Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Catch Radius: The Bigger, the Better?

Our season finale of catch radius focuses on the growing size of Josh McCown's talented receiving duos, including breakout stud Alshon Jeffery. Also: Anquan Boldin's incredible year.

05 Mar 2009

Is T.O. Done?

by Bill Barnwell

The easiest way to get over a breakup is to find someone better and rub your newfound success in your old flame's face.

It's a familiar trend to Terrell Owens, who couldn't wait to espouse the virtues of his new teams after burning bridges with his old one. Of course, Owens also walked the walk with big performances in both Philadelphia and Dallas; once his performance didn't match his mouth, both teams decided to cut bait.

Now that T.O. is on the free market, the big question for his suitors is simple: Will he produce another banner year in his new digs, or is Owens done as an elite receiver?

If you look at Owens' traditional statistics from 2008, the figures aren't all that bad. He accrued 1052 yards and ten touchdowns, figures that were 12th and ninth in the league amongst all wide receivers, respectively.

However, if you're thinking that those numbers don't jibe with how Owens really played and what it meant to the team, you're right. Owens only had two 100-yard games all season, with a 213-yard performance against a mediocre 49ers' pass defense joined by 103 meaningless yards in the season-ending disaster against the Eagles. He only had three other games above 80 yards, two of which came against the woeful pass defenses of Seattle and Cleveland.

There was also a noticeable dropoff in other metrics as well. Despite being thrown virtually the same amount of passes (140 in 2008 as opposed to 141 in 2007), Owens saw his first downs drop from 69 to 38. His catch rate went down from 57 percent to 49 percent.

All of that data gets encapsulated into Owens' DYAR, our metric which measures performance against the league average on a cumulative basis after adjusting for down, distance, opponent, and situation. In 2007, Owens accrued 449 DYAR, a figure which put him behind only Randy Moss among the leaders at wide receiver. In 2008, Owens accrued 86 DYAR, a total which left him … 46th.

It's precisely that ignominious drop that foretells the likely end of the 35-year-old Owens' career as an elite NFL receiver.

Across the 14 years we've calculated our advanced statistics for, 15 players aged 32 or older have cracked the top ten in wide receiver DYAR, only to fall out of the top ten in a subsequent season. Only one has made it back to the top ten, and his name is Jerry Rice.

Help The Aged
Player Last Year In Top Ten What Happened?
Andre Reed 1996 Got up to 15th in 1998 but was done after that
Irving Fryar 1996 11th a year later, but never made it past 34th after that
Cris Carter 2000 47th in 2001, done by 2003
Ed McCaffrey 2000 Missed 2001 with broken leg, 20th in 2002 as second fiddle, done by 2003
Jimmy Smith 2001 Stayed between 20 and 49 for rest of career
Tim Brown 2001 Oakland O brokedown; 30th in 2002, 70th in 2003
Joe Horn 2004 20th in 2006, mid-80's in 2005 and 2007
Eddie Kennison 2005 43rd in 2006, disappeared after 2007
Keenan McCardell 2005 42nd in 2006, bit player in 2007
Rod Smith 2005 72nd in 2006, never played again
Marvin Harrison 2006 Hurt for most of 2007, never gained separation in 2008 (64th)
Terry Glenn 2006 Hasn't caught a pass in the regular season since
Bobby Engram 2007 Injuries dropped the FO favorite down to 74th last year
Jerry Rice 1996 Made it back to top-five in 2002 and 2003 before Oakland offense fell apart
Terrell Owens 2007 Will need to buck history to return to the elite in 2009

There are various reasons why these players don't return to their previous level of performance. Some of it is the cratering of an elite offense and/or a move to a new team, a fate suffered by Tim Brown, Cris Carter, and Jimmy Smith. Other players suffer injuries that retard their ability to play at a high level, like Marvin Harrison, Terry Glenn, and Rod Smith. Other guys just get old and either retire or fade into oblivion, which includes Joe Horn, Keenan McCardell, and Andre Reed off this list.

Owens has no injury history to speak of outside of the broken leg he suffered at the hands of Roy Williams in 2004, and he'll have his pick of several successful offenses as a free agent. The reason that T.O. won't be the receiver he once was is what's behind door number three: About 90% of what Owens used to be.

