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11 Oct 2016

Week 5 Quick Reads

by Vincent Verhei

Whenever an NFL team spends a high draft pick on a running back, they always announce it with clich├ęs about bell cows and workhorses say they want their new star to get 20 carries a game. In reality, very few running backs come close to that threshold -- Minnesota's Adrian Peterson was the only runner in the league last year to top 320 carries (a 20-carry average over 16 games). Even in the smaller sample of a single week, only seven running backs in Week 5 hit 20 carries (not counting the Tampa Bay-Carolina Monday night game):

  • Arizona's David Johnson had 27 carries for 157 yards against San Francisco.
  • Tennesse's DeMarco Murray had 27 carries for 121 yards against Miami.
  • Atlanta's Devonta Freeman had 23 carries for 88 yards against Denver.
  • Los Angeles' Todd Gurley had 23 carries for 72 yards against Buffalo.
  • San Francisco's Carlos Hyde had 22 carries for 78 yards against Arizona.
  • Pittsburgh's Le'veon Bell had 20 carries for 66 yards against the Jets.
  • Minnesota's Jerick McKinnon had 20 carries for 36 yards against Houston.

So can we say that Johnson and Murray, with 27 carries apiece, had the heaviest workload of any runner this week? What if I told you that Johnson played 53 snaps for Arizona, meaning he carried the ball on 51 percent of his carries? Meanwhile, Murray only carried the ball on 45 percent of his 60 snaps. On a per-snap basis, none of these guys was busier than Freeman, who carried the ball on 58 percent of his 40 snaps. Bell, on the other hand, was on the field all day, with carries on only 27 percent of his 73 snaps. As for the others, McKinnon had runs on 49 percent of his 41 snaps; Gurley, 42 percent of 55; and Hyde, 34 percent of 64.

Individual player snap data is still pretty new, and we've never studied what it meant when measuring workloads. Are 20 carries in 40 snaps more grueling than 20 in 60? Do snap counts even tell us anything about workload, or does it even matter if a player is on the field if he's not getting the ball? And what role do receptions and targets play in this?

We're not close to being able to answer most of those questions, but for now, we can at least look at which running backs are getting the ball when they're on the field, and which are put into actionto provide targets in the passing game. The following table shows the top 40 running backs in total offensive snaps through the first four weeks of the season. Due to time constraints, we weren't able to include data from Week 5, but the patterns for most players are so clear that another week's worth of figures likely wouldn't have made much difference. Each player is listed with his runs and targets, and the percentage of snaps on which he is handed or passed the ball.


Running Back Usage, 2016, Weeks 1-4
Player Team Off Snaps Rk Runs Run% Rk Tgts Tgt% Rk
31-D.Johnson ARI 234 1 64 27.4% 28 21 9.0% 26
26-L.Miller HOU 217 2 93 42.9% 8 14 6.5% 31
29-D.Murray TEN 205 3 66 32.2% 22 21 10.2% 18
24-T.Yeldon JAC 194 4 48 24.7% 30 24 12.4% 13
25-L.McCoy BUF 192 5 67 34.9% 18 19 9.9% 21
34-D.Williams PIT 191 6 70 36.6% 16 22 11.5% 14
22-C.Anderson DEN 191 6 73 38.2% 15 15 7.9% 29
21-E.Elliott DAL 190 8 94 49.5% 3 7 3.7% 39
22-M.Forte NYJ 190 8 81 42.6% 9 17 8.9% 27
32-C.Michael SEA 189 10 63 33.3% 21 17 9.0% 25
28-M.Gordon SD 188 11 73 38.8% 13 17 9.0% 23
30-T.Gurley LARM 184 12 82 44.6% 6 11 6.0% 32
28-C.Hyde SF 180 13 73 40.6% 10 8 4.4% 38
34-C.Sims TB 178 14 41 23.0% 31 19 10.7% 16
25-T.Riddick DET 171 15 39 22.8% 32 26 15.2% 6
32-S.Ware KC 169 16 54 32.0% 23 17 10.1% 19
29-L.Blount NE 167 17 88 52.7% 1 3 1.8% 40
23-F.Gore IND 159 18 64 40.3% 11 18 11.3% 15
22-M.Ingram NO 153 19 54 35.3% 17 19 12.4% 12
28-L.Murray OAK 146 20 40 27.4% 27 11 7.5% 30
Player Team Off Snaps Rk Runs Run% Rk Tgts Tgt% Rk
25-G.Bernard CIN 144 21 25 17.4% 36 24 16.7% 5
24-D.Freeman ATL 142 22 55 38.7% 14 12 8.5% 28
34-I.Crowell CLE 138 23 60 43.5% 7 8 5.8% 33
43-F.Whittaker CAR 138 23 27 19.6% 33 20 14.5% 7
29-D.Johnson CLE 136 25 25 18.4% 35 26 19.1% 4
31-M.Jones WAS 132 26 59 44.7% 5 6 4.5% 37
32-J.Hill CIN 126 27 58 46.0% 4 6 4.8% 35
24-J.Howard CHI 123 28 35 28.5% 26 13 10.6% 17
25-C.Thompson WAS 121 29 15 12.4% 39 12 9.9% 20
26-T.Coleman ATL 118 30 40 33.9% 20 15 12.7% 9
29-J.Forsett BAL 118 30 31 26.3% 29 15 12.7% 9
27-E.Lacy GB 109 32 43 39.4% 12 5 4.6% 36
21-J.McKinnon MIN 109 32 37 33.9% 19 10 9.2% 22
28-T.West BAL 107 34 54 50.5% 2 6 5.6% 34
43-D.Sproles PHI 103 35 19 18.4% 34 13 12.6% 11
34-S.Vereen NYG 100 36 31 31.0% 24 13 13.0% 8
33-J.Langford CHI 100 36 31 31.0% 24 9 9.0% 24
29-B.Powell NYJ 99 38 13 13.1% 38 22 22.2% 2
28-J.White NE 91 39 12 13.2% 37 18 19.8% 3
34-J.Ferguson IND 86 40 7 8.1% 40 21 24.4% 1

