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» Week 4 Quick Reads

Our look at which quarterbacks were "streakiest" in Week 4 includes more discussion of Raiders quarterbacks than we ever anticipated.

09 Sep 2013

Week 1 Quick Reads

by Vince Verhei

Hello and welcome to the first Quick Reads of 2013. This feature will not be running on any other websites this year, which frees us to change up the format a little bit. Gone are the somewhat random looks at whether Player X has turned the corner, or if Team Z can win in the playoffs. Instead we're going to use this space for what Quick Reads is supposed to be: A look at the best and worst statistical players of the week, as well as others who put up notable conventional stats but still rank surprisingly high, low, or off the tables entirely. It's no surprise that the best player of Week 1 was Peyton Manning, but it is surprising that his seven-touchdown performance, which tied an all-time record, wasn't close to the best game for a quarterback in our database.

Manning's raw statline (27-of-42, 462 yards, seven TDs, no INTs, three sacks) is pretty amazing, but it comes out as "only" 240 DYAR. (NOTE: This article was written Monday afternoon. The results of the Monday night games changed the league average passing baselines slightly, and as a result Manning's DYAR for Week 1 dropped to 235.) The regular-season record, going back to 1991, is Trent Green's 347-DYAR game in Week 4 of 2002, a five-touchdown performance against a Miami team that only gave up 15 other passing touchdowns all season. If we include the postseason, then the best game is Kurt Warner's shredding of Green Bay in the Wild Card round of 2009, a 385-DYAR outing. This wasn't the best season opener on record; that honor goes to Troy Aikman's 257 DYAR against Pittsburgh in 1997. In fact, it wasn't close to Manning's best game. Counting the postseason, he has gone over 240 DYAR 10 times, led by his 329 DYAR against Denver in the 2004 playoffs. (This is the second-best playoff game in our database. Manning also has the third-best playoff game, the fifth-best game, and two other games in the top 20.)

So what, exactly, was wrong with Manning's 7-TD game that makes it worse than these other contests? What more could Manning have done? The issue is not opponent adjustments; Since this is Week 1, there are no opponent adjustments to the numbers of Manning or anyone else. (This means that Manning's score can and will change by the end of the year, depending on how the Baltimore defense performs the rest of the way.) The three sacks don't help, but even removing those still leaves Manning around the 280 DYAR level. Manning's completion percentage was a relatively low 64 percent; the average for games of 240 DYAR or more is nearly 75 percent. In particular, Manning struggled (in the loosest possible definition of the term) on third downs, going 6-of-11 with a sack. Granted, those six completions picked up two touchdowns and four other first downs, totaling 146 yards. But that's still six third downs Manning failed to convert, four of them with 6 yards or fewer needed for a first down. Denver punted on each of their first three drives, and seven times overall, and Manning played a part in that. So there's reason to believe this wasn't the best game of all time. Of course, it could have been a lot worse.

Which brings us to Blaine Gabbert. If you were to ask most fans who was the worst quarterback since 2010, the most popular answers would probably be Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, or whoever happened to be taking snaps for Arizona or Kansas City at the time. On a per-play basis, though, the Jacksonville quarterback has been significantly worse than any of them:

Really Bad Quarterbacks, 2011-12
Name Plays DYAR DVOA
Blaine Gabbert 758 -1277 -38.1%
ARI QB 1270 -1511 -30.2%
KC QB 1042 -1028 -27.1%
Tim Tebow 311 -230 -22.7%
Mark Sanchez 1068 -646 -20.2%

So the bar for Gabbert has been set very, very low. And then he played on Sunday despite a broken bone in the thumb on his throwing hand. It probably shouldn't be surprising, then, that Sunday's game against Kansas City was the worst game of Blaine Gabbert's career. His previous low: a two-pick, three, sack, 142-yard game in Week 5 against Chicago last season that scored at -148 DYAR (even including the mammoth opponent adjustment for playing the mighty Bears defense). Gabbert's 16-of-35, 121-yard, no TD, two INT, six-sack game against Kansas City stands at -236 DYAR (for now). That makes it the 18th-worst game in our records, and the third-worst game in the last seven years. (David Klingler's -302 DYAR against the Oilers in 1994 remains at the bottom of the heap. By the way, Houston's Cody Carlson threw for -177 DYAR that day. Fans in the Astrodome got a hell of a show.) There is no shortage of splits to show Gabbert's ineptitude, but for now let's show his numbers throwing to his right, where he went 6-of-16 for 43 yards with two interceptions, including a pick-six. That yardage total is skewed by gains of 10 and 18 yards that failed to convert third-and-long situations. In fact, Gabbert didn't pick up a first down throwing to his right until he hit Justin Forsett for 6 yards on third-and-5. That pass was caught 4 yards behind the line of scrimmage with 10 YAC, and it came with Jacksonville down by 26 points in the fourth quarter.

