Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

12 Dec 2005

2005 Quick Reads: Week 14

This week in Quick Reads, Peyton Manning ascends to his rightful place atop the quarterback rankings, Miami beats San Diego without a running game, and Kyle Brady tries to single-handedly lose to Indianapolis. Plus, Alex Smith compared to the first four starts of other quarterbacks drafted number one overall. (Vick isn't included, partly because he's such a different kind of player and partly because he played a lot in games technically started by Chandler.) By the way, all individual stats pages are updated early through Week 14, except for MNF results of course.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 12 Dec 2005

49 comments, Last at 14 Dec 2005, 8:11pm by TomC


by bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 8:24pm

"Rightful place." Well said Aaron, and as always, this long-suffering Colt fan appreciates your objectivity. Now go mow/shovel your lawn!

by Catfish (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 8:26pm

"Much of the praise for this performance should go to the Miami offensive line. One year ago, it was the football equivalent of a wall built out of coffee stirrers"

Awesome, just awesome.

by DGL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 8:27pm

So, can you beat Kansas City deep?

by SJM (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 8:38pm

QB rankings link is broken.

But on the positive side, there's a porn add next to this post.

by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 8:39pm

Aaron, great column as always, but could you explain how Tiki Barber wound up with a 0.0 Rush DPAR? The Eagles have the 7th ranked rush defense according to DVOA, so I'm pretty sure it's not the opponent adjustment.

by admin :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:02pm

Look closer. That's actually an ad for MSNBC.

QB stats link now fixed.

I should have said something about this in the commentary -- Tiki Barber lost yardage on four runs and three more were stopped at the line. 18 of his 32 carries went for three yards or less and only one of those converted a short-yardage down.

by bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:05pm


Who knew Internet sites had "sweeps weeks" too?! NO complaints here....

by jim's apple pie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:09pm

The Chargers are never going to win consistently until they can stop opponents in the passing game. They can't rely on the offense to score 30+ points every game, no matter how talented the offensive players are. Every time the Chargers have lost this season, it has been because the offensive line has had a sub-par game. Every time. That Philly game was even worse than this one, though. LT had a guy trying to tackle him in the backfield on virtually every run. I think this line is a bunch of over-acheivers, and can be pushed around by a physical, determined front seven (Philly, Pitt, Miami, Denver).

I expect (hope?) the Chargers draft a LT in the first round next year. (Plus a DB in the second).

by Malene, cph, dk (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:11pm

so, what's the snowstorm's DVOA against the prevent D?

by Travis (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:13pm

Re: #6

I figured the reason was something like that. How negative was Barber's rush DPAR without the opponent adjustment?

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:38pm

Boy, what does this say about the TEN quarterbacks ranked worse than Kyle Boller, the worst football player who ever lived?

Did anyone tell Ryan Wilson, or do you just let any Steeler fan write about the Ravens?

by dedkrikit (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 9:50pm

Re #6 -
Is there another Tomlinson in this draft? ;)

by Patrick Bateman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 10:52pm

Re: 10, 6
OK, does that take into account the sudden chaos into which the NYG O-line was thrown after McKenzie and Petitgout were lost? It happened early in the game, so I'm not sure I could make a convincing argument about how heavily it factored into this game, but I think those injuries might have played a role.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:11pm

Patrick Bateman (#13 )--

DVOA does not consider injuries, nor those games when backups play to protect starters after playoff seedings are locked in.

Those cases spawn long, nearly pointless arguments about how this or that team in the playoffs is not properly represented by DVOA. Kind of like the current DVOA arguments, but with *much* more passion.

by JasonK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 11:32pm


DVOA & DPAR don't take t into account, but McKenzie & Petitgout going down does go a long way in explaining Tiki's performance: His running wasn't very good because the 3 reserves on the O-line (3 because the starting LG, Diehl, is the #4 tackle; thus 2 backups came in and one starter moved) weren't opening many holes. But when he got the ball in the passing game, the poor blocking didn't hold him back, and he was brilliant.

by luz (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:29am

it's true that dvoa doesn't take injuries into account but i still like knowing what pittsburgh's dvoa is sans maddox.

it just makes me feel better.

by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:23am

Interesting analysis of #1 overall picks first four starts, but I think it is interesting to throw Vick in there. In his first season (which did include four games where he put up at least 18 passes) Vick posted a 6.95 yds/attempt which is higher than anybody else on the list.

In his first four starts (final game of 2001 and first three of 2002 I believe), he passed for 715 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT and 6.68 yds/attempt. All these numbers compare very favorably to the other guys on the list.

I think Vick is helped by being the only guy on the list who received significant playing time his first year, while making his starts in his second year. All the others started in their first year, except for Carson Palmer who didn't take single snap his first year.

by Dan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 2:49am

Hmm.. How does Tiki have a 0 rushing DPAR with 126 yards? Shouldn't he have at least SOME positive value there?

by rk (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:06am

So did Chad Johnson finally admit that someone covered him on his little list?

by sdr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:24am

What's causing the difference in Glenn and Harrison? Their lines are practically identical, and as noted on Glenn, KC is vulnerable deep.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:47am

I would have sworn that under Cadillac Williams you said "breaking wind".

by mshray63 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:51am

"...proving that in the battle between snowstorm and prevent defense, prevent defense wins."

