Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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26 Jan 2009

Al Harris Returns

by Aaron Schatz

With some downtime between the Championship games and the Super Bowl, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at our game charting stats for cornerbacks in 2008. Unlike the numbers which will appear in Pro Football Prospectus 2009, these stats haven't yet been adjusted for opponent, and they don't account for zone coverage and double coverage. Right now, I'm simply judging by which defender the charter lists in the DEFENDER1 column. Plays marked Hit in Motion, Tipped at Line, or Thrown Away were removed. I also removed screen passes, because if a cornerback is blocked off the line during a wide receiver screen, that's not really indicative of his ability to cover his man on a standard pass play.

Rather than use a minimum number of charted passes to be ranked, I tried to just take out cornerbacks who primarily played the nickel. In general, that meant players who played the whole season but didn't start at least half their team's games. The top nickel backs of the season included William Gay of Pittsburgh, Joselio Hanson of Philadelphia, and a player who had done terrible in these numbers in the past, Kevin Dockery of the New York Giants.

Here are the top 10 starting cornerbacks in terms of Success Rate:

Player Team Charted
Passes
Yd/Pass Success
Rate
31-A.Harris GB 38 5.0 79%
24-S.Brown PHI 55 4.6 73%
21-C.Woodson GB 57 6.4 66%
22-S.Rolle BAL 40 4.4 65%
26-A.Winfield MIN 59 6.0 64%
21-N.Asomugha OAK 26 5.8 64%
23-C.Webster NYG 65 5.1 63%
22-C.Rogers WAS 92 5.6 63%
24-D.Foxworth ATL 48 5.6 63%
20-N.Harper TEN 90 5.7 62%

In 2007, we called Al Harris' Pro Bowl selection a "lifetime achievement award." He finished 74th in Success Rate, 73rd in Adjusted Yards per Pass (I'm listing here the adjusted numbers from Pro Football Prospectus 2008). Although he was injured for part of 2008, he clearly rebounded to his previous level of performance when he was healthy. His numbers would be even better without the fourth quarter of the relatively meaningless Week 17 game against Detroit, when he gave up a combined 82 yards on three complete passes to... yikes... John Standeford.

Washington fans are probably surprised to see that Carlos Rogers comes out among our top cornerbacks in charting. Rogers basically lost his job to DeAngelo Hall by the end of the year, and is apparently being dangled in trade talks as the Redskins try to pick up some extra draft picks. (How often do you read that sentence?) Here are the overall charting numbers for the four Washington corners:

Player Team Charted
Passes
Yd/Pass Success
Rate
22-C.Rogers WAS 92 5.6 63%
23-D.Hall WAS 24 3.2 67%
24-S.Springs WAS 34 6.3 53%
27-F.Smoot WAS 56 8.7 38%

Wow! Look at those numbers for DeAngelo Hall! That's awfully impressive... except that it only represents half a season. In the other half of the season, over in Oakland, DeAngelo Hall has 56 charted passes with 9.0 yards allowed per pass and a 43 percent Success Rate. The danger here is that the Redskins are falling in love with a small sample size, at the risk of bailing out on a talented young player. It sounds good to go with Hall and Shawn Springs as your starters, but Hall has never had an extended performance that came close to what he did over the second half of the year in Washington, and Springs always has injury issues (although he always plays well when healthy). There's no question that Rogers was better in the first half of the season (66%, 5.3 yd/pass in Weeks 1-9) than he was in the second half (57%, 6.2 yd/pass in Weeks 11-17) but those second-half numbers aren't exactly poor. Furthermore, Fred Smoot's performance as part-time starter and part-time nickel doesn't exactly deserve wreaths and flowers. If I were running the Redskins, I don't think I would be in a rush to trade Rogers.

As for Hall's old teammates in Oakland... Nnamdi Asomugha may not end up with the best charting stats, but his target numbers are just plain sick. Compare Asomugha to the other players on this list with a low number of charted passes. Al Harris, for example, has 38 charted passes, but he only played 12 games. That's 3.2 charted passes per game. Samari Rolle has 4.0 charted passes per game. Asomugha played 15 games this season... which means he has only 1.7 charted passes per game.