Finally, let's talk Adrian Peterson. The reigning MVP was often surprisingly absent from Quick Reads last year, as his boom-and-bust results led to great highlights but disappointing DYAR totals. Peterson's game against Detroit on Sunday was very Peterson-y. His first carry went for 78 yards and a touchdown, and he added a 4-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. Otherwise, though, he failed to pick up a single first down, and in fact he only had two other successful carries. Meanwhile, he was stuffed for no gain or a loss six times. His final numbers: 18 carries for 93 yards, 7 DYAR, plus four receptions in four targets for 18 yards and another touchdown, and 12 DYAR.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Peyton Manning DEN
27/42
462
7
0
235
235
0
DYAR by quarter: -2, 62, 81, 99. He went 5-of-9 in the first for 44 yards, but twice failed to convert third downs with 4 yards or less to go.
2.
Colin Kaepernick SF
27/39
412
3
0
205
226
-21
A dominant day in the red zone: 5-of-6 for 49 yards, with three touchdowns, one first down, and an 8-yard gain on first-and-10. He also had two red-zone rushes, a 7-yard loss and a 2-yard gain on third-and-6.
3.
Aaron Rodgers GB
21/36
333
3
1
110
103
7
Mind you, Rodgers was no slouch in the red zone himself, going 3-of-6 for 25 yards and three touchdowns.
4.
Andrew Luck IND
18/23
178
2
0
91
64
28
First two drives: 8-of-8 for 113 yards with two touchdowns, four other first downs, and one sack. Rest of the day: 10-of-15 for 65 yards, with three sacks, one DPI, and four total first downs. Also ran four times for 39 yards, including a conversion on third-and-9 and a 19-yard go-ahead touchdown on third-and-4 in the fourth quarter.
5.
Drew Brees NO
26/35
357
2
1
87
86
1
On second down, Brees went 11-of-13 for 187 yards with nine first downs and one sack.
6.
E.J. Manuel BUF
18/27
156
2
0
87
80
7
Well this game was streaky. Manuel started out 8-of-13, but for only 43 yards and one first down. He then went 6-of-6 for 82 yards with two touchdowns and three other first downs. And then he finished 4-of-8 for 31 yards and no first downs. That hot streak started in the second quarter and ended in the third, so it may not have been obvious watching it live.
7.
Matt Schaub HOU
35/45
346
3
1
81
81
0
How much credit should Schaub get for the Monday night comeback? Yes, he threw touchdowns to make it 28-14, and then 28-21. From that point on, though, he went 10-of-12, but for only 61 yards and three first downs, with one sack. He failed to convert three third downs in that stretch, before hitting Andre Johnson for 8 yards on third-and-4 to set up the winning field goal.
8.
Andy Dalton CIN
26/33
284
2
2
80
76
3
Dalton's first third-down pass was incomplete, and his last two third-down dropbacks were an incompletion and a 5-yard gain on third-and-6. In between, he converted all of his third-down opportunities, going 6-of-6 for 54 yards and a touchdown, plus a 54-yard DPI.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
9.
Russell Wilson SEA
26/33
320
1
0
77
77
0
This was a weird game to watch, and a weird game to quantify. Wilson completed just one of his first five passes, and that completion was a 1-yard gain on third-and-10. He had three red zone plays: a 9-yard gain on third-and-17, sack-fumble that killed a possible scoring drive, and a 21-yard intentional grounding penalty. On third downs, he went 10-of-11 for 115 yards, but four of those completions and 34 of those yards came on plays that failed to pick up a first down. Part of the problem was a feeble running game and penalty-prone offense that often left him in impossible situations. His average pass came with 10.5 yards to go for a first down, third-highest among starters this week, including six plays with 15 or more yards to go. Only Brandon Weeden, Tony Romo, and Blaine Gabbert had more, and they had 59, 53, and 41 dropbacks, respectively. Wilson only had 35.
10.
Sam Bradford STL
27/38
299
2
1
76
101
-24
With 1:47 to go in the third quarter, the Rams got the ball at their own 20, down 24-13. They then went touchdown, field goal, punt, game-winning field goal. Bradford's numbers in those last four drives: 11-of-13 for 121 yards, one touchdown, four other first downs.
11.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
24/38
272
1
1
75
80
-5
Mike Wallace's contributions were practically invisible in the stat sheet (one catch for 15 yards in five targets), and after the game he complained about his role in the offense, while assorted Miami media types knocked his performance and attitude. But is it possible that Wallace's presence, even as a decoy, helped open things up for the rest of the Dolphins offense? On short passes within 15 yards of the line of scrimmage, Tannehill went 22-of-33 for 218 yards, plus a 4-yard DPI, for 14 total first downs. That's 137 DYAR on short passes, second behind Peyton Manning this week.
12.
Jay Cutler CHI
21/32
242
2
1
73
68
6
How to finish off drives: Inside the Cincinnati 40, Cutler went 6-of-8 for 73 yards with two touchdowns and four other first downs.
13.
Matt Ryan ATL
26/38
304
2
1
73
64
8
A rough day on third and fourth downs. In 11 dropbacks, Ryan managed four completions (for 36 yards and two first downs, including a touchdown), six incompletions, and one intentional grounding call.
14.
Eli Manning NYG
27/42
450
4
3
65
63
2
All right, let's get the slapstick out of the way first. Manning's reaction after throwing a game-clinching interception were funny enough, but those GIFs don't do the event justice. You needed to see the cable-cam replay of of the pick, which showed Eli starting his tantrum while the ball was in midair, then his half-hearted attempt to slap Brandon Carr in the head during the runback. (Click here, then click the link on the right side reading "Carr drives it in for a touchdown.") It was all classic. Now, analysis. Manning exploited the soft underbelly of Dallas' new Cover-2 scheme, gaining 114 DYAR on 18 passes to the "short middle" area of the field, both league-high numbers in Week 1. His numbers to that region: 13-of-18 for 201 yards and nine first downs, including a touchdown.
15.
Michael Vick PHI
15/25
203
2
0
55
23
32
In some ways, the Chip Kelly offense is the opposite of the Andy Reid offense. For example, when Philadelphia is ahead in the second half, you can expect a heavy dose of rushing plays. The Eagles had 17 runs in the second half, but only five pass plays. On those five plays, Vick went 2-of-4 for 13 yards with one first down and a sack. Two of those runs were Vick scrambles, but even if we count those as passing plays, that's still a 2-to-1 run-pass ratio.
16.
Terrelle Pryor OAK
19/29
217
2
2
55
19
36
For one week, at least, Pryor was in fact an average starter. As you may have heard, Pryor entered Monday night leading the league in rushing yards, though he was second in DYAR. (The bar for rushing quarterbacks is pretty high.) He had no luck throwing deep passes to the right, going 1-of-5 for 18 yards and both of his interceptions in that direction.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
17.
Matthew Stafford DET
28/43
357
2
1
52
45
7
Speaking of guys who had no luck on deep balls: Stafford went 1-of-6 for 27 yards on passes 16 yards or more past the line of scrimmage.
18.
Robert Griffin WAS
31/49
329
2
2
47
36
11
Griffin rallied after a slow first half, but he had third-down problems all night, going 2-of-8 for 11 yards with one first down and two interceptions. He also went 1-of-2 for 4 yards on fourth down, converting a fourth-and-3.
19.
Philip Rivers SD
14/29
195
4
1
37
28
9
Rivers was fantastic in the red zone, going 6-of-8 for 43 yards with all four touchdowns and another first down. Of course, that means he was brutal in the rest of the field, going 8-of-21 for 152 yards with a 21-yard DPI, seven total first downs, two sacks, and an interception. After his last (offensive) touchdown, he went 1-of-9 for 8 yards with no first downs and a pick-six. Surprisingly, this is not close to the record for fewest completions in a game with at least four touchdown passes. Doug Flutie with the 1988 Patriots and John Roach of the 1960 Cardinals each somehow managed to get four TDs in a game on only six completions.
20.
Jake Locker TEN
11/20
125
0
0
29
32
-3
To his left: 5-of-6 for 55 yards, plus a 24-yard DPI for four total first downs. To his right: 3-of-10 for 29 yards, only one first down.
21.
Cam Newton CAR
16/23
128
1
0
28
7
21
Newton has one of the strongest arms in the league, but he threw only two deep passes against Seattle. Both were to Greg Olsen. One was incomplete, one was caught for 27 yards.
22.
Carson Palmer ARI
26/40
327
2
1
25
25
0
First-half second-downs: 6-of-6 for six first downs (including a touchdown) and 107 yards. Second-half second downs: 3-of-7 for zero first downs, 30 yards.
23.
Alex Smith KC
21/34
173
2
0
23
29
-6
Smith threw nine passes to receivers behind the line of scrimmage. Only Blaine Gabbert and Joe Flacco threw more, and they each threw at least five more passes than Smith did. Smith only completed six of those passes for 24 yards and one first down, so he and the Chiefs apparently need the practice.
24.
Tony Romo DAL
36/49
263
2
1
-10
-10
0
Romo threw 21 times on first down (not counting a fumbled snap). He completed 16 of them, but for only 100 yards and four first downs (although that did include both of his touchdowns).
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
25.
Geno Smith NYJ
24/37
256
1
1
-21
-36
14
Smith struggled on the Tampa Bay side of the field, going 9-of-13 for 73 yards, but only four first downs (including a touchdown). He also threw an interception and was sacked twice on that side of the 50.
26.
Josh Freeman TB
15/31
210
1
1
-31
-31
0
Freeman to Vincent Jackson and Michael Williams: 11-of-21 for 206 yards with one touchdown, eight other first downs, and one interception. Freeman to everyone else: 4-of-10 for 4 yards, no first downs and no successful plays. Seriously. In fact, let's break down those four completions: 2-yard gain on third-and-35; 4-yard gain on first-and-20; 3-yard loss on third-and-16; 1-yard gain on second-and-8. He was also sacked three times, and was "credited" with a fumble on a blown shotgun snap that resulted in a safety.
27.
Christian Ponder MIN
18/28
236
1
3
-40
-34
-6
Shouldn't the presence of Adrian Peterson give Ponder an advantage in short-yardage situations? Ponder had four plays with 1 yard to go for a first down: one interception, one incompletion, one sack, and a 6-yard gain on third-and-1 down 10 points late in the fourth quarter.
28.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
21/33
191
1
1
-50
-50
0
First five third-down plays: four completions for 51 yards and four first downs, plus a sack. All third downs after that: 2-of-5 with two sacks, no first downs, no successful plays, no plays that even gained positive yardage. (He did close out the game with a 4-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal.)
29.
Tom Brady NE
29/52
288
2
1
-65
-53
-12
When was the last time Tom Brady was below replacement level? Actually, it wasn't long at all--Week 16 last year against Jacksonville. He did throw a pair of red-zone touchdowns against Buffalo, but he struggled in goal-to-go opportunities, going 1-of-5 for 4 yards with a sack, all with New England trailing by 4 points.
30.
Joe Flacco BAL
34/62
362
2
2
-94
-94
0
When Flacco took his first snap of the second half, Baltimore trailed 21-17. On the next six drives, he went 5-of-16 for 50 yards and only two first downs. He was also sacked twice in that stretch and threw an interception that should have been a pick-six, except Danny Trevathan decided to drop the ball a full yard short of the end zone.
31.
Brandon Weeden CLE
26/53
289
1
3
-194
-194
0
Third-down passing: 4-of-13 for 34 yards, one first down, one sack, two interceptions. That's not including four fourth-down plays: one sack, one incompletion, and two successful completions for a total of 28 yards.
32.
Blaine Gabbert JAC
16/35
121
0
2
-241
-240
0
I'd like to give you Gabbert's red zone stats, but he never got that far. In fact, he never even reached the front zone. He only had three plays on the Kansas City side of the field, all down by 26 points in the fourth quarter. He went 2-of-3 for 4 yards with one first down.


Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
LeSean McCoy PHI
184
1
5
0
83
82
0
McCoy's 31 carries and 184 yards almost exactly matched his prior career highs (30 carries for 185 yards in October of 2011 against Dallas), so this was not entirely unprecedented, but it was close. McCoy was stuffed for no gain or a loss only three times, with one touchdown and 10 other first downs, and six runs of 10 yards or more.
2.
Fred Jackson BUF
67
0
44
0
61
37
24
In a week when most players who ran a lot played badly (well, until Monday night), Jackson shined in somewhat limited action. His longest run was just 13 yards, but each of his 13 carries gained positive yardage, nine were successful, and six gained 6 yards or more. He was also thrown five passes, catching four of them for 44 yards and two of the Bills' six passing first downs.
3.
Joique Bell DET
25
2
67
0
57
30
27
Each of Bell's six carries gained positive yardage, including two goal-to-go touchdowns and a 10-yard gain on first down. He caught five of six passes thrown his way for 67 yards and three first downs. On two of those catches, he was tackled a yard or two short of the sticks on third down.
4.
Shane Vereen NE
101
0
58
0
46
33
14
The NFL's leading rusher among running backs as of Sunday night went over the century mark on just 14 carries. Four of his runs gained 10 yards or more. The Patriots also threw him 10 passes, and he caught seven of them for 58 yards and three more first downs.
4.
Darren Sproles NO
22
0
88
0
43
-5
48
Sproles averaged 2.8 yards on eight carries, with a standard deviation of 1.8 yards. He always gained at least 1 yard, but never more than 5. He caught each of the four six passes thrown his way for 88 yards and four first downs, including gains of 13, 22, and 32 yards.


Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Isaac Redman PIT
10
0
7
0
-58
-44
-14
Redman's only successful run was an 8-yard gain on first-and-10. Otherwise, he was hit for no gain or a loss three times in eight carries, and also fumbled twice. The Steelers threw him three passes. Two fell incomplete, the other was caught for a 7-yard gain on second-and-4.


Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Anquan Boldin SF
13
17
208
16.0
1
78
Only once has Boldin ever caught more than 13 passes (in 2007) or gained more than 208 yards (in the first game of his career back in 2003). He had one touchdown, eight other first downs, and had five gains of 20 yards or more.
2.
A.J. Green CIN
9
13
162
18.0
2
63
Green ranks this high despite some turnover troubles. He fumbled one catch, and two of the passes thrown his way were intercepted (though that has no effect on his DYAR).
3.
Victor Cruz NYG
5
8
118
23.6
3
62
Cruz's touchdowns went for 70, 18, and 10 yards, and two of them came on third down. He also had 5- and 15-yard gains, both on first-and-10.
4.
Jerome Simpson MIN
7
8
140
20.0
0
58
The first pass thrown to Simpson was intercepted. The rest were all caught. Six resulted in first downs, including two 40-yard plays. The seventh was a 9-yard gain on third-and-14. Keep in mind, he was catching passes from Christian Ponder.
5.
Jordy Nelson GB
7
10
130
18.6
1
55
Six of Nelson's receptions gained a first down or touchdown; the seventh was a 9-yard gain on first-and-10. He had four catches of 15 yards or more, including a conversion on third-and-15.


Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Ace Sanders JAC
3
9
14
4.7
0
-61
Well, he was catching passes from Blaine Gabbert. His three completions: no gain on second-and-5; 4-yard loss on first-and-10; 18-yard gain on third-and-23.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 09 Sep 2013

117 comments, Last at 12 Sep 2013, 8:02am by dryheat

Comments

1
by Eggwasp (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:58am

Pryor > Palmer for 1 week at least!

2
by Hummingbird Cyborg :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 5:06am

I didn't expect Manning's game to be historically good. I saw a lot of three and outs to go along with several long drives and a lot of big plays. Sure, I expected a pretty good DYAR, but not a historically good DYAR.

Also, defensively, I felt that Denver put in a very good effort for a 27 point game.

As a Broncos fan, it's nice to see Flacco as low as he was in DYAR. I knew the defense played well and that they forced a lot of three and outs, but they also gave up a few big plays, so I thought those would dig Flacco out a little more.

Since they didn't and since the Broncos also stopped the Raven's run very well with a lot of plays that lost yards, I think that Denver will look good by DVOA on both sides of the ball. Oh, except the run game sucked, but that's nothing new.

I do have to say that I am absolutely glad that I bought NFL rewind as I've gone back and watched several games today and I am glad that I was able to glean things that I wouldn't have had I not had this option.

I watched the KC game and I had assumed that I'd see some good play by the Chief's offense in a game in which they scored 28 points, but it was really the ineptitude of Gabbert that surprised me more than anything.

4
by Duff Soviet Union :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 5:58am

The ineptitude of Blaine Gabbert should never surprise you.

5
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:22am

The fact that the Jaguars still have him as their starter after seeing his first two seasons is evidence to me that they're (at least subconsciously) Bummin' for Bridgewater.

34
by hrudey (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:15am

Or it's an indictment of Chad Henne. It's basically the decision of whether you want to be ground out to death by horrible inefficiency (all the big plays of a horizontal passing game but the completion percentage of a mad bomber) or wait for a spectacular self-inflicted deathblow when Henne does what Henne does. Or, of course, the third option, hot pokers stabbed into the eyeballs, which is really appealing on Sundays at this point.

19
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:20am

But what does continue to surprise me is that Gabbert was drafted as high as he was. He's just the classic example of the big reach. He was average in college. Some guys have huge stats and you can at least see how somebody could missguess on their ability to continue to excel. But the Jags convinced themselves Gabbert would up his game multiple notches once he hit the NFL.

22
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:25am

One of the dumbest moves GM's make over and over again is grossly overreaching for a position of need. Brandon Weeden is another recent example. The Browns could of gotten him like 25 picks after they took him.

65
by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:20pm

Not really--didn't draft board generally put him high 2nd at the latest?

If you want to talk about them missing out on Wilson, as many did, or about not giving up on Colt after one year to take Kaepernick* instead of Phil Taylor, then sure.

*Dalton will go down as a less effective pick than Phil Taylor as I see the Bengals eventually giving up on him and either keeping him as a backup or trading him for a mid-rounder.

80
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 5:57pm

I'm not referring to where the draftniks had him ranked. I'm referring to the fact that I highly doubt any other team would have taken Weeden if the Browns had passed on him, and he would have still been there when the Browns were picking again in the 2nd round.

88
by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:51pm

Denver was considering him before they signed Manning, and it's not infeasible that they would've continued to consider him as a developmental.

29
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:58am

I am by no means a good evaluator of college football talent. But I can proudly say that before the draft, I asked the question "why is this guy going to be a top 10 pick?" about Gabbert many times. He was probably about the 4th or 5th best QB in the Big 12. That's not bad, but certainly not someone you'd project as a top 10 pick in the NFL.

