Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

30 Sep 2005

Nine-Tenths of the Law

by Bill Moore

(Ed. note: Before we get started, I have to thank Bill -- not just for doing work to help me organize the game charting project in the preseason, but for essentially taking over the project when I had to deal with my father's passing three weeks ago.)

“Ty Law is the kind of shut-down corner that quarterbacks are afraid to test� - Brent Jones, CBS Announcer, during the Jets–Jaguars game 9/25/05

In his 10 years with the New England Patriots, Ty Law was one of the most feared cornerbacks in the NFL. But three things occurred in 2004 that either directly or indirectly slowed him down. First came the decision to re-emphasize the five-yard illegal contact rule. The “Ty Law Rule� seemed to be specifically targeted toward his kind of physical play. Second, Law turned 30, a feared age among most NFL players not named Jerry Rice. Finally, and most influentially, Law broke his foot on October 31 in Pittsburgh. Although initially expected to return by the playoffs, it ended up taking 10 months before Law was cleared to play again.

This off-season, after being released by the Patriots, Law signed with the New York Jets, whose defense in 2004 was, at least according to Football Outsiders, not that good. According to DVOA (explained here), the rush defense was ranked a solid 5th, but the pass defense was ranked 24th. Last year's addition of rookie Erik Coleman was a positive for the secondary, as his coverage of running backs and tight ends was respectable. But results against wide receivers were just terrible. When DVOA was split by receiver type, New York's defense ranked 28th against both number one and number two receivers.

The expectations placed on Law were high for someone who hadn't played since Last October. Yet his reputation must have preceded him. In his 2005 season preview, Cris Carter named Ty Law and Ed Reed the “best in the business.� He noted, “Law gives the Jets the flexibility at any point in the game to take any wide receiver out of the opposing team's game plan. With Law in the game, the Jets can double the other side and try different things with blitz packages.�

By opening day, Law was declared to be about 90%, but 9/10ths of the Law was billed to be better than your average cornerback. I was curious if that was true.

As Ron Jaworski would say, let's go to the tape. Thanks to a new project at Football Outsiders, a number of volunteers have begun charting every NFL game to capture more information than we can get from traditional stats. One of many new features we track is the defender of the target of each pass. As a result, we'll be able to track whom quarterbacks are picking on, and whom they are avoiding. I combined that information with actual video of the Jets games to watch Ty Law in action.

Week 1: Jets at Kansas City

The Chiefs don't have the most dangerous wide receiving corps, since much of their high octane offense goes through tight end Tony Gonzalez. Law started out playing pretty tight coverage on the right side, and quarterback Trent Green avoided him but buried left cornerback David Barrett. Green didn't miss a connection until 12 minutes to go in the second quarter, and that first incompletion was a drop by Larry Johnson. Barrett alone was specifically thrown at eight times in the first three quarters with six completions; the only two incompletions were thrown too far ahead for the receiver to catch. Green hardly ever looked Law's way. It took a full quarter before he threw that way at all, and Law's first real action was a let down. Unable to contain Eddie Kennison, Law grabbed him, resulting in a 20-yard pass interference call.

With five minutes to go in the second quarter, Law, while covering another receiver, baited Green into throwing a bad pass and picked it off in the end zone. Green was quoted after the game, “Ty Law is a vet; he baited me into it and I had Eddie [Kennison] on a flat route and [Law] just fell off. He baited me into making that throw. They caught us off-guard on that play. I should have just thrown it away.� Ah, a wily veteran up to his old tricks.

Law wasn't thrown at again until late in the third quarter when he was playing loose coverage on Kennison, who caught a three-yard slant and ran for a total of a 12-yard gain. Law left the game midway through the fourth quarter when the Jets were down 27-0. No need to get hurt in your first game in almost a year.

So in the end, Law was only thrown at twice, and both resulted in positive gains for the offense, but he did make a nice move in the end zone for an interception.

Week 2: Miami at Jets

On Miami's first offensive series, I noticed something that I had seen recurring in the Kansas City game. Although Law had made some nice hits in that game, there were a number of instances where Law made little effort to get through a block or attempt more than a lame arm tackle. Miami's second play was a second-and-1 right end run by Ronnie Brown. Law, who had correctly broken off his coverage, could easily have stopped Brown very close to the first down line; however, he threw a weak arm tackle at him, and Brown gained another six yards.

