Week 1 DVOA Ratings

Week 1 DVOA Ratings
Week 1 DVOA Ratings
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Aaron Schatz

You love them when your team is high! You hate them when your team is low! Once again, the famous Football Outsiders DVOA and DAVE ratings return for 2014.

Some of you may be familiar with DVOA, but you have never met our good friend DAVE. Well, DAVE is our rating that combines the preseason projection with the results of early games to give us a better prediction of how each team will rank at the end of the year. For those who don't know the story, this metric is called DAVE as a reaction to criticism that our stats are too much alphabet soup. I mean, who can argue with a guy named Dave? (Technically, it stands for DVOA Adjusted for Variation Early.) In this week's DAVE ratings, the preseason projection counts for 90 percent, and the current DVOA counts for 10 percent.

(Note: I'm calling it DVOA here, but it is actually VOA because there are no opponent adjustments right now. For Weeks 1-3, DVOA and VOA are the same thing. Let's not get all nitpicky, ok?)

The fact that DAVE currently is still counting our preseason projection as 90 percent of its estimate of team quality is another element of the "don't overreact" mentality that leads us to call the first few days after Week 1 "National Jump to Conclusions Week." Last year, the top four teams in Week 1 included Denver and Kansas City... but also Miami and Tennessee. The year before, most of the teams that had strong games in Week 1 were good teams all year long... but the worst team in Week 1 was the eventual AFC North champion Cincinnati Bengals. And in 2011, one of the best teams after Week 1 was Buffalo (finished 6-10) while the worst team was Pittsburgh (finished 12-4).

(Correction: 2012 Bengals lost the AFC North on tiebreaker and were technically second.)

So when we look down at the list of Week 1 DVOA ratings and see New England 20th, New Orleans 23rd, and Green Bay 28th, we really should not overreact and assume these teams will not be among the league's most efficient in 2014. Even a 12-4 team has to lose four games, and those games are not always lost to other top teams. The Saints' and Patriots' losses weren't really particularly bad by DVOA standards, and Green Bay's rating is seriously mitigated by the fact that we are not yet including opponent adjustments. (With a system that is based on a decade of results across the league, no, we can't yet assume that playing Seattle is going to result in a really large opponent adjustment boost, but you know, come on.) San Francisco has moved ahead of these three teams when we compare the DAVE ratings to just the preseason projections, but DAVE still thinks that New England, Green Bay, and New Orleans are three of the top six teams in the NFL.

But there's a big difference between what one game tells us about how inherently strong a team will be over the course of the year, and what one game tells us about how strong a team's chances of making the playoffs will be. With only 16 games in a season, the difference between a single win and a single loss is huge in terms of playoff odds. That's particularly true early in the season because of the way our projections tend to group around 8-8. At this point, the playoff odds simulator doesn't really see any game as a 90 percent chance of a win for anyone, except perhaps Oakland at Seattle (Week 9) and Oakland at Denver (Week 17). Going into the season, a game between a good team and a bad team might be seen as 0.7 possible wins for the good team. If you replace that 0.7 possible wins with a nice big fat zero actual wins, it's a gigantic change. It means even more when you consider that a mediocre division rival might have replaced 0.3 possible wins with 1.0 wins, and that this less-heralded team is going to be winning the rest of its games 40 or 50 percent of the time in each simulation rather than 20 percent of the time (which might be the what the odds look like by November) or the 0 percent used when people do that silly "go through the schedule assigning a W or L to each game" thing.

And so, Green Bay, New Orleans, and New England are all no longer favored to win their divisions according to the current iteration of the Football Outsiders playoff odds report. And while I haven't mentioned them yet, the same goes for the Indianapolis Colts, who now rank third in playoff odds in the AFC South.

There are a few extenuating circumstances here. Football Outsiders projections probably had Buffalo, Minnesota, and Tennessee all rated higher than conventional wisdom. As for the NFC South, while we expected Carolina to decline, we didn't expect the Panthers to completely crater, so one win already moves their DAVE rating up to 11th in the league. Green Bay, Indianapolis, and New Orleans are now each looking up at two teams in the standings, and the Patriots are looking up at all three AFC East rivals. Which leaves us these odds:

  • In the AFC East, Buffalo is now our division favorite, winning 30.8 percent of the time. All four teams now win the division in at least 20 percent of simulations even though DAVE says the Patriots are still substantially better than the other three teams. The Patriots are still listed as a more likely Super Bowl champion than the Bills.
  • In the NFC North, Minnesota is now our division favorite, winning 31.8 percent of the time, even though DAVE says the Packers are still a little better than the Vikings (and subjectively, we all expect that the Vikings will eventually see their DVOA for this week drop while the Packers will see theirs move up because of opponent adjustments). The Packers are still listed as a more likely Super Bowl champion than the Vikings.
  • In the NFC South, Carolina is now our division favorite, winning 38.5 percent of the time, even though DAVE says the Saints are still a little bit better than the Panthers. However, unlike with the previous two divisions, the Panthers also now have better Super Bowl odds than the Saints.
  • In the AFC South, Tennessee is now our division favorite, winning 48.3 percent of the time. Let's be honest, this sounds completely insane. But unlike in those other divisions, the Colts aren't even the top team in their division by DAVE anymore; Tennessee's convincing win makes them 16th in DAVE while the Colts are 21st. (Again, we all think opponent adjustments will eventually change the ratings for these teams in Week 1, but we can't be sure.) The Titans win the Super Bowl right now in three times as many simulations as the Colts do.

The winner of all this? It might be Cincinnati. Click on the playoff odds report and you will see that the Bengals are now listed No. 4 on the list of teams likely to win the Super Bowl. New England, San Diego, and Indianapolis are all now 0-1, and that gives Cincinnati a better chance at home-field advantage, and thus a better shot at the Super Bowl. It also helps that these teams are less likely to make the playoffs in the first place; right now our ratings think the Bengals would have better odds of beating AFC East champion Buffalo than of beating AFC East champion New England. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia have also moved up our odds for similar reasons.

The other thing that happened when these strong teams (as well as San Diego and Chicago) all slipped up in Week 1? Our odds of a Super Bowl rematch went up to 7.4 percent, and Super Bowl XLIX now pits Denver against one of the two NFC West powerhouses in more than one out of every eight simulations.