Obviously, if a running back gets a carry on a play, then he can't get a target, so it's not surprising that most running backs who get a lot of carries per snap don't also see tons of targets. Still, when I started compiling this data, I expected to see some variety -- some runners, some receivers, some ultra-duty backs who got a lot of both, and a few low-activity guys who didn't get many carries or receptions. Instead, the relationship is quite linear -- as carries go up, targets go down, with almost no exceptions. The correlation between run rate and target rate is very strong, at minus-0.853. No player made the top ten in both categories, and Frank Gore (11th in run rate, 15th in target rate) is the only runner in the top 40 to even make the top 15. DeAngelo Williams (16, 14), Mark Ingram (17, 12), and Tevin Coleman (9, 20) are the only other players in the top 20

At the other end of the spectrum, no player was in the bottom ten in both categories. Latavius Murray (27, 30) came closest. Only four others were in the bottom 20 in both stats: David Johnson (28, 26), Jeremy Langford (24th in both), Christine Michael (21, 25), and Chris Thompson (39, 20). Johnson is the most intriguing name here, since he led all running backs in offensive snaps, but isn't really seeing the ball very often for all that playing time. It appears he is very often used as a blocker and/or decoy.

This is only a quarter-season's worth of data (less, for Philadelphia and Green Bay), so perhaps this will change after Week 17 and some true dual threats will emerge. And if we doubled our sample from 40 running backs to 80, a lot of fullbacks emerge, and we would see a lot more players ranking low on both lists -- and as a result, perhaps a few ranking higher. But right now, the relationship seems very simple: as carries go up, targets go down.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
1.
Brian Hoyer CHI
33/43
400
2
0
0
174
174
0
IND
Wait, what? Who let this guy in at the top of the list? In 29 career NFL starts, this is the first time Hoyer has finished atop the quarterback tables in Quick Reads, and just his sixth time in the top five. It was, however, his third good game in a row, on the heels of his fifth-place finish last week and his seventh-place ranking in Week 3. Over those three games, Hoyer has completed 71 percent of his passes for 7.9 yards per pass with six touchdowns, three sacks, no interceptions, and an NFL-leading 391 DYAR. This is not the first time Hoyer has gotten hot, though. Just last season, from Week 4 to Week 6, he finished fourth, second, and sixth among quarterbacks in Quick Reads. In that three-game stretch, Hoyer completed 67 percent of his passes for 8.6 yards per pass with seven touchdowns, two sacks, and one interception. The rest of that year, he completed 58 percent of his passes for 6.5 yards apiece with 12 touchdowns, 23 sacks, and two interceptions. He finished the year 20th in DYAR, and then produced one of the worst playoff games we've ever seen. In other words, do not let this hot streak fool you -- this is still Brian Hoyer. Most of Hoyer's success against the Colts came up the middle, where he went 5-of-6 for 73 yards, with every completion gaining at least 10 yards and a first down. His one incompletion to that direction came on third-and-16. That was not his only third-down failure of the day -- on all third and fourth downs, he went 4-of-10 for 43 yards and only two conversions. Fortunately for him and the Bears, he was ridiculous on first downs, going 18-of-20 for 257 yards and 11 first downs.
2.
Tom Brady NE
28/40
406
3
0
1
164
160
5
CLE
Brady's first pass on New England's fourth drive was a deep ball to Chris Hogan for 63 yards. To that point in the game, he had gone 14-of-16 for 248 yards and 11 first downs, including two scores. After that pss, though, he went 14-of-24 for 158 yards and only four first downs.
3.
Sam Bradford MIN
22/30
271
2
0
2
155
155
0
HOU
Bradford threw most of his passes to his right, and had mixed results on those throws. But he was lights out when he did throw to the left or up the middle, going 10-of-11 for 104 yards and five first downs.
4.
Philip Rivers SD
21/30
373
4
2
2
138
138
0
OAK