Teams began noticing during their film study this year that Owens was struggling to break free from press coverage, something his preternatural athleticism allowed him to do throughout his career. That was leading to an inability to create separation for himself downfield, which prevents quarterbacks from properly identifying open passing lanes, while also making passes both harder to catch and easier to defend.

To counter the constant stream of cornerbacks pressing him at the line, the Cowboys sent Owens in motion as often as possible. When that didn't work, they took things to a new extreme, motioning the 224-pound Owens in behind the allegedly 203-pound Patrick Crayton, hiding their huge star wideout behind their tiny slot receiver to try and create space. That helped, as Owens averaged 9.4 yards per attempt and had a success rate (picking up 40 percent of the yardage needed for a new set of downs on first down, 60 percent on second down, or 100 percent on third or fourth down) of 43 percent in three-receiver sets, which was a huge improvement over the 5.0 yards per attempt and 35 percent success rate he put up with only two receivers on the field.

Could Owens defy the past and come back with a huge season? Perhaps. Maybe he'll be inspired by his release, sign with a team like Minnesota or (gulp) Washington, and be part of a high-powered offensive attack. Maybe the appearance of Brad Johnson for three games threw Owens off and he never adjusted. Maybe the arrival of Roy Williams created confusion in the Dallas offense and forced Owens to run suboptimal routes.

What recent history tells us, though, is clear: There are no second acts in the lives of veteran wide receivers.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 05 Mar 2009

55 comments, Last at 10 Mar 2009, 11:50am by Phill O'sopher

Comments

1
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 2:34am

Personally I think he still could be useful, but *should* hang it up due to my assumption that he wouldn't actually like the roles and salary that are reasonable for him now.

Also I must say I love the Help the Aged table header!

2
by BillWallace :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 5:26am

"or (gulp) Washington,"

you shut your god damned mouth right this minute Bill.
no
no
no

3
by Bernard Bernoulli (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 6:07am

I think he should go to Cleveland as third reciever behind Braylon Edwards and Daute Stallworth. What could we call their System? The Disappointment Offense? The Lamest Show on Turf?

55
by Phill O'sopher (not verified) :: Tue, 03/10/2009 - 11:50am

Unfortunately for Cleveland's offensive offense, they play on grass and usually in cold, rain, and wind.

And TO on the Browns would be an epic disaster for all the involved. TO on the Bills is laughable too. Guy is Namath on the Rams done.

4
by Jimmy :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 7:43am

I seem to remember reading somewhere about Randy Moss being a cog. Where was that again?

5
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 7:55am

TO is clearly ranked too low because Brad Johnson couldn't throw and Witten was Romos favourite. Peter Kings analyzis is way better than this.

COWBOYS 4EVAH!

6
by deep64blue :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 8:33am

Minnesota?? you do realise Brad Childress is the Coach there? Yes the same Brad Childress who was told by TO not to speak to him in Philly ....

11
by andrew :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:13am

There is no chance of TO going to play for Brad Childress.

And that's part of the problem, all else aside he has burned bridges with people everywhere in the league.

7
by Bright Blue Shorts :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 9:19am

224 pounds is large for a WR, even one measuring 6'3".

TO is certainly an amazing physical specimen and not much of that is fat. But I'm also pretty sure that were he to get down to 210-215 pounds, he'd be faster thereby probably able to get good separation from DBs again.

21
by Joe :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 12:20pm

Terrell Owens is a lot of things, overweight is NOT one of them. As far as I know, he's been playing around 220 for most of his career.

24
by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 12:49pm

He's got single-percentage body fat and has for his entire career. And he's not muscle bound, so dropping weight won't help his speed.

31
by Still Alive (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 1:33pm

As someone with a lot of muscle that is in no way muscle bound, in fact a very similar weight range, I can assure you dropping down to 195 or so from 215 would indeed increase my speed. An extra 15 lbs of muscle mass on his upper body is probably like wearing a 8lbs weight vest, you don't think that would slow someone down?

8
by 4tuna (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 9:50am

So you honestly think TOs 33 drops (tied for 2nd in NFL) weren't even worth mentioning? Ineresting.

deep64blue already mentioned why TO would be as welcome in Minny as an ebola outbreak, and Wash. has already said no effing way to TO. As have these teams.