A lot of draft busts are only obvious with hindsight. It's more rare to see an obvious bust as it's happening. Expecting a guy to play better against significantly tougher competition is a classic recipe. I believe the technical term for this is "Tskitishvili Syndrome".

40
by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:22pm

Nothing about his college career would lead you to believe he'd take the pros by storm. In fact, the more you knew about his college career, the weirder his pick looks:

Maybe the Jags were impressed by him playing in a pro style offense?
No, he ran the spread, which typically makes guy's numbers look better...and his numbers still weren't all that great despite the spread.

Well, he probably played a ton of top defenses which hurt him, right?
Not really. The Big 12 North wasn't all that great.

He made big strides a senior, leading them to believe he'd continue that in the NFL?
Nope, in most areas he regressed between his junior and senior seasons.

56
by Bern Unit (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:58pm

Totally. I watch a lot of college ball and my reaction re: Gabbert was "Who? Huh?". Classic case of a guy built up into a first round prospect by the draft hype machine, he had no business going in round one.

62
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:03pm

Maybe he was picked high by the Jags, but he was soaring up all the mock drafts, too. Go look at mock drafts from 2011 and you'll see him as the #2 behind Cam Newton on most of them. Here's Walter Football from 2011 writing about the Titans:

Most mocks have Nick Fairley slotted here, but then again, most mocks don't have Blaine Gabbert available at No. 8.

It wasn't just the Jags being squirrely.

72
by RickD :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:09pm

Would it be fair to say that mock drafts are about trying to predict where players will be drafted, and not about how good the players are going to be once they turn pro? If yes, then the fault lies with the scouts who liked Gabbert, not with the mock drafters.

78
by markus (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 5:43pm

Huge amount of group think at work. Most all the "experts" get their info from the same handful of sources, who in turn get their info from each other.

87
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:48pm

So is this indirect evidence that the Jags made their draft picks based on Mel Kiper?

98
by Marko :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 9:25pm

I think they make their draft picks based on Bill Tobin's postman.

10
by Yaguar :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 7:48am

Yeah, once you get beyond the headline number of touchdowns, you have to remember this is a game where the Broncos punted 7 times too.

Manning has had a 6-TD game with a field goal and only two punts against the Saints in 2003.

He also had two playoff games in which the Colts never punted.

28
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:31am

In one of those games, the other team never punted either.

That was a seriously fun game. Yes, both defenses were terrible, but it was still fun watching two top-tier offenses trading blows.

30
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:03am

Yeah, it's funny -- I turned the game off in the middle of the second quarter. I had no idea that anything special had happened until the next day. This great game was really more like a great half. I've seen Peyton play better than this. Tells you how high his bar is.

21
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:22am

DVOA actually likes 3-and-outs mixed with long drives.

DVOA does not like big plays.

42
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:26pm

I don't know where you're getting that; DVOA does not like three-and-outs.

51
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:14pm

The better way of phrasing it is that DVOA doesn't dislike 3-and-outs, especially when it's mixed with long drives. DVOA is an aggregate of per-play scores -- so a short string of failure (3-and-out) gets outweighed by sustained success (long scoring drive). It gets a little more surly if you pair 3-and-outs with short boom drives for scores, because those don't have the sheer weight of successful plays to offset it.

This ignores that even a 3-and-out can have two successful plays mixed with one failure.

Drive-based metrics, by contrast, hate 3-and-outs.

115
by Subrata Sircar :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 2:30am

The big reason for any disconnect between "OMG!7TDs!" and DVOA illustrates what DVOA thinks of touchdowns.

If they're scored from in close, DVOA says "Eh, anybody can do that". If they're long plays, DVOA says "Bet you can't do that again". This aids DVOA's usage for predictions - because what it's saying is right, over all football history that it knows - while hurting it for descriptions/measuring value.

My favorite example of this is the Pittsburgh-Arizona SB, where Harrison returns a pick 100 yards for a TD to end the first half. Before that play, Arizona could have expected to score ~4 points from their down and distance. Harrison's return is worth ~11 points of EV, and a huge difference in win probability (going into halftime down one versus up 10) ... and DVOA essentially gives him credit only for 4 points (the interception).

DVOA is not a measure of who did more to win this game; it's a measure of things that, if done in a typical game, will lead to victory more often than not.

116
by Intropy :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 3:21am

I wonder how much of that is happenstance. If some offenses are more efficient than others and the more efficient offenses happen to have a more methodical character, would DVOA learn that methodical offenses are more efficient?

48
by RickD :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:00pm

DVOA likes

long sustained drives >> quick scoring drives >> 3 and outs >> turnovers

63
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:04pm

I think that order has been debunked time and again.

DVOA likes successful drives. Long sustained drives are successful. Quick scoring drives are successful.

70
by RickD :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:02pm

It really hasn't been debunked.

DVOA downrates what it considers to be fluke plays, and things like Peterson's opening TD are weighed less than if he had had 8 10-yard games resulting in a TD.

There are some obvious reasons how this happens: one successful has far less of an impact on the success rate than 10 successful plays, for example.

Please cite this debunking that you refer to.

76
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:32pm

It's much more complex than either of you are making it.

Let's take two separate, successful drives, against the same opponent:
- Drive A consists of eight ten-yard completions, the final being a touchdown;
- Drive B consists of one eighty-yard completion, which is a touchdown.

For the sake of this comment, let's assume:
- a ten-yard completion on first-and-ten has a value of 15;
- an eighty-yard completion on first-and-ten has a value of 60(*);
- a touchdown gives adds 5 points of value to a play;
- the average value of a first-and-ten pass attempt is 0;
- the opponent's defense grades out at 0% DVOA.

If we're looking at the DVOA *for only the drives themselves*, we'll get:
- Drive A DVOA: 15.6% ((15-0) * 7 + (15+5-0) * 1) / 8
- Drive B DVOA: 65.0% (60+5-0) / 1

But games and seasons consist of more than a single drive. Now let's imagine that both Drive A and Drive B came in games that contained 60 other offensive plays, and those 60 other plays averaged 0% DVOA.

If we're now looking at the DVOA *for the full games*, we'll get:
- Game A DVOA: 1.8% ((15-0) * 7 + (15+5-0) * 1 + 0 * 60) / (8 + 60)
- Game B DVOA: 1.1% ((60+5-0) * 1 + 0 * 60) / (1 + 60)

So there is some truth in both statements. A drive consisting of one awesome play (the 80-yard touchdown) comes out better than a drive consisting of eight good plays, when comparing the two drives against each other. But, when taken in the context of game that is otherwise completely average, the fact that there were eight times as many good plays as the one awesome play has a greater effect on the game's DVOA.

77
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 5:30pm

That Drive A was worth 124.8 DYAR. That drive B was worth 65 DYAR.

81
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:03pm

First, you're moving the goalposts. The statement was about DVOA, not DYAR.

Second, it was worth 125 DYAR.

Third, that's a feature of DYAR, not a bug. It's meant to be more predictable than just yardage, and eight ten-yard passes in a row is obviously more reliably repeatable than one eighty-yard pass (after all, the offense already has repeated it seven times).

I'll never get the complaints that an eighty-yard gain isn't eight times more valuable than a ten-yard gain in DYAR. If it was, you wouldn't need DYAR! We could just measure teams by total yardage.

86
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:46pm

I've been reading from the beginning, and the only things I'm certain about regarding DVOA are:

1. DVOA loves the Eagles
2. DVOA hates the Cowboys

103
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 10:05am

I'll admit I do freely interchange DVOA and DYAR when discussing aggregate and drive totals.

I'm not sure whether or not completing 7 in a row says anything about your odds at an 8th -- that sounds like a gambler's fallacy, but I'm not sure how skill precise affects the odds. That said, David Carr has the NFL record for consecutive completions. Make of that what you will.