The closer Rivers got to the goal line, the better he played. Inside the San Diego 20, he went 0-for-4 with a sack and an interception. (His other interception came right at the 20, but then so did completions of 54 and 59 yards, so those basically cancel out.) But then across the 50 he was nearly perfect, going 11-of-12 for 122 yards and six first downs (including all four touchdowns). One of those completions might have cost San Diego the game. In the first quarter, Rivers hit Antonio Gates for a 9-yard gain on third-and-2 that should have left the Chargers with a first down at the Raiders' 13, but Gates fumbled the ball away. In hindsight, they really could have used those points.
5.
Ben Roethlisberger PIT
34/47
380
4
0
1
114
114
0
NYJ
Roethlisberger was about as efficient as a quarterback could be on Pittsburgh's last three drives, gaining first downs on 15 of his 19 dropbacks. Unfortunately, one of those failed plays resulted in a sack and a fumble. But when he was able to get passes away, he went 15-of-16 for 167 yards, plus DPIs of 4 and 8 yards.
6.
Marcus Mariota TEN
20/29
163
3
0
0
94
57
37
MIA
It wasn't a terribly efficent day for Mariota, who only threw for eight first downs all day. But he was never sacked or intercepted, and in five red zone throws, he had four completions for 29 total yards and three touchdowns. However, he gained four first downs (including a touchdown) on five runs, gaining 63 yards in the process.
7.
Dak Prescott DAL
18/24
227
1
0
1
91
87
4
CIN
8.
Matt Ryan ATL
15/28
267
1
0
2
89
89
0
DEN
9.
Matthew Stafford DET
19/25
180
3
0
4
74
73
0
PHI
In the first half, Stafford went 11-of-15 for 122 yards, plus a 7-yard DPI, for three touchdowns and seven other first downs. His first pass of the second half was a 4-yard DPI, and then he went into the deepest of deep freezes, not picking up another first down until the two-minute warning on a 27-yard completion to Golden Tate. Between those two plays, he went 7-of-9 for only 31 yards, with three sacks and a fumble. He had one more dropback after the Tate catch -- and he was sacked again.
10.
Andy Dalton CIN
30/41
269
2
0
4
59
51
8
DAL
Too little, too late: after Dallas took a 28-0 lead early in the fourth quarter, Dalton went 18-of-21 for 154 yards and 11 first downs. (He only threw for eight first downs in the first three quarters.). He also had a 7-yard DPI, an intentional grounding, and three sacks.
11.
Jameis Winston TB
18/30
219
1
0
2
47
58
-11
CAR
The whole Roberto Aguayo mess could have been avoided if Winston had played better in the red zone. Inside Carolina's 20, Winston went 2-of-6 for 12 yards and no first downs.
12.
Carson Wentz PHI
25/33
238
2
1
3
40
34
6
DET
Wentz was hardly any better in the second half than the guy on the other team. His touchdown to Jordan Huff brought Philadelphia to within four points in the fourth quarter, but he picked up only two first downs after that, going 8-of-14 for 57 yards with an interception and a sack.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
13.
Andrew Luck IND
29/39
322
2
0
5
37
35
1
CHI
The Colts should just remove short routes from their playbook. Twelve of his 14 first downs came on throws that traveled at least 6 yards past the line of scrimmage. 6 yards or deeper: 13-of-17 for 258 yards. 5 yards or shorter: 15-of-21 for 64 yards.
14.
Kirk Cousins WAS
29/40
260
1
1
1
34
34
0
BAL
Throwing to his right, Cousins went 9-of-15 for 53 yards and only one first down.
15.
Derek Carr OAK
25/40
317
2
1
3
31
24
8
SD
16.
Ryan Fitzpatrick NYJ
25/38
255
1
0
3
16
12
4
PIT
Remember when we talked about Ben Roethlisberger ending this game on a hot streak? Fitzpatrick, well, didn't. In the second half, he went 11-of-20 for 92 yards with only three first downs and two sacks.
17.
Cody Kessler CLE
5/8
62
1
0
0
11
11
0
NE
For the record, Kessler gets -30 passing DYAR for this weird safety. which isn't even the most embarrassing safety for Kessler in the past two months. Also for the record, Terrelle Pryor gets minus-16 DYAR passing for his 1-of-3, 5-yard performance; minus-25 DYAR rushing for two carries, 3 yards, and a fumble; and 24 DYAR receiving for his 69 yards on five receptions and a DPI in seven targets.
18.
Tyrod Taylor BUF
12/23
124
2
0
2
-1
-7
6
LARM
The theme this week is "lousy second halves." Taylor did not throw for a first down after halftime until his very last pass, a 6-yard touchdown to Marquise Goodwin. Including that throw, in the second half he went 4-of-10 for 22 yards.
19.
Case Keenum LARM
21/31
271
0
2
4
-6
-6
0
BUF
Third and fourth downs: 4-of-8 for 46 yards with three sacks, an interception, and only two conversions.
20.
Aaron Rodgers GB
23/45
259
2
2
0
-8
-23
15
NYG
