
108 (+4) Namath
107 (-3) Griese
106 (-6) Starr
105 (+0) Bradshaw

Namath is 6th among the HOF QBs in efficiency, once again. Adjusting for sacks and INT/TD ratio mostly cancel out. But there's one more thing to ask besides efficiency. We should ask which ones were opening up the passing game, and which ones were game managers. Namath and Unitas, especially, opened up the passing game. Namath threw for 286 yards per game in 1967, a mark that wouldn't be reached again until Fouts and Marino in the 80s.

-----

Namath was not above all of his peers, but he was approximately the 3rd best QB drafted in the 1960s. When he was healthy, the Jets scored about 26 points per game, similar to Unitas's Colts or Staubach's Cowboys. When Namath was unhealthy, the Jets scored about 18 points per game.

Quite simply, Namath was a perfectly normal Hall of Fame QB, and the people who strut around with crude statistics like "TD:INT Ratio" don't know nearly as much about football as they think they do.

111
by dryheat :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 11:20am

I think you could make a case of Vinny Testaverde being better than either of them.

102
by MJK :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:48pm

To be fair to Brady, he IS dealing with a shoulder injury... for the past 11 years.

110
by dryheat :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 11:19am

I've always felt that as long as a QB could hit some minimal standard of arm strength, such as throwing a 12-yard out pattern with enough velocity that a defender can't jump it, he has an NFL arm. Anything beyond that is overrated, but it gets GM's mouths dropping and Kyle Bollers drafted in the first round.

114
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 2:15pm

Hugh Millen (former quarterback for the four NFL teams) does radio in Seattle, and this is basically what he says. If you have the arm strength to throw a 20-yard out, you can play in the league. If not, you can't. And that's it. Any more or less than that is almost irrelevant.

118
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 2:55pm

Well, I agree that arm strength is overrated, but "almost irrelevant" is a grand overstatement. Turn Stubbleface into a qb with average arm strength, and he might go from first ballot HOFer to a guy who has a tough time making a roster, because nobody would have invested the time it took to make him a first ballot HOFer, or even a viable NFL starter, given his, er, personal idiosyncrasies, if not for the ability to throw the ball through a car wash without it getting wet.

124
by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 9:44pm

Can we get him to call the Jets Front Office tonight?

78
by Special J :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:22pm

McElroy isn't really below typical weight, though. In fact, he entered the league around where you'd expect 6'2" NFL quarterback to end up. Brady has 4" on him, and was still 10 pounds lighter at the combine. I don't think you can expect McElroy to gain too much arm strength just by bulking up. He could be able to add zip to his ball if a) there's serious room for improvement in his mechanics and footwork, and b) is capable of making the adjustments in his natural delivery.

I don't know why teams are so reluctant to tinker with a young QB's delivery. Sure, some guys will never be able to adapt, but if you don't try, you're essentially damning them to a low ceiling as a pro. I can't think of any of the QBs who entered the QB with an unorthodox throwing motion who ended up succeeding with it.

86
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:56pm

Cunningham did pretty well.

Leftwich was not bad.

89
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:08pm

Yes, there is a risk in tinkering with a guy's motion, but I look at Cunningham, and think that if he had shortened his motion successfully, he's not just a HOFer, but an elite HOFer; it was his biggest flaw, I say, as guy who saw that elongated motion give the Falcons a td at end of the first half of the 1998 NFCCG (sigh).

Leftwich was a clubfoot with a big windup, which makes it really remarkable that he accomplished as much as he has.

4
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:30am

What a strange week it is when Jay Cutler was the 4th best QB. And even stranger that the QB who faced the Bears was the best.

12
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:03pm

Defensive adjustments probably help Cutler almost as much as they help Wilson.

The real miracle here is that Cutler didn't get murdered behind his awful line against Seattle's pass rush.

21
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:51pm

It matches what my eyes told me which was that Cutler was playing very well against the Seahawks. On the other hand, my prediction that the Bears wouldn't lose if Cutler was the 13th best quarterback hasn't held up.

Johnathan Scott isn't very good, but he does make his guy take a wider angle to the QB, so Cutler can step up. Unlike what Carimi had been doing at tackle. If the Bears can find a good tackle, I think a line consisting of Webb, Carimi, Garza, and Louis can be acceptable. Of course finding a good tackle is something that is very hard.