Cowboys (duh)
Giants
Ravens
49ers
Falcons
Browns
Chargers
Eagles
Jets
Titans
Rams
Saints
Texans
Jags

All this was common knowledge before you posted. Seriously man, if you want to make your living at this, at least try to keep up.

So where will TO end up? I see him with the Colts. The prescence of Wayne and Clark mean TO won't see anny double teams, and Manning has enough pull to tell TO to STFU if he gets out of line.

9
by The Blow Leprechaun (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:02am

Er, he brings absolutely nothing to the Colts, why on earth would they sign him?

Teams don't sign guys like TO unless they need an elite wide receiver, otherwise his personality isn't worth it. He'll get another contract from somebody who still thinks he is, and if he doesn't live up to it, that'll be the end. The Colts aren't that team, not even close.

You're looking for a contender who's biggest weakness is at WR. I'm not sure you find one. If TO can't go somewhere to get close to a ring, how much more malcontent does he get next year?

14
by 4tuna (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:28am

Why do I say the Colts? Let me count the ways.

1. Need to replace Harrison, and Gonzales is better suited in the slot.
2. TO wants a championship ring and will take a major discount
3. Polian sees the parallel situation with the Patriots and Moss.
4. TO doesn't want to retire, and options are limited.
5. New coaching staff sees an opportunity to put their stamp on team.

20
by The Blow Leprechaun (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 11:54am

1) They played mostly without Harrison all of last year, and that doesn't seem to be the source of their struggles this year.
2) Maybe, but it'd have to be a pretty major discount.
3) Polian has always built this team differently than the Patriots built their teams. They draft players, not bring them in.
4) This is true, but doesn't point to the Colts more than any other team.
5) It's pretty much the same staff, really only Dungy is gone.

Given the Colts history, they'll replace Harrison with somebody from the draft, just like how they got Reggie Wayne and Anthony Gonzales. Nothing in the recent history of the Colts suggest to me that they're interested in bringing in a high profile free agent to change things up, least of all on offense. Have they [i]ever[/i] brought in a high profile FA on offense under Polian?

42
by Feagles - King ... :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 11:24pm

For all the talk about the Pats being able to go along with interchangeable parts, the Colts have been able to do the same thing. Edge James, Cato June...they chug along and keep plugging holes.

12
by Purds :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:16am

Unless Caldwell was hoodwinking Dungy all these years, the Colts are not going to bring in a guy with the character of T.O. These are the same Colts who cut a starting DT last year for a marijuana charge.

Now, a team that takes elite WR's of questionable character, and doesn't mind a little HGH by a player now and again, and suddenly has a lot of cap space, well, we know who that team is.

17
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 11:00am

ESPN (yeah, yeah, I know) reported this morning that at least Washington and SF (and another team I can't remember) had expressed an interest.

25
by sundown (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 12:55pm

Uh, yeah, regarding the Manning having the pull to tell him to STFU. That's what every team he's ever been with thought. There was always a team leader, coach or owner who was going to be able to talk reason to him and keep him in line. And that worked out disasterously every single time. (Or haven't you been keeping up?)

26
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 1:09pm

For one, this article (an ESPN Insider reprint, as it mentions right in the home page teaser) was written yesterday, before any of those teams you cut and pasted from PFT's list had said a word about T.O.

To be exact, it was written several hours after TO was cut on Wednesday night/Thursday morning, before most teams had even woken up to give a statement about Owens. But no, obviously, I suck.

Second, although I do admire your ability to read the Sean Payton story on PFT (have you considered starting a PFT digest?), STATS' drop totals are impossibly erratic. We don't have him as anywhere near 33 drops, and I trust our game charters way more than I trust STATS.

10
by Max (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:05am

Given how Josh McDaniels has already bungled the PR in the offseason, maybe he'll shoot the moon, bring in TO, and really cause a circus. Plus, chances are that Denver is gonna need another receiver for the first 4-8 games anyhow.

13
by JasonK :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:18am

The other question is how small/short-term/non-guaranteed/incentive-laden a contract offer is Owens likely to get. I could easily see him pricing himself way above the market for his services.