Here are the top 10 starting cornerbacks in terms of Yards per Pass

Player Team Charted
Passes
Yd/Pass Success
Rate
22-S.Rolle BAL 40 4.4 65%
24-S.Brown PHI 55 4.6 73%
31-A.Harris GB 38 5.0 79%
24-B.Flowers KC 60 5.1 55%
23-C.Webster NYG 65 5.1 63%
29-D.Rodgers-Cromartie ARI 64 5.4 52%
26-K.Hayden IND 45 5.5 60%
22-C.Rogers WAS 92 5.6 63%
24-D.Foxworth ATL 48 5.6 63%
20-N.Harper TEN 90 5.7 62%

How about that Brandon Flowers! The average pass against Flowers (9.3 yards) was much shorter than the average against most starting cornerbacks (roughly 11.5 yards) but still, that's pretty good for a rookie, certainly better than his rookie partner Brandon Carr.

Here's one more interesting statistic, one I looked at this season for the first time. Here are the best cornerbacks in terms of Stop Rate when making tackles on complete passes... in other words, which cornerbacks still do a good job of preventing success, even when they allow a completion. This can be a good way to analyze some of the Cover-2 cornerbacks who are supposed to allow completions as long as they keep those completions in front of them. The top ten among cornerbacks with at least 30 pass tackles...

Player Team Pass Tackles Stop Rate
26-A.Winfield MIN 56 45%
35-C.Ivy BAL 33 42%
20-A.Cason SD 50 40%
20-B.McFadden PIT 34 35%
22-N.Clements SF 40 35%
20-N.Harper TEN 55 35%
20-R.Barber TB 47 32%
24-S.Brown PHI 31 29%
22-C.Rogers WAS 45 29%
34-D.Lowery NYJ 55 27%

Now let's look at the worst cornerbacks of the year according to the game charting. Here are the bottom 10 starting cornerbacks in terms of Success Rate:

Player Team Charted
Passes
Yd/Pass Success
Rate
25-B.Kelly DET 37 11.6 32%
23-T.Jennings IND 57 8.6 37%
27-F.Smoot WAS 56 8.7 38%
21-T.Fisher DET 36 9.3 39%
22-J.Joseph CIN 40 8.2 40%
28-L.Bodden DET 76 9.0 41%
39-B.Carr KC 76 8.8 41%
21-C.Graham CHI 62 7.7 42%
32-D.Bly DEN 80 8.4 43%
32-F.Bennett HOU 47 7.7 43%

Yes, three Detroit cornerbacks show up in the bottom ten. Each of these guys started for a large part of the season; the Lions started Kelly for 11 games and then just cut bait on him after Week 12. Good move there. You've also read a number of comments on Football Outsiders this year about the fall of our former cornerback binky, Leigh Bodden. We used to promote him as perhaps the league's most underrated cornerback; this year, he was one of the worst. Obviously, some of the issue with the Detroit cornerbacks is the overall defensive performance -- there wasn't exactly a lot of pass pressure to help them out -- and we're hopeful Bodden can find his way back to at least league-average under the new regime.

Unfortunately, Bodden isn't the only one of our favorite underrated cornerbacks who hit the skids in 2008. In Pro Football Prospectus 2008, we pointed out the outstanding rookie performance of Houston's Fred Bennett, a fourth-round pick out of South Carolina who put up some of the best game charting numbers in the league. We expressed shock when the Texans benched Bennett a few games into 2009. How on earth could they think Demarcus Faggins was a better cornerback than Bennett? Well, this is how. The better question is, what the hell happened? That's a question probably better answered by scouting than by stats, but it is something to certainly explore this offseason.

Here are the bottom 10 starting cornerbacks in terms of Yards per Pass:

Player Team Charted
Passes
Yd/Pass Success
Rate
25-B.Kelly DET 37 11.6 32%
20-R.Barber TB 75 10.1 44%
21-K.Jennings SEA 64 9.8 47%
21-T.Fisher DET 36 9.3 39%
38-T.Williams GB 65 9.2 49%
28-L.Bodden DET 76 9.0 41%
41-T.Newman DAL 50 9.0 44%
31-A.Ross NYG 76 8.9 50%
29-L.Hall CIN 86 8.8 43%
22-B.McDonald CLE 81 8.8 46%

It's been an off-year for Terence Newman, who certainly was better in years past. You can also see here some very clear distinctions between two cornerbacks on the same team. Quarterbacks had a reason to target Aaron Ross over Corey Webster, and to target Tramon Williams over either Al Harris or Charles Woodson, depending which one was actually playing at the other cornerback spot.