Quarterback Gus Frerotte showed early that Miami was unafraid of testing Law. Seven of the Dolphins' first eight plays were directed Law's way, including four of their first five passes. Three completions totaled 26 yards. The only incompletion was an overthrown pass by Frerotte in the corner of the end zone. With Miami threatening on the Jets' 15-yard line, Law gave Chris Chambers a big cushion, and Miami took advantage of it with a flat pass to get a first down, with Chambers easily slipping Law's arm tackle. Yet Ty Law's tackling ability is inconsistent, not poor. He made a nice hit one play later on tight end Randy McMichael, keeping him out of the end zone and ultimately forcing Miami to settle for a field goal. Ironically, Law didn't get official credit for the tackle.

Law, who had been playing loose coverage for much of the game, saw the first test of his tight coverage on a 16-yard attempt to Chambers. Close to the sideline, Law did a nice job positioning his body to block the pass.

Miami started the third quarter by attacking Law. With Law in loose coverage on tight end Lorenzo Diamond, Frerotte threw the quick pass, and Law couldn't adjust. He was burned so badly that he didn't even assist on the tackle. Two passes later, Frerotte threw to Chambers, but Law was called for defensive holding. Yet another throw went to Chambers, who was open but dropped the ball. The Dolphins targeted Law with the long ball with two minutes to go in the third quarter. He was covering McMichael on the outside, but McMichael turned inside before Law could react for a 20-yard reception. Covering Marty Booker later in the fourth quarter, Law showed he could get the inside position and defensed a 20-yard pass. Frankly, Law should have picked it off, but he dropped it. For the rest of the game, up by 10, Law played 5-10 yards off the line of scrimmage.

In the end, Law was officially thrown at 11 times out of Miami's 46 attempts, with seven completions. As a measure of quality of the entire Jets secondary, of the five incomplete passes considered to be “defensed,� Law did account for three. Nevertheless, the Dolphins showed they were not afraid to go Law's way, by air or by ground.

Week 3: Jacksonville at Jets

Much like in the Kansas City game, Law was not tested much, since Jacksonville found success running the ball or going the opposite way. Law covered the right side of the field, usually covering Jimmy Smith or Reggie Williams. Halfway through the first quarter, Jacksonville finally sent a run in Law's direction. He was easily blocked, and although given credit for the tackle, he never touched Fred Taylor, who compliantly ran out of bounds. Byron Leftwich didn't test Law until late in the first quarter when Smith boxed him out on an 8-yard inside throw. Law grabbed Smith, who had a clear lane for extra yards after the catch, prior to the reception and was called for pass interference. Other than on a last-second hail mary that he knocked down, Law wasn't tested again in the quarter. However, with the play going to the other side, Law tried to jam Smith at the line but was flagged for defensive holding and offsides on the same play.

In the second half and overtime, Leftwich threw in Law's direction four times, connecting on all four. On three of the four, Jacksonville capitalized on loose coverage by Law and threw underneath him. The fourth was completed to Williams despite tight coverage. Similarly to Smith's move earlier, Williams had the inside position on Law and took down a 23-yard pass.

In total, Law was thrown at six times with five completions and a pass interference call. He did not break up a single pass.

Conclusion

In all three games, receivers were 12-of-16 plus three interference calls against Ty Law for a total of 167 yards. Nine of the 19 plays against him resulted in a first down. Four of those came on third down and one on fourth. Another seven resulted in successful plays as defined by Football Outsiders. Of the four incomplete passes, one was dropped, one was thrown in the end zone over the head of the receiver, and two were legitimately broken up by Law. To his credit, he did make a veteran move in the end zone and baited Trent Green into throwing an interception.

Are quarterbacks afraid to test Ty Law, or are they satisfied feasting off of other members of the Jets' secondary? The evidence suggests they shouldn't be afraid, and most did not appear to be so. Teams have had success running the ball against the Jets. In three games, the Jets VOA against the run, once a strong point for the Jets D, has been a poor 6.9%. On the other hand, the pass defense has so far recorded a respectable VOA of –7.7%. That flip-flop would suggest the Jets secondary has rapidly improved from 2004. But that's not the whole story. Breaking it down by receivers shows the following:

Receiver Plays Yards VOA
WR #1 16 138 14.6%
WR#2 14 125 -16.6%
TE 23 150 8.3%
RB 16 44 -60.4%
Other WRs 22 124 -5.8%

#1 wide receivers have had good success against the Jets secondary, whereas #2 receivers have done fairly poorly. Running backs fared even worse as the Jets' linebackers and safeties have done a good job containing backs coming out of the backfield. Having played KC and Miami, it is no surprise that the greatest number of plays have gone through the tight end, and have yielded above average returns. Both teams have offenses featuring a strong tight end (Gonzalez and McMichael).

