Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Oct 2006

2006 Quick Reads: Week 4

Here's this week's look at the best and worst performances of the week by DPAR, delayed a day due to the Jewish holiday. That's right, DPAR -- this week we add in opponent adjustments for the first time. It was a big week for quarterbacks named Marc(k) and a bad week for quarterbacks recovering from ACL injuries. Also: Is Reggie Bush the NFL's worst running back when it comes to actual running? (By the way, DVOA ratings are also delayed due to the holiday, and Any Given Sunday is delayed because Ned had some travel problems this weekend.)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 03 Oct 2006

40 comments, Last at 06 Oct 2006, 6:35pm by NewsToTom


by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:16pm

Wait, the NFL actually expanded the standard play-by-play ("deep" vs "short")? What else was added, I wonder?

by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:23pm

Why is Colston a tight end? Who's call is that, anyway?

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:24pm


No idea, but hes been putting up like 15 points a game. Awesome.

by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:24pm

Whose call.

by admin :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:27pm

Five additions to the play-by-play this season -- believe it or not, based in large part on the suggestions of myself and Bill Moore in conversation with the NFL.com scoring people.

1) Passes are listed as short or deep, with deep indicating 15 or more yards in the air.

2) Passes are listed with direction: left, middle, or right.

3) QB hits on passes are now listed in brackets.

4) QB runs on designed pass plays are now listed as "scrambles" rather than "runs."

5) Kneels and spikes are marked in a more standard fashion.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:33pm

Oh, wow, I didn't even realize some of that stuff wasn't there before. Man. That'll allow for a whole ton of new information, like which quarterbacks have the highest completion percentage while being hit, etc. Good stuff.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:50pm

I'm missing something here.

McNabb runs for 6 yards for a TD, 14 yards on 3rd and 10, 12 yards on 3rd and 10, and 15 yards for a TD, and this is worth just 1.7 DPAR?

But Brady runs 22 yards on 3rd and 13 and this is worth 1.5 DPAR?

What am I missing here?

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:53pm

Perhaps the fact that Brady only had 1 other run and McNabb had 3 other runs?

by wr (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:54pm

For another take on Favre, on the Westwood One post game show last night, Boomer Esiason said "...the Green Bay offense imploded, led by Brett Favre.". Cold, but much more accurate than the verbal fellatio coming from the TV people.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:56pm

Thanks for the delay explanations, Aaron. When your basic goyim move away from the east coast, they tend to forget about Jewish holidays and such. And Ned has not sprouted wings? Hmph!

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 6:58pm

Andrew, McNabb also had a fumble at the 2, which i'm sure hurt quite a bit.

by Jerry (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 7:00pm

I have been waiting to read something like this for the last three seasons:
Since Foster is a Football Outsiders whipping boy, and we are always criticizing his tendency to run for a yard or less, it is only fair for us to praise him this week..."

Now if he can just keep doing it!

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 7:01pm

I really like the Westwood One production for MNF. Somewhat unfortunately my biweekly D&D game takes up Monday nights now.

by krugerindustrialsmoothing (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 7:04pm

Look, I'm as enlightened as the next goy and I can handle the traffic jam caused yesterday when synagogue let out on my way home from work. But now you tell me that DVOA will also be delayed? This is really pushing the bounds of religious tolerance. (Um just to be clear...only kidding.)

by RCH (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 7:17pm

David Givens isn't getting the job done in Tennessee?! But, but, they're paying him so much money.

by Bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 7:24pm

Love them Quick redads!

Very nice summaries in the Grossman and Pennington entries; helpful insight into more than just these two guys. Took me 30 seconds to read and replaced about 30 minutes of typical football announcer blather. Good to clear file space on the old mental hard drive.

But regarding the Warner summary... I just don't get it. oops, gotta go mop the floors now.

by Moridin (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 7:46pm

Williamson was 2 for 9? Ouch, no wonder the Vikings offense did nothing. Maybe someone should hire Jerry Rice or Carter to tutor the kid.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 8:14pm

Rich Conley #11:

McNabb had an aborted handoff to Buckhalter. He didn't fumble while running.

Do aborted handoffs count against QB running stats?

by Richie (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 8:17pm

Does anybody have any idea how the play by play stats are recorded? Like physically how it's done? Each week I cover high school football for the local paper and track play by play. It's a bitch just to track "#4 pass to #76" on every play and accurately record the line of scrimmage for each play.

How is the NFL able to add things like direction, length of pass, defender, tacklers, etc? Do they have multiple people doing this for each game? I'm guessing there's some pretty cool computer program that helps out.

by Catholic Samurai (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 8:17pm

"Jewish Holiday".... yeah, that's believable. Just wait till Mr. Belding sees the tape of you catching that foul ball at the Dodgers' game, then we will see what happens!


by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 8:27pm


Brady's other "run" was to take a knee.

by mm (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 9:23pm

Interesting to hear that Deuce McAllister has a decent DPAR so far. Bush clearly hasn't learned what Deuce knows: there's no time for indecision behind the Saints Offensive line.