* * * * *

As usual, I have adjusted the projection part of the DAVE ratings for major injuries that took place in Week 1. Kansas City and Indianapolis saw their defensive projections decline because of the injuries to Derrick Johnson and Robert Mathis. Houston's defensive projection declined half as much because Jadeveon Clowney will miss half the season, and Philadelphia's offensive projection declined slightly for Evan Mathis missing half the season. The ratings for the other 28 teams all went up slightly in order to keep the league average at 0%. Given how bad Ray Rice was last year, his suspension and release doesn't affect the Baltimore projection at all.

(By the way, some folks asked why Oakland was missing from the Super Bowl odds table in the initial playoff odds; when a team falls below 0.05 percent, the process that creates the HTML tables drops that team off the Super Bowl odds list. The same thing happens with the "On the Clock" table when a team no longer has at least a 0.05 percent chance of getting the No. 1 overall pick.)

* * * * *

Once again in 2014, we have teamed up with EA Sports to bring Football Outsiders-branded player content to Madden 15 Ultimate Team. Each week, we'll be picking out a handful of players who starred in that week's games. Some of them will be well-known players who stood out in DVOA and DYAR. Others will be under-the-radar players who only stood out with advanced stats. We'll announce the players each Tuesday in the DVOA commentary article, and the players will be available in Madden Ultimate Team packs the following weekend. We will also tweet out images of these players from the @fboutsiders Twitter account on most Fridays. One player each week will only be available for 24 hours from the point these players enter packs on Friday.

The Football Outsiders stars for Week 1 are:

  • WR Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh (24 HOURS ONLY): Second among all wide receivers with 57 receiving DYAR (5-of-6, 116 yards, TD)
  • RB Knowshon Moreno, Miami: 48 rushing DYAR (134 yards, TD, and seven broken tackles)
  • RG J.R. Sweezy, Seattle: Seahawks averaged 6.5 yards per carry on runs between the middle and the right tackle.
  • CB Jason Verrett, San Diego: We haven't done the charting stats on him yet either, but he was phenomenal and a big reason why John Brown had only two catches for 29 yards and Larry Fitzgerald had only one for 22.
  • SS D.J. Swearinger, Houston: Led NFL with five Defeats in Week 1. Sack, FF, and tackled DeSean Jackson for no gain twice.

* * * * *

All stats pages are now updated with 2014 data except for SNAP COUNTS, which should be updated by late tonight, and OFFENSIVE LINE and DEFENSIVE LINE, which will be updated after Week 2. The FO Premium splits database will also be updated for the first time after Week 2, next Tuesday. We apologize for the fact that the Matchup View for FO Premium is not yet updated with the 2014 schedule; that's a bug we're working on fixing right now.

* * * * *

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These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through one week of 2014, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

Please note that there are no opponent adjustments in DVOA until after Week 4. (It's still called DVOA below because I honestly didn't feel like going through and changing all the tables manually this year. You folks know what's up, anyway.) In addition, our second weekly table which includes schedule strength, variation, and Estimated Wins will appear beginning after Week 4.

DAVE is a formula which combines our preseason projection with current DVOA to get a more accurate forecast of how a team will play the rest of the season. Right now, the preseason projection makes up 90 percent of DAVE.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

1 SEA 61.0% 20.8% 2 1-0 43.3% 3 -18.3% 8 -0.6% 16
2 MIN 56.8% 4.6% 13 1-0 17.1% 11 -33.2% 4 6.4% 7
3 DET 55.3% -0.8% 18 1-0 28.1% 7 -42.6% 2 -15.4% 28
4 TEN 54.0% 0.2% 16 1-0 18.5% 9 -40.7% 3 -5.1% 23
5 SF 53.7% 14.8% 3 1-0 44.4% 2 -8.9% 13 0.3% 13
6 CAR 35.1% 4.8% 11 1-0 2.3% 15 -43.9% 1 -11.1% 25
7 ATL 33.6% -0.3% 17 1-0 45.5% 1 17.8% 24 5.9% 9
8 NYJ 29.8% 0.2% 15 1-0 -7.4% 21 -31.2% 5 6.0% 8
9 DEN 29.0% 24.5% 1 1-0 30.8% 5 -10.5% 11 -12.2% 27
10 BUF 27.2% 0.9% 14 1-0 17.8% 10 3.5% 17 12.9% 1
11 CIN 26.5% 6.6% 8 1-0 8.4% 13 -9.9% 12 8.2% 2
12 PIT 25.4% 5.5% 10 1-0 34.8% 4 16.5% 23 7.1% 6
13 MIA 20.6% -3.1% 19 1-0 5.3% 14 -16.1% 9 -0.8% 17
14 PHI 4.8% 4.7% 12 1-0 -17.6% 25 -15.2% 10 7.1% 5
15 ARI 3.0% -3.5% 20 1-0 -2.1% 16 -23.4% 6 -18.4% 30
16 CHI 1.6% 8.2% 7 0-1 12.7% 12 11.2% 22 0.2% 15
17 CLE -1.6% -12.4% 28 0-1 28.7% 6 26.3% 27 -4.1% 22
18 JAC -7.1% -13.2% 30 0-1 -12.0% 22 -23.2% 7 -18.3% 29
19 HOU -19.7% -10.2% 25 1-0 -14.4% 24 1.8% 16 -3.5% 21
20 NE -23.5% 10.2% 4 0-1 -5.8% 18 6.2% 20 -11.5% 26
21 BAL -25.5% -7.8% 23 0-1 -2.6% 17 3.8% 18 -19.1% 31
22 WAS -25.8% -8.1% 24 0-1 -14.1% 23 -8.8% 14 -20.4% 32
23 NO -27.2% 8.4% 6 0-1 18.8% 8 53.3% 32 7.2% 4
24 IND -30.9% -4.5% 21 0-1 -7.2% 19 22.1% 26 -1.6% 18
25 OAK -34.4% -19.9% 32 0-1 -35.9% 28 -4.9% 15 -3.4% 20
26 SD -37.6% 5.8% 9 0-1 -33.2% 27 9.6% 21 5.2% 10
27 GB -37.7% 10.0% 5 0-1 -7.3% 20 30.6% 28 0.3% 14
28 TB -43.5% -5.2% 22 0-1 -40.7% 30 3.9% 19 1.1% 11
29 KC -50.6% -11.7% 27 0-1 -39.1% 29 19.1% 25 7.5% 3
30 DAL -68.7% -13.8% 31 0-1 -18.7% 26 39.9% 31 -10.1% 24
31 NYG -78.3% -12.9% 29 0-1 -47.7% 31 31.6% 30 1.0% 12
32 STL -92.8% -11.6% 26 0-1 -60.2% 32 30.8% 29 -1.8% 19


111 comments, Last at 12 Sep 2014, 3:27pm

#1 by Will Allen // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:12pm

Gosh, Buffalo really did thrash the Bears. I wonder how much Lazy Jay Cutler's ints were the origin of the VOA disparity.