Aaron, this might be the best line you have ever written; I woke up the whole slumbering household laughing at it.

Almost makes up for the Creed thing by itself. (Almost)

by keith (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 4:34am

Reason #52 why the NFL needs more Football Outsiders: Pat Kirwin

In his column "The myth of the halftime adjustment" at nfl.com (click name) he lays the foundation for a statistical look at 2nd half comebacks...

"Only 20 times in the past five weeks did a team go in at intermission, change a blocking scheme, change an audible or catch enough breaks to win the game it was losing."

So, let's see, that would be about 4 teams per week, right? Then later he makes this shocking observation...

"Knowing what I knew headed into the Week 14 games, I was very impressed to see four teams down at halftime come back and win their games."

I just thought you would all find that amusing.

by keith (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 4:39am

Re: my last post (23):

I thought what Kirwin meant, was that he was impressed by the teams coming back to win. But maybe he was just impressed with his numbers working out exactly?

by Hector, Paris (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 6:51am

I guess Dungy will allow his starters to play against SD. If Indy win, the Chargers are hopeless to make the play-offs. It would be a lot safer for Indy than to let SD win, qualify and take the chance (risk) to play them again in the same dome...
And congratulations for the EPC of last week, Garrard will start somewhere next year. No doubt a team will give him the reins (Allo David, it's Nick Saban...)

by Podge (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 8:49am

Re# 12

Yes, although he goes by the name 'Reggie Bush', so no one compares him to LT2, you know, so theres no pressure on him. Instead he just gets compared to Barry Sanders, which of course anyone can handle.

by mawbrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 9:55am

I know I shouldn't, but Aaron's right....as a Browns fan I'm starting to imagine success for Charlie Frye based on his first two (both top ten DVOA) starts. Why, I haven't been this excited about a young Browns QB since Paul McDonald (or was it Eric Zeier?).

Speaking of Paul McDonald, beware the curse of the USC southpaw. Just a warning for those at the top of the draft.

by lk6 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:00am

Err... link is still broken.

I also can't find it on FOXsports.com

by josh (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:19am

where's the article?

by MGD (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:23am

Okay, here's my problem with the rating system. Big Ben is rated highly based upon his performance against the Bears, but it doesn't take into account the fact that so many of his passes were screens and the yards were made after the catch. For example, 1st quarter was a screen pass to Parker for 45 yards. Looks great on stat sheet, but watching the game Ben did nothing special. Isn't it possible to include YAC in the equation? Am I the only person in the country not impressed by Ben's performances?

by Jesse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:25am

Link doesn't work

by admin :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:33am

Something wrong over at FOX site -- nothing seems to be working. I e-mailed them to ask what's up.

By the way, I've always wondered this -- why do three straight people post about the link not working? Do the second and third posters figure that we won't notice the first post?

MGD, I'm guessing you are a new reader. The answer to "Isn’t it possible to include YAC in the equation?" is NO. If it isn't in the pbp that is publicly available, I can't include it in my stats. YAC is one of those things that STATS Inc. keeps secret and they'll give out some totals if they feel like it, but nothing game-by-game or play-by-play.

by B (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:39am

Aaron, I have a request for next week's column. For the "Monday Night Trend to Watch" segment, please put "Arrested Development, on Fox!" Maybe if the show gets some viewers, Fox will decide to not cancel it after all.

by Jesse (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:41am

why do three straight people post about the link not working?

Confession- I didn't read the comments. I scrolled to the bottom and posted that.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:52am

A seven yard slant that goes eighty can be a difficult throw, depending on the coverage, but certainly the typical screen pass isn't all that much. Perhaps a forward pass which is caught behind the line of scrimmage should be in a different category.

by admin :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:58am

Okey dokey, looks like FOX has fixed.

by James, London (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:59am

When was the last time anyone gave Miami's O-line credit for anything other than an injury to their QB? I guess Hudson Houck is earning all that money the're paying him.

by MGD (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:32pm

Aaron, I guess I am a fairly new reader, but it depends on the definition of “new�. Therefore, I would appreciate being told the amount of time I must wait before my questions and/or comments become valid (hopefully it’s not based upon intelligence). By the way, I appreciate your work; FO is the only analysis I give any validity in this Joe Morgan world.

Anyway, I realize YAC is not a readily available statistic, but with only 16 games each week it would appear a relatively simple task to chart each play. Baseball analysts are attempting to remove subjectivity from hits by charting on a grid where the ball landed and where the defense was positioned, so it seems that I’m not asking too much for someone at FO to chart football games each week (heck, I’d be willing to volunteer for one or two of the games each week). I’m just tired of average QBs getting credit for plays made by their receivers.

by Opiwan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:37pm

Well, the link is "fixed", but now there's no text to the article... WHEE!

by Opiwan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:39pm

OK, after the third refresh, now there's text... never mind me, I just read here.

by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:58pm

why do three straight people post about the link not working?