52
by Steve in WI :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:00pm

What did you think of the line play? I didn't pay close attention to it and am not knowledgeable enough to draw many conclusions, but Cutler certainly didn't get hit very much and had decent time to throw much of the time. I have no idea if that was a fluke, if it had to do with something Seattle was or wasn't doing, or if it's something worth being hopeful over.

53
by Jimmy :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:16pm

The pass blocking was passable (in that when it broke down it did so in such a manner as to allow Cutler to escape), the run blocking was rather poor. In some ways it is as tricky to evaluate the Bears' line with Cutler behind it as it is to evaluate Cutler behind them. He made some plays on Sunday that were amazing that he even managed to get a throw off never mind hitting a tight window thirty yards downfield.

55
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:17pm

Pass protection was as good as it's been all year. I think Carimi and Louis as the guards could work really well next year. Which means finding a good tackle .What would be really nice would be a better left tackle than Webb and move him back to RT, but just a RT who is a better than Johnathan Scott should be adequate I think.

I've noticed that Garza gets knock backwards an embarrassing amount though. There was a play where Cutler dropped a play action fake. He managed to pick it up almost right away, but Garza had been bullrushed 5 yards deep right into his face.

So maybe a new center and tackle.

57
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:27pm

Again, center play is the most underappreciated aspect to offensive football, it seems to me. You just have an extraordinarily difficult time compensating for bad production from that position. I also wonder how frequently a guy has become an adequate center when he's never really played the position until he was in his 30s.

126
by Subrata Sircar :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 5:12am

The Michigan Wolverines provide a case study for this point. Having a hugely effective running game in 2011 behind the Rimington-award winning center (David Molk), their run game has mostly cratered in 2012 despite returning Denard Robinson, Fitzgerald Toussaint, Taylor Lewan and two other multi-year starting linemen, plus getting a guard back from injury. (Molk was also injured for the Sugar Bowl, and suddenly Michigan couldn't get anything going there either.)

Having an All-American LT (Lewan) is not as useful without getting all the line calls correct and being able to scoop the rushers who are preventing your runners from getting even one step downhill before having to juke someone. It really does seem like center play is a big cause.

127
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 7:26am

As I think has been discussed on here a few times before, having a great center rather than just a decent one is probably not all that valuable, but having a decent one rather than a bad one is vital.

128
by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 9:41am

Agreed, but I'll the old fogey again, and speak ye olden dayes, pre 2004, when running still mattered, and note that when you had a center who was impeccable at making calls, strong enough to handle a good nose without a lot of assistance, and quick enough to pull and get on the edge, man, would that cause a defensive coordinator nightmares, provided, of course, a good quarterback.

129
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 11:07am

Completely serious question: has there ever been a center who could reliably take the best nose tackles one-on-one, or with little assistance?

130
by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 11:15am

It's a matter of degree, of course. No center could be counted on handle the BEST nose tackles wholly unassisted, at least in the era of common 350 pounders, but there are different degrees of getting blown up as well.

132
by tuluse :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 2:15pm

It also depends on if you mean pass blocking or run blocking. There are few centers who can handle Vince Wilfork in pass protection, but no one is moving him in run blocking 1 on 1.

136
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 11:01pm

Sure. Chris Myers used to get comprehensively blown up by top NTs (Kris Jenkins, especially). Now, his technique's good enough that he can generally hold up long enough, which coupled with his smarts and mobility makes him a good player.

133
by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 3:36pm

Dermonti Dawson, Jeremy Newberry, though Newberry wasn't one for dancing out on a pull. There are probably quite a few like Newberry but very few like Dawson who could be used on the perimeter as well.

137
by peterplaysbass :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:38am

Agreed. I've often suspected that Minnesota's 2009 campaign might've had a happier ending had Birk simply stuck around. Lots went wrong that year, and I feel any number of little changes could've changed the outcome, but keeping Birk was within Minnesota's control.

That said, I'm happy Sullivan is around now. He's remarkably good at run blocking and at least average in pass protection. Nice guy, too.

5
by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:35am

I suspect the thing with Kaepernick not throwing deep is that the Rams seemed to be in cover-3 pretty much all day (outside corners playing way off, one safety up in the box). I guess they figured that the 49ers couldn't put up that many points if they stopped them getting many big plays.