From the middle of the first quarter to nearly the end of the third, Rodgers had one streak where he went 1-of-6 for 9 yards, no first downs, and an interception; and then another streak where he went 3-of-12 for 14 yards with no first downs and an interception. He had one pass in between those streaks: a 29-yard touchdown to Davante Adams.
21.
Charlie Whitehurst CLE
14/24
182
1
1
2
-10
-8
-2
NE
22.
Drew Stanton ARI
11/28
124
2
0
1
-20
-20
0
SF
Third downs: 3-of-12, 31 yards, only two conversions.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Sacks
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Opp
23.
Derek Anderson CAR
18/28
278
0
2
0
-21
-9
-11
TB
Going into Monday night, with 3 yards or fewer to go for a first down, NFL passers had converted 51.5 percent of 565 dropbacks, with only 13 interceptions. Then, with 3 yards or fewer to go for a first down, Anderson converted four times in 10 dropbacks, going 4-of-10 for 61 yards with two interceptions. Last year, Cam Newton and the Panthers did not throw a single interception with 3 yards or fewer to go.
24.
Joe Flacco BAL
30/46
210
2
0
3
-25
-29
4
WAS
25.
Eli Manning NYG
18/35
199
1
0
3
-32
-31
-1
GB
Manning threw six deep balls that traveled more than 15 yards downfield against Green Bay, to five different receivers. All were incomplete. Throwing to his wide receivers, he went 7-of-22 for 70 yards and only five first downs.
26.
Blaine Gabbert SF
18/31
162
1
2
7
-67
-94
27
ARI
On third and fourth downs, Gabbert went 4-of-7 for 21 yards and two conversions, with one interception. He picked up another first down on a 7-yard DPI, but was also sacked five times.
27.
Brock Osweiler HOU
19/42
184
1
1
4
-82
-82
0
MIN
Osweiler did not pick up a first down until Houston was down 24-0, and that came on a DPI. He did not complete a pass for a first down until Houston was down 24-3 just before halftime. On third and fourth downs, he went 4-of-12 for 35 yards with two sacks, an interception, and just one conversion -- and that conversion came with Houston down 31-6 in the final six minutes of the game.
28.
Paxton Lynch DEN
23/34
223
1
1
6
-94
-88
-6
ATL
It's not just the turnovers, it's where they happen. Lynch's interception and both of his fumbles (which Denver was fortunate to recover) all came inside Denver's 25. Besides the turnovers and sacks, Lynch spent a good chunk of his day trying and failing to dig Denver out of long-yardage holes. With more than 10 yards to go for a first down, he went 8-of-10 for 70 yards with no conversions and one sack. That's about one-third of his completions and yardage on plays that left Denver short of a first down.
29.
Ryan Tannehill MIA
12/18
191
0
2
6
-105
-105
0
TEN
Tannehill dropped back to pass seven times on second down against Tennessee. One of those dropbacks resulted in a 58-yard completion to Damien Williams (which was caught at the line of scrimmage). One was a 9-yard completion to Jarvis Landry. The others all either lost yardage (three sacks and one completion) or resulted in a turnover (one interception). He had only nine dropbacks outside his own 30 all day, and only two on Miami's half of the field. Those nine dropbacks resulted in one first down (a 50-yard completion to DeVante Parker), two 9-yard completions, one incompletion, two interceptions, and three sacks.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Tevin Coleman ATL
6
31
0
4/6
132
1
59
5
54
DEN
Coleman only gained three first downs through the air, but those three catches gained 48, 31, and 49 yards. Coleman also ran for two first downs, on gains of 8 and 16 yards.
2.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
15
134
2
3/4
37
0
51
42
9
CIN
Elliott had four 10-plus-yard runs against Cincinnati, including a 60-yard touchdown, while getting stuffed for a loss just twice. He had another first down on a 22-yard reception.
3.
Jordan Howard CHI
16
118
0
3/3
45
1
43
18
26
IND
Howard ran for seven first downs against the Colts, with four gains of 10 yards or more, including a 57-yarder. He added a 21-yard touchdown catch, and an 18-yard reception on second-and-20.
4.
Matt Asiata MIN
14
55
1
3/3
46
0
43
20
23
HOU
A slow-but-steady runner, Asiata's longest run gained only 8 yards, but he was stuffed for a loss just once and ran for five first downs. He also had catches of 23 and 20 yards for third-down conversions.
5.
David Johnson ARI
27
157
2
3/6
28
0
42
44
-2
SF
Eight first downs on the ground, including five runs of 10 or more yards, with two stuffs and one fumble. Four of his targets were third-down dumpoffs -- he converted one of them on a 21-yard gain.


