Quick Reads
The best and worst players of the week according to Football Outsiders stats.

Week 3 Quick Reads

Week 3 Quick Reads
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Bill Barnwell

Context is everything. In a league where more information and coverage is available on a daily basis than ever before, it's easy to come up with numbers to support most any opinion. Without the context of where those numbers take place and what predicative value they have going forward, though, statistics are toys of manipulation as opposed to illumination.

The most difficult piece of context to account for while watching games is the quality of the opposition. While it's easy to tell how difficult it is to complete a pass against Darrelle Revis as opposed to, say, Sabby Piscitelli, it's extremely difficult to notice the small differences on a play-by-play basis from one defense to another, especially if you've only seen a small portion of the league's defenses actually play.

Those differences can end up having a dramatic impact on performance, though. The table below lists the statistics recorded by quarterbacks in 2009 against eight of the league's pass defenses. It starts with the team with the best pass defense DVOA, the Jets, and ends with the Lions' league-worst pass defense.

Team (DVOA Rank) Cmp Att Cmp % Yards YPA TD INT
NYJ (1) 258 498 51.8% 2683 5.4 8 17
CAR (5) 305 495 61.6% 3249 6.6 14 22
WAS (10) 314 511 61.4% 3557 7.0 19 11
IND (15) 372 583 63.8% 3631 6.2 19 16
ATL (20) 335 535 62.6% 4041 7.6 25 15
TB (25) 300 481 62.4% 3457 7.2 28 19
CLE (30) 312 524 59.5% 4128 7.9 22 10
DET (32) 369 543 68.0% 4353 8.0 34 9

You might guess where this is leading to. Michael Vick's now played ten quarters of football, and eight of them have come against the pass defenses that ranked 31st (Jacksonville) and 32nd (Detroit) in DVOA a year ago. Jacksonville remained 31st through the first two weeks of the season, and while Detroit has looked improved, there's been more than a few favorable turnover bounces that have gone their way through three weeks.

The truth is that what we've seen out of Vick through those ten quarters has come in contexts extremely favorable to the likelihood of Vick succeeding. His other half came against the Packers in what amounted to a mop-up role against a team that had not prepared for Vick to be a full-time quarterback, and didn't have the spy packages put in that have neutralized Vick in the past. He will not face an above-average pass defense until Week 7, when he gets the Titans; after that, he may not face another one until Chicago in Week 12 or Dallas in Week 14. The Eagles face what appears to be a remarkably easy slate of pass defenses this year outside of, coincidentally, Week 1.

DYAR begins to adjust for opponent strength after Week 4, so you'll begin to see opposition weighted at 40 percent of its eventual strength after next week. (It gets to 100 percent after Week 10.) They will likely take Vick's numbers -- already considered to be slightly above-average at best -- and push them down towards average-or-worse. If Vick's improved as a player, the last two games haven't indicated that through his level of production on the field. He remains inefficient and erratic. He's improved his timing, but it's not as a passer. Outside of Matt Cassel in 2008, no quarterback has probably entered into a better scenario at the right time than Michael Vick with these Eagles after Week 1.