The variance between #1 and #2 receivers is the most interesting. Law and Barrett essentially split the field rather than match up on particular receivers. Law plays the right side and Barrett the left. If you break out plays thrown at Ty Law, receivers recorded an aggregate 10.6% VOA against him. Although the sample sizes are small, by game statistics alone, Law had an excellent first game driven solely by the limited number of throws and the one interception. Against Miami, Law had a poor game. Against Jacksonville, he had a disastrous game. Honestly, who gives up that many completions to the likes of Reggie Williams (2004 DVOA –36.3%), Ernest Wilford (-5.4%) and TE Brian Jones (-35.5%)? Although I did not calculate the VOA for Barrett, it could not have been good either. The strength of the secondary unit is clearly safeties Coleman and rookie Kerry Rhodes.

Admittedly, Ty Law is working in a new defensive scheme, and this is only his fourth week of action since October of last year. I expect he will improve as the season progresses. However, his reputation clearly exceeds reality in its current state. At first glance, it appears that quarterbacks are reluctant to throw his way, but I believe they are seeing plenty of opportunities in other parts of the Jets' defensive scheme. Frankly, quarterbacks have achieved success when they have picked on Law, and Miami in particular (hardly an offensive powerhouse) proved that teams are willing to throw his direction. Yes, Law's 11 years' worth of experience is an asset that will work in his favor from time to time. But it doesn't change the fact that either his foot is not 100% healed or he has actually lost a step. Law is not the shut down corner that his reputation indicates.

We will not likely see a serious test of his abilities until November when the Jets travel to Carolina. Prior to then, the Jets either face weak or inexperienced quarterbacks, or their opponents have multiple offensive weapons with which to attack different parts of the secondary. In Carolina, I expect Law will have the task of covering Steve Smith, and Jake Delhomme will be forced to challenge him.

Posted by: Bill Moore on 30 Sep 2005

33 comments, Last at 01 Oct 2005, 5:34pm by Led

Comments

1
by JG (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 4:34pm

Great article. I would love to see more analysis like this. It is interesting to compare a player's reputation (or lack thereof) to his on-field performance. Thank you.

2
by Sean (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:05pm

It's a good article, but I have a few quibbles with your conclusions. I'll mostly stick to Law, but just to touch on the running game- the Jets run defense has been quite good with the exception of a disastrous quarter and a half. The Chiefs came out early and obliterated the Jets run defense by putting heavy personnel in spread formations and running outside and to the left, which is to say to David Barrett's side. At least seventy of the yards the Chiefs rang up came on identical power sweeps to the left with tight ends lined up as wideouts, so that there were four big blockers opening things up. But from the midway point in the second quarter of the Chiefs game on, the rush defense has been pretty effective. The Jaguars rang up a lot of yards, but it took them a tremendous number of carries to get there. Really the Jags weren't so much attacking the Jets rush defense as protecting Leftwich from the Jets pass rush, as a high percentage of Jaguars rushes were draws.

As for Law's play, I confess I haven't paid as much attention as I should have to his run defense, but he has been competitive on pass plays. He has rarely been the focus point of the offense's game plan- Kansas City obviously attacked David Barrett, and Jacksonville tried to match up Matt Jones on Derrick Strait in most conversion situations. Even on the final play of the game, Jacksonville swung Jimmy Smith over to David Barrett's side of the field to take advantage of the matchup. Law has generally been playing very physically with guys on his side, and that has resulted in a fair share of penalties, as well as some catches against good coverage. For instance, the one really damaging reception he gave up against Jacksonville was a third down conversion on 3rd and 11 in the fourth quarter where Reggie Williams effectively shielded Law off and made the catch. It wasn't bad coverage; Law broke on the ball and hit the receiver at the same time as the ball got there. It was just good body positioning by Williams.