If only one person yells "Fire Millen", it isn't getting done. You need a good 50,000 or so to join in. Squeaky wheel, and all that.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 12:59pm


It's true that YAC is not factored in to the stats here, and it would be great if it was, but that won't happen until either STATS Inc starts working with Aaron, or until FO gets their own game charters as you suggested. I was under the impression that Aaron and company would like to organize something like that, but I imagine that they have been too busy this season what with FOX and all.

But to answer the question more directly, remember that Aaron admits that the stats are not capable of dividing responsibility among different players. When you say the "Big Ben is rated highly", what you actually should be saying is "Big Ben throwing to the Pittsburgh WR's, from behind the Pittsburgh line, while being coached by Bill Cowher and his staff, is rated highly". While the QB doesn't do anything special on a successful screen, a lot of other people DO.

What might be interesting is to breakdown different teams DVOA's based on TYPE of pass--screen, slant, quick hitch, deep, etc. Then you could see clearly which QB's do well in situations that actually require a lot of QB skill. I kow that Aaron does that on occasion; I guess it would probably be too much effort to do it for every team all season...?

by admin :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:08pm

Sorry for being snarky, MGD, it's just something that comes up every couple weeks, so I figure most people have heard the explanation. And I'm frustrated by the things I *can't* do because information is not readily available.

We are charting the games this year, but it is taking us a VERY long time to get the all-volunteer charting army to turn in each game, so the data won't really be useful until the off-season. (Right now, for example, we're only complete through Week 6, with various games missing in the weeks since.) It's probably too late to be part of the project this year but we'll need more people next year. (Actually, what we need is geographical diversity. I think half the charters live in Chicago.)

BTW, this is why we can't track DVOA based on type of pass either -- once again, information not available. Actually, we don't even have that in the charting project. I think recognizing pass patterns would require more training than we can give the all-volunteer army.

by wr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:18pm


Great article as usual. Loved the Star Trek "Mirror, Mirror" epsisode reference in your Eli Manning comments.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 1:52pm

Jason K #15:

His running wasn’t very good because the 3 reserves on the O-line (3 because the starting LG, Diehl, is the #4 tackle; thus 2 backups came in and one starter moved) weren’t opening many holes.

The Eagles had 2 true reserves on the offensive line, an injured undrafted free agent, and a sophmore who was injured and didn't play his first season and didn't have any trouble moving the ball.

LT Todd Herremanns (rookie, 3 starts), LG Artis Hicks (junior undrafted free agent, coming back from leg injury, 28 starts), Center Jamal Jackson (sophmore, 4 starts), RG Shawn Andrews (sophmore, 14 starts) all played well enough to let rookie RB Ryan Moats and unknown special teamer Reno Mahe run up and down the field all day long.

Maybe the real problem is that Tiki ran into Mr. Lewis, Mr. Trotter and Mr. Patterson of the Eagles too many times for small yards. Normally, a runner has to get blocks on the D-Line by the O-Line, and then has to elude the pursuing linebackers and safeties. If Tiki couldn't elude LB Trotter and SS Lewis very well last Sunday, that should be chalked up to his and their value, and not the O-Line failing to open a hole for him to run through.

by Ray (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:05pm

Aaron, you're right. As a game charter I'd have no clue how to recognize most pass patters, especially considering often times I'm lucky if I see the reciever at the snap, let alone more than three steps of his route (I think Fox has a nasty habit of focusing in on the QB so closely that they'll crop off top and/or bottom recievers).

MGD you can take my place as a charter next year. I'm one of those guys who takes frickin' forever to get the game done because I under-estimated just how much other crap I'd have going on in my life.

by jebmak (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 3:13pm

I just wanted to say, it sure is nice to see someone who found out about the site through Fox and really likes it. It is a wonderful change of pace from the people who just want to complain about the rankings without reading the commentary. THANK you MGD.

by Catfish (not verified) :: Wed, 12/14/2005 - 1:18am

Re: 43

I would like to suggest putting together an FO FAQ page with questions like this one and linking to it liberally.

by TomC (not verified) :: Wed, 12/14/2005 - 8:11pm

Great stuff as usual Aaron, but I do have one tiny bone to pick: I'm as down on Orton as the next guy, but his 115 yards in the fourth quarter were not dinks and dunks underneath a prevent 'D'. In particular, 70 of those yards came on the first two plays of the quarter: one a 27-yarder threaded into the midst of three PIT defenders (Clark, the Bears TE, made a fantastic catch, but it was also quite a well-thrown ball), and the second a 43-yard bomb. For at least those 30 seconds, Orton looked fully capable of bringing the Bears back from 3 scores down.