Quarterbacks
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
1.
Aaron Rodgers GB
35/45
320
1
1
198
178
20
Rarely will you see a quarterback consistently get seven yards as easy as Rodgers did during the second half of the MNF game. While the Bears were able to get pressure on Rodgers in the first half and force him into some pretty impressive scrambles, the Packers let Rodgers throw out of a quick one-step drop a fair amount of the time in the second half. The result was a final two quarters of 18-of-21 for 138 yards and seven first downs. Rodgers' only real mistake was his penultimate throw, a dubious intentional grounding call. While nobody was in the area of the throw and it landed out of bounds, it was a pretty clear case of miscommunication on a route. Had the receiver ran the route it appeared Rodgers was expecting him to, while the throw would have been off, it would not have been so far off that it would have necessitated intentional grounding. In a league where grounding gets called far too infrequently, this was one case where the flag should have stayed in the refs' pocket.
2.
Joe Flacco BAL
22/31
262
3
0
190
190
0
The inverse of Vick. Flacco had been derided for a rough start based on two road games against the Jets and Bengals, who are very likely to rate among the league's best pass defenses this year. With a friendlier matchup, Flacco was able to split the Browns apart with one of the greatest 10-dropback sequences you'll ever see. How good was it? Try 10-for-10 for 159 yards, with every pass going for either a first down (eight) or a touchdown (two). He picked up six of the 11 third downs he faced on the day, and went 5-on-6 for 79 yards on the eventual game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.
3.
Tom Brady NE
21/27
252
3
0
176
172
5
It appears that the Bills pass defense will not be quite as good this season. Brady ate their lunch on Sunday, going 7-of-7 with 76 yards (with one sack) on first downs against them. Eight of his 28 dropbacks came with 15 or more yards to go, and he didn't pick up a successful play on a single one of them; on his other 20 dropbacks, though, he had a success rate of 75 percent.
4.
Tony Romo DAL
24/30
284
2
0
176
176
0
After a 5-for-19 start to the season, the king of converting third downs returned to his ways against the Texans on Sunday, going 4-of-8 and throwing in a 1-for-2 performance on fourth down in for good measure. It was a case of Romo adapting to what the defense gave him, as the Texans sold out to stop Miles Austin and held him to two catches for 20 yards (and a seven-yard pass interference penalty) on four targets. For this week, Roy Williams and Dez Bryant had enough to beat one-on-one matchups pretty easily.
5.
Drew Brees NO
30/37
365
3
2
158
158
0
Brees started the game 16-of-18 for 212 yards, but because the two incompletions were interceptions, the Falcons were able to stick around. He was also close to unstoppable on the final two drives of the game, going 10-of-11 for 97 yards with five first downs, including a fourth-and-1 conversion to help push the game into overtime and a third-and-9 conversion on his final pass to set up what appeared to be a game-winning field goal. And the next four weeks for Brees: Carolina, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Cleveland.
6.
Peyton Manning IND
27/43
325
3
0
157
157
0
In much the same way that we've talked in the past about giving Kyle Orton a pass for his rookie season, it's not really fair to blame Perrish Cox for being the Broncos' third-best cornerback coming out of training camp. And it's unfortunate that Andre Goodman's injury forced him into a starting role. But there's no arguing with the result: In yet another Colts win over the Broncos, Peyton Manning found yet another weak link at cornerback for the Broncos to pick on. While we won't know about the charting for a week or two, both of Manning's final two passes to Austin Collie -- which went for 71 yards and a crucial fourth-quarter touchdown -- came with Cox involved with the coverage.
7.
Mark Sanchez NYJ