The other thing to consider about Law to this point is the way he's being used. Before Belicheck came along, Law was used in a lot of man coverage, and he was a good, physical player who could nonetheless be dominated by good wide receivers. Keyshawn Johnson used to destroy Law when they played, and other big receivers handled him in single coverage as well. Belicheck went to a lot of zone coverage and put Law in places to make plays on the ball, with great results. But so far, I've been noticing the Jets playing a lot of man coverage, much more than last year, and Law is essentially doing the same sorts of things that he used to do, namely playing physical, getting some penalties, and occasionally putting himself out of position when a receiver makes a cut and gets away from the jam.

3
by Bowman (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:07pm

Are the pass interferience penalties calculated in the VOA adjustments for players?

Although Ernest Wilford had a negative DVOA last year, this year he leads receivers with a 93.6%! (Let the cries of "Limited Sample Size" ring out; all 4 of his receptions were on 3rd and long for a first down).

3
by Sean (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:07pm

It's a good article, but I have a few quibbles with your conclusions. I'll mostly stick to Law, but just to touch on the running game- the Jets run defense has been quite good with the exception of a disastrous quarter and a half. The Chiefs came out early and obliterated the Jets run defense by putting heavy personnel in spread formations and running outside and to the left, which is to say to David Barrett's side. At least seventy of the yards the Chiefs rang up came on identical power sweeps t

5
by bowman (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:13pm

Additionally, why did the author only count defensive pass interference against Law in his summary, and not Law's two defensive holding calls?

6
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:18pm

He has rarely been the focus point of the offense’s game plan

Uh, from the article, in the Miami game, he certainly appeared to be. "Seven of the first eight passes were thrown Law's way." He was thrown at 11/46 times which, for a cornerback, is pretty significant.

7
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:20pm

I thought possession was 9/10ths of the law, but I guess maybe it's interference? As a Pats fan, watching our DBs drop like flys, I was starting to miss Law, but now I don't feel quite so bad, although I'm sure he'll be playing better as he adjusts to the Jets scheme and gets back into shape. I'm shocked to hear that he's not always tackling well, one of the best things Law gave yo uwas an imtimidating physical presence (Something the Patriots are missing with Harrison injured)

8
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:21pm

#2,4

Double posts are pretty common, but that's the first "one-and-a-fourth-uple" post I've ever seen.

9
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:23pm

When DVOA was split by receiver type, New York’s defense ranked 28th against both number one and number two receivers.

Is this kind of info listed anywhere on the site, or is this stuff that only the FO staff has access to? Because I think it would be really interesting to look at.

10
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:25pm

He was thrown at 11/46 times which, for a cornerback, is pretty significant.

What is a normal amount? Just guessing randomly, I would have thought a fourth of the passes isn't a terribly high amount.

11
by DavidH (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:26pm

I feel like Carl.

12
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:36pm

What is a normal amount? Just guessing randomly, I would have thought a fourth of the passes isn’t a terribly high amount.

Er? The other two games were 2 times and 6 times. 11 is a bit above those.

13
by IR (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:42pm

This was an interesting article, but it didn't really tell me anything because I don't have any context for Ty Law's performance. Bill says that he was curious to see if Law was better than the average cornerback, but he never tells us how Law compares to the average cornerback. On average, how many passes thrown at a particular cornerback are actively broken up by that cornerback? What is the aggregate VOA for receivers against an average cornerback? I don't know, and without that information, I can't judge how good or bad Ty Law has really been.

14
by RICH (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:42pm

The problem I see with this sort of analysis, is its tough to tell whether QBs arent throwing at Ty because he has the reciever covered, or because of his reputation, theyre not even looking at that reciever.

15
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:49pm

"Is this kind of info listed anywhere on the site, or is this stuff that only the FO staff has access to? Because I think it would be really interesting to look at."

Why DavidH, that info for the last three years is available in Pro Football Prospectus 2005! Click on my name for information on where to buy it. Or just go to a bookstore.

I loved this article. It's like Every Play Counts, times 3! Don't worry about the Law hype - the media will catch up eventually (probably right around the time he's back to dominating, assuming he gets back there).

16
by Independent George (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:50pm

Law turned 30, a feared age among most NFL players not named Jerry Rice.

Or, rather, a feared age among most NFL players not named Darryl Green.