Good grief, if the Vikings manage to beat the Patriots Sunday, and the Lions lose in Charlotte, might their chance of winning the division be between 35% and 40%? What a difference winning the opener can make, even if the win is against a team that really didn't have great projections.

Points: 0

#8 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:46pm

"if the Vikings manage to beat the Patriots Sunday"

Can you imagine? An 0-2 record would have Patriots fans wondering if the Brady/Belicheck dominance was over...and in a state of despair not seen since the Hugh Millen/Dick MacPherson days.

Points: 0

#11 by Will Allen // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:54pm

I think it will be a competitive game in Minnesota, in which randomness will have a significant influence on the outcome. The entire projection for the Vikings, mine included, can be tossed, if they start 2-0.

Points: 0

#17 by RickD // Sep 09, 2014 - 6:40pm

It would be more accurate to say "the Pete Carroll days".

Whatever he's accomplishing in Seattle now, he wasn't doing the same thing in Foxborough.

As for Dick MacPherson, congratulations on a massive overreaction.

Points: 0

#25 by formido // Sep 09, 2014 - 7:54pm

Nor was he accomplishing anything his first 2 years at Seattle. Ah, the fallacy of outcome-based evaluations of weighted dice rolls, eh? Considering Carroll was in charge of two of the greatest pass defenses in the history of the NFL while at SF and Minnesota, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that his continued success isn't exactly a complete shock.

Points: 0

#26 by Lyford // Sep 09, 2014 - 8:35pm

"Nor was he accomplishing anything his first 2 years at Seattle.

Sure he was. He was building a team and getting better, taking a team that was 5-11 before he got there to 7-9 twice, while increasing points scored and decreasing points allowed in each of his four seasons. Whereas in New England, he took over a Conference Champion and got worse each of his three seasons. There was good reason to suspect that Carroll's approach would work as a defensive coordinator or a college coach, but was not going to work as an NFL head coach. Obviously, that's turned out not to be true, but there was reason to suspect that it would.

Points: 0

#41 by panthersnbraves // Sep 10, 2014 - 8:01am

Figuring out his players' strengths is a big part, but having watched so many late round misses at Carolina, I am convinced that the incredible drafting is a big part.

Points: 0

#39 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 10, 2014 - 6:18am

I'm definitely not overreacting. I'm imagining the hypothetical massive overreaction by rank and file Patriots fans. Don't pretend it wouldn't happen. I've listened to Boston sports radio.

I personally still think the Patriots will win in Minnesota (but would no longer be shocked if they lost). Also, even if the Patriots lose, far worse teams than them have rebounded to make the playoffs.

Points: 0

#51 by RickD // Sep 10, 2014 - 11:04am

"rank and file Patriots fans" and "Boston sports radio" are quite different things.

Sports radio skews low.

Points: 0

#16 by herewegobrowni… // Sep 09, 2014 - 6:32pm

Da Bears still have the best DVOA for a 0-1 team.

Interesting to see just five teams clustered around 0 for DVOA. PHI and JAX are two of them in a single game, with Pitt being just outside that cluster in their win over CLE in that cluster (even if numerically Pitt has a much higher DVOA than the group.)

Would be interesting to see the DVOA splits in all of the "tale of two halves" games.

Points: 0

#28 by Eddo // Sep 09, 2014 - 9:33pm

You know, watching both interceptions by Cutler, I don't see either as due to laziness.

The first was a simple underthrow. You could be generous and suggest that Bennett should have turned around earlier (which is what the TE himself said); I don't buy that, though, and still put this one mostly on Cutler. But it wasn't "lazy".

The second was an awful, awful decision, but I don't see laziness.

I'm not sure why you're so adamant to attack Cutler's character for poor on-field play, Will.

Points: 0

#32 by Will Allen // Sep 09, 2014 - 11:12pm

Look at Cutler's feet on the first int......


That is pure lazy mechanics, throwing completely flat-footed, despite having plenty of room to move, which contributed to an underthrow. It is the type of crap which Cutler has regularly exhibited for years. I'm not even a Bears fan, and it drives me nuts to see this athletically gifted guy treat his talent so cavalierly, year after year.

(edit) This is what drives me nuts about the guy. This is his comment on the 1st int....

"I've got to put it out in front of him a little more," Cutler said. "Me and Marty talked about it, and we're on the same page moving forward on that. It just wasn't exactly the look we wanted. We could've made it work though. I'll live with that one all day. That one didn't bother me at all. It was a play that Corey Graham made a heck of a play on it. It could've [gone] the other way. We could've made the play there. We didn't. The latter one was the one you can't live with."

If Cutler really believes that the 1st int was a difficult play for Graham, he's just deluded, and incapable of seeing his performance in an objective manner.

Points: 0

#57 by Eddo // Sep 10, 2014 - 12:21pm

Every QB says something like "it was a heck of a play by [insert DB here]", players generally bend over backwards to compliment their opponents.

By all accounts, Cutler puts in tons of work with the new coaching staff. The fact of the matter is, his mechanics aren't particularly good, and it could very well be that's just the way he is, physically. Not everything is correctable.

But neither of us knows exactly how much time Cutler is putting into his craft, so we really shouldn't make claims like calling him "lazy" or calling him "dedicated".

Points: 0

#58 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 12:39pm

If you think there is more than a miniscule chance that Jay Cutler, with his athletic gifts, would not improve his throwing mechanics, if he made it a priority to improve his throwing mechanics, and put the time in to do it, well, you and I will have to agree to disagree. Asking Tom Brady to put the work in to effectively run the read option is asking the near-impossible. Asking Jay Cutler to develop the consistent habit of setting his feet correctly, by putting the time in, is very, very, very, very likely to work, if Cutler would dedicate himself. He's simply a superior athlete to Brady, and setting your feet properly when passing is a far easier athletic task than running the read option.

I'd guess that the odds of a person, with the athletic ability that Cutler has displayed, being unable to learn proper, consistent, throwing mechanics at about 10,000-1.

Points: 0

#66 by Eddo // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:25pm

You're making a lot of assumptions. You don't know how much time Cutler has put in.

You're an incredibly rational poster on most subjects; I'm not sure why you have such a vendetta against Cutler.

EDIT: To add, I'm in no way looking to defend Cutler on those interceptions, or on any mechanical flaws he has. Those are very real problems for him and the Bears.