McAllister seems to be benefitting from the fact that he seems to be fully healthy for the first time in awhile, the O-line is somewhat improved (though still substandard at run-blocking), the QB is drastically improved, and Bush has distracted opposing defenses when they're in the game together.

I know you guys have criticized me in the past when I've said that McAllister's poor FO stats reflect more the quality of the Saints O-line than McAllister's own efforts.
Now that we are 4 games into the new season, could you guys give us some more info on how the 2 RBs are doing, and how your stats say this O-line is doing? I'd be particularly interested in how the offense does when just McAllister is in the game, when just Bush is in the game, and when the 2 are in together.

We haven't seen much of either of them in your week to week stats because they each cut into the others production.

by MRH (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:01pm

"You might think that this is the fault of the New Orleans offensive line, which can't make holes large enough for Bush to make his magic. But then how do you explain that Deuce McAllister ranks seventh in the league with 6.5 DPAR?"

How much of the difference could be that Bush as a runner is not suited for the plays/blocking style the Saints are using - which might fit Deuce's skills?

by Fnor (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:04pm

#19: After a while, you have an eye for it, I think.

If you need help with it right now, it might be worth it to invest in a whiteboard for your scoring: take an indellible marker and make up a (small) scale field. Mark line of gain at the beginning of a set of downs, then line of scrimmage at the beginning of each down. Have notes along the side (starters w/ numbers, maybe, or at least DBs, WRs and RBs). Then, after a play happens, at the spot where it happens, write the WR/etc's number down, and the tackler's number immediately below that. Then, during the break between plays, you can write down the official play, using the representation and the data you put on the board, translated by quick names and numbers or a real roster. Then wipe the stuff that's changed and set up for the next play.

by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:24pm

Do aborted handoffs count against QB running stats?

That'd be my guess. They're a negative play on a running play, and the RB isn't even listed in the play by play.

Yeah, yeah, you hate to blame him for that, but you have to blame someone for it.

by Becephalus (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 10:41pm

Andrew that only strengthens my point. Which was if Brady had 1 VERY good runs. And McNabb had 2 good runs and 3 mediocre ones the stats might perhaps think Brady had more total value. It would be different if the number of runs in both cases wasn't so low.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Tue, 10/03/2006 - 11:32pm


Which was if Brady had 1 VERY good runs. And McNabb had 2 good runs and 3 mediocre ones the stats might perhaps think Brady had more total value.

1 run on 3rd and 13 for 22 yards gets 1 first down, 9 extra yards, and 1.76 points of field position.

2 runs on 3rd and 10 for 26 yards gets 2 first downs, 6 extra yards, and 2.08 points of field position. 1 additional run on 2nd and 6 for 6 yards for a touchdown gets 6 points and 0.48 points of field position. 1 final run on 1st and 10 for 15 yards gets 6 points, the first down, 5 extra yards, and 1.2 points of field position.

I see 1 first down and 1.76 points of field position vs. 3 first downs, 2 touchdowns, and 3.76 points of field position.

I'm not sure which of those runs was mediocre.

For an aborted handoff at the 2 yard line that is advanced to the 4 to nullify almost the entire difference there seems like a lot of weight being given to a fumble that was even a QB run.

by Al Chet (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 1:14am

For the sin of stomping on a players head when he is down.

And for the sin of being so penalty prone that you get released by your team.

hmm, you could have made you entire commentary in this style. :)

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 2:18am

#17, the Vikings wide receivers just killed their offensive performance against the Bills. Williamson had two drops for about a minimum of forty yards, and Marcus Robinson had a drop for about a minimum of fifty yards. Williamson's drops were on balls that are routinely caught in Division II college football, and Robinson's drop was only a slightly above average catch in terms of difficulty for an NFL receiver. Williamson's longer drop might very well have won the game for Minnesota, if it had been caught, although it wasn't that close to the end of the game, and if Robinson had made his catch, the Vikings very likely would have won. The days of Minnesota receivers with above average ball skills, which was a constant for about thirty years, are but a distant memory.

Gosh, for the year, I wonder how Johnson's DPAR changes if he has about seven more completions, for about 180-200 more yards, and at least two more touchdowns. I can't think of a single well above average catch by a Vikings wide receiver to balance what Johnsopn has lost statistically through miserable receiver play.

by kibbles (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 3:17am

I really don't think you can criticise the Jets calling a pass on 4th down just because they threw an interception. This was the first time in Pennington's entire CAREER that he threw an interception in the red zone. I think it's pretty safe to say that Mangini figured the chance of him throwing an INT there was exceedingly small.