Finally, here's the look at the cornerbacks with the worst Stop Rate on pass tackles:

Player Team Pass Tackles Stop Rate
32-F.Bennett HOU 31 13%
39-B.Carr KC 46 13%
34-F.Brown STL 30 13%
24-R.Bartell STL 36 14%
28-L.Bodden DET 56 14%
35-J.Reeves HOU 42 14%
23-D.Hall OAK/WAS 52 15%
20-R.Gay NO 31 15%
29-L.Hall CIN 52 15%
31-P.Buchanon TB 39 15%

Looking at this year's numbers in comparison with last year's numbers, one thing that stands out is the year-to-year inconsistency of many of these cornerback statistics. Al Harris is up, then down, then back up. Samari Rolle was the worst cornerback in the league by these stats two years ago. Fred Bennett goes from one of the best to one of the worst. The same thing happened to Lito Sheppard, who has awful stats in 2005, great stats in 2006, and then awful stats again in 2007 and 2008. It's reasonable to wonder just how meaningful these stats are when some players seem to oscillate wildly from one extreme to the other.

We now have four years worth of charting data, and one thing we can do in this coming offseason is look at cornerbacks over two- and three-year periods. Perhaps a larger sample size will create more consistency. It's worth noting that the top cornerbacks in the league generally come out with good charting numbers each year, even if they don't show up in the top of the rankings each year. Asante Samuel had good numbers this year (59%, 6.3 yd/pass). So did Shawn Springs (53%, 6.3 yd/pass) and Pacman Jones (59%, 5.7 yd/pass). Champ Bailey had excellent numbers in the first three years of charting, even if he was not at the very top of the league each year. Bailey did not have good numbers in 2008 (37%, 11.8 yd/pass) but that doesn't tell us much, as he was out for much of the year and clearly playing hurt when he returned. Bailey has only 19 charted passes; six of them are in Week 16-17, all complete, for an average of 18.2 yards. Clearly, he came back too early as the Broncos desperately tried to stop their late-season collapse.

If we can figure out how many years of good charting stats it takes before we can trust that a player is consistently good, we'll do a better job of not jumping to conclusions about rookies like Fred Bennett. Whether the Washington Redskins can keep from jumping to conclusions over a half-season of DeAngelo Hall, however, is up to the Redskins.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 26 Jan 2009

48 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2013, 5:00am by HarkTreap

Comments

1
by An0nym0us (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 4:55pm

I personally like Asomugha a lot, but I think he's starting to get a bit overrated. Yes, people hardly ever threw at him, but it wasn't just because he was a beast. Think about it, if you're playing against a team with 10 garbage players and one guy you know is good, why in the hell would you throw at the one guy who could beat you? This is unfair to Asomugha of course, but you have to take that into account.

Also, the one time I can really recall him getting targeted, against the Patriots, he wasn't exactly "lockdown." He didn't get torched, by any means, but Moss and co. got a number of catches and a couple of holding calls. Having said that, he's still one of my favorite players.

4
by NY expat :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 5:15pm

I recall KC did well against him as well by lining up Gonzalez against him. Still, that just implies Asomugha is mortal against big, tall, future HoFers. And in fairness to the "10 garbage players", Oakland's pass defense overall ranked 13th in DVOA, and their adjusted sack rate was 7th.

Granted, given how many articles have been out there about how underrated Asomugha is, we should probably stop using "underrated"

30
by Theo :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 5:21am

The Raiders lined Asomugha up against Gonzales, not the other way around.

9
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 6:30pm

The flipside of that is that he also knows he's the only player capable of making a big play - therefore the 1.7 times pr. game he's targetet he's gambling the hell out of it. All this without anything resembling a passrush...

Having 4 games against Denver and SD won't hurt his opponent adjustment either...

27
by abernethyj :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:59am

If I'm reading it correctly, that 1.7 charted passes per game speaks more to the number of games charted by FO staffers than it does to the number of times he was actually targeted in games.