"I'll never get the complaints that an eighty-yard gain isn't eight times more valuable than a ten-yard gain in DYAR."
-- My understanding was that DYAR measures less the value of that (win shares would be the better metric there), being as it's not a descriptive metric, than it does the predictive ability of that.

Now, that said, I did some quick checking.

80+ yard scoring plays have occurred 161 times since 2000, or about 13 per year. Single-play 80+ yard scoring drives have occurred 89 times.
80+ yard scoring drives, consisting of at least 8 completed passes, with at least 8 first downs, have occurred 20 times since 2000, or a little less than twice a year.

Oddly, the 80 yard play is more likely to occur.

plays: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/play_finder.cgi?request...

1 drive plays: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/drive_finder.cgi?reques...

drives: http://www.pro-football-reference.com/play-index/drive_finder.cgi?reques...

112
by Eddo :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 3:50pm

"I'm not sure whether or not completing 7 in a row says anything about your odds at an 8th -- that sounds like a gambler's fallacy, but I'm not sure how skill precise affects the odds."

It's definitely not an example of the gambler's fallacy, since skill is very heavily involved.

------

"80+ yard scoring plays have occurred 161 times since 2000, or about 13 per year. Single-play 80+ yard scoring drives have occurred 89 times.
80+ yard scoring drives, consisting of at least 8 completed passes, with at least 8 first downs, have occurred 20 times since 2000, or a little less than twice a year."

That's definitely interesting, but I'm not sure it has anything to do with DVOA. What you would want to check is if the offenses that produced the slow-and-steady drives were more efficient than the ones that produced the single-play drives.

Also, you could argue that the higher likelihood of single-play drives means that you don't need to be as strong an offense to produce them.

108
by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 12:51pm

DVOA downrates what it considers to be fluke plays....

Why are you conflating "fluke plays" with "quick scoring drives?" They're different things. 4 plays that go 80 yards is a quick scoring drive. Who would call one long TD run a drive at all?

Please cite this debunking that you refer to.

Aaron himself has personally done this several times. It's been hashed out many, many more times than that. Honestly I don't know why this myth persists that DVOA prefers short gains.

68
by JimZipCode :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:38pm

Flacco was tortured by drops, esp by his TEs. If they caught the ball at even replacement level, his DYAR looks better and the game would have been – well, somewhat more competitive. The Ravens would have scored a little more; and maybe a couple Baltimore first downs to break up that 3rd Q onslaught might have helped the D gain some composure.

3
by James-London :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 5:35am

Didn't see the Steelers game but I'm shocked anyone was worse than Lamar Miller this weekend. Can we see his numbers please?

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

35
by drobviousso :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:19am

I did watch the Steelers game and I'm not shocked that Redman's stat line was worse than anyone elses.

6
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:26am

Jerome Simpson's play was one of the biggest surprises for me in week 1. The Vikings would have lost by at least 3 or 4 scores if it weren't for him. But to be fair, his big plays came against a rookie corner who eventually got benched.

7
by Ben :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:38am

Surprised that Reggie Bush isn't in the top 5 RBs. Certainly his conventional stats were pretty good.

23
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:25am

As a receiver, he was pretty boom-or-bust. The 77 yard TD was great, but his other receptions were in the 6 or 7 yard gain variety.

As a runner, he was good, with several gains in the 7-12 yard range, but too many 1-2 yard gains (and no big plays) to make this list.

27
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:31am

He came up just short of the end zone twice and had Bell hoover his TDs. He had a typical 2012 CJ day.

8
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:57am

For Vikings fans it is just too painful to ponder the drafting of Ponder in the first round, when watching the Niners or Seahawks. It leads them to muttering anti-Christian epitaphs!

My solution is to no longer engage in the ponderous habit of watching the Vikings too closely.

18
by wr (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:18am

And I see you're going to take your Vikings angst out on the rest of us by
mercilessly punishing us.

24
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:26am

It's better than Shah8's Webb of lies. (sorry, I couldn't resist).

45
by shah8 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:36pm

Hey now...

It ain't no lie.

Why is Webb the best quarterback on the Vikings? He can throw an out, among a variety of other passes properly. He can hit receivers such that they can run the ball afterwards. Both things he showed in his absolute worst game. If you don't believe me, check out Pryor, who is still a substantially worse passer than Webb, and who's ability as a rusher is still somewhat inferior, with only a slightly better top gear. Pryor actually can eat up a bad passing defense. Ponder can't, good lord he can't. There was not one properly placed pass (where the play really calls for it) in that game. Neither can Cassel. And if you're thinking Macleod Bethel-Thompson, there are videos of Rusty Smith you need to see.

Webb is still on this team because he's the *actual* backup QB, in the sense that he will be QB after the Vikings management gives up on the notion of forcing pretty boys down Vikingstan throat. Cassell is only the backup in case Ponder gets hurt. Nobody learns the WR position after a training camp, and this will be Webb's last year on his rookie contract. There is no way he's not a backup QB in reality.

50
by dbostedo :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:08pm

Are we yet to the point where shah8:Webb::RaiderJoe:Raiders? If so, I suggest a name change from "shah8" to "WebbJoe".

54
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:37pm

If the name change is accompanied by head-scratching spelling and grammatical errors, I'm on board.

60
by shah8 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 2:37pm

Here's the thing though. How long can you really keep up the obsequious unfairness?

I mean, do you *really* think Greg Jennings doesn't know who the best QB is? Or that he won't eventually insist on him playing if Ponder doesn't shape up? They've already have had Percy Harvin blowing up last year. And I suspect Jennings isn't that much more cucumber than Harvin. Ain't gonna look good.

Bottom line...those Vikings fans that want so much to have a pretty boy succeed cannot help their cause by screaming THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE. You know and I know, that if Webb had been cut, teams would have been falling over themselves to pick him off the waiver wire. You know and I know that there probably were calls to Speilman inquiring if he was gonna play that QB, and if not, can we have him?

Webb is a real QB. He makes throws from the pocket to the whole field. When his mechanics are warmed up, he makes accurate throws. On top of all that, he's the most dangerous rushing QB in the league in terms of being able to rush against defenses that hadn't broken down in gap control or otherwise. And seriously? QB need reps. You all saw how RGIII was last night, with no preseason. At least Webb's misfires were uncatchable ground balls instead of almost right. And RGIII got better, too in the second half. The questions are pretty much about keeping consistent mechanics and picking up the playbook and making reads.

Ponder is not. Sunday, he had a four (counting the bad handoff), almost five turnover day. His yardage and Y/A were deceptive in terms of just how poor the quality of his passes were. Webb simply has never had a game as horrible, not even that playoff game. Webb's less than a half of football @ Washington in '11 was better than any of Ponder's best performances (yes, including GB), and his rushing threat opened up huge holes for Gerhart and Harvin.

73
by dryheat :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:13pm

Just so I understand you correctly, you're postulating that Webb is the best QB on the Vikings, the Coaching staff and management know that Webb is the best QB on the Vikings, but are playing Ponder instead? That's it, isn't it?

So, the Coaching staff and management are willing to lose games, and their jobs, by way of not using their best player at the most important position, because the fans want to see a "pretty boy", and I'll take that to mean Caucasian, quarterback, even at the expense of wins and losses?

Does this conspiracy go al the way to Wilf? Is he insisting that the inferior quarterback play because he is afraid the fans won't support a black quarterback like Daunte Culpepper, Warren Moon, or Randall Cunningham? Have the twin cities soured on Tavaris Jackson so badly that they apply his failures to Webb? Are Vikings fans more likely to support a losing team with a white quarterback than a winning one with a black quarterback?

Please tell, I find this fascinating.

75
by Independent George :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:28pm

Right, because coaching staffs never gets it wrong!

I've got no dog in the irrational Webb/Ponder fight, but I'm perfectly willing to accept the possibility that the coaching staff is standing by their draft pick over a better backup. Saying that Ponder must be better because the coaching staff is starting him is kind of tautological.