Five Best Running Backs by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
David Johnson ARI
27
157
2
3/6
28
0
42
44
-2
SF
2.
Ezekiel Elliott DAL
15
134
2
3/4
37
0
51
42
9
CIN
3.
Cameron Artis-Payne CAR
18
85
2
0/0
0
0
38
38
0
TB
Four first downs on the grouns, three of them on runs of 10 yards or more, the other a 1-yard touchdown on fourth-and-goal. He was stuffed only three times.
4.
Eddie Lacy GB
11
81
0
1/1
3
0
33
33
0
NYG
All of Lacy's carries gained at least 2 yards, and three gained 10 yards or more, including a 31-yarder.
5.
Jacquizz Rodgers TB
30
101
0
5/6
28
0
37
28
9
CAR
Seven first downs on the night, three of them gaining 10 yards or more, though he was stuffed for no gain or a loss nine times.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Total)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jerick McKinnon MIN
20
36
0
1/3
10
0
-47
-45
-2
HOU
McKinnon only ran for three first downs against Houston, none gaining more than 8 yards, while getting stuffed six times.


Worst Running Back by DYAR (Rushing)
Rk
Player
Team
Runs
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
Opp
1.
Jerick McKinnon MIN
20
36
0
1/3
10
0
-47
-45
-2
HOU


Five Best Wide Receivers and Tight Ends by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
T.Y. Hilton IND
10
11
171
17.1
1
83
CHI
Seven of Hilton's receptions went for first downs, with two gaining more than 30 yards and three others gaining 20 or more.
2.
Adam Thielen MIN
7
8
127
18.1
1
62
HOU
Five first downs, including gains of 23, 31, and a 36-yard touchdown.
3.
Tyrell Williams SD
5
6
117
23.4
1
52
OAK
Williams only had three first downs against the Raiders, but they came on gains of 25, 29, and 50 yards.
4.
Greg Olsen CAR
9
13
181
20.1
0
47
TB
All nine of Olsen's receptions went for first downs. Two gained more than 30 yards, and four others went for more than 20 yards.
5.
Terrance Williams DAL
5
5
70
14.0
0
43
CIN
All five of Williams' catches gained at least 10 yards and a first down, including two third-down conversions.


Worst Wide Receiver or Tight End by DYAR
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
Opp
1.
Julian Edelman NE
5
10
35
7.0
0
-33
CLE
Meet the one guy in Massachusetts, apparently, who is not happy to see Tom Brady back. Though three of Edelman's receptions went for first downs, none gained more than 12 yards, and he converted just one of his four targets with 6 yards or fewer to go for a first down.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 11 Oct 2016

45 comments, Last at 13 Oct 2016, 6:45pm by Steve in WI

Comments

1
by jtr :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 11:33am

How does DYAR feel about Sammie Coates' game against the Jets? He put up good fantasy numbers (6/139/2), but also had five incompletions, including a couple of blatant drops.

2
by xMRNUTTYx :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 11:39am

RE: Hoyer.

One thing that really stood out to me this week was how good the Bears receivers were post-catch. I only counted 3 Hoyer passes in the first half that traveled more than 10 yards in the air and only one completion. All others were screens and short routes with usually a missed/broken tackle involved. That isn't to say his numbers weren't efficient but it was like watching Alex Smith Lite.

4
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:06pm

Yep, any single game DYAR figure would have its context better understood with YAC figures. It's a shame play by play narratives don't include where the ball was caught.

In other words, metrics in football is hard.

7
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:42pm

Having watched that game, Bryan Hoyer'so thought process was : "where is Patrick Robinson? Oh he's on the right side you say? Bombs away. "

24
by Afrocomb :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 2:27pm

I was noting all his passes and it was worse than that. Only one pass in the 1st half went more than 10 yds through the air and that was the TD. 91 out of his 142 first half yds came after the catch.

The percentage got a little better in the 2nd half, mostly due to the 39yd lob to Jeffery which was his only pass of the game to travel more than 15 yds through the air beyond the LOS.

22 of his 33 completions went 5yds or less in the air. His yardage came as a result of screens and quick lateral passing getting good downfield blocking in addition to bad Colt tackling.

DYAR failed in assessing this performances.

3
by nosoop4u :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:00pm

Bradford threw most of his passes to his right, and had mixed results on those throws.

Maybe because most of the day, he was being chased that way because of the horrific play of TJ Clemmings at LT...

5
by Bernie :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:06pm

"The Colts should just remove short routes from their playbook. Twelve of his 14 first downs came on throws that traveled at least 6 yards past the line of scrimmage. 6 yards or deeper: 13-of-17 for 258 yards. 5 yards or shorter: 15-of-21 for 64 yards."

What this suggests to me, and is probably obvious to anyone who has ever watched the colts offense, is that Luck's checkdown receivers are brutal, and have no idea how to make tacklers miss. I have never seen a team who is more terrible at screens on both sides of the ball than the colts. The Colts never have blockers in position if they try to run any type of screen, and on defense they never have a defender within cooee when opponents run one. In fact, Indy's pass rush is so abysmal, that any time I see someone get anywhere near the QB, I assume it is because the offense is running a screen play, and 90% of the time that's the case.