To be honest, with Pennington's history, they were more likely to fumble a run play than throw a pick on a pass play.

by Blotto Graham (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 3:33am

Aaron, I bought the book and it's gold, but if you had a hand in those play-by-play changes it's the coolest thing you've ever done.

Did you tell them to add QB hurries to the Gamebook too? I smell a new fantasy stat category.

by jw1328 (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 5:09am

From the Fox comment about DeShaun Foster
His 43-yard touchdown on third-and-7 sealed the win.

I didn´t see the game, but according to the guy linked, that touchdown kept the Saints alive. He should have taken a knee (after the first down) so the Panthers could have run out the clock.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 9:31am

kibbles #30:

And yet, the probabalisitic value of 3 certain points now is worth more than a theoretical probability of getting an average of 2 points off the next Jets possession.

"Kick early, go for it late or when trailing by 2+ scores."

A tie game, where ball control and every point has proved important through 40 minutes of play, and where 1 of the Colts 2 TD's had come off a turnover just 30 yards from the endzone, requires making the smart and safe decision of taking the points and the lead.

by Crushinator (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 2:17pm

The Jets/Colts game was going to come down to whoever had the ball last. In hindsight, they probably should have taken the field goal, but I don't think you can fault them for the effort - the Jets and Colts D had both played poorly all day. If you miss it, the Colts O has 98 yards to go. If you make it, you get a TD.

You also can't go back and criticize the risks that didn't work vs the ones that did. They made an onside kick too, showing how much faith they had in their D, which they recovered. If they failed that, how badly would they be getting crucified now by fans?

Risks are just that - risks. It's really easy after the fact to say "good idea" when it worked and say "dumb idea" when it didn't.

by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 2:53pm

Anybody else here shocked at David Carr's 14.1 DPAR and 105% DVOA (both ranked 13th), playing behind the same crappy O-line and no running game? I'd assumed that he'd put up most of those numbers in garbage time against the Colts & Philly, but those are excluded from DPAR/DVOA. Could he be a pro-bowler if he played on a real NFL team?

by Independent George (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 2:53pm

Er, 10.5% DVOA, not 105%. That would just be silly.

by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 3:12pm

Crushinator #34:

The Jets/Colts game was going to come down to whoever had the ball last.

Only if the Jets refuse to take points they have in their grasp!

but I don’t think you can fault them for the effort - the Jets and Colts D had both played poorly all day.

The Jets D had actually played pretty well, completely frustrating the Colts passing attack. The Colts only had 1 TD drive in 40 minutes, and a quick TD off a fumble recovered in scoring position.

If you miss it, the Colts O has 98 yards to go. If you make it, you get a TD.

If you miss it you also give up 3 points! 99+% chance of 3 points vs. 37% chance at 7 passing from the 2-3 yard line.

You also can’t go back and criticize the risks that didn’t work vs the ones that did. They made an onside kick too, showing how much faith they had in their D, which they recovered.

Surprise onsides kicks are covered ~65% of the time leaguewide, and for the best kickers, are covered about 75% of the time. Given that the Colts were napping before the play, the chance of failure was very small. The surprise onsides kick is a less risky proposition than simply passing to convert a 4th down and long in the middle of the field.

The surprise onsides kick is not necessarily a vote of no confidence in your D, but an opportunity to keep a hot offense on the field or to gain two initial possessions at the start of the halfs. The Jets D was performing admirably up to that point. The Jets O was being given a chance to get a jump up on the Colts by denying them a possession.

by Eric P (not verified) :: Wed, 10/04/2006 - 4:11pm

I do believe they should have kicked the FG, then on-sides kicked again.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 8:44am

From the "Art Monk HoF Spin-Off" Category. The following players averaged less than 14.0 YPC, yet still had top performances.

Week 1:
Eric Moulds 6/6 68 11.3 1

Week 2:
Amani Toomer 12/12 137 11.4 2
Week 3:
Andre Johnson 11/13 152 13.8 0
Keyshawn Johnson 7/9 97 13.9 1
Kellen Winslow 7/8 92 13.1 0

Week 4:
Mike Furrey 8/10 82 10.2 2
Terry Glenn 5/6 54 10.8 2

DPAR Top 10 Includes:
Andre Johnson (13.7)
Mushin Muhammad (13.5)
Keyshawn Johnson (13.9)
Eric Moulds (12.8)
Laverneous Coles (13.7)
Larry Fitzgerald (14.0)

Darrell Jackson (13.3) nearly a member. Looks like this is a down year for YPC...

by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 6:35pm

Just read this. Point of clarification: the Vince Young short pass on 3rd down when the Cowboys brought 7 was to ... David Givens! Anthony Henry made a solid tackle on Givens to stop him for no YAC.