31
by dbt :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 6:11am

How many games did you actually watch him play this year? I had the distinct pleasure of watching a Raiders game in person this year (the home victory over Houston) and before he was injured he was shutting down an entire half of a field all by himself.

It was a great pleasure since it's hard to watch cornerback play on TV when he's not being thrown at.

28
by The AdamBomb (not verified) :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 1:29am

Stanford Routt had a very good season and Chris Johnson played great once he replaced DeAngelo Hall. The fact that Asomugha still had arguably the best numbers in the league is amazing. Look at the game against Carolina. Hall was gone and Jake Delhomme went 7/27 for 72 yards, 1 TD and 4 INT. I think Asomugha had the best start to a season by a CB...ever. Some game-charting info I saw credited Asomugha with just 11 targets in the Oakland's first 8 games.

46
by MC2 :: Wed, 01/28/2009 - 2:06am

I don't think the inability to cover Randy Moss is too much of an indictment of Asomugha.

Having said that, I do think part of the reason he was targeted so rarely in the 1st half of the season was the fact that most teams were positively giddy over the prospect of picking on Hall (who was nothing short of pathetic in the couple of games I saw).

2
by TimeYouppi (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 4:56pm

DeAngelo Hall's numbers are inflated by the 2nd Philly game when the Eagles targetted him relentlessly but Desean (sp?) Jackson and the rest of the Eagles receiving crew were dropping everything. It was humorous to see Deangelo Hall hyped up and (presumably) talking trash after his guy was left wide open and dropped it without any contact from Hall.

3
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 5:06pm

I hate the Redskins.

Also, I'm a Redskins fan.

It sucks, doesn't it?

(This haiku brought to you by the artist formerly known as "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

37
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:39pm

I am a Redskins fan, and I don't care anymore. Trade Rogers for a measley 2nd round draft pick and waste it on a 4th string WR for all I care. Go ahead and start DeAngelo Hall and co. and also don't bother rushing the passer. Let London Fletcher worry about tackling everybody, he deserves a Pro Bowl anyway. That would leave more fall Sundays open for me to get outdoors and hike and drink less and eat less nachos. Winning is way overrated anyway.

5
by An0nym0us (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 5:23pm

It was a bit harsh to call the other 10 raiders "garbage", but at the same time, I would make essentially the same argument in regards to the Raiders pass defense as I did against Asomugha. It's my opinion that those numbers are greatly skewed by the fact that opponents didn't need to throw to win. The Raiders were 26 in rushing DVOA, providing a "why fly when you can drive" type deal.

7
by Aloysius Mephistopheles (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 6:02pm

The raw passing numbers should be skewed by that, but not DVOA. The Raiders' poor run defense probably induces opponents to throw less, but why would it make them less efficient when they do throw? If anything I'd expect it to have the opposite effect, as when Pittsburgh was at the top of the league in passing DVOA in Roethlisberger's rookie year. It appeared in that case that the Steelers' very high passing efficiency was related to their not passing very often.

6
by Dales :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 5:46pm

I knew Webster had improved, but it looks like he really, really improved.

I knew Ross had regressed, but it looks like he really, really regressed.

16
by Quincy :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 8:21pm

I suspect Ross's numbers are a little skewed by his horrible game against Cleveland. He got torched for two real long ones that game. His success rate was also higher than the rest of the guys on the high yards-per-attempt list, for what it's worth. That said, he did have a lousy year. Hopefully Webster can keep it up next year and Ross can bounce back. Otherwise, let's hope Terrell Thomas can relegate Ross to the nickel back spot.

8
by jonnyblazin :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 6:20pm

Samari Rolle's inconsistency has an obvious cause: he has epilepsy. This was discovered during the 07 season, and the meds he got then made him ill. After an offseason to find the right treatment, it looks like he's a dominant CB again.

I'm sure there's an advertising opportunity there somewhere.

10
by Danish Denver-Fan :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 6:34pm

And Carlos Rogers and Brandon Flowers did that with very little help from the pass rush...

13
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:50pm

I think Rogers' performance tailing off in the 2nd half had something to do with the Redskins pass rush becoming even more anemic than it was at the start of the season. The Skins defensive backs are very good, if not perhaps one of the best all-round units ((safeties and cbs) in the league, it would be interesting to see what they could do with some legit pressure from the front four.