6
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:12pm

I'm in danger of saying this once a week, until the end of Luck's career, but I don't care. It's a shame for football fans, of the non-horseshoed helmet variety, that Luck agreed to a new contract with the Irgrigsaysons.

8
by Raiderjoe :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:54pm

maybe it si weird karma or soemthign. tema has had numnerous league mfps (unitas, Jones, morrall, manning) at qb. keep getting good ones but some temas never seem to get a good quarterback. thinking of chiefs. aside from montha for 2 years haven't had big time QB since .L Dawson. Jets aside from O'Brien loking like real deal 1985 and Pennington maybe in 2002 and 2004- nothing. Cardibnals- lots of issues. Bears- haven't had good steady, non injury one sicne S. Luckman. Loins- multuiple problems.

13
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:09pm

The colts are not a well run organization. They have rarely been an average one. Polian brought some level of professionalism, but they were also remarkably archaic as well.

On the topic of short passing - the patriots showed you can achieve success with short passing even with receivers like Dobson and Thompkins. So have the chiefs with their moribund receivers.

As the league continues to trend more and more to short passing, the colts are strangely stubborn in their offensive approach. And this has persisted over two coordinators, so I'm left speculating why this might be.

As for Luck - I thought he played well, but there was lots of time he was given in the pocket and this is the bears defense at home. At this point, the colts are a one trick type offense - short speedy receivers that can break soft zones down the middle and sideline. The next defense they face that is willing to play press man against them will totally stymie this team.

19
by RickD :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:48pm

Dobson and Thompkins were hardly ever used. Dobson also isn't a likely target for short passes - he was supposed to develop into a downfield threat but never did. It was clear in the preseason this year that Malcolm Mitchell was already a better option than Dobson.

The success of the Pats' short passing game has a lot more to do with guys like Welker, Gronk, Edelman, Amendola, and whoever the pass-catching back is at the time (Woodhead, Vereen, and now White). All of those guys are much better than Dobson and Thompkins.

21
by Anon Ymous :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:56pm

I could be wrong, but I think the comment was about how NE has been able to find success even when forced to use less-than-ideal receivers.

29
by theslothook :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 3:14pm

Pretty much. They made it work with david givens, reche caldwell, david patton types too. Obviously, if you have welker, gronk and edleman, short passing will be even more effective - but receiver fit shouldn't be an excuse to summarily omit short passing games.

One of the stat projects I want to eventually do is a kind of risk adjusted return on investment by pass depth. I have a suspicion that short passing game can mimic most of the success of a medium level pass game with half the risks - ie fewer interceptions, fumbles, and sacks.

14
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:10pm

MFPs?

Like Mad Max MFP, or do I assume the F is a rude word?

17
by ChrisS :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:16pm

Mike Tanier strongly agrees with you, though he also blames Pagano
http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2667390-pagano-and-grigson-have-driven-andrew-luck-and-the-colts-into-the-ground>
He also had this in Mondays column "General manager Ryan Grigson complained Friday that it is hard to build a good defense because of Andrew Luck's contract. Luck is eating up $18.4 million in cap space this year. Meanwhile, Grigson signings Gosder Cherilus, Andre Johnson, Antonio Cromartie, Bjoern Werner and four others are eating up $14.2 million in dead money to not play for the Colts anymore.

The problem may be that Grigson is not good at general managing."

18
by Will Allen :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:46pm

Grigson is an orifice of incomprehensible dimensions to put forth the excuse that Luck's cap number makes it hard to put together a roster of acceptable quality. I cannot believe that Luck hitched his wagon to that jackass.

9
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:54pm

"Wait, what? Who let this guy in at the top of the list? In 29 career NFL starts, this is the first time Hoyer has finished atop the quarterback tables in Quick Reads, and just his sixth time in the top five."

There are 32 teams. Wouldn't you expect a median starting QB to hit the top roughly once and the top-5 roughly 6 times in 32 starts?

12
by RickD :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:04pm

Only if you thought a uniform distribution was a reasonable model for describing which QBs appeared where in the chart.

16
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:14pm

Yeah, that occurred to me after I posted it.

Still, wouldn't a normal distribution imply that Hoyer is, if anything, better than the median starter?

I suppose without more information, it could also be that he has a much larger than normal variance.

20
by RickD :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:51pm

Hoyer might have a bimodal distribution. :)

He has good and bad qualities. The good is his work ethic and his attention to what's going on. The bad is that he's just limited in the kinds of passes he can throw accurately.

10
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 12:56pm

"Obviously, if a running back gets a carry on a play, then he can't get a target"

Flea flicker? Reverse pass?

11
by Andrew Potter :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:03pm

In the PBP though, these merely go down as a "[passer] pass to [receiver]". So it still doesn't get counted as both a carry and a target.