15
by mrh :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:28am

I originally posted this in the EP TO thread.

"WR A: 70/1172/11 16.7 ypc; 50% catch rate
WR B: 64/533/5 8.3 ypc; 49% catch rate

Who would you rather have?

Both are 16 game projections of TO in 2008.

WR A: TO w/Romo
WR B: TO w/o Romo

The one thing that didn't change was catch rate. I'd guess that TO had a DVOA around 0% with Romo (Burress 2007 had 70/1025/12 and 50% catch rate with a -0.6% DVOA so that seems like a reasonable comp w/o knowing the down, distance, and opponent details). So nothing great - just average - but above replacement level and not quite as bad as his overall DVOA would lead you to believe."

Anyhow, w/o disputing the basic thrust of this article - TO is old, has lost the ability to gain separation, and recent history shows old guys don't bounce back - I'd like to see the advanced stats (DYAR/DVOA) for TO with and w/o Romo.

22
by Joe :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 12:31pm

This is a good point that highlights the main problem with using DYAR/DVOA to evaluate individual players. DYAR does not isolate what Terrell Owens does "in a vacuum" - his performance is dependent on the play of his teammates around him - especially the QB in the case of WR DYAR.

DYAR does not distinguish the difference, but since the metric is play-by-play based, FO probably has enough information to isolate his DYAR with and without Romo at QB. And DYAR does adjust for quality of defense, so there's no point in saying that Owens' best games came against middling pass defenses - that's what DYAR is for.

I would also like to see T.O.'s 2008 DYAR stats sorted by QB.

28
by Bill Barnwell :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 1:18pm

Sure thing. I don't have DVOA easily calculable here, but I can say that Owens had -86 DYAR in those three weeks with Johnson/Bollinger at QB.

So then, he had 161 DYAR in those 13 games. Assuming he accrued DYAR at the same rate (probably would've gained more in the Rams game and less in the Giants game), he would've had 198 DYAR on the season, placing him tied for 18th with Bernard Berrian. Same story, but maybe the fall isn't ignominious.

95 DYAR for Owens came in two games: 49ers (63) and week 17 against the Eagles (32).

32
by mrh :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 2:21pm

thanks for the DYAR data.

47
by Joe :: Sat, 03/07/2009 - 2:49pm

Agree, looks like he obviously slipped but perhaps not as low as 48th in the league if we account for the disaster at backup QB.

Was "Dallas Backup QB" up for any post-season least valuable player awards? Seeing as how the Cowboys missed the playoffs by a game or so.

30
by Temo :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 1:27pm

What are you talking about? Obviously Romo is nothing without TO, he'll suck without his #1 WR!

/s

"Then again, I'm a Bobby Carpenter believer." -- Barnwell

16
by 4tuna (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:39am

Unless Caldwell was hoodwinking Dungy all these years, the Colts are not going to bring in a guy with the character of T.O. These are the same Colts who cut a starting DT last year for a marijuana charge.

You'll have to refresh my memory. What wwas TO ever arrested for again?

18
by Strange/David (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 11:19am

The arrests (or lack thereof) are irrelevant. It's a matter of character. It drives me nuts when sportscasters bring up the lack of arrests and say, "But then again, T.O. has absolutely no history of off-the-field incidents."

Oh, really? So when he talks to the media and riles up his teammates, that happens on the 50-yard line? When he pisses off guys in the locker room, they've moved that locker room between the hashmarks?

"Off the field" isn't restricted to legal issues. Hiring T.O. is like binge-drinking. It may hold the promise of a lot of fun, but there's an inevitable hangover that should make anyone question whether it's worth it.

As a Colts fan, I hope we don't take him. I'll have to wear my Packers gear all season if we do.

35
by Purds :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 5:11pm

Right. The comment I made about Indy cutting a starting DT because of a marijuana charge was not because of an "arrest," but my emphasis was on "charged." He wasn't even found guilty or innocent before they cut him. They won't take a guy with such a selfish character as T.O.

19
by jarvis_cocker (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 11:35am

The title of that chart has only increased my respect for Mr. Barnwell.

But what I want to know: what exactly do you do for an encore?