39
by The Ninjalectual :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:42pm

Yes, that WOULD be interesting...

11
by bubqr :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:27pm

Time to show your love to S.Brown. And unlike Lito, I think he'll like Jeff Lurie to bring up YPA when it will be time for a new contract.

12
by Jimmy :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:27pm

The extremely high ranking of both Packers CBs does make me start to think it may be at least partially generated by the scheme they play.

I may be wrong, but I thought that last season the Packers mainly still used the Jim Bates scheme with two safeties over the top more often than not with man coverage underneath. This allowed two very good physical corners to press the receivers at the line knowing they had safety help deep if they needed it. When Miami used the same scheme they had Madison and Surtain who both seemed to be far more succesful in that scheme than any other either of them played in.

This isn't meant as a critiscism of the Packers. It seems (from the charting data above) effective way of using physical corners who are good at pressing receivers but who lack top end speed.

14
by ChiTown11111 (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:50pm

Isn't that just using your scheme to effectively fit personnel? Or getting the righ personnel for the scheme? If you put two quick nancy CBs in those spots the numbers would not be as good(likely).

18
by JasonK :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 9:42pm

I think that's a solid point. In that system, if the CBs give anything up, it is likely to be pretty short-- in the event that the WR gets open deep, the S is likely to be marked as the primary defender by the charter.

The same disclaimer could probably be applied to a lesser extent to the Jim-Johnson style defenses in Philly and New York (Giants). I say "to a lesser extent" because, although the fundamentals are similar to what I've seen GB doing, I think those teams are more prone to blitzes that leave their corners without much safety help.

32
by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 10:25am

I would think the effect is just the opposite. If you can blitz effectively and get pressure on the QB, that should make the CB stats skew to the good rather than the bad. I was really surprised to see Sheldon Brown at the top of the lists in this article - it really didn't seem like he had a good year.

40
by ammek :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:47pm

The problem was that often the Packer DBs didn't have safety help. They should have, per the Bates scheme. But safety help was needed in the running game and in trying to cover TEs and RBs, because the front seven sucked.

Green Bay's pass defense was pure boom and bust. Third-lowest completion percentage; fewest first downs conceded; fourth-highest proportion of 40+ yard completions surrendered. If it were a running back, it might be Barry Sanders.

Btw, what happened to Ronde Barber?

47
by Arkaein :: Wed, 01/28/2009 - 3:30pm

I agree with you thoughts ammek, and this article has lead me to wonder if FO could do any sort of normalization of CB numbers in light of a team's pass rush, since a good pass rush makes the DBs jobs easier (and vice versa, pass rush could also be adjusted to take into account the ability of the secondary).

Part of this was wondering about Tramon Williams. He obviously has some great ability, with 5 INTs as a part time starter and most time nickel back, but the big flaw in his game this past season was a lack of consistency in finishing off his coverages and preventing big plays. A better pass rush might have covered up this flaw and allowed a player like him to excel by focusing on GB's brand of physical coverage that suits him.

15
by Dice (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 7:52pm

Ugh. Finally get something out of Rogers and he gets replaced by Hall? I'd be rather happy if Springs, Rogers, Hall and Smoot were kept, but I'd dump Springs over Rogers if one had to go.

Smoot stays, because he's funny.

17
by Greg Trippiedi (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 9:29pm

You know, I guess the silver lining in the Redskins defensive backs situation is that Greg Blache knows that stats are for losers, and interceptions are for winners.

Wait, you mean that that's not true and that the Redskins are screwed? Well, forget I ever started typing this.

P.S. One of the reasons the Redskins can't get any pressure with the front four is that -- you guessed it -- they never ever come with just four. A Redskins game is basically just 6-8 man blitz, man coverage hot read crap. No overload or complex schemes. Just 6 men hitting their blocks at the exactly same time, and one on one play in the secondary.

Really, really boring to watch, unbelievably boring to game chart.

19
by mm (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 9:51pm

The stop rate on completed passes looks like a list of the best pass rushing teams.

When you analyze this data over multiple years, you should see how much year to year cornerback variance correlates with how the pass rushing numbers vary.