15
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:12pm

Does it?

http://www.espn.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=300116018
(6:57 - 2ND) D.BREES PASS DEEP LEFT TO D.HENDERSON FOR 44 YARDS, TOUCHDOWN. FLEA-FLICKER: #9 BREES HANDED OFF TO #23 THOMAS, WHO LATERALLED BACK TO BREES, THROWING TO #19 HENDERSON FOR THE TOUCHDOWN. PASS 42, YAC 2.

So you guys only get the first part of that?

22
by dryheat :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 1:59pm

It seems the only way a back could get a carry and a target is if, in the above scenario, Thomas was the one who caught the TD pass. I don't know if I've ever seen that before.

25
by RickD :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 2:33pm

The point of the flea-flicker is to get the defense to focus on the back and ignore some receiver running down the field. So yeah, throwing it again to the back who just lateraled to the QB would seem unlikely. Possible, but unlikely.

36
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 5:00pm

I was thinking of the reverse iteration of a flea flicker. USF ran one on Syracuse, and Memphis ran one on somebody last year.

Basically, QB hands off to RB on end-around. RB laterals to WR (and in this version, keeps trucking downfield on a wheel route). WR laterals to QB, who throws to original RB.

You could do it in reverse, too.

QB throws to WR. A Benny Hill routine ensues, and ultimately, the ball is lateraled to the QB. Like the end of the Colts-Jaguars game.
(0:00 - 4TH) (SHOTGUN) A.LUCK PASS SHORT MIDDLE TO J.FERGUSON TO IND 22 FOR 5 YARDS. LATERAL TO C.ROGERS TO IND 22 FOR NO GAIN (Y.NGAKOUE). FUMBLES (Y.NGAKOUE), RECOVERED BY IND-A.LUCK AT IND 19. A.LUCK TO IND 18 FOR -1 YARDS. LATERAL TO P.DORSETT TO IND 14 FOR -4 YARDS (P.AMUKAMARA)

27
by Tom Gower :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 2:46pm

That's not officially a carry in NFL statistics. Personally, I agree with the NFL that it should not be considered a carry.

23
by Not Jimmy :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 2:23pm

How does Bennett fit into the receiver mix?
6 of 8 for 67 Yards and 3 td's...

Had a long if 37 yards

Does the fact that two of his td's were within the 10 hurt him?

- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you are talking about.

26
by Cythammer :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 2:38pm

Poor Jay Cutler, he has some terrible luck with his backup QBs. This is the second time, after Josh McCown a few years ago, that a career journeyman has stepped in and played far above his usual level, thus making Cutler look terrible in comparison.

28
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 3:14pm

I watched the 2013 Bears. McCown only made Cutler look bad by comparison if the only looking you do is reading box scores.

30
by Scott Kacsmar :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 3:34pm

Hey, you're talking about 2013 Josh McCown, the only QB since 2010 to post a positive DVOA while under pressure. http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2014/2013-pressure-plays-...

31
by tuluse :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 3:57pm

He was a very lucky QB is what I'm saying.

Although, maybe a healthy Jeffery is a basically Randy Moss and the correct play is just chuck it up to him.

45
by Steve in WI :: Thu, 10/13/2016 - 6:45pm

It is really bizarre that for a franchise that has had mostly abysmal quarterbacking, this is twice that a career backup has had a lucky streak that has the fans clamoring for the Bears to make a change at QB.

I mean, given Cutler's age and where the team is at, I think it's much more reasonable to propose that the Bears move in another direction in 2016 than it was in 2013. But a 31-year-old backup on his 6th team is not the guy I would suggest they switch to.

32
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 4:14pm

How does DYAR feel about Sammie Coates' game against the Jets? He put up good fantasy numbers (6/139/2), but also had five incompletions, including a couple of blatant drops.

33 DYAR, 15th among receivers.

There are 32 teams. Wouldn't you expect a median starting QB to hit the top roughly once and the top-5 roughly 6 times in 32 starts?

Well, maybe, if:

A) You think quarterback performance is mostly random. I don't. Partially, sure, but not mostly.
B) You think Brian Hoyer is a median starting quarterback. I don't. I'm quite confident there are 20-some quarterbacks in the league better than Brian Hoyer.

Does it?
http://www.espn.com/nfl/playbyplay?gameId=300116018
(6:57 - 2ND) D.BREES PASS DEEP LEFT TO D.HENDERSON FOR 44 YARDS, TOUCHDOWN. FLEA-FLICKER: #9 BREES HANDED OFF TO #23 THOMAS, WHO LATERALLED BACK TO BREES, THROWING TO #19 HENDERSON FOR THE TOUCHDOWN. PASS 42, YAC 2.
So you guys only get the first part of that?

That's not a carry. That's part of a handoff. Should we give running backs carries when they hand off to wide receivers on reverses? Should we give quarterbacks carries every time they hand the ball off to a running back?