17
by Bill Moore (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 5:59pm

A couple of early responses. Sean, in aggregate over the running defense has been poor. Yes, the jags ran the ball with limited success on first and second down, although they were fairly affective on 3rd. As for the Barrett matchups, you're right. Most teams, especially KC, went after Barrett because they were having success. However, Law was not playing as tight as I would have expected. With the exception of the first half in the KC game, Law actually played very loose on most plays. Surprisingly, he rarely jammed guys at the line.

Bowman, I do count the Defensive holding calls, but I lumped them lazily into interference calls. The only real difference is whether the ball was in the air.

David H, Stats like defense against different receivers are available in Pro Football Prospectus 2005. Pick one up today, its well worth it. [end of shameless plug].

18
by Bill Moore (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 6:04pm

One more thing. IR, we are working on answers to that exact question, but don't yet have enough data. However, it should be noted that an average performance by a receiver or a collective group of recievers would be 0.0%.

19
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 6:42pm

hence "value over average" :)

20
by Aaron (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 6:55pm

And we can't do league averages for the new game charting stats yet because we only have three weeks of data. We have to give it time. But Bill felt he found some interesting stuff here, and we felt, why wait until next year to write about any information from the game charting project? It isn't perfect, but it is enlightening.

As a great man once told me, "The best is the enemy of the better."

21
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 7:13pm

Yah, I'd agree. Kansas City completely avoided Law, and that's interesting in its own right. Especially when Miami comes in, and throws to him on almost every throw in the first series.

What I'm curious about is why did Miami stop throwing to him? 4 of their first 5 passes? Well, that happened in their first drive. You know, the one where they drove the length of the field. They didn't do that again until the end of the third quarter. When they started targeting Law again.

At least, that's what it seems like from the description. Is that right? Any idea why they stopped?

22
by BlueStarDude (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 8:35pm

Enjoyed this article a lot. Thanks for choosing to run with it. Would welcome more reads like this.

23
by Fnor (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 8:48pm

I must've missed the "everyone help chart games" thing we punters were supposed to be helping with, and it sounds fun... do you guys need more?

24
by CaffeineMan (not verified) :: Fri, 09/30/2005 - 9:53pm

I enjoyed this article as well. By all means, put stuff like this out there now, don't wait until it's perfect. I'm really dying to see how Law works out with the Jets. I've always liked him (in spite of his big mouth) and hope he succeeds. For me, he really started the current jaw-dropped-open-oh-my-god-could-this-actually-happen phase of Patriots fandom for me with his INT in 2001 and I'll always remember him for that.

At the same time, this article also begins to address something I've always suspected but couldn't possibly prove. I've never bought into that stupid "Belichick just plugs in any player and the system works" crud. But I think Belichick and Crennel were among the best at maximizing a player's strengths and minimizing their weaknesses. If a player has known areas of consistent good performance, that's what he likes best and he'll work around the weaknesses. Law always seemed to fit that mold. His on-field performance was never "trick or treat." What he did well, he always did well and I think that's why the Pats didn't cut him at the beginning of last season, despite the cap hit and the offseason noise. The fan of the player in me hopes the Jets figure out how to use him well and the fan of the Pats hopes they don't.

25
by Nathan (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 12:03am

Good Article, glad it was written.

I really'd like to see the game tape to make my own conclusions. I wish you could post videos of the actual plays so we could really get an idea..

I dream..

26
by Kaveman (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 2:07am

So, what about when a CB has good coverage on a receiver and a QB going through his progressions decides to throw somewhere else? This article, and pretty much every analysis of a CB doesn't address this issue, and that's basically because... you can't tell. Perhaps Law was out of position a lot, on Miami's first drive, and then tightened up for the next half?

The fact that Law wasn't targeted after being victimized that first drive, implies one of two things:

1. Miami's OC and QB didn't notice.
2. He got better, and gave Frerotte no place to throw.

Which is more likely?

27
by Sergio (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 3:37am

Re:26

I'd have to go back to tape to tell you for sure, but IIRC, it was more about the pressure the Jets were gaining on the Dolphins OL. A lot of quick reads, especially to the tight ends. But, again, I'd have to go back to tape to be sure of it.

28
by Theo (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 7:20am

"the right side of the field"

Offense right or defense right?