15/27
256
3
0
155
155
0
Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead did not take kindly to our article comparing JaMarcus Russell and Mark Sanchez's rookie seasons last year, and periodically checks in on our "comical" bashing of Sanchez on Twitter when the Jets' quarterback has a big game. Last night's check in suggested that Sanchez played a clutch game because he went 5-of-8 on third down against the Dolphins, getting five first downs in the process. And he's right about that -- Sanchez came up big on third down. On the other hand, he converted 34 percent of his third downs last year versus a league average of 37 percent, and before Sunday, he was at 6-of-17 (35 percent) on third down. I wonder if Sanchez will pick up 63 percent of his third downs going forward.
8.
Kyle Orton DEN
37/57
481
1
1
154
147
7
That's an impressive yardage total -- even for 57 attempts -- but it's a lot of volume and not all that much efficiency. Take third down, for example: Orton was 7-of-12 for 61 yards, but he only picked up three first downs on those throws. He was 1-of-3 on fourth down, with all three attempts inside Colts territory in the fourth quarter. His 16-of-23 performance on first down had a success rate of 52 percent. The real killer: In the red zone, Orton was 4-of-14 for 20 yards without a touchdown or a first down.
9.
Matt Ryan ATL
19/30
228
2
0
151
144
7
A quietly effective game that would have looked better had Ryan finished it in overtime; a long bomb to a wide-open Harry Douglas for a game-winning touchdown was thrown about one yard too deep. As it were, Ryan found out very early that the Saints couldn't cover Tony Gonzalez repeatedly and went back to him again and again; on passes that weren't to Gonzalez (we'll get to him later), Ryan went 11-of-21 for 118 yards. His two best throws of the day were both to Roddy White; with Jabari Greer attempting to jam White at the line, White eluded Greer's grasp and gave Ryan a small window of space inbetween Greer and safety Malcolm Jenkins. Ryan hit White the first time on a perfect lob down the sideline for 19 yards, and then finished the drive with an easier touch pass to White in the end zone for a 22-yard score.
10.
Chad Henne MIA
26/44
363
2
1
140
144
-4
Henne also had a 27-yard defensive pass interference penalty drawn by Brian Hartline that's not included in the numbers above. It's hard to figure out how much of Henne's performance had to do with the absence of Darrelle Revis, but he certainly looked like he had more time in the pocket than he normally would. After two first quarter sacks, the Jets weren't able to get to Henne the rest of the way. He peaked in the second quarter, with an eight-pass stint that saw him pick up 108 yards and a first down or a touchdown on each pass.
11.
Michael Vick PHI
17/30
291
3
0
126
112
14
While highlight shows featured what Vick did on his three completions of 42 or more yards, he was wildly ineffective at times. On Philly's first four drives, Vick had the 61-yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson ... and otherwise went 2-of-8 for six yards with a sack. After an effective two-minute drill to get an 11-point lead, Vick led two possessions that combined for seven plays by going 2-of-4 for 22 yards and a sack, with both completions coming on third-and-long and ending up short of the sticks, leading to punts. He was only particularly effective once he got the ball back again, with 5:30 left in the third quarter. That the Jaguars had only scored three points had nothing to do with Vick; that the Eagles had only mustered 14 was mostly on him. The great arm and athleticism are still there, and Vick has certainly improved his patience in the pocket. But it's easy to do that against a dreadful pass defense.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
12.
Philip Rivers SD
29/52
455
2
2
124
127
-3