23
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 12:39pm

If personality transplants had been perfected, he would still be capable of being a valuable guy to have on the roster, drops and all. The odss of him being able to humble himself a little, however, are very slim. If he could take a contract in line with his abilities (no, a Moss at age 30 is not really like an Owens at age 35), and not stupidly badger or his undermine his qbs whenever adversity arose, he'd be worthwhile. I don't think those conditions apply.

27
by Dean (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 1:12pm
29
by Mike Knott (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 1:23pm

Hey Bill,

I don't think you need to defend yourself to anybody. Keep up the good work.

33
by jimm (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 3:57pm

Mike Knott - everyone should have to defend their ideas if they are interested in learning. Getting your ego wrapped up in your ideas and taking offence to those who offer differing views is a waste of time if your goal is to gain knowledge.

That's not to say they need engage every person that disagrees or offers what might seem an uneducated opinion.

43
by Noah of Arkadia :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 11:54pm

"Everyone should have to defend their ideas if they're interested in learning".

Not if they are being attacked rudely and without reason. That post back there was over-the-top, it included personal attacks, and it came close to trolling, IMO. Nothing to do in that situation but ignore it completely.

Yes, the article claimed TO could have his choice of teams, which seemed odd. Big freaking deal.

34
by jimm (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 4:04pm

Guys like Owens intrigue me - not in themselves - but in the way some coaches are able to leverage them into very productive players. Look at what Phil Jackson was able to do with Rodman, Belichick with Moss, Dick Williams with Reggie Jackson.

My view when the Vikings shipped out Moss was that it showed a failure of management and coaching. When Tennessee gives up on Pacman my take was he's hopeless.

I'm not sure where Owens sits on that line between failure of management and impossible to manage. Given the relative success of the teams he's played on I suspect if he had landed with a Belichick somewhere along the way there might have been a better outcome to his career.

36
by Purds :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 5:16pm

I agree with this to some degree, but with Jackson/Rodman and Belichick/Moss, those coaches also had the advantage of a winning history with proven stars already on the team. Minnesota did not have that. To me, the three you situations you state are impressive, but mitigated by the fact that everyone seems like a good guy, or can keep his selfishness in check, when the team wins.

38
by tuluse :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 7:51pm

Another thing is that Rodman understood he was the 3rd most important player on that team. Would Owens come to the realization that he isn't the most important player on offense?

41
by NY expat :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 10:20pm

It helped that Rodman's game was defense and rebounding. He would not complain about who got the ball. I suppose with Jackson he might have caused trouble if he was asked to bunt (unlikely) or got chewed out for not hustling on a fly ball, but it's not exactly like there could be a problem every single play.

51
by happ (not verified) :: Sun, 03/08/2009 - 5:14am

it also helps that you have the benefit of hindsight, of KNOWING now, a couple years later, that Moss indeed did work out somewhere and Pacman indeed does seem like a hopeless failure.

37
by 4tuna (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 5:48pm

Damn Barnwell, I blew right past your response without even noticing it.

1st, I notice you don't like the fact that I used PFT. (Although the list was on Yahoo as well) I used PFT because all the pertinent info was right there in one place. If you honestly think that having such a convenient source is such a bad thing, I expect you'll be campaigning to stop publishing Pro Footaball Prospectus. Or could your problem be that you hate guys like me having this info for free? Given your pimping of ESPN Insider, I suspect it's the latter.

2nd, exactly how long is "several hours later"? The story broke around 12:15AM EST. By 8:30AM, Cerrato's statement was on the official Skins website. And as been pointed out earlier, speculation that TO could possibly end up in Minn was ludicrous.

Now I didn't say that you sucked. The comparisons to other older receivers was actually well done. I'm just saying you missed the mark on that one small detail. (As opposed to your comments on the Lions trade of Kitna where you missed it completely)

45
by Bill Barnwell :: Sat, 03/07/2009 - 1:47am

I hate guys having info from Pro Football Talk, which is why we NEVER link to stories from PFT as extra points. Ever.

To address the criticism question below: Have a smart question or a reasonable (or even politely-stated) criticism of something I do and I don't mind one bit -- I'm always happy to answer stuff.

Leave obnoxious, smart-ass comments telling me how I need to do my job? Get an obnoxious comment back. Garbage in, garbage out.