It's the character attacks I object to.

Points: 0

#67 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:38pm

I didn't say I knew how much time Cutler has put in. I said I'd guess the odds of someone with Cutler's athletic gifts being unable to achieve consistently sound throwing mechanics are about 10,000 to 1, if he made it a priority.

I don't have the slightest idea why you would say it is irrational to expect a qb with well above average athletic ability to have sound throwing mechanics, and irrational to say that such a qb, who still had consistently poor mechanics in his 9th year, to the detriment of his teams' ability to win games, while his teams have paid him tens of millions of dollars, with tens of millions more guaranteed, had profoundly failed to live up to his professional responsibility. The guy has an absolute responsibility to throw the ball with consistently sound mechanics. He has the more than enough athletic ability to do it. He doesn't do it. If you want to say that a plain description of observable reality is a vendetta, so be it.

Points: 0

#69 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:49pm

Re-reading your posts, I think our disagreement is pretty simple. You think it is within reasonable possibility that an otherwise very athletically gifted qb, by NFL standards, would not be able to correct bad throwing mechanics. I think the chance of that being the case is very, very, very, small.

Points: 0

#70 by Eddo // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:54pm

No. My objection is that you keep peppering in "Ol' Lazy Jay" comments, attacking Jay Cutler's character for mistakes he's making on a football field.

Points: 0

#71 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 3:07pm

When someone chooses to fail to fulfill his basic professional responsibility, despite having the ability to do otherwise, what do you call it?

Points: 0

#76 by Eddo // Sep 10, 2014 - 4:45pm

I might call it "lazy", yes. Maybe "negligent". Maybe simply "bad at his job".

I wouldn't preface every instance of his name with "Lazy", though. It gets tiresome to read in every thread.

Points: 0

#78 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 5:25pm

Ok, so we agree that "lazy" may be an appropriate description of such behavior, yet I'm somehow being irrational in it's use, because I used it one time ("every instance"? "every thread"?) before typing his first name.


Points: 0

#79 by theslothook // Sep 10, 2014 - 5:37pm

Can we just agree he's no Joe Webb and call it a day?

Points: 0

#83 by Thomas_beardown // Sep 10, 2014 - 7:31pm

Sure, wish for the moon. I'll be down here making realistic comparisons to Joe Montana, John Elway, and Brett Favre.

Points: 0

#81 by Eddo // Sep 10, 2014 - 6:11pm

This week's Audibles had three separate references, outside of your initial one (which was fine, it was describing his mechanics on the throw in question):
"ol' lazy Jay"
"Jay Cutler was once again a lazy *ss"
"just like he has so often in his lazy career"

EDIT: To elaborate, I come here for analysis beyond what I get from the ESPN commentariat. You're usually one of the better posters here, Will, which is why I'm disappointed in this whole line.

Points: 0

#82 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 6:30pm

Ok, so I actually prefaced his name one time, not "every" time, with the negative adjective, and then on two other occasions I noted that his laziness had a detrimental effect on the outcome of the games his team competed in.

Look, either there there is substance to what I asserted, or there is not. If my description of Cutler's performance as an NFL qb is inaccurate, or the impact of what I described is inaccurate, I'm quite happy to examine where I'm wrong. When you questioned my use of the adjective, I supplied video evidence, and you seem to agree that what I supplied is not unrepresentative of Cutler's career.

I'll stop noting that his laziness is harming his team's chances of victory, however, in the interests of comity. In the future, I'll simply note that Cutler once again had horrible throwing mechanics, and thus threw a terrible pass at an inopportune moment.

Points: 0

#84 by Thomas_beardown // Sep 10, 2014 - 7:34pm

You are ignoring the very real possibility that Cutler and his coaches might not be valuing those mechanics in favor of spending time on other things.

I will note however, that Mike Martz did spend a lot of time on his footwork. If you recall Cutler completely changed his drop back, it looked very strange like and old school 1960s dropback.

Another possibility is that he just doesn't like 300 pound men flying around trying to hurt him and it leads to poor mechanics. I'm pretty sure Rex Grossman had near perfect mechanics every snap in practice, but when gametime came, they went away.

Points: 0

#88 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 8:21pm

Well maybe if he plays until he's 45, he'll get around to it. Know hope, Bears fans!

Points: 0

#86 by LionInAZ // Sep 10, 2014 - 8:04pm

OK, you've made a reasonable case that Cutler is lazy. Now please prove it.

Seriously, Will, I think you're being teased w.r.t. your fervent argument with the trolls over the Ray Rice situation (which I don't disagree with). That and maybe a little Jump To Conclusions Week overreaction. Just count backwards from ten, tell yourself that Matt Cassel is still the Vikings starting QB, and things will get back to normal...

Points: 0

#87 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 8:19pm

Gosh, nobody ever objected when I referred to my favorite Viking qb as The Ponderous One! I really was just having fun with the notion of a great athlete who will earn more than 100 million by the time he's done, who made a lot of crappy throws which hurt his team, because he couldn't be bothered to set his feet correctly.

Points: 0

#93 by Karl Cuba // Sep 11, 2014 - 7:36am

You made a very strong statement that you could not support with any facts, then you added in some pejorative language about the player's attitude that was also simply your opinion.

If it was simply the case that all qbs should have great mechanics or they're lazy, why do so few have great mechanics? There are plenty of great athletes, many who are known to be diligent and committed to improving, who are unable to rework the way they've been playing the game for more than a decade. Maybe it's actually rather difficult to remould the muscle memory without derailing the entire motion and maybe it's easier for some than others.

But it sure is easier to just accuse someone of being lazy.

Points: 0

#94 by Will Allen // Sep 11, 2014 - 9:17am

Yes, it is my assertion that every athletically superior NFL qb, by NFL qb standards, who has a long career, and makes a gigantic sum of money, should throw with consistently good mechanics. It is my assertion that this is one their fundamental professional responsibilities. It is my assertion that people who have the time to accomplish something which is fundamental to their profession, and have the ability to accomplish that thing, and who get paid a lot of money, but choose not to accomplish that thing, are being lazy.

Yes, I have a different standard for laziness with regard to NFL qbs with long careers as they collect 100 million dollars, than I do for the gardeners and maids of NFL qbs with long careers as they collect 100 million dollars.

I think some of the problem here is the perception that I've made a horrible attack on the character of Jay Cutler. I really didn't mean to, in that it is my experience that most people are lazy, even by the lower standards of people who aren't NFL qbs. Hell, I'm lazy, and am happy to admit it. It's nice to live in the 2st century, where being lazy doesn't have a good chance in resulting in starvation or death from exposure, in a sod hut on some freezing plain.