The Seahawks were terrified of Philip Rivers beating them deep. They played a ton of two-deep coverage and let Rivers just have his way with them underneath. Rivers lived on the hashmarks, completing what seemed like endless dig (wide receivers) and seam routes (Gates) in the second half at will. Once he got into the red zone, though, the safeties didn't have to worry about getting beat deep, and Rivers ended up trying to force those same throws. As a result, he was 2-of-9 inside the red zone, although both completions went for touchdowns.
13.
Matt Cassel KC
16/26
250
3
1
101
106
-5
Matt Cassel's two biggest plays were two touchdown passes, but it's hard to say that he made them happen. The 45-yard completion to Dwayne Bowe was on a trick play that saw Cassel line up at wide receiver, and the 31-yard pass to Dexter McCluster went six yards in the air. His two other completions of 20 yards or more traveled a combined three yards in the air. In all, 52 percent of Cassel's yardage came from receivers after the catch; the league average for all other quarterbacks in Week 3 was 42 percent.
14.
Sam Bradford STL
23/37
235
1
1
90
93
-3
DeAngelo Hall's defense did not have much of a game, to be quite honest. With Hall running the ship, you would think that he'd put a particular focus on shutting down opposing wide receivers. Instead, Bradford was 16-of-24 for 195 yards and 11 first downs on throws to his wideouts, including a 14-yard DPI.
15.
Jay Cutler CHI
16/27
221
1
1
76
58
17
The difference between the Jay Cutler who threw a handful of interceptions against the Packers last year and got away with just one on Sunday night isn't very large. Cutler threw two picks on the final drive alone, with one being called a questionable incompletion and the other a defensive pass interference penalty. He forced a throw into Earl Bennett on third-and-goal from the six-yard line that was nearly picked, and on the ensuing fourth down play, he threw behind an open Desmond Clark. (Clark still should have caught the pass.)
16.
Vince Young TEN
10/16
118
1
0
70
75
-5
17.
Donovan McNabb WAS
19/31
236
1
1
68
57
11
McNabb had a success rate of just 39 percent, and he was lucky to have an interception in the red zone saved by some great Chris Cooley defense. He only picked up eight first downs all day, and three of them came in the fourth quarter while the Redskins were down by two scores. The killer: McNabb faced eight third downs and converted exactly zero of them. In all fairness, six of the eight came with nine or more yards to go, but 0-of-8 is bad no matter how you slice it.
18.
Matt Hasselbeck SEA
19/31
220
1
1
66
61
5
Hasselbeck to the left side of the field, where Antoine Cason starts: 11-of-12 for 116 yards. Hasselbeck to the right side of the field, where Quentin Jammer starts: 6-of-15 for 96 yards (with a 23-yard DPI included.) It might not be time to crown Cason just yet.
19.
Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF
20/28
247
2
2
57
56
1
This is how bad the Patriots pass defense is going to be this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick -- who has completed 58 percent of his passes historically -- went on a 14-of-18 streak for 178 yards to end the game. And it wasn't in mopup time, either, as only four of the passes came while the Bills were down by more than eight points. The Patriots were able to turn two of Fitzpatrick's incompletions into interceptions, but if Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Bills offensive line can move the ball comfortably on you...
20.
Charlie Batch PIT
13/17
184
3
2
37
25
12
Batch's two long touchdown throws to Mike Wallace both should have been interceptions, with the first pass getting lost in the sun and the second one tipping off of Aqib Talib's hands and into Wallace's. 12 straight completions is nice, but Batch could easily have thrown four picks in 17 attempts, which wouldn't be. And he's favored against the Ravens next week?
21.
Seneca Wallace CLE
18/24
141
1
0
32
32
0
Then again, I was worried for Wallace's health on the road against Baltimore, and he made it out alive. He was actually remarkably effective in the first half, going 12-of-14 for 114 yards and seven first downs. In the second half, though, Wallace was sacked twice on his first four attempts, and finished 6-of-10 for 27 yards. Those sacks and a whopping 17 yards on an aborted snap taken at his own 20 meant that the Browns had zero net passing yards in the second half.