94
by dryheat :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 8:48pm

I have no dog either, and I really don't care. I do know, however, that coaches are motivated to keep their job, and the way to do that is win. I do not accept that they deliberately keep running out a QB that they are less likely to win with than a reserve QB that is on their roster.

104
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 10:08am
117
by dryheat :: Thu, 09/12/2013 - 8:02am

I don't think any team is going to start tanking week one of the season. The Vikings were a playoff team last year.

83
by shah8 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:33pm

Well, I did mean specifically "pretty boy". If you want to bring race into it, by all means, certainly. Usually we can't have nice things because certain people really get riled up. Be all that may be, the NFL massively over-exposes the QB position, and that player is usually in a ton of ads, and gets tons of protection in the game. This is an entertainment business, and the owner is just as happy with Keanu Reeves as he would be with George Clooney, so long as Mr. Reeves can credibly do the basics. That the pretty boys are white do indeed has to do with the NFL's legacy wrt to qbs and head coaches.

The Rooney rule helps with the latter, but what's eroding preference for inadequate but pretty white qbs is the sheer growth in the need for athleticism out of the QB. Nobody needs to have Vick's arm or Vick's legs. Those are out of this world. However, it has simply gotten untenable to have athletically marginal QBs today, with the likes of JJ Watt playing, or the now intense exploitation of inadequate OGs. You simply have to have have QBs with some legs, and to prevent DCs from going crazy on you in a meaningful game, you have to have a QB that can do *all* of the standard pass plays, *casually*. It's not that having consistent mechanics, being able to read defenses, or know the playbook isn't awesome, but you have to have it all. For example, it's not the... intelligent thing to believe that Matt Flynn is a starting QB. It never was the intelligent thing to believe. Matt Flynn doesn't have the tools. That six touchdown day isn't any different from Payton's recent seven touchdown day. Multiple very high quality receivers, and a bad day for a defensive secondary. While I fully expect Payton to implode in the playoffs, barring meeting an all offense/no defense team, Manning has a *ton* of veteran wiles to assist him with those weak throws. Matt Flynn does not. And so he's been beat out in humiliating fashion (bad elbow, whocuddaknode?) to younger players with better tools, even if it's a guy like Pryor, who really isn't a very natural passer.

You want it all, man. Size (to take the beatings), arm strength (to threaten the whole field and to exploit the smallest holes), accuracy (so you don't make your WRs out like Spiderman like Locker does), legs (both in maneuvering within the pocket and get easy lengthy scrambles when the defense forgets about you), game speed intellect (so you can operate in those split seconds, unlike Alex Smith), classroom intellect (so you can figure out defensive schemes at the line and progress through reads quickly). That's why there aren't too many franchise quarterbacks. That's why you can *always* put a big ding on the likes of Andy Dalton, who doesn't have the arm. You can always rely on Tom Brady to do poorly in the playoffs against any teams with a front four that can deal with his excellent OL. You can expect age to hit guys like Matt Schaub (lead feet) much earlier than Aaron Rodgers. You know that at the end of the day, a QB must be roughly as toolsy as Matt Ryan in order to give you a chance at winning it all. Less arm, less mobility? No chance at all, unless a historic defense has your back.

And yes, I fully believe that the Viking organization knows and understands that Webb is the best QB. I like to tease those Vikings members of the Mean Cult of Nice about him because it's not hard to understand. Not hard to understand at all, because at the end of the day, Webb has the tape that shows off his skills. Beautiful passes and intimidating runs. Ponder does not. Of course, there is no guarantee that Webb will ever be a good QB, but he has the basic tools and shows them on the field. And even if the Vikings organization was blind, I'm dead certain that Percy Harvin's blowup in Seattle was totally about pulling Ponder and putting in Webb. The fight was right after a horribly thrown attempt at another bubble screen. They have had input as to what is real. They don't want to acknowledge that because they care more about Ponder's Q rating than they necessarily do about properly winning games (if they did, don't you think Musgrave would have been gone after calling that playoff game?). What's blowing up is not the losing games part, but just how visibly unacceptable Ponder has been in losing the last game.

As for that last paragraph, I invite you to read any number of Vikings forums. There is a reason I only comment at Tommy Lawlor's blog. Philly fans are bipolar and there's always the risk of being stabbed with a broken beer bottle, but they are just so much more fun and accepting than Vikings fans. Most Vikings forums are dominated by a few insular members that passive-aggressively enforce a certain line and constrain dissenting opinions, with fast bannings if need be.

84
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:45pm

However, it has simply gotten untenable to have athletically marginal QBs today, with the likes of JJ Watt playing, or the now intense exploitation of inadequate OGs. You simply have to have have QBs with some legs...

Tom Brady
Drew Brees
Peyton Manning

Yep, untenable.

90
by shah8 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 7:03pm

Two of the three has had exceptional OLs through the peak of their careers, though. And one of the things clarified by the QB stat split of pressure and no pressure, was the Drew Brees is more dependent than you'd think on having that clean pocket. Payton Manning has a great OL today.

Seriously, how many teams have the cap to keep together great OLs like the Bengals, Patriots, SF, especially as players move on from rookie deals? Brees genuinely misses Carl Nicks.

Remember, I'm not talking about Vick speed. I'm talking about being able to move in the pocket and not be a liability when opportunistically running. Payton Manning hasn't always had a great OL, but he gets out the ball quickly and he moved pretty well within the pocket. He wasn't that unathletic, like, oh Ryan Mallet.

91
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 7:23pm

Okay, so what you really mean is it's untenable to have an athletically marginal quarterback with poor pocket presence, playing behind a mediocre or worse offensive line while being a poor scrambler with a slow release.

Yes, it certainly is.

95
by dryheat :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 8:54pm

The two most important qualities for a QB to have are accuracy and the ability to constantly read the field and make the right decision of where to throw the ball. All the agility and mobility in the world isn't worth a bucket of camel spit if the quarterback has Tebownian accuracy or ability to read the defense and pick the right receiver. Can Webb learn to do these things? Maybe. He certainly isn't there now, though.

105
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 10:11am

"The two most important qualities for a QB to have are accuracy and the ability to constantly read the field and make the right decision of where to throw the ball."

There are a lot of QBs on the scrapheap of history who had those in spades, and failed, because they lacked either mobility or fast timing.

Roethlisberger has those and gets a ton of heat for dinking around too long in the pocket. The primary difference between Bledsoe and Brady was that Brady isn't completely statuesque.

89
by shah8 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:56pm

This effect also happens to other white QBs, so it's important to consider the phenomenon as "pretty boy". The major example would be Drew Henson over Tom Brady at Michigan. And even with Ponder, there is no way he was better than the ginger in college--saw both of them. Ponder gets drafted über-high because he looks like he can credibly walk out of a corporate boardroom, while Dalton should just walk his beat on the mean streets of Cambridge. Guys like Tony Romo and Kurt Warner aren't people that NFL higher ups truly prefer--they like Phil Sims and Troy Aikman so much better. They get used to it, and market their product. When a Matt Ryan shows up, he gets overdrafted--although in this case, successfully so. That fat new contract is going to be the death of the Falcons, though.

93
by Tim Wilson :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 8:37pm

I'm sorry-- are you saying that Drew Henson beat out Tom Brady because Drew was a "pretty boy"? The Tom Brady he beat out being the same one who currently models for UGG and is married to a supermodel? Or are you saying that Henson had a better toolkit, including mobility/pocket presence? Neither seems true.

Similarly, are you saying Tony Romo and Kurt Warner are worse looking than Phil Simms? Or look less likely to "walk out of a corporate boardroom"?

This is my first experience with your Webb theories, but everything so far has been pretty bad.

100
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 6:45am

You guys have all been sucked into Shah8's Webb Vortex. I implore you to get out now while you can.

106
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 10:16am

You're thinking Brian Griese. Henson replaced Brady at U-M after he graduated.