Points: 0

#95 by Karl Cuba // Sep 11, 2014 - 10:03am

OK, here's one example: Colin Kaepernick has just signed a contract that could pay him $100 million, he also has flaws in his mechanics. Does that mean that he's lazy?

(FYI he usually arrives for work at the niners training complex at 5.30 am)

Points: 0

#96 by panthersnbraves // Sep 11, 2014 - 10:35am

Panthers fans are still trying to figure out if Cam Newton will ever stop throwing off his back foot, and hoping it was related to his ankle issues.

Points: 0

#99 by Will Allen // Sep 11, 2014 - 11:14am

Yep, if his throwing mechanics are still consistently bad by his ninth year, and as a result his team is losing games that it would otherwise win, he's being lazy. That stuff gets fixed between February and July.

This just isn't qbs. I used to say that Adrian Peterson was being lazy when he allowed himself, despite plainly having the physical ability to do otherwise, to have bad pass protection technique. He's fixed it somewhat now, but he still could easily be fairly said to be lazy, if he were to backslide. Favre was an interesting instance of this phenomena. He was so lazy that the Falcons quickly gave up on him, despite obviously huge physical talents. He then landed in a place where one of the great coaching staffs in NFL history effectively challenged him to stop being lazy, and convinced him to take on a legendary amount of off-season work, with HOF results. When that coaching staff broke up, he started to backslide, with measurable decline, but the huge talent reservoir mostly covered for it.
He was being lazy, however.

Look, these guys are similar to non-elite athletes in this regard; we all have the temptation to let slide stuff that would take a fair amount of boring work to fix, when our talents allow us to get by without getting it fixed. Jay Cutler has enough talent to be at least an average NFL starting qb, with occasional flashes of being well above average, despite having consistently bad throwing mechanics, and can thus make a mountain of money. A guy with lesser talent who allowed himself to have similarly bad mechanics would be out of the league, or wouldn't make nearly as much money, so that guy is less likely to be lazy in fulfilling that professional responsibility. Is Cutler as lazy as Jamarcus Russell, another qb with well above average NFL qb talent? Of course not; not even close. I really don't understand the objection, however, to the plain recognition of a pretty common human failing.

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#100 by Karl Cuba // Sep 11, 2014 - 11:22am

That's an absurd generalisation.

Variation in the tendency to regress to previous patterns in behaviour when fatigued or under stress should not be blithely dismissed as laziness in every case. There could be any number of factors from poor coaching, too much variation in coaching, a psychological regression or any number of physical ailments that could be causing the problem.

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#102 by Will Allen // Sep 11, 2014 - 11:34am

When the pattern of behavior has persisted for years on end, laziness, or, if we want to be less inflammatory, the refusal to fulfill one's fundamental professional responsibilities, despite having the physical and cognitive ability to do so, is a reasonable conclusion. Is it possible that Jay Cutler has never received adequate training with regard to the proper way to throw a football? I suppose anything's possible, but that is a possibility that I strongly suspect to be extraordinarily small.

Look, I promise. I'll never call Cutler lazy again.

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#109 by theslothook // Sep 11, 2014 - 6:54pm

To defend Will somewhat: Cosell was asked about Cutler this week and his words essentially were of this nature. "He has unbelievable physical tools and skills, but he's still very erratic overall. Sloppy mechanics, poor footwork, and continued lapses in his timing and rhymth, which after 9 years in the league, probably won't change."

Now I know it's just one opinion and he did say sloppy, not lazy, but I think the general view is that Cutler should be better than this at this stage.

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#104 by bravehoptoad // Sep 11, 2014 - 3:24pm

Eh, you don't know he's being lazy. He may be working his ass off, but his priorities may be different than yours.

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#98 by Eddo // Sep 11, 2014 - 10:42am

There's also the issue that almost every quarterback has a few throws every game where his mechanics break down. Cutler threw 49 passes against Buffalo, it was a near certainty that at least one throw would be off his back foot.

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#101 by Will Allen // Sep 11, 2014 - 11:23am

If I had not been watching this stuff out of this guy for years, on a pretty consistent basis, I wouldn't have written what I did. Every rb occasionally has bad pass protection technique, but that doesn't mean that Adrian Peterson wasn't being lazy when he was pretty consistent in having bad pass protection technique.

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#2 by Pottsville Mar… // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:27pm

I'm curious how the Lions' special teams DVOA is so low. Sure, they missed a FG, but they also blocked a punt, averaged a net of 40 yards per punt, and allowed the Giants an average starting field position of their own 19 yard line after kickoffs. I guess I'm not seeing what's so terrible here.

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#3 by Aaron Schatz // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:28pm

The blocked punt is not counted in DVOA because it is a "non-predictive event." It's a great play, but tells us nothing about how well the Lions' special teams are likely to be going forward because it is very rare for a team to block more than one or two per season.

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#6 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:37pm

Do special teams penalties go into the ranking? (roughing the kicker)

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#9 by Will Allen // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:51pm

We old farts can recall when special teams play was a lot less efficient. The disparity between the best special teams and the worst was much wider, due to blocking kicks, and a wider range of kicker and punter quality. Hell, in the '70s, Bud Grant used to pick up a couple of division wins a year by blocked kicks. That disparity was never going to last; it isn't that hard to get kick protection executed.

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#107 by usernaim250 // Sep 11, 2014 - 5:29pm

Washington fan here; I have to disagree. Looking at my team, it must be one of the hardest feats in all sports.

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#18 by RickD // Sep 09, 2014 - 6:42pm

How about "letting a punt (or PAT) get blocked". Are the Redskins up to their quota already?

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#31 by LionInAZ // Sep 09, 2014 - 10:49pm

They also had a running into the kicker penalty, no KRs at all, and below average punt returns. I expect the ST performance to improve, but the negatives weighed pretty heavily this week.

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#4 by justanothersteve // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:29pm

I'm not used to seeing GB's ST ranked higher than both the offense and defense. Of course, as bad as the latter two units played in Seattle I'm not surprised.

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#22 by mplink // Sep 09, 2014 - 7:20pm

Does the Earl Thomas fumble count into DVOA? If so then that could do it.

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#24 by Perfundle // Sep 09, 2014 - 7:50pm

That, and the 57-yard punt that Walters chose not to return because the game was over. Is running into the kicker part of DVOA? If punt blocks are not I can't imagine those penalties are any more common; teams have been averaging 0.4 of the two penalties per season the last five seasons. That would be three things that overrate Green Bay's special teams.