29
by Bill Moore (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 9:37am

Pat first brought up the issue of, "After the first drive, why did Miami change?" Well, I reviewed the play-by-play, and they really didn't. Law was the target of 25% of the passes in aggregate, so there were very few series that he was not involved. However, drives 2,3 and 4 were all 4 and out series and only one play involved Law. In each series, Miami ran on first down, and passed on second and third. As follows:

Drive 2 - 1st down starting at their own 17, Brown ran left end attempting to follow the pulling left tackle who missed a key block and Brown was thrown for a loss. On second down, Frerotte made a poor throw left against Barrett, that if Barrett and Rhodes didn't collide would have been an INT. Pressure up the middle, caused an short dump off to be incomplete on 3rd and they punted away.

Drive 3 - Brown ran off right guard for 3 yards on first. Law made the well defensed sideline thrown against Chambers on second, and Booker fell down on a 18 yard throw on third-and-3. Punt.

Drive 4 - Brown ran off left tackle for 5 yards on first. Diamond ran a semi-screen for 3 yards on second, and Evans out of the backfield on third-and-2 dropped a 1 yard toss. Punt.

From there on in, Miami mixed it up, throwing a lot to McMichael who was most often on the left side and usually covered by a linebacker. At the end of the third and beginning of the fourth, in the red zone, they ran the ball a lot and scored to cut their deficit to 3. The Jets scored on their next drive, reupping the lead to 10. Miami had a good following drive up to the 50, but a 10 yard holding penalty and two overthrows by Frerotte killed that drive. The ensuing drive saw a good defense by Law against Booker, only to see Law give up the 6-yard pass to Chambers on fourth-and-5. Four plays later, the drive was killed when Barrett intercepted a ball intended for McMichael and essentially game over.

30
by Bill Moore (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 9:51am

Good coverage? or quarterback's progressions? Kaveman's right, it's hard to say. So, we can only look at how many times a CB is targeted and the results of those plays. Plus you can look at the other defenders on the field as evalute the results of their play. If a team has a weak LCB, it will be very difficult to evalute the RCB. However, any good defense is going to adjust to give help where its needed. That should leave the "stronger side" open for testing.

In this particular case, Kansas City clearly had a game plan to attack the left side. Green's reads where left immediately. He rarely even glanced Law's direction. It was an interesting start to this analysis, because Law looked to have decent coverage, but it was moot. Green had no intention of goings Law way starting in the huddle.

Theo - left and right refers to the perspective of the offense.

31
by James, London (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 1:59pm

This is why FO is the best site on the web. I know it's early, and there are no baselines, and statistics need to correlated, etc, etc, but this really should become a weekly feature, starting immediately.

I thought this was great btw...

32
by DavidH (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 4:15pm

#15,17:

Acually, I meant stats for the current year, but thanks for reminding me about PFP2005. I've been meaning to pick that up.

33
by Led (not verified) :: Sat, 10/01/2005 - 5:34pm

I like the idea of the article and I agree that Law hasn't played great, but I don't think the article was as balanced as it could've been.

First, I don't think even the conventional wisdom, notwithstanding the cherry picked hyperbolic quotes used early in the article, was that Law would play like his former self early in the season. As I recall, in context, the 90% comment meant 90% physically recovered, not that Law would be 90% as effective right away. Everyone appears happy Law's performance so far, recognizing that he hadn't played football for 9 months and missed most of training camp.

As mentioned above, only looking at plays where he was thrown at only tells half the story. The Jets DVOA against WR's overall so far this year is VASTLY better than last year. If Barrett is as bad as PFP suggests, then Law must be doing something right to get those WR numbers down.

I think you just have to give Leftwich credit for that 20-yard completion to Williams late in the 4th. Law was not beat at all; the coverage was perfect. But a perfect pass thrown at the right time will usually beat perfect coverage. Props to Leftwich for coming up big.

One other thing to note is that the Jets' defense plays the corners well off the LOS much of the time. I assume it's a bend but don't break strategy, but who knows. As I recall, the passes against Law in the beginning the Miami game were short hooks and outs, taking advantage of the cushion. How much of that is Law's fault vs. the design of the defense? Has Law been targeted on deeper passes?

The bottom line is that Law was not expected to be a pro-bowler in the first 3 games, and he hasn't been. But he's already helped improve the pass defense and he should get better as the season progresses, assuming no further injuries.

Lastly, the Jets run defense against both the Dolphins and the Jags appeared to be quite good. I'd be interested to see a game by game DVOA breakdown for the run defense. I suspect KC would be off the charts, skewing the overall data, with both Miami and Jax well into negative territory.