41
by zenbitz :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:09pm

It "seemed" that Kapernick had a lot of plays where he looked deep but either didn't like the coverage or was running from the pass rush.

I have no idea whether this was simply just great Rams defense (playcalling and execution) or some fundamental flaw or tell in the Kapernick Niner offense.

Eventually, they starting hitting quick slants all day...which would go with the cover-3 story. 1 CB (the guy on Crabtree) plays tight and the other falls back.

It really did take almost 3 quarters for the niners to exploit this... and even then they couldn't really make game killing drive up 8 in the 4th quarter.

13
by Independent George :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:09pm

I'm not defending Mark Sanchez, but it should be noted that his counterpart in NY posted similar numbers over his first four years, but was carried by a superior organization:

Eli Manning 2004-2007
2004: 48.2% Cmp, 5.3 Y/A, 3.0% TD, 4.6% INT, 6.2% SCK, -25.4% DVOA
2005: 52.8% Cmp, 6.8 Y/A, 4.3% TD, 3.1% INT, 4.8% SCK, 6.0% DVOA
2006: 57.7% Cmp, 6.2 Y/A, 4.6% TD, 3.4% INT, 4.6% SCK, 4.1% DVOA
2007: 56.1% Cmp, 6.3 Y/A, 5.3% TD, 3.8% INT, 4.9% SCK, -16.4% DVOA

Eli threw more TDs and took fewer sacks, but also took a much steeper DVOA nosedive in 2007 (before going on his famous playoff run).

Again - I'm not saying that Sanchez has the same potential, or that the Jets should stick with him. Qualitatively, even with his early struggles, Eli showed flashes of brilliance that Sanchez never has. Eli's career path is a valid counterpoint, though, and needs to be considered.

14
by RickD :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:23pm

Eli's 2nd and 3rd year numbers are considerably better than Sanchez's. And the 2007 season included a Super Bowl MVP. (Undeserved*, but he still won it.)

*The Giants didn't win because Eli was brilliant. They won because their D-line was brilliant.

16
by Mash Wilson :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:30pm

Eli didn't deserve either of his MVP trophies. He won them because the media that vote for Super Bowl MVP decide before the game is played who the MVP is going to be if this team or that team wins. Like the season MVP award, it's all about the narrative.

18
by Independent George :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:40pm

He deserved the 2nd one; Tuck deserved the first.

Eli's year 2 & 3 numbers were better than Sanchez's, but the offense was more about Tiki Barber and a stellar OL during those years. The worm has turned since then, but if you put 2011-12 Eli on the 2005-6 teams, they might have finished 14-2, and Tiki Barber might be in the HoF.

20
by Led :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:47pm

Yeah, because Tiki has beclowned himself so much since retiring it's easy to forget how darn good he was -- particularly the second half of his career.

27
by The Hypno-Toad :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:09pm

Ooh, beclowned. I like that a great deal.

24
by Eddo :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 12:55pm

He won in 2007 (February 2008) because it was very difficult to pick out a single defensive lineman to win, so voters went with the QB. This is not a terrible default position, as QB is the most valuable position on the field. I think Justin Tuck *should* have won, but it could very easily have been Osi Umenyiora who was the best player in that game.

He won in 2011 (February 2012) for mostly the same reason, though it wasn't quite as obvious that the defensive line won them the Super Bowl. I would argue that the second Patriots-Giants Super Bowl had no individual on either team was truly the *most valuable*.

25
by tuluse :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:00pm

I would have given co-mvp to Strahan and Tuck in 2007.

30
by RickD :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:21pm

There was a precedent. In 1978, Harvey Martin and Randy White shared the Super Bowl MVP. The decision to give the award to Eli was lazy and driven at least in part by his last name.

99
by BigCheese :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:42pm

Not to mention that technically you can give the award to a position group. So, the 2007 SB MVP should defintiely have gone to the DL.

- Alvaro

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

26
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:07pm

So Russell Wilson compares to both Heath Shuler and Peyton Manning, hardly any spread at all there.

29
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:12pm

Hey, it's an inexact science!

32
by RickD :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:23pm

We can conclude that Russell Wilson was a Tennessee Volunteer.