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#30 by Arkaein // Sep 09, 2014 - 10:08pm

So GB's 14th ranked ST after one game is inexplicable to you? 14th after one game is overrated?

Maybe the fact that their coverage units were very good has something to do with it? The fumble that supposedly overrates GB was caused by GB's gunner, who got to Thomas just after the ball. GB deserves credit for perfect coverage. Also, basically perfect coverage on the first of Thomas's ill-advised punt returns (3 yard return after being hit almost immediately after the catch).

On kick coverage, GB allowed one return to the 30, with two touchbacks and one return to only the 14.

Coverage was also good on the free kick after the safety. GB made it's only FG, and the ST units had no turnovers.

So GB mixed relatively poor kick returns, short punts but excellent coverage, and solid kickoffs and coverage. There's absolutely nothing mysterious about an average rating. And if they deserved to be marked down for one unpredictive event (running into the punter), it should be for no more than they deserve to be marked up for another (recovering the muffed punt).

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#60 by Perfundle // Sep 10, 2014 - 1:39pm

Um, it's easy to have perfect coverage when your punts go 28 and 38 yards. This was a criticism of Jon Ryan regarding why punts weren't being returned on Seattle, so I have some experience with it. The fumble was caused by Thomas and Thomas alone. He didn't wave Sherman out of the way in time, and he couldn't cleanly catch the ball. Green Bay has a negative grade for kick coverage, so no help there. The entire reason that they have an average special teams grade is the Thomas fumble, which they didn't cause, and the final punt, which Seattle didn't bother to return, so yes, they are overrated. I never said it was inexplicable.

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#74 by SeattleGuy // Sep 10, 2014 - 3:55pm

You saw a different play than I did. Watch the video again. The GB gunner purposefully backed into Thomas. He looked back at Thomas before he made contact. Sherman was not blocking him at that point and he knew he was going to disrupt the play. He was acting. He wasn't blocked into Thomas any more than Clay Mathews was fouled later in the game. GB couldn't win by executing better. They decided to turn to Hollywood for effect.

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#5 by bhauck // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:33pm

It wouldn't be feasible to use a version of DAVE to put the D back in DVOA for the first few weeks?

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#21 by Aaron Schatz // Sep 09, 2014 - 7:19pm

I've just never been able to program it in with all the other stuff I'm trying to do each offseason. It's been something I've always considered.

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#7 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:39pm

I'm going to savor Buffalo actually having the #1 ST ranking. The offensive VOA is surprising to me, as well, though most of that has to be rushing. By the end of the year I suspect the Bears' terrible run D will drag this game down quite a bit.

Still, I'll take being 10th for a week.

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#10 by Thomas_beardown // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:52pm

I know it's not strictly a zero-sum game, but the differences between Buffalo and Chicago units' ratings seems huge. Buffalo has an offensive rating of 17% but Chicago only allowed 11% DVOA. Ditto for the reverse, Chicago has 12% offensive DVOA and Buffalo only allowed 3%.

I'd be curious to learn about why this is.

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#12 by Al Hirt Hologram // Sep 09, 2014 - 5:56pm

So the NFC North could be doing an imitation of the 2002 AFC East...

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#13 by gdejong // Sep 09, 2014 - 6:10pm

Surprised that Houston and Washington both do so poorly in VOA.

Didn't watch the game, but a -20% for Houston and -26% for Washington seems pretty unusual for two teams playing each other. It would make more sense if there were opponent adjustments.

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#19 by Rivers McCown // Sep 09, 2014 - 6:45pm

Just take our word for it. Don't focus your eyes directly on that game. You can't unsee it.

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#20 by Ian Chapman // Sep 09, 2014 - 7:00pm

AMEN. I saw that game live on Sunday. It's still haunting my dreams (and not in a good way).


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#48 by Mike B. In Va // Sep 10, 2014 - 10:36am

This. I kept TRYING to watch other games in the sports bar, and that one was such a train wreck...

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#14 by ammek // Sep 09, 2014 - 6:10pm

Welcome back DAVE, welcome back Dallas defense, welcome back Washington special teams.

Somehow Allen Hurns has drifted onto the RB page (in the receiving table) in the same way that he drifted past the Eagles' secondary last Sunday. He's a WR.

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#27 by Mr.Morden // Sep 09, 2014 - 9:33pm

Special Super Bowl matchups should include "John Fox reunion special" (Car vs. Den).

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#29 by Aaron Schatz // Sep 09, 2014 - 10:01pm

Strange, that used to be in there and somehow disappeared. We'll put it back.

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#33 by Raiderjoe // Sep 09, 2014 - 11:33pm

Raiders at 25 pretty low.,did lose to Jets who are one of my,playoff picks.,so good team they lost to there.,tem will rebound.,only 1 game out and still play tan ahead of them 2 times., obviously chiefs and chargers massive, massive problems. Will ve 2 team race between Raiders and Borncos as was reported here and on Twitter all offsesosn

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#89 by svlifttech68 // Sep 10, 2014 - 9:58pm

Look at the offensive output for the Raiders and take out the numbers of their last meaningless drive and 25 looks pretty good. They had less than 100 yrds of total offense before the jets pretty much just let them go down the field as time was running out.

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#34 by anhonestmess // Sep 09, 2014 - 11:37pm

I love the Jim Schwartz matchup special. A suggestion for the special Super Bowl section...the never made it match ups! That's Detroit v. Cleveland, Houston, or Jacksonville!

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#35 by beargoggles // Sep 10, 2014 - 12:18am

Detroit vs. Cleveland = Apocalypse Bowl. The day that game becomes a serious possibility, I will be loading up on emergency supplies.

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#38 by anhonestmess // Sep 10, 2014 - 3:53am

I think the Browns could be really good...in two years.

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#90 by svlifttech68 // Sep 10, 2014 - 10:04pm

I think that was said two years ago. And two years before that. Ect.....

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#110 by OldFox // Sep 12, 2014 - 12:14pm

Exactly. And two years from now, people will be saying, "Gee, the Browns sure stink, but two years from now ..."

A great line from old-time baseball manager Casey Stengel comes to mind. He was always hearing people say that this young player or that young player had a chance to be great in a few years. He had a young catcher with limited upside, Greg Goossen. So he said, "I've got this kid named Goossen. He's 20 years old, and in 10 years he's got a chance to be 30."

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#42 by hrudey // Sep 10, 2014 - 8:13am

New York Giants v. Jacksonville = The Coughlin Bowl.