20
by chubbypuppy (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 9:57pm

It's testimony as to why the 3-4 is such a crazy notion. The team had a Pro Bowl safety, solid corners and thanks to a depleted D-line and cr*ppy linebackers the defense couldn't stop a blind man from crossing the street........

21
by Nick (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 10:15pm

As a Rams fan who watched most of the games this season, I have to say that I am very surprised that he did not rank in the top 10 in any category. Maybe it was my Rams vision, but I thought Ron played as well as any corner in the NFL this past year. He had no help over the top from Corey Chavous, which I think hurt him. Maybe once the adjusted rankings are out...

22
by shake n bake :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 10:23pm

Tim Jenning's numbers come as no surprise to Colts fans. He was a goat for most of the season, giving up massive cushions which caused tons of first downs in front of him and picking up stupid "WTF? Why would you even do that" penalties. He got better at the end of the year (or we got use to it and the team started winning again) and he wasn't as hated.

When Kelvin Hayden gets a shiny new contract (a rarity for a Colts defender) he needs to go thank Tim Jennings for not developing into a viable starter.

23
by Carlos (not verified) (not verified) :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 10:29pm

The danger here is that the Redskins are falling in love with a small sample size, at the risk of bailing out on a talented young player.

In July, Carlos Rogers turns 28. Deangelo Hall turns 28... near the end of 2011. Sorry, who is the young player?

You guys just have a hard-on for trashing Deangelo Hall, even when your own GD evidence is to the contrary. That's the analysis we come here for, baby.

Remember naming him to the KCW team w/ this nugget:

[Deangelo Hall] ended up wasting space on the Redskins to end the season?

To which I responded, and here reiterate:

I'm super curious to see what game charters think of him, but at first glance this seems like an absurd assertion for a guy who ended the season as the clear #1 corner on a team w/ a healthy (and very good when healthy) Springs and Carlos Rogers having his best year (in which he still has hands of stone). In short, Hall looked very good w/ the skins as far as one can tell from TV.

Far be it from me to defend the indefensible clusterf*ck that is the Redskins, but dealing Rogers -- assuming they get a #1, or a #2 plus another pick -- might actually make sense: deal from a position of strength to try and fill their glaring weaknesses along the lines.

Carlos Rogers may have finally turned into a decent corner, but since he's incapable of even catching the clap in Patpong 2, he'll never be elite. Teams will never fear throwing to his side, since the worst possible outcome is an incompletion.

25
by RickD :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:18am

Carlos Rogers sucks. Clearly Snyder should trade him to a desperate team like the Pats.

/a Pats fan

26
by Carlos (not verified) (not verified) :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:26am

For the Pats' #1? Take that deal in a heartbeat. Of course Belicheat ain't stoopid, so that's not happening.

34
by Temo :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 11:54am

Beware what you wish for, Rick. Having seen Carlos Rogers play a few times this season, I'd say that he's very good at playing a specific type of defense and that he may have holes in his technique that can be exposed by a more intrepid OC who has more film on him.

I fully expect Rogers to regress somewhat next season to maybe "above average".

24
by mrh :: Mon, 01/26/2009 - 11:17pm

As a Chiefs fan, I'd just have to say that I was pretty pleased with the 2 Brandons. The game charting numbers make Carr look bad, but my perception was that the absolute absence of pressure caused numerous breakdowns in the secondary. I wonder what Carr would have looked like with even a bad pass rush as opposed to none. The numbers for Flowers are insane given the lack of pressure on the QB - although perhaps inflated by having a more vulnerable cb on the other side.

It would be worth examining if cb "inconsistency" is tied to pressure on the QB. It seems logical that the two are connected, maybe the game-charting data can document it.

29
by DeltaWhiskey :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 3:44am

"Wow! Look at those numbers for DeAngelo Hall! That's awfully impressive... except that it only represents half a season....The danger here is that the Redskins are falling in love with a small sample size, at the risk of bailing out on a talented young player....There's no question that Rogers was better in the first half of the season (66%, 5.3 yd/pass in Weeks 1-9) than he was in the second half (57%, 6.2 yd/pass in Weeks 11-17) but those second-half numbers aren't exactly poor."

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh!!!

Small sample size good thing or bad?