36
by commissionerleaf :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 1:38pm

Well played.

50
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:52pm

Every night before falling asleep, Wilson tacks on to the end of his prayers, "And please God, it would be great if I could be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning and... um, Heath Shuler... I guess."

54
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:16pm

Lies! There's no #hashtag anywhere in there! Burn the heretic!!

47
by Darren Campbell (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:40pm

For your "Other receivers of little value" blurb you should just copy and paste "Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu and Stephen Burton" and add them in that spot every week.

49
by Bobman :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 2:50pm

Woah,a Vick Ballard sighting! Raise your hands if you saw that coming. Mrs. Ballard, put your hand down. You know that's not true.

It's strange, he had one great series, wrapping about five nice runs and a TD around a 42-yard bomb, but hardly touched the ball the rest of the game. All them rookies just might pay off for the Colts.

56
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:18pm

On short passes (those thrown within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage), Rodgers went 25-of-28 for 221 yards and 12 first downs. He was especially effective when targeting the short middle area of the field, going 9-of-9 for 88 yards and six first downs.

That last bit is important. The Texans were the last team that really tried to pressure the Packers and not just sit back in coverage. But a lot of teams have been leaving the short middle area fairly open. Daring the Packers to run or dink and dunk. We all know that the run game generally doesn't do anything special, they had one of their best games vs Minn, and really it was just adequate and Minn was playing with only 5 in the box sometimes.

But the Packers have not had a lot of success with the short mid passing game. Finely is supposed to dominate that area but he wasn't getting open and when he was, he was dropping the ball. He played well vs Minn. Jennings being back helps too. Nelson has never been strong in that area of the field, he can do short yardage well, but it's always curls and hooks outside, and he is good at those. Driver used to be great in the middle, but his decline is evident. Cobb has been doing well there, but they are still trying to protect him, and middle of the field is where a receiver is still most likely to take the harder hits. Cobb isn't big. Jones should do fairly well, but never blossomed. Jennings strength has been his ability to be good to great at every type of route. He's not a burner, but he can get deep. He's not a big guy but he can get up and get balls in traffic. He hit's his spots well, and in a timing offense that can keep you "clean" in the middle.

If they start having success there again, it should help open up the deep stuff again too as teams might not do as much two or three deep shells. I don't expect the running game to be what solves it, though if they can keep running like they did vs Minn it will be good enough.

58
by TomC :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:31pm

Tough crowd when 10 catches for 165 and six first downs against the league's #4 pass defense (in DVOA) doesn't get you in the top 5. I guess the fumble hurts, and Rice & Tate get significantly larger adjustments from playing the Bears than Marshall gets for playing Seattle.

59
by rfh1001 :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 3:31pm

I don't know quite where to say this. I am going with here. I love Pierre Garcon, and there it is.

I know the numbers don't love him. Lots of people here who know a lot more than me don't rate him. He's lucked out in his life in the QB department (let's be very clear: not always). All these things.

But because I got a bee in my bonnet about it a couple of years ago, I have increasingly watched games where he is playing, assuming I am not missing something amazing. And all I can say is: he seems to make a difference. There it is. I lay it out there. When he's playing, stuff tends to happen and he's often involved, and his teams seem to do well.

I've mentioned it a couple of time, and I absolutely get the clear statistical reasons for not really rating him, and yet, and yet...

(My name is Robert, and I believe in statistics.)

76
by LionInAZ :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:09pm

FO has Garcon at 17% DVOA, which is certainly not bad. But it's hard to have much impact when he's been thrown to only 33 times.

121
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 7:45pm

Statistically, that's true. But he could be having a big impact if he's opening things up underneath for other people, even if he's not catching the ball.

134
by LionInAZ :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 5:56pm

I don't dispute that, but the question was about statistics not loving him. My main point was that DVOA rates him pretty good in his limited number of pass plays.

62
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:14pm

"It's getting to be a weekly thing here where I have to explain why Adrian Peterson is not the top-ranked running back. The shortest answer is that he gains an insane amount of yardage on a few carries most weeks, and otherwise doesn't bring a lot to the table."

I think this past weeks game is a perfect example of the limitation of stats to judge individual performance. Peterson is running into 8-9 fronts almost every down, with teams not in the least worried about passing, and he's still averaging 6.2 a carry on the season.