22.
Eli Manning NYG
34/48
386
0
2
29
27
2
Could we crowd-source interceptions? It's pretty clear that Eli Manning isn't responsible for the picks he threw on Sunday, but in our binary system of accounting for them, he either gets one full interception or no interception for each pass he throws. I wonder if we could ask readers to basically place a value on Manning's interception and say "This one looked like it was 25 percent Eli's fault." It might be too much guessing about intent, I suppose, to do with any sort of reliability.
Rk
Player
Team
CP/AT
Yds
TD
INT
Total
DYAR
Pass
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
23.
Matt Schaub HOU
23/32
241
1
2
26
26
0
Schaub on third down: 3-of-3 for two first downs. Not included in those numbers: Four sacks.
24.
Derek Anderson ARI
12/26
122
2
1
18
18
0
122 yards on 26 attempts looks downright gruesome, but Anderson drew three pass interference penalties in the first quarter that netted the Cardinals 74 yards. That turns his YPA from 4.7 to a much more respectable 6.8. To follow up the Eli Manning conversation, though, if we're going to give Eli a quarter of an interception for one of his passes, we need to find a way to give Derek Anderson three picks for his bullet screen pass to Tim Hightower.
25.
Bruce Gradkowski OAK
17/34
255
1
1
15
24
-9
If I told you that Bruce Gradkowski had a game where he threw 13 passes to Darrius Heyward-Bey and nothing more, what would you say the Raiders' odds of having won that game would be? Three percent? Five? And yet, there they were, a chip shot field goal away from beating the Cardinals on the road. Heyward-Bey picked up 51 yards in pass interference penalties, which actually would have gotten him all the way up to 100 yards.
26.
Carson Palmer CIN
19/37
195
1
2
2
-3
5
27.
Shaun Hill DET
29/43
237
1
2
-15
-14
-1
Those 43 attempts yielded exactly two completions that traveled further than 11 yards in the air. The Lions had a chance to get within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Hill threw an interception in the end zone that just about sealed their fate. He followed it later with a second pick in the end zone, but that was on his final pass attempt and with a minute left.
28.
Brett Favre MIN
23/34
201
1
2
-20
-20
0
Favre completed only two passes in that 8-to-14 yard intermediate range, although he did get two defensive pass interference penalties on throws to former DPI fiend Bernard Berrian. 19 of his 23 completions were for seven yards or less. This is just about as much of a screen-and-sling offense as you can get, and while part of that is due to what's been an awful offensive line at times, the end sum is not particularly effective.
29.
Josh Freeman TB
20/31
184
0
1
-36
-29
-8
It will look better once the opponent adjustments hit 100 percent, I promise. Earnest Graham picked up 46 yards on a third-quarter pass. Last week, it took Cadillac Williams 27 carries just to get to 51 yards.
30.
Alex Smith SF
24/42
232
1
1
-87
-87
0
The triumverate of bad quarterback play -- the anti-Gordie Howe hat trick, I suppose -- is an interception, an intentional grounding penalty, and a stripsack. Smith managed to hit the trifecta on Sunday. Before the meaningless drive that ended with Josh Morgan wrenching his knee for some fantasy points at the end of the game, Smith managed to pick up six first downs on 34 attempts.
31.
Jimmy Clausen CAR
16/33
188
0
1
-92
-86
-6
I don't recall ever seeing three aborted snaps for one quarterback in one game, but Clausen had three of them through 18 dropbacks and three quarters. Well, theoretical dropbacks, I guess. He turned the ball over on two of them, and he also had a sack and an interception thrown in for good measure. In the fourth quarter, he was reasonably effective, but he was also down two touchdowns for most of it.
32.
David Garrard JAC
13/30
105
0
1
-128
-120
-9
 
