Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

11 May 2009

ESPN INSIDER: Defensive Drops

This week's ESPN Insider feature looks at the other side of drops; which teams and players were on defense for the most drops in 2008, and was it luck or skill?

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 11 May 2009

17 comments, Last at 26 Jun 2009, 4:29pm by ChicagoRaider


by Shekb (not verified) :: Mon, 05/11/2009 - 6:19pm

Fellas, no offense, but anyone who was ever gonna pay to read ESPN Insider is already paying ESPN Insider and reading everything on ESPN Insider. Seeing so many links to content you've got to pay to read just makes me want to stop reading this site, which sucks because I honestly like it a lot. I know your reaction is probably something like, "we're just trying to make some dough, does he think our trademarked brand of in-depth football analysis just falls off the magic internet tree? Eff this guy." But still.

by I am excellent at making love (not verified) :: Thu, 05/14/2009 - 9:29am

Thank you for making your argument, and then completely refuting your argument, all in one paragraph. The last gasp of "But still" was a convincing touch.

And some others.

by Bill Barnwell :: Mon, 05/11/2009 - 6:22pm

I'll just get the Insider C&P done early.

We've never had Premium articles on the site -- that is to say, we've never said "Hey, sign up for Premium and we'll write exclusive articles for you!" Premium members have had access to the Premium database, the gambling odds, and the 24-hour fantasy service. Never any articles that the rest of our readers couldn't read.

In addition, the majority of these articles are articles that would not have been written otherwise -- not because they weren't worth writing or because they weren't interesting, but because they weren't subsidized. As they're now being subsidized, we welcome the opportunity to write more frequently and produce more content.

We link these articles so that people who are ESPN Insiders can read them and know that they're on ESPN. We make it clear that they're Insider articles so that those people who aren't Insiders can know to steer clear.

by TruFalcon (not verified) :: Mon, 05/11/2009 - 7:02pm

You think there are Insider subscribers who read FO and aren't aware of these articles?
It's the main story when I log in to Insider.

by ChrisH :: Mon, 05/11/2009 - 8:04pm

I don't usually go to the Insider page myself, I just go to the sections I want to read and don't have to concern myself with if the content is free or Insider.

by qed :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 3:48pm

I also don't check the Insider page, and the FO articles are rarely linked from the main ESPN page. I appreciate having the links to insider content on the FO page.

by Waverly :: Mon, 05/11/2009 - 8:55pm

Actually, the main reason to come to this site is to read some of the insightful or clever or funny comments people write, including those of the FO staff. In this case I was hoping to glean the interesting information from the reactions here.

So having these topics with links to unreadable articles could still be useful.

But judging from the numbers of comments on recent ESPN INSIDER topics, either very few FO readers also subscribe to ESPN INSIDER, or almost all of those articles are not comment-worthy. I would guess it's the former case.

by Feagles - King ... :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 9:57am

There's a third explanation - it's kind of useless to comment on espn.com, because it's nearly impossible to get into any sort of good discussion about the article in questions. Once you weed through the "OMG don't say that about my favorite player!" posts and the incredibly offensive posts, you're not left with much.

I'm an Insider (I've been a ESPN The Magazine subscriber since it started), and never have commented on any stories. If I think something is truly interesting, or I have any questions about it, I've generally emailed the author (to varying degrees of success).

I don't mind linking here to Insider stories; but, again, I'm an Insider, so take my opinion for what it's worth.

by erniecohen :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 8:49am

Note, this is not a profile of Ike Taylor - it's about making other people drop passes.

by Boo (not verified) :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 10:34am

That's what I was going to ask. He must have the all time record for passes that bounce off his hands into the hands of a receiver for a touchdown.

by Anonimouse! (not verified) :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 12:48pm

"Defensive Drops" definitely implies an Ike Taylor cameo. Misleading stuff.

by the silent speaker (not verified) :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 1:05pm

Yeah, and I was wondering, "What about the times when it's tactically in the defender's tactical best interest to drop the football, such as a fourth-and-long heave that can't be returned to any useful degree?"

by Tom Gower :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 6:44pm

Not an Insider, but I like to see FO post links to its content posted as part of Insider. Part of that is I'm considering being an Insider, because some of the Insider articles look interesting and there are other interesting people writing for Insider, part of it is because I think about writing interesting stuff for myself and don't want to duplicate stuff other people have done, and part of is because it's FO's damned website and FO should damned well toot its own horn on its own website and to not do so would be silly.

The only FO Elsewhere articles that tended to generate comments were the weekly questions Barnwell answered about the Cowboys, and half of those were mocking the DMN commenters.

by Dice :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 6:46pm

You mean like the Pats/Bolts playoff game from a few years back? Brady on 4th and long makes a horrible throw, got picked, and the linebacker tries to return the ball. He fumbles, Pats recover, score and win the game...

by qed :: Tue, 05/12/2009 - 6:50pm

It seems like secondary play in general is hard to quantify. The article focuses on the number of dropped passes a defense "forced" based on game charting data for 2007 and 2008. There's a weak year-to-year correlation (at least between the 5 best and 5 worst teams in those years) and there isn't a strong correlation between drops "forced" and defense quality (top 5 for 2008 were Pats/Skins/Texans/Eagles/49ers in that order). The "drops" in the study excluded passes that were off target and passes that were defensed, and a pass that is knocked out by a hit is not considered a drop. I think the overall conclusion is that dropped passes are more a function of luck and receiver skill than anything the defense does.

I get the impression that individual stats for defensive backs aren't very consistent from year to year. Has FO released any studies on which individual advanced stats are most consistent year-to-year by position?

by KyleW :: Thu, 05/14/2009 - 1:01pm

Is there a time limit after which FO could publish the work produced for ESPN insider on its own site? I am interested in reading some of these articles but I have no desire to give ESPN/Disney any more money.

by ChicagoRaider (not verified) :: Fri, 06/26/2009 - 4:29pm

I guess Asomugha sucks because he has so few drops.