With the passing game the Vikings had in that game they shouldn't have had a prayer of winning. Yet Peterson almost single-handedly gave them a decent chance to win. I would say you really can't do any more as a running back in terms of running the ball. Heck, he would have had a 65 yard TD on a pass play as well, if Ponder could throw a decent pass.

In the bigger picture, I think Peterson not ranking higher many weeks demonstrates the shortcomings of running vs passing as an offensive strategy. In short, no matter how ridiculously good you are as a running back - while running - passing is overall a far more efficient strategy.

64
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:17pm

In the bigger picture, I think Peterson not ranking higher many weeks demonstrates the shortcomings of running vs passing as an offensive strategy. In short, no matter how ridiculously good you are as a running back - while running - passing is overall a far more efficient strategy.

This is undoubtedly true.

113
by Dean :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 12:24pm

Try selling that in Philly.

115
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 2:16pm

Touche.

67
by fakeninjitsu :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:26pm

As a Viking fan I can't stand watching how terrible Ponder is then watching RG3, Luck and Wilson. Literally yelled in despair as he threw that pick in the endzone. There are going to be chanting for Webb on Sunday as soon as he starts playing terrible again.

122
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 7:51pm

Good news: he's still better than Gabbert or Locker.

Bad news: that might mean you have to put up with another season of him.

68
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:29pm

The thing to remember is that while FO title's these tables "Five most valuable running backs" what they're measuring is nothing even close to that.

What they're measuring is five most valuable running games while Running Back X is carrying the ball.

Adrian Peterson is fantastic. Minnesota's running game is great.

Its just that neither are very valuable because in most cases, as you say, they'd be better off passing the ball (if their passing game wasn't terrible).

In general, the "individual player" dvoa/dyar ratings are only slightly better than useless, and are mostly misleading.

73
by Boots Day :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:42pm

"It's getting to be a weekly thing here where I have to explain why Adrian Peterson is not the top-ranked running back. The shortest answer is that he gains an insane amount of yardage on a few carries most weeks, and otherwise doesn't bring a lot to the table."

Another answer is that it's obvious that DYAR isn't a particularly good way to evaluate running backs, at least not in the small sample size of a single game.

Vince notes that if you throw out AP's three longest runs, the rest of his day isn't so impressive - but that's true if you throw out just about anyone's three longest runs. Without his three longest runs, Stevan Ridley averaged 2.7 yards a carry. Without his three longest runs, Vick Ballard averaged 1.6 yards a carry. If you throw out Bryce Brown's three longest runs, he averaged 4.1 yards a carry, not much better than AP. And none of those guys' top three rushes were nearly as long as Peterson's.

It is my untutored opinion that replacement level is set too high for running backs, which is why we see backs with ten touches make this list every week. The key to doing well in DYAR seems to be having the fewest number of unsuccessful rushes, rather than having the highest number of successful runs.

77
by PatsFan :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:18pm

The key to doing well in DYAR seems to be having the fewest number of unsuccessful rushes, rather than having the highest number of successful runs.

And what's wrong with that? If fewest number of unsuccessful rushes happens to correlate to winning better than highest number of successful rushes, shouldn't the former be scored higher? They play to win the game, after all.

87
by Boots Day :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:58pm

What's wrong with that is that what is true for an entire team's rushing attack is not necessarily true for an individual rusher. A running back can get a very limited number of touches and still rank extremely high on the DYAR charts. A team can't just decide to only run the ball ten times per game and expect to have a successful running game.

131
by nat :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 11:58am

Peterson's high play count is kinda irrelevant this week, isn't it? Bryce Brown had more carries, not fewer.

Brown moved the chains twice as often as Peterson. That easily explains why his fewer total yards are more valuable.

Peterson is the most productive (DYAR) and second most efficient (DVOA) runner this season. FO likes him. There's nothing wrong here. If he carried the ball fewer times, his DVOA would probably go up a bit. But the Vikings wisely trade some efficiency for the extra production. Because a slightly less efficient Peterson is still a great running back.

BTW: this is why DYAR is a better way to judge running backs than DVOA.

81
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:32pm

The key to doing well in DYAR seems to be having the fewest number of unsuccessful rushes, rather than having the highest number of successful runs.