Ironically, of the three, Brady was probably the least effective college QB. His 1998 season was pretty rough.

http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/michigan/1997.html
http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/michigan/1998.html
http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/michigan/1999.html
http://www.sports-reference.com/cfb/schools/michigan/2000.html

107
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 10:51am

But in '99 Brady apparently came very close to being replaced by Drew Henson. Brady has told the story before about he had to go into Lloyd Carr's office to passionately argue that he shouldn't lose his job to Henson.

Also the point you make about Tom Brady, college quarterback, is interesting. Even on his best day at Michigan, he was merely above average. It's amazing to think about what he's become now at the next level.

Maybe the Jaguars thought the same thing would happen to Blaine Gabbert.

96
by dbostedo :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 9:02pm

"You know and I know, that if Webb had been cut, teams would have been falling over themselves to pick him off the waiver wire."

I do not know that, and in fact I highly doubt it. Sure, someone may sign him, but the "falling over themselves" - meaning I guess many, say 6-8, teams all willing to bid for Webb - seems incredibly unlikely.

In any case, I think it would be swell if you started referring to Chirten Pander playing against the likes of the Puckers, Loins, and Beras.

99
by Will Allen :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 12:18am

I finally concluded that Joe Webb's agent goes by the moniker of "shah8", so instead of trying to explore the critical reasoning that produces his posts, I now merely doff my hat as a measure of my respect for professional diligence.

101
by Ryan D. :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 9:44am

Only if his agent is also his dad or deranged uncle/brother/cousin. Only family could be this irrational over someone so inconsequential.

44
by peterplaysbass :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:35pm

Ponder's Y/A was respectably better than his 2012 baseline and his AY/A was very close to being better (change AP's 4 yard TD run to a little 4 yard pass and/or give Ponder a break on either the 2nd or 3rd INT).

Sure 1 TD vs 3 INTs is bad, but I'm still hoping to see more out of Ponder this year. (mostly because it's the Viking's quickest possible path to success)

55
by Will Allen :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:48pm

I'll be happy to be proven wrong, but I can confidently state that Ponder is just lousy, and is likely to remain so. How they ever got it into their heads that this guys was worthy of a pick in the top half of the first round is very puzzling. A mediocre arm on a guy who had trouble staying healthy in college isn't a great resume.

9
by bucko (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 7:03am

As a Packer fan, I am beyond weary of players having career days against a Packer defense that has good players.

17
by Passing Through (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:16am

Unfortunately, defense is arguably less about the good players and more about the weakest link. According to PFF, Jerron McMillian was a pretty damning weak link. As a niner fan, I'm concerned about our secondary too.

36
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:22am

Yeah McMillian doesn't do well playing deep. We really missed Burnett. Of course Capers has never had a middle linebacker who can cover passes. Brad Jones seriously might be the best they've had for that, don't bring up Desmond Bishop, he was a thumper but he didn't prevent anyone from completing a pass on his guys he just looked good hitting them after they made the catch. It just shows more how much Nick Collins helped that defense by being able to cover things in the middle of the field where they were getting chewed up all game and often have in the past as well. I've thought the defense could work without a good safety if there were enough other players, and against a lesser team it might. The San Fran offensive line is just too good though, the better d-line pressure that will normally help the pass rush and help prevent some of the middle of the field weakness simply didn't happen.

Micah Hyde wasn't awful, but he isn't quick and he made some rookie errors Casey Hayward was missed in the slot too. Still with the way the Packers are always injured you have to simply expect them to never be at full strength. McMillian is fine for some sub packages in place of Jennings but it's clear he is not ready to be a full time starter.

I think Nnamdi is your only real concern, and a few of the times he got burned anyone, including Revis, would have been burned. The Packers passing game is good, and they had all the weapons, leave Cobb alone and Finely or Nelson have a chance to hurt you. Take away the underneath and seams from Cobb and Finley and Nelson and Jones can burn you. Jones wasn't much of a factor on Sunday but you need a corner at least as good as Rogers to not need help on him, not every team has that. I think both defenses are going to look better against lesser offenses, though the Packers have more issues, even if healthy. 9ers have a weak nickle back. Packers when fully healthy have a below average safety (Jennings/McMillian), weak middle linebackers, and I'm not sure what to think about Perry on the outside.

59
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 2:24pm

I will be interested to see what the niners do with Eric Wright when he becomes available after week six or of they throw Tramaine Brock or Perrish Cox into the mix.

69
by Passing Through (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:52pm

My expectation based on this week's snap counts:

Starters:

1. Rodgers
2. Brown
3. Asomugha

Bench:

4. Cox
5. Brock

I thought Brock would be #4 based on the preseason Asomugha vs. Brock battle. Now that Brock seems to be #5, I could see him becoming inactive after Wright comes back.

74
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:23pm

You might be right but I'm not sure they view Brock as a slot corner, which could be the reason Vox saw some playing time versus 4 WR sets.

109
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 3:27pm

As far as I can tell, every secondary that has started Wright has been worse after he left (Browns,Lions, Bucs). So the biggest mystery is why they all gave up on him.

110
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 3:28pm

As far as I can tell, every secondary that has started Wright has been worse after he left (Browns,Lions, Bucs). So the biggest mystery is why they all gave up on him.

66
by herewegobrowniesherewego (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:23pm

"defense is arguably less about the good players and more about the weakest link"

Ugh, you can say that again after seeing the Browns stop the run and Mike Wallace almost perfectly, but allow Brian Hartline to move at will against Buster Skrine.

32
by c0rrections (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:07am

Packers were missing some good secondary players though so it's partially explainable. It seems to me like they probably overprepared for the option offense and got burned by San Fran going with a more conventional gameplan.

46
by zenbitz :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:41pm

I don't think they over _prepared_, I think they just decided to shut down the run game, and hope that Kaepernick proved to be mortal.

11
by armchair journe... :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 8:35am

I think Eli under-reacted. Peyton would have broken Scott over his knee like dried kindling.

//AJMQB

12
by jahlives (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 8:59am

QB DYAR question: After the games are charted, do things like blown blocks and dropped passes get factored in?

I didn't think Flacco looked bad aside from the interceptions, but when Dixon/Clark started dropping balls and Michael Oher got injured and replaced by Ricky Wagner (or something to that effect) he started looking a lot worse.

13
by coremill :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 9:03am

I realize Brady did not have a good game, but the idea that the Patriots would have been significantly better off with a random journeyman QB picked up off the FA scrap heap does not pass the smell test.

14
by Not Jimmy (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 9:45am

Too bad they released Tebow.

15
by Briguy :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:03am

I don't think replacement-level QB means someone picked up off the scrap heap. They calculate replacement level for QBs by looking at actual situations where a backup QB has played (see their "Our New Stats Explained" link at the top). So theoretically replacement level at QB should be an approximation of the actual value of an average backup QB. In other words, someone who is actually on the team's roster and ready to play.

16
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:12am

I'm a little fuzzy on the concept of "replacement level" when it comes to QBs, but I don't think it means a journeyman from the scrap heap. Last year, there were 25 starting QBs with DYAR > 0. Some years, it's more than that, but the cutoff appears to be somewhere in the bottom tier of starting QBs. It therefore stands to reason that the FA from the scrap heap will not be right at DYAR = 0, but rather somewhere below 0.

Single game DYAR should be taken in context. I don't think it's really meant to imply that the Patriots would have been better of with, say, Ryan Fitzpatrick. It's mostly just saying that Brady had a poor game.

92
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 7:27pm

I think for QBs "replacement level" actually means "backup level." It's not at all surprising that in any given year many starters are worse than a typical backup.

20
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:21am

Since DYAR is compilation stat, I think it's more instructive over several games, rather than a single game, where even future HOFers can have off days.

25
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:27am

23 incompletions, 6 y/a, as well as "going 1-of-5 for 4 yards with a sack" in goal line, plus that lost fumble Aaron doesn't like to talk about.

Those are Gabbertian numbers.