Five most valuable running backs
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Jamaal Charles KC
97
0
57
0
72
36
36
Todd Haley can do whatever he wants after leading the Chiefs to a 3-0 start, but his treatment of Charles remains curious at best. With the team apparently set on establishing veteran Thomas Jones as the primary back, Charles has played the ancillary role through three weeks. So how did he pace all backs in DYAR this week? Small miracles. He converted both the third downs he faced, including a 24-yard run on a third-and-20 draw. Seven of his 12 runs went for five yards or more, and four of them went for double-digit yardage. He was even more effective as a receiver, where all three of his targets resulted in catches, first downs, and gains of anywhere between 17 and 22 yards. What else does he have to do to get a larger share of the workload in Kansas City? Bigger miracles.
2.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE
98
1
6
0
62
56
6
The only way I know of to assure yourself a large majority of the carries in New England is to have every other back get hurt. Kevin Faulk's done for the season, and Fred Taylor went down with an injury during the game on Sunday, which opened up Green-Ellis's chance for regular yardage. He's probably not versatile enough to be on the field for a majority of the snaps, but he's an effective enough runner to get the carries when the Patriots are killing the clock.
3.
Peyton Hillis CLE
144
1
36
0
58
51
7
For one week, at least, those fantasy owners that have Jerome Harrison on the bench and Eric Mangini in their doghouse owe Mangini an apology and perhaps a DVD of a classic fight or two. Hillis actually picked up serious chunks of yardage against the Ravens, running for 144 yards on 22 carries, with runs of 25 and 48 yards along the way. He picked up the first two third downs he faced, finishing the second one with a one-yard plunge for a score.
4.
Rashard Mendenhall PIT
143
1
0
0
57
57
0
While the fear has rightly been that Mendenhall will lose goal-line carries to Isaac Redman, Mendenhall scored on a three-yard plunge in the second quarter against the Bucs, while Redman was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 attempt inside Tampa territory in the third. Mendenhall didn't take a single carry on third down all game, which is disconcerting, but when you average 12 yards per carry with a success rate north of 50 percent on your 13 shots at first-and-10, it doesn't really matter.
5.
Marshawn Lynch BUF
79
0
7
0
35
31
4
If the Bills had known Lynch would actually be a reasonably effective running back, would they still have taken C.J. Spiller in the first round? Could they have possibly drafted an offensive lineman? Would that have made Trent Edwards look effective enough to keep his job? In the end, Spiller had a nice kick return for a touchdown, but he's got 23 touches from scrimmage for 79 yards through three weeks. And they've got three running backs in a league that's begun to realize how fungible running backs are.
Least valuable running back
Rk
Player
Team
Rush
Yds
Rush
TD
Rec
Yds
Rec
TD
Total
DYAR
Rush
DYAR
Rec
DYAR
1.
Keith Toston STL
22
0
0
0
-28
-28
0
22 yards on 11 carries is ugly, but without a fumble, it seems pretty innocuous; bad, sure, but not bad enough to serve as the worst performance of the week. So how did Toston get here? He did his Matt Forte impersonation. With two carries from the 1-yard line in the second quarter, Toston rushed for -1 yards and then -3 yards.
Five most valuable wide receivers and tight ends
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Anquan Boldin BAL
8
11
142
17.8
3
88
Much like Flacco, Boldin had a streak of downright dominance on Sunday. He caught seven consecutive targets for 135 yards, yielding four first downs and three touchdowns. He was thrown four passes on third down and they were all catches and conversions. Even two of his three incompletions went 25 yards in the air or more. That 88 DYAR total is the best performance of a receiver so far this season, and it would have ranked fifth a year ago.
2.
Lance Moore NO
6
7
149
24.8
2
77
Moore had become a bit of a forgotten man last year after the emergence of Robert Meachem, but he remains a capable part of the offense and had just a huge performance on Sunday. In addition to his lengthy punt return in the first quarter, Moore benefited from a totally blown coverage to pick up an 80-yard score. And even outside of his long touchdown, he was 5-of-6 for 69 yards, including a crucial second down conversion in overtime that helped set up Garrett Hartley's game-winning field goal. The problem Moore has isn't talent, but availability: Moore's struggled with injuries as a pro, and in such a dynamic offense, it's easy to get lost in the hunt for targets when Drew Brees develops a rapport with one of your competitors while you're gone. While some quarterbacks have a particular receiver they fall for, Brees's favorite guy is the open one.
3.
Tony Gonzalez ATL
8
9
110
13.8
1
68
Well, he sure isn't done yet. Gonzalez pulled all kinds of tricks out of his bag against the Saints. He started off most frequently against Tracy Porter, who was in coverage on Gonzalez's touchdown catch. When Porter went down, the Saints were forced to use Roman Harper against Gonzalez, and Harper had no hope, with Gonzalez using his body to shield Harper from throws that ended up being easy catches.
4.
Roy Williams DAL
5
6
117
23.4
2
67
For one week, Jerry Jones was a genius. With the porous Texans secondary seemingly giving him the run of their backfield, Williams downright dominated at times on Sunday night. On both of his touchdown catches, Williams was able to get a free release at the line of scrimmage and then use his underrated route-running skills to get downfield for touchdowns on go routes. His only incompletion on a 5-of-6 day came on a second-and-20 throw. Don't expect this to continue, since most teams have better cornerbacks than Houston and can just bump Williams off of his routes at the line of scrimmage. But hey, it was nice while it lasted, right?
5.
Austin Collie IND
12
16
171
14.2
2
64
Despite not starting any of the Colts' first three games, Collie has caught 27 passes for 359 yards. In the DVOA Era (1993-2010), that's a record start to the season for a receiver who hasn't started a game. In 1994, both Mike Pritchard and Glyn Milburn of the Broncos had 19 catches through three games without starting, although Milburn was a hybrid running back/receiver. Pritchard had a era-best 271 yards, which paced the rest of the opposition by 49. And Collie's 88 yards ahead of him. Suffice to say that the Colts' slot receiver is off to an impressive start.
Least valuable wide receiver or tight end
Rk
Player
Team
Rec
Att
Yds
Avg
TD
Total
DYAR
1.
Chad Ochocinco CIN
4
12
34
8.5
0
-45
Thrown passes on five third downs, Ochocinco was only able to convert one of them into a new series. Two of his catches were quick hitches. Will he finish with fewer DYAR than Terrell Owens? It's going to be an exciting race to the bottom.