There's a lot of truth here. I admit that I looked over Ballard's numbers last night over and over again thinking "this can't be right." But there it was.

91
by DGL :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:15pm

The key to doing well in DYAR seems to be having the fewest number of unsuccessful rushes, rather than having the highest number of successful runs.

When I read this the first thing that popped into my mind is how in baseball sabremetrics OBP is so important not so much because "getting on base" is important, but because "not making an out" is important.

Perhaps the same kind of thing is at work with DYAR. An offense gets only so many plays a game - and specifically, gets only three (or rarely four) plays to make a first down. An unsuccessful run is therefore taking away 1/3 of your opportunity to get a first down and keep the ball.

So while at first glance a counting stat that places more value on minimizing unsuccessful plays than on maximizing successful plays may seem counterintuitive, there's a certain logic to it. If Team A runs the ball 40 times, with 20 being unsuccessful and 20 successful, and Team B runs the ball only 20 times, with 15 being successful and 5 unsuccessful, it's not unreasonable to say that Team B ran the ball better than Team A.

101
by Boots Day :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 11:14pm

That makes perfect sense at the team level, but I'm not sure it translates to the individual players. Vick Ballard made the Top Five Rushers for a game in which he had just nine carries - but if he were as good as Adrian Peterson, the Colts would be handing him the ball a lot more than nine times a game. In a sense, he's being rewarded for not being good enough to carry the ball a lot.

But as I said, this is probably more of an issue when you're tracing running backs' DYAR game by game. Over the course of a season, these things likely even out.

123
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 8:02pm

Also worth noting: DVOA and DYAR understand neither the clock nor the opposing defense's approach. Running backs get punished for running into stacked boxes to chew clock, even though it in no way indicates that they or their team are bad at running.

117
by Eddo :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 2:47pm

This makes sense when you think of rushing as the low-variance option.

Passing the ball is more effective on average, so in general you run to ensure yourself a positive play. Therefore, having a negative rushing play is doubly negative, since there's an opportunity cost to not passing the ball.

105
by Guest789 :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 4:27am

It did match up with what I felt I saw; except for a couple key breakdowns, the Packers D really did contain him. Rather than a criticism of Peterson, I feel like that's a compliment. Even when a D played a mostly good game against him, he was able to have a huge impact on the game.

-----

“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

63
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:16pm

Vince, I relly think it might be interesting to take the top five offenses and defenses at week 10, in each year from the DVOA era, and sort them by median age of starters, and then see how much correlaton there is between older age and regression through week 17.

That would be interesting. It would also take, like, a week of full-time work.

I do think, however, that a lot of teams had a bad and avoidable whiff by not taking [Wilson] either in the latter first round, or in the 2nd round.

Or passing on Wilson to select a punter, when you’re quarterback is Blaine Gabbert.

Tough crowd when 10 catches for 165 and six first downs against the league's #4 pass defense (in DVOA) doesn't get you in the top 5. I guess the fumble hurts, and Rice & Tate get significantly larger adjustments from playing the Bears than Marshall gets for playing Seattle.

Marshall was 17th. Take out the play with the fumble and he would have been 11th. Besides the fumble, he had two other failed completions, including a 5-yard gain on third-and-6. So half of his 14 targets are considered bad plays.

66
by Will Allen :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:22pm

Vince, damn you, stop harshing on my sense of entitlement!

69
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:34pm

Vince,

If that would take a full time week of work, you guys are doing way too much by hand. Or your data is organized poorly.

You have DVOA by week (you publish it every week). Getting the ages of the starters is trivial(and you should already have it).

82
by Vince Verhei :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:33pm

Honestly you'd have to take it up with Aaron. He has way more access/knowledge of what data's available than I do.

70
by Intropy :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:34pm

I was hoping the Steelers would take Wilson in the 3rd or so. Then in four years when Roethlisberger retires for the first time, Wilson could emerge post-chrysalis and rain down footballs from on high.

74
by Led :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:44pm

Or rain footballs up, as it were.

83
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:45pm

Then in four years when Roethlisberger retires for the first time

How many times do you expect Roethlisberger to retire? Are you expecting his retirement to be Favre redux?

88
by Mash Wilson :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:08pm

I won't be surprised at all if Roethlisberger has multiple retirements and unretirements in his mid-to-late 30s.