33
by nat :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:08am

I suspect the goal line plays are the crux of the issue.

DYAR sets high baselines for those. Failing to score from the one is like killing puppies as far as its concerned.

49
by RickD :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:03pm

Especially if you fail by fumbling the ball.

52
by Anonymouse (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:25pm

I know the numbers are what they are, but I don't think Brady had that bad of a game. Thompkins dropped two catchable balls in the first half, Edelman dropped two touchdowns in the third quarter and his interception was thrown right into the hands of Sudfeld, who sort of handed it off to the defender. The fumble was all on him, and one of the sacks was a direct result of failing to read a blitz. It certainly wasn't anything close to a good game, but at no point in the game did I say to myself "Sheesh, Brady is KILLING us today!"

64
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:06pm

How does DVOA record drops for QB DYAR? DVOA goes off the play by play recordings, which do mention drops, so I would guess it is factoring that in. I wonder how though. They can't just assume that brady would have achieved that yardage because then the field position changes and you get into a very nasty markov chain. All this to say, any guesses?

67
by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 3:32pm

I'd assume it just treats them as incomplete passes. Anything else, as you already pointed out, would become unwieldy. One can figure that drops will partially cancel out across all QBs. Probably better to just accept that small amount of imprecision and move on, rather than get into an endless game of what-if.

71
by RickD :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 4:05pm

I don't think Brady had a bad game. I don't even argue that the fumble was on him. His receivers made many mistakes yesterday, the worst of which was Sudfeld's handoff to the defense.

But unless you want game charters to make judgment calls about whose fault a given incompletion or interception is, you have to live with the fact that his low rating accurately reflects a passing game that really didn't do all that much.

82
by theslothook :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:05pm

You know, this is as close as we're going to get at a natural experiment to gauge how much receivers matter. If we take the reasonable assumption that Brady is the exact same player he was last year, then the difference in his dvoa over the next few weeks will reflect how much receivers matter. I can't help but assume had gronk, hernandez, and welker been here, this offense would have comfortably annihilated the bills as usual.

85
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 6:46pm

I think the difference between Brady 2006 and Brady 2007 already covered that.

26
by Nevic (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 10:27am

The stats confirm that SF-GB was a great game to watch since it had QBs #2 and #3 (albeit with a large DYAR gap between #2 and #3). It must be tough to be the 3rd best QB of the week and still lose, and I imagine the gap would be smaller if the butterfingers Finley "interception" didn't count against Rodgers.

31
by bravehoptoad :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:04am

I'm sorry Quick Reads lost its gig over on ESPN. It's one of my favorite articles of the week. What's wrong with those ESPN people, anyway?

Pah, they're not good enough for Quick Reads.

38
by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:53am

All you have to do is glance at the ESPN message boards. That will tell you all you need to know about the proportion of ESPN readers who have the intelligence to appreciate advanced stats analysis.

If that sounds a little snobby, I'm sorry, that's how I feel.

111
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 3:41pm

It was a lot better 3 years ago, when I first got involved. There were actually a few commenters who were actually interested in intelligent discussion. A year later they were all replaced by snarkers.

37
by RODGERS! (not verified) :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 11:46am

How much would Rodgers DYAR improve if you took away the interception? It was clearly a drop by Finley that he then kicked into Reid's hands. Can FO come up with a new stat for that kind of turnover? Or could we just call them fumbles?

39
by Paul R :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:17pm

Gabbert's stats currently read: Rush DYAR=0, Pass DYAR=-240, Total DYAR=-241.
Typo? Or is a point subtracted for the new uniforms?

41
by drobviousso :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:25pm

Probably rounding. For example, -.4 + -240.4 = -240.8, rounded to -241.

43
by Eddo :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:28pm

DYAR is rounded to the nearest full unit. It's probably something like this:

Rush DYAR: -0.4 (rounds to 0)
Pass DYAR: -240.3 (rounds to -240)
Total DYAR: -240.7 (rounds to -241)

97
by Paul R :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 9:23pm

2+2=5 for very large values of 2.

47
by SuperGrover :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 12:57pm

Any comments on Kelly's overuse of McCoy and Vick Monday? Running the ball 60% of the time at an extreme pace is a great strategy in college where you are four deep in All-American caliber RBs. In the NFL, I'm not sure it can work. Can McCoy really manage a 500+ touch season? That is his current pace.

Same thing with Vick. He ran the ball 9 times, was sacked 3 times, and must have been hit another dozen or so. Can he take the kind of punishment on a weekly basis?

Color me skeptical. It may work, but I think he has to figure out a way for his offense to click without 2/3 of the touches going to his two most important players.

57
by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 2:04pm

It did seem that Washington were able to exploit some holes in the Eagles' protection schemes.

Kelly runs a lot of formations with only the five linemen and the back in to protect Vick. They then run a lot of read option with the back crossing in front of the qb. This means the weak side of the protection is the side with the back in, when normally that would be the more protected side. Washington blitzed at the stronger side of the formation quite often and were able to hit Vick when they did. I couldn't tell if this was down to Vick not finding his hot read or not but if he gets hit that much then he might not last the full season, again.

58
by Dean :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 2:22pm

Probably a bit of both. Pretty much everybody (except the apologists) has known since about 2000 or so that he simply can't read a defense. I can't imagine he magically learned how to read a defense in his 30s. Kelly will have to coach around that and make sure Foles is gets a share of the practice reps.

113
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 4:15pm

This was my thought. What will Chip Kelly do whe he realizes he doesn't have 95 players he can sub in and out freely?

114
by LionInAZ :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 4:16pm

This was my thought. What will Chip Kelly do whe he realizes he doesn't have 95 players he can sub in and out freely?

53
by Dean :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 1:27pm

I only got to see about half the Rams game (Iron Maiden played Sunday night and that trumps football easily), but from what I saw, I found myself thinking that Sam Bradford looked very good. Not flawless, but very good. The fleeting thought "like a top 10 QB" entered my head. Sure enough, that's exactly where he is. It'll be interesting to see if he keeps it up. On the plus side, he's not learning a new offense for the first time in his career, and the early returns on Cook are nice. On the downside, it's easy to look good against the Cardinals.

61
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 2:40pm

Didn't see the Steelers game but I'm shocked anyone was worse than Lamar Miller this weekend. Can we see his numbers please?

-23 DYAR. -26 rushing, 4 receiving. He was in the bottom five, along with Doug Martin, CJ Spiller, David Wilson, and Redman.

Surprised that Reggie Bush isn't in the top 5 RBs. Certainly his conventional stats were pretty good.

Blame LeSean McCoy. Bush was number 5 before the Monday night games.

QB DYAR question: After the games are charted, do things like blown blocks and dropped passes get factored in?

No. DVOA is based on purely objective data. Stuff like blown blocks and drops are subjective. We always say that DVOA, like all stats, needs to be taken in context.

How much would Rodgers DYAR improve if you took away the interception? It was clearly a drop by Finley that he then kicked into Reid's hands. Can FO come up with a new stat for that kind of turnover? Or could we just call them fumbles?

See prior comment. That INT cost Rodgers -46 DYAR.

102
by James-London :: Wed, 09/11/2013 - 9:59am

Thanks Vince,

Miller sucked objectively & subjectively then...

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

79
by Marko :: Tue, 09/10/2013 - 5:47pm

"Dalton's first third-down pass was incomplete, and his last two third-down dropbacks were an incompletion and a 5-yard gain on third-and-6. In between, he converted all of his third-down opportunities, going 6-of-6 for 54 yards and a touchdown, plus a 54-yard DPI."

The DPI was 34 yards, not 54 yards. It was during the Bengals' first drive of the third quarter: "3rd and 13 at CHI 35 (Shotgun) A.Dalton pass incomplete deep right to A.Green. PENALTY on CHI-C.Tillman, Defensive Pass Interference, 34 yards, enforced at CHI 35 - No Play." http://scores.espn.go.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=330908003&period=3