NFL plays are either passes or runs. They are not, ever, both.

How does Bennett fit into the receiver mix?
6 of 8 for 67 Yards and 3 td's...
Had a long if 37 yards
Does the fact that two of his td's were within the 10 hurt him?

I assume you mean Martellus? 34 DYAR, 13th. Long touchdowns are better than short touchdowns -- his 37-yard score was worth nearly twice as much as either of his goal-to-go scores -- but the bigger issue is that he had only one other first down on the day.

33
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 4:16pm

I mean, really, if Pierre Thomas runs for 10 yards, then on the next play pitches back to Brees on a flea-flicker, would you really say he's averaging 5.0 yards per rush?

34
by SandyRiver :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 4:46pm

How is it scored when a rusher gets 20 yards downfield, fumbles, and a teammate scoops it up and gets another 20?

35
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 4:54pm

20 yard run and a fumble for the runner. Fumble recovery and 20 fumble return yards for the recover-er.

On intentional lateral plays, the player who crossed the line of scrimmage with the ball gets the carry, and all the yards up to the point of the lateral. The player receiving the lateral does not get a carry, but he does get the yardage gained (or lost) after the pitch. This can lead to the rare but bizarre situation where players can have zero carries for 20-some yards and a touchdown.

http://pfref.com/tiny/g3iLN

37
by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 5:03pm

Jamie Asher! 67 rushing yards on 0 career carries.

39
by nosoop4u :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 11:06pm

I think that most, if not all, of these entries in that PFRef query are data errors of some sort. Went through the top 5, and all are questionable.

If you click on the game link for Jamie Asher, there's no play(s) in the play-by-play that would account for those yards, but both Asher and Terry Allen are credited with 67 rushing yards for the Skins in the game.

Same with the next entry in that query - Steve Tasker with 54 rushing yards and no attempts, no plays that would account for those yards, but Tasker mysteriously also has 54 receiving yards in the same game as well.

Next entry has 51 yards for Jimmy Smith, but again no plays in the play-by-play that would account for JAX gaining 51 yards in one play, and again, James Stewart also coincidentally gains 51 yards rushing for JAX along with Smith.

The 4th entry is an older game with no play-by-play, but John Stallworth is credited with a TD on a 47 yard rush in the list of scoring plays, so that "0 carries" is debatable there as well.

The 5th entry is similar to #1 and #3, in that another player on the same team has the same number of rushing yards with a legitimate number of carries.

40
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 3:12am

It's quite possible that some of those are errors -- in fact, you're right, some of them definitely are -- but not all of them. No. 6 is Jeremy Kerley getting zero carries for 37 yards with the Jets against the Packers in 2014. Here's the play in the play-by-play:

"Geno Smith left end for 2 yards, lateral to Jeremy Kerley for 37 yards (tackle by Davon House)"

And here is the play in question:

https://gfycat.com/RaggedGenerousFinch

Here's another example, on a passing play:

http://www.nfl.com/videos/minnesota-vikings/0ap2000000148513/Randy-Moss-...

And the boxscore from that game:

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/boxscores/200310190min.htm

The scoring just lists that as a 15-yard touchdown for Moe Williams, which is inaccurate. The play-by-play has full detail:

"Daunte Culpepper pass complete to Randy Moss for 44 yards, touchdown, lateral to Moe Williams for 15 yards"

Randy Moss gets one target and one catch for 44 yards on that play. Williams gets no catches and no targets, but 15 yards receiving and a touchdown. Culpepper should technically get one completion, one attempt, one touchdown, and 59 yards, but it's possible that play malfunctioned in PFR's parser.

41
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 3:15am

And NFL.com recognizes Stallworth's 0-carry, 47-yard touchdown against Oakland in Week 1 of 1976, so if it's an error, it's an error that has been repeated for a long time.

http://www.nfl.com/player/johnstallworth/2526360/gamelogs?season=1976

And this 2013 article mentions the play, though their numbers don't add up:

http://www.raiders.com/news/article-1/1976-Raiders-Stage-Comeback-Classi...

"The lone third quarter score came midway in the period when Harris burst through the middle for 25 yards. When trapped downfield, he lateralled to WR John Stallworth, who sped the final 38 yards to complete a 63-yard touchdown. Pittsburgh led 14-7 going into the explosive final quarter."

42
by Jerry :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 3:51am

38 yards according to the next day's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, as well. It's at the bottom of the column here:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=MZ5RAAAAIBAJ&sjid=hm0DAAAAIBAJ&pg=...

38
by Tom Gower :: Tue, 10/11/2016 - 10:07pm

Further note on Coates: the Jets are 32nd in pass defense DVOA, so he gets smashed by opponent adjustments (46 YAR to 33 DYAR).

43
by jtr :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 11:11am

I really appreciate that the FO staff takes the time to respond to questions in the comment threads

44
by Tomlin_Is_Infallible :: Wed, 10/12/2016 - 1:42pm

In the event that it happens, it is nice.
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