94
by Intropy :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:06pm

3. Yes.

But not really.

He's having too much fun out there to retire.

104
by mehlLageman56 (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 2:54am

Not with that offensive line he's not.

80
by Insancipitory :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:28pm

What's the DVOA difference on Marshall's OPI and the sure interception, possible TD he saved. That was an unusually valuable OPI.

72
by Anonymousse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:39pm

"In the fourth quarter, he went 1-of-6 for 8 yards with a 21-yard DPI, throwing five incompletions in a row at one point, three of them on third down"

To me, that sounds like the problem was that the Lions came out and ran on 1st and second down predictable, and left Stafford in 3rd and Long situations. And was why they lost the game.

75
by patriots are number 1 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 4:56pm

you and schatz go suck each other off some more over the brady-belicek era please and stop dedicating your life to mark sanchez

84
by rfh1001 :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:48pm

Hi patriots are number 1 (not verified)!!! I think your cute.

85
by dbostedo :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 5:52pm

Ha!! Seriously though... while I appreciate the sentiment, "patriots are number 1", about Mark Sanchez overload, please don't clog my favorite blog responses with stuff that sounds like it's from the least enlightened of Fox Sport's commenters.

100
by BigCheese :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:56pm

It's the "your" that sells it.

- Alvaro

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

119
by The Ninjalectual :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 5:09pm

I caught that too

92
by jamie_k74 :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 6:15pm

Curious - Roethlisberger does not appear on the list of top 15 rookie games - but his two backups do.

95
by Intropy :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:10pm

Roethlisberger did not have one of the top 15 rookie games, but he may have one of the top (15 rookie games).

96
by Mash Wilson :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:27pm

If the list was based on DVOA rather than DYAR, I bet you'd see four or five Roethlisberger games on it. He just wasn't throwing very much in 2004.

93
by chemical burn :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 8:42pm

The most amazing thing about Bryce Brown is that he is already despised by a healthy chunk of the Eagles' fanbase for fumbling those games away. It wasn't just that he fumbled, but he has fumbled in two consecutive games at the absolute worst moments.

Good luck getting back in the good graces of an Eagles' fan, buddy. Truly this season has proven they are deserving of their reputation and worse.

98
by Concussed FB (not verified) :: Tue, 12/04/2012 - 10:33pm

If by despised you mean being described as, "Looks like he could be a player but needs to work on ball security" then yeah, I agree. I hope Agway has a sale on pitchforks!

103
by andrew :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 1:06am

For most rushers the total dyar would be equal to their rush dyar plus their receiving dyar. It is for every other one of the top 5 backs, but for Peterson he has 48 rush, -3 pass... and 46 total. yet 48 - 3 = 45. Where does the other point come from?

108
by Travis :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 10:58am

Rounding error? If Peterson had 48.4 rush DYAR and -2.6 receiving DYAR, rounding off for publication would yield 48 - 3 = 46.

116
by Vince Verhei :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 2:19pm

This can happen and would explain what happened here, but there is a slight error in the table. Peterson had -2.461 DYAR receiving, so he should be listed with -2 DYAR, not -3. I could fix it in the table but ... well, I just don't care that much.

120
by Alan (not verified) :: Wed, 12/05/2012 - 5:32pm

Maybe the fact that you need weekly explanations regarding AP should tip you off just a bit.

Such a joke. You know, if you throw out Adrian Peterson's top 234 runs this season, he doesn't have any yards or touchdowns or first downs! He's obviously the worst RB in history.

135
by LionInAZ :: Thu, 12/06/2012 - 6:21pm

Barry Sanders is downgraded constantly for the same reasons. Live with it.

138
by peterplaysbass :: Fri, 12/07/2012 - 10:52am

The need for weekly explanations is caused by the fact that most football fans' eyeball tests aren't very good indicators of RB value. People cheer long runs, but teams win more often with 6 ypc and a low standard deviation.

While I am not shy to say I'd always be willing to trade a flashy, boom/bust runner for consistently productive one, I don't think "boom/bust" describes Adrian Peterson. His consistency was off just enough last week to drop him to #2? Big deal.

All that said, many of his runs are breath-takingly beautiful and I firmly believe his career will be remembered as one of the best.