Predicted odds: -0.000001% (negative to signify that on the roughly one in ten billion chance that the game happens, it will be cancelled by the league because they'd be unable to sell ad time for the game since MTV25 will air Shad Khan's moustache cam throughout the game, which would threaten to be the first program ever to actually outdraw the game itself).

Free Bortles!

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#36 by Remoat // Sep 10, 2014 - 12:54am

Cincinnati did not win the AFC North in 2012. Baltimore did.

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#37 by The Hypno-Toad // Sep 10, 2014 - 1:41am

Huh. I hadn't realized that DVOA was so down on the Lions this year. There were probably a number of things, especially in the NFC, that would have surprised me if I had been paying proper attention when I read the DVOA projections article and the preseason Playoff Odds, but seeing their playoff odds double after beating another lowly regarded opponent that doesn't even play into their common games tie breaker in the division made me realize how low their odds were before, especially given the perceived weakness of their schedule. It's not like I follow the Lions closely or that I expect great things out of them in a stacked conference, but seeing a team with some very strong pieces projected to finish with the second-worst DVOA in their conference surprised me.

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#40 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 10, 2014 - 6:28am

At first I was surprised by how low they're projected,too, given their talent on offense, their poor record in close games last year, and how much their pythagoen wins were more than their actual wins. But their offense cratered so badly in the last 4 games last year that they finished with a negative DVOA. They also had fairly good injury luck, and they were projected to have one of the tougher schedules in the league this year. Combine that with a secondary starting one 34 year old CB, and another who is a 2nd year player who got benched 3 times in his rookie year. Then throw in a tough division in the stronger of the two conferences, then I can see where the low projection comes from.

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#43 by nickbradley // Sep 10, 2014 - 8:14am

I wonder why Derek Anderson's DVOA is so low.

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#44 by JoeyHarringtonsPiano // Sep 10, 2014 - 9:03am

That is interesting, since ESPN has his QBR at 90 (out of 100). He did fumble once (although is his team recovered). And I'm not sure if adjusted INT (Goldson clearly dropped a sure INT) plays in. Given that, I think 15% sounds about right.

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#61 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 10, 2014 - 1:49pm

I wonder why Derek Anderson's DVOA is so low.

Anderson's two biggest negative plays were a botched snap (recovered by Carolina) and an intentional grounding penalty. Those plays don't show up in passer rating. I don't know if they're in QBR or not.

We cover individual numbers in Quick Reads, published every week after Monday Night Football.

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#45 by boston bears fan // Sep 10, 2014 - 9:31am

I have a quick question...Why is DAVE a whopping 90% of preseason projection? I assume this projection consists of the roughly 6 quarters of preseason starter play and some formula for last year's success and player turnover? I guess I'm surprised that a full week 1 game's worth of plays wouldn't provide more than 10% of the DAVE. What am I missing?

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#46 by Arkaein // Sep 10, 2014 - 9:53am

Preseason projections are not based on actual preseason games. Preseason performance is not factored into projections at all.

They literally just mean the predictions made prior to the start of the season. The projections are based on last season's performance, plus things like roster moves and coaching changes.

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#53 by RickD // Sep 10, 2014 - 11:08am

"Why is DAVE a whopping 90% of preseason projection?"

Why wouldn't it be? 90% is an arbitrary number. It's chosen so the value drops 10% every week. That's what it is. That's how DAVE is defined. It's not defined to fulfill any other purpose, or maximize the value of an objective function. It's simply a way to mix together pre-season projections with on-the-field results in a manner that is somewhat arbitrary, yet is necessary lest we overreact to the results of the small number of games that have been played so far.

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#55 by Aaron Schatz // Sep 10, 2014 - 12:04pm

It's not arbitary and it doesn't drop exactly 10 percent every week. The percentages change every week based on testing a few seasons to see what number did the best job of predicting each team's performance for the rest of the season.

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#47 by stevo // Sep 10, 2014 - 10:32am

I'm really interested to see how the 49ers turn out because their win against Dallas didn't say anything considering the opponent and number of turnovers. The running defense, which was supposed to be strong, got gashed a bit by a good offensive line and Murray. Was it the absence of Bowman or an aging Justin Smith?

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#62 by Karl Cuba // Sep 10, 2014 - 1:58pm

Smith was a beast, he's just fine. Ian Williams and Ray McDonald looked a bit soft and Wilhoite is no Bowman. It might get a bit better if the DLs get into shape and Wilhoite learns on the job.

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#63 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:04pm

It was great, great, great, to see Smith doing his enraged rhino act once again. I was really afraid that my favorite non-Viking would go into pronounced decline in the season in which he turns 35.

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#75 by coremill // Sep 10, 2014 - 4:02pm

SF's poor run defense was also affected by scheme and game-state -- they were playing with a big lead the whole game and so kept both safeties deep, happy to concede 4-5 yard runs in exchange for preventing big plays.

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#77 by beargoggles // Sep 10, 2014 - 4:55pm

They got gashed even before the game was out of hand, although clearly that was a pretty small sample size. I agree that the DL outside of Smith couldn't get off blocks at all. And Ahmad Brooks had a bad game, seemingly. It may have been partially scheme (don't let Romo beat us), and since they were never forced out of their scheme, who knows?

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#85 by coremill // Sep 10, 2014 - 7:37pm

They also played a lot of nickel -- five DBs (Reid, Bethea, Cox, Ward, and Johnson) played at least 65% of the snaps. That didn't help with run defense either. I agree though that strong side of the line, especially Brooks, was not up to its usual standards.

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#49 by oaktoon // Sep 10, 2014 - 10:41am

Packers under McCarthy have lost an early-season game at Lambeau a fair amount... If it comes this week, they are 0-2 and travelling to Detroit and Chicago the next two weeks. This season could unravel fast.

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#50 by BJR // Sep 10, 2014 - 10:58am

I suspect Rodgers will have his way with that Jets secondary

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#52 by Will Allen // Sep 10, 2014 - 11:06am

The one chance I'd give the Jets is due to them having some real sluggers on the defensive line, and the Packers being a little soft on the offensive line. It could result in Rodgers getting hit a lot more often than the Packers prefer. I think the Packer are solid favorites, obviously, but it wouldn't be the largest upset of the season.

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#54 by BJR // Sep 10, 2014 - 11:37am

The Jets do indeed have a defensive line that resembles a fortified wall when it comes to stopping the run, but they don't have any sort of prolific pass rush. They may have some success blitzing Rodgers, but unless his protection breaks down completely he should have sufficient time to tear their back end to shreds.