33
by Temo :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 11:47am

The variability is probably due to the inherent reliance of cornerback performance on his surroundings. There's no doubt that one of the reasons that Asomugha is targetted so infrequently is the level of the talent around him. Alternatively, his YPA is probably inflated due to the only attempts that came to his side being when he matched up against the premier receivers of the game today (I remember Brandon Marshall having a little success against him as well). Also, we can see the change the performance for Hall when he moved over to a different role in a different scheme.

In that same vein, the numbers for Newman don't tell the whole story either. He did horrible early in the season, when he was perpetually injured. Then he came back healthy and was a major reason for the resurgence of the defense in the second half of the season. Then he got injured again late in the season (sore groin), and his performance dipped once more.

Anybody who has watched the Cowboys this season would know that Anthony Henry was the real liability on the defense all season, and yet he doesn't appear on any of these lists.

35
by jody (not verified) :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:09pm

I'm curious as to where Texans CB Dunta Robinson would be. I know he only played 6 or 7 games, but his presence certainly helped the Texans late in the season. He's one of the Texans' "really good 3" defensive players (with Ryans and Williams).

36
by AnonymousA (not verified) :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:20pm

Average yards/pass is bunk for a CB. One missed tackle that goes for a 70 yard TD adds 1-2 yards to this number. Success % adjusts for game-context, which is good. If you really want a number that expresses yards given up, the average log y/p (instead of SUM ( yards ) / COUNT( passes ), SUM( LOG( yards ) ) / COUNT( passes )) would be better.

42
by MJK :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:53pm

Why do you say so, out of curiosity? Why is the log of yards per pass a better measure? Is it because you want to count all long passes more or less the same, but want it to be very sensitive to the difference between, say, allowing a 2 yard pass versus a 7 yard pass?

If so, you're probably better off tailoring the function to lose sensitivity when a pass starts getting a first down...

The fundamental problem with yards per pass for a CB is that it tends to underrate CB's that are avoided because of their skill (the Asomugah effect). I have some thoughts on how to address this, but I won't go into that now...

43
by countertorque :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 1:11pm

I don't know much about stats. What's magic about log that you would choose it here? Why not simply median yards/pass if you're worried about a couple dots messing up the average?

38
by ChicagoRaider (not verified) :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:41pm

Where would Asomugha have placed in stats he did not have the requisite number of events to list? I seriously doubt that where the cutoff was 30, he made the list because there were only 26 attempts.

41
by MJK :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 12:49pm

Anyone else notice that the Patriots, who had one of the worst pass defenses in the league this year, didn't have a single player in any of the bottom 10 lists?

Part of this may be because none of their CB's save Ellis Hobbs were healthy and unbenched long enough to accumulate enough passes to qualify for these lists... and Hobbs is pretty much a solidly decent but not great CB every year. But it makes you wonder...how was it that the Patriots were allowing so many people to pass on them so much without any of their CB's looking bad to the charting data?

44
by Wait, what? (not verified) :: Tue, 01/27/2009 - 7:26pm

I don't have my PFP '08 handy, but I believe it contained a comment to the effect that Lito had the Pro Bowl tag, but Brown was the better corner in Philly. The arrival of Samuel meant a lot of people continued not to notice that Brown was very, very good. Nice to see him getting his props.

(I feel obliged to note that unless the phrase "done terrible" is being used ironically [a la "debacled"], it should read "done terribly." I doubt Aaron will read this anyway, but c'est la vie.)

45
by BCBoston (not verified) :: Wed, 01/28/2009 - 1:39am

I have no stats to support this, but it seemed to me that a big problem for the Patriots was their inability to stop opponents on third-and-long. In those situations, teams would just exploit whatever good matchup appeared, without any particular bias against their weak corners. Just as good to hit a TE covered by a LB.

And those matchups inevitably appeared because almost any NFL quarterback can find an open man when he's not being chased. Because let's face it, aside from instant-kill, one man comes in unblocked timing blitzes, the Pats didn't get to the QB too often. Again, I have no statistical evidence, so please inform me if I'm totally wrong about that.

So despite Delthea O'Neal's many spectacular incinerations, I would think the Pats' bad pass defense comes down to just that - a generally bad pass defense - rather than crappy corners. But yeah, I was expecting Delthea to be on one of those worst lists ...

48
by HarkTreap (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2013 - 5:00am

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