39
by Schlom :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 7:57pm

I think Owens can only go to a team with a really strong QB. The QB's that could probably handle him are Peyton, Warner, Brees, and maybe Rivers (and I'd probably be pretty wary with mixing him with Rivers). It looks like the Colts don't want him, the Cardinals don't need him if they hang onto Boldin, and neither do the Saints. Otherwise if you bring him in you risk the chance of him destroying your locker room (100% chance really, I guess it just depends on how long it will take). Add in the fact that he hasn't been played in a playoff win in over 6 years, who else but the hopeless teams would take him?

I think he'll end up on a hopeless team without a young QB (or at least one with future promise). That pretty much just leaves the Lions, Rams or Bengals.

46
by Anonymous is a #&@$ (not verified) :: Sat, 03/07/2009 - 10:04am

I would like to introduce you to Carson Palmer.

40
by Shane S. (not verified) :: Fri, 03/06/2009 - 8:40pm

maybe TO can talk favre out of retirement and they can go play together somewhere...

44
by taxistan :: Sat, 03/07/2009 - 12:18am

Today is March 6, 2009. In one year from now we will be asking: WHO IS TO???

48
by Noah of Arkadia :: Sat, 03/07/2009 - 4:03pm

You must mean the guy who used to be a receiver for the Eagles, Cowboys and 49ers. Yeah, I remember they used to call him TO.

49
by jimbohead :: Sat, 03/07/2009 - 7:24pm
50
by Ari (not verified) :: Sat, 03/07/2009 - 10:19pm

Bill,

There's a huge missing piece to this analysis--isn't this just regression to the mean? In general, is there a high (or low) year-to-year correlation between DYAR performance for receivers? If TO was in the top ten, isn't he destined to go down in the same manner as all other top ten receivers?

The missing piece is a chart that details how often top-ten-DYAR receivers who are UNDER 35 come back to top-ten form the following year. Given how DYAR is set up, I have no priors as to whether it's a high or low number. But if year-to-year DYAR performance is unstable in general, then TO's dropoff next year is as expected as anyone else's dropoff, and next year's top-ten-DYAR players will be a new crop (I'm rooting for Santana Moss and Malcolm Kelly, but that's just my homerish bias).

52
by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 03/09/2009 - 10:00am

The answer to your question is: Yes, now that he plays for Buffalo, TO's carreer if over.

53
by Anonimous (not verified) :: Mon, 03/09/2009 - 1:39pm

I think TO's numbers need to be put in the context of the resulting offensive statistics that resulted from the clash of the titans that was the AFCN vs. NFCE this year. Supposedly his DYAR and DVOA are defense adjusted, but it's obvious the adjustments fall horribly, horribly short.

Looking at the top 11 AFCN/NFCE WRs in DYAR from 2007, we get the following changes in their numbers going to 2008:

Of the two receivers with a 2007 DVOA over 25%, 2 saw a decline of at least 25%. Of the five with DVOA 15% or higher, five saw a decline of 15% or more.

Of the top 11 in 2007 DYAR, 11 saw a decline in DYAR, and 10 saw a decline in DVOA. The average change in DYAR in this group was -168 DYARds, and the average change in DVOA was -9.6%. Roy Williams didn't play in either division in 2007, but for comparison his numbers were a decline of 144 DYAR and a decline in DVOA of 18.1%.

By the 2007 standards of the AFCN/NFCE, Owens' '08 stats are horrible, putting him as the 4th worst receiver between the divisions. But in the '08 context, he was about middle of the pack among FO's qualified receivers; taking out the Romoless games as discussed above, he was about tied for third (even without extrapolating to imagine 3 more Romoed games). If someone were given all the FO AFCN/NFCE WR stats from 2007 and 2008 except Owens '08, and was asked to guess Owens' '08 profile (without knowing anything about Owens, his age, the Cowboys, or heck, football, for that matter), he probably would have hit it about right. Owens maybe just slightly underperformed this unbiased guesstimate if you count the Romoless games, slightly overperformed if you don't.

A better point would be that really only Rice was ever any good past 35. Lots of receivers are solid through age 35, basically only 1 was good past age 36. End story.

54
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 03/09/2009 - 3:30pm

Why the Haterade for PFT?