The Jets best chance to me would be if the Packers put forth a similarly abysmal tackling effort as they did against Seattle, and combined with Geno Smith playing efficiently, they are then able to sustain enough long scoring drives to keep it close enough so that some random occurrence swings it their way.

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#56 by Ian Chapman // Sep 10, 2014 - 12:19pm

I also would say that Green Bay is the solid favorite. Note that Aaron Rodgers is a fairly mobile QB. He's no Wilson or Kaepernick but he's not a statue either, and Aaron Rodgers is more than good enough to burn the blitz. Also note that Seattle almost never blitzed Rodgers depending on their front four instead to generate pressure. Admittedly Seattle sometimes were a bit exotic in their choice of rushers, but not that exotic.


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#91 by mehllageman56 // Sep 10, 2014 - 10:52pm

Ryan didn't blitz much last year; somebody at ESPN noted that the Jets blitz rate last year was 23rd in the league, whereas the rate against the Raiders ranked 5th. We'll see how much they end up blitzing Rodgers, but as you noted the Champions thought better of it.

The key for the Jets here is their ability to control the line of scrimmage on both defense and offense. The earlier poster is correct that the Jets don't have the best pass rush, but the key for the Packers is Rodgers' ability to take over the game, and make the Jets running game not matter. I'm thinking a close game but a loss for the visiting team.

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#97 by BJR // Sep 11, 2014 - 10:36am

The Jets D-Line is very good and probably will control the line of scrimmage all day, completely shut down the Packers run game, and force Rodgers to scramble a bunch. But it probably won't be enough to prevent him having a big day.

But if the Jets O-Line can control their LOS, and Geno Smith can play an extremely efficient game, they should be able to remain close enough on the scoreboard so that a big play here or there could swing it. It's more likely the Jets win this 30-27 than 16-13.

It will be a good test for this supposedly improving Jets offence, going against a relatively soft defence, but one on which they will be under constant pressure to score.

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#111 by mehllageman56 // Sep 12, 2014 - 3:27pm

As a Jets fan, I'm hoping this is Geno's coming out party. Not expecting a win, just hoping he plays well enough to keep it close even if its a shootout.

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#59 by justanothersteve // Sep 10, 2014 - 1:18pm

It'll really hurt if the Packers have to rely on Sherrod at RT. McCarthy is incredibly stubborn on providing help to any OL who can't handle the rush. I'm hoping they just put Cobb and Nelson outside and play standard sets for much of the game, having Quarless and R Rodgers chip on the outside before going out on patterns.

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#64 by schmoker // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:20pm

I don't know, I'd say DAVE has my hometown Browns pegged right on the nose.

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#65 by candliss // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:24pm

Maybe this has been covered here before, but here goes: after week 1, wouldn't the team that played the #1DVOA team automatically become the #32DVOA team simply by virtue of being on the opposite side of the ball on every play?

"You can’t explain Steve Largent by computer – he doesn’t belong on an NFL field. You put his size and speed in an IBM computer up in Silicon Valley, it would chew up his data card and laugh.”--Lester Hayes

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#68 by Vincent Verhei // Sep 10, 2014 - 2:49pm


*It should be noted that certain plays are included in DVOA for offense but not for defense. Other plays are included for both, but scored differently. This leads to separate baselines on each side of the ball. For instance

Only four total penalties are included. Two penalties count as pass plays on both sides of the ball: intentional grounding and defensive pass interference. The other two penalties are included for offense only: false starts and delay of game. Because the inclusion of these penalties means a group of negative plays that don’t count as either passes or runs, the league averages for pass offense and run offense are higher than the league averages for pass defense and run defense.

Aborted snaps and incomplete backwards lateral passes are only penalized on offense, not rewarded on defense.

Adjustments for playing from behind or with a lead in the fourth quarter are different for offense and defense, as are adjustments for the final two minutes of the first half when the offense is not near field-goal range.

Offense gets a slight penalty and defense gets a slight bonus for games indoors.

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#73 by candliss // Sep 10, 2014 - 3:27pm

well, there you go. thanks. interesting, though, that those alterations are enough to move GB up 5 places. also interesting just how bad the rams were. their DVOA certainly matches the eye test that we saw on tv....

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#103 by Purds // Sep 11, 2014 - 1:28pm

I know this isn't pertinent to the OP's question, but your answer makes me wonder: Have you guys at FO checked statistically if aborted snaps or incomplete backwards passes happen randomly? There is a chance that better defenses put enough pressure on opponents to cause an abnormally high number of these mistakes, and then shouldn't the defense get some, albeit a small, boost?

I sometimes wonder that for holding penalties as well, as offensive holding penalties often occur, especially on passing downs, against better defenses that rush well. Or at least it seems that way when watching. Would love to know if stats back up the neutrality of your use of those penalties in assessing defenses.

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#92 by keko // Sep 11, 2014 - 2:02am

Since it seems to be "Special Teams Questions Week," I've often wondered at the FO special teams adjustments for Mile High, and this week's ratings illustrate the issue. Indy's kicker put every kickoff out of the back of the end zone--surely at least a little above average, right, as historically only 75-80% or so have been unreturnable? No, Indy's KO rating is negative (-0.4) and has them tied for 28th. Denver's kicker did the same, but the results are even worse; Denver's 31st on KOs at -0.6, ahead of only the Raiders (excuse me, "teh Radires"). What gives? If the adjustments mean even RoboKicker, putting every ball into the stands, is deemed way below average, something's off--it's like Lake Woebegone in reverse.

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#105 by usernaim250 // Sep 11, 2014 - 5:21pm

In NE, Carroll took over a good but aging team with an overrated QB. He won the division and actually improved in DVOA in the year following a Hall of Fame Coach, had a positive DVOA in the second year, and then fell in year three, though the defense was still quite good. Then the HoF coach who followed him, Belichik, came in and blew the whole thing up, getting conspicuously worse in the process. Calling Carroll a failure in NE is ridiculous. He bested the HoF coaches who bookended his stay.

Had Carroll been given the opportunity to rebuild NE and lucked out on a later-round QB in the process, he may have built the league's most dominant team in NE. You know, like he just did in Seattle.

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#108 by Will Allen // Sep 11, 2014 - 5:38pm

I really didn't see them play much in that era, but my inclination has always been to think that Carroll's performance in New England was significantly underrated, in good part due to the luck involved, that the subsequent regime enjoyed, in picking up Tom Brady in the 6th round.

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