Comments

237 comments, Last at 30 Sep 2010, 6:51pm

1 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Hey, maybe Vick WAS ineffiecient and erratic - and meybe you'll never like him. Hell, I don't like what he did. I'll still take 4 touchdowns from my QB every week.

55 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

The evidence that Jax is a terrible defense this year is that they struggled against Vick and Phillip Rivers (next week they'll probably struggle against Peyton Manning, too). For Detroit, it's that they struggled against Vick and Cutler. I think it's premature to make assumptions that last year's bad defenses will be identical to this year's, when there has been significant personnel turnover for both teams

60 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You can just look at the near total lack of talent on both teams' secondaries and see that they have a bad pass defense. Both teams improved their pass rush, sure, but if your DBs can't cover anyone that only helps so much. And both teams have some awful DBs.

A turnover in personnel doesn't equal improvement.

70 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Suh and Vanden Bosch are much better than who they replaced. Kampman is the first effective pass rusher the Jags have had since the immortal Paul Spicer, and they also added the first round d-tackle. The Pats won a Super Bowl with a secondary littered with street free agents and Troy Brown, so you can get by with not-so-talented players in the secondary if your pass rush is good (see also: Indianapolis Colts). I'm not saying they're good pass defenses, or that Vick should go to the Pro Bowl. I'm saying it's too early to make those kind of determinations.

81 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

It certainly is too early to tell.

I think there is some good evidence that Jacksonville and Det are likely bad pass defences again this year. Jacksonville is giving up almost 10 yards per attempt and Det around 8.3.

On the other hand I think you can't simply toss out Vick's performance against GB. Mr Barnwell argues that GB wasn't prepared for Vick but by the same token Philly didn't prep for Vick playing the GB defence.

There is evidence to support either argument about Vick. I think the fact that Andy Reid thinks he's playing great football has to be given huge weighting as well.

94 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Sure, but the guys on the teams you mentioned were all better than Chris Houston, Jonathan Wade, Derek Cox, etc. These guys are truly terrible.

Also they had some pretty damn good safeties behind them in Rodney Harrison or Bob Sanders. Louis Delmas is not on that level (yet, maybe one day he will, maybe not). I'm pretty confident that the Lions and Jags will finish the season with really bad pass defenses, because they have bad players all over the place.

131 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

"Sure, but the guys on the teams you mentioned were all better than Chris Houston, Jonathan Wade, Derek Cox, etc. These guys are truly terrible."

They are indeed, which still makes them all about two categories better than Wade and Houston's secondary-mate, your friend and mine, the immortal Ceandris Brown.

140 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Louis Delmas was the first pick in the second round of the 2009 draft. The second pick of the second round belonged to the Patriots, who also picked a safety, Patrick Chung. I wonder if the Pats had Delmas rated higher than Chung. Would Delmas look better in New England than he does in Detroit?

118 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by Southern Philly

I think what aggravates the perception of poor pass defense on these teams is that the strategy to counter Vick seems to be the overload blitz, leaving the secondary playing man-to-man against Vick who can scramble and wait.

The real test of Vick is going to be against teams that keep him in the pocket without blitzing. Coverage sacks against Vick, rather than actual sacks, are going to be the real measure of whether or not a pass defense is foiling the new-and-improved-2010-Vick.

110 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

The larger point is that what he did is very unlikely to lead to 4 TDs a week. The two go hand in hand. So you shouldn't be judging him by the 4 TDs, because it's not very predictive of future performance.

EDIT : Need to learn to reload before posting!

226 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Well, if you're going to nitpick, DeSean cost the Eagles a first down on a perfectly thrown ball on 3rd and long by running sideways instead of falling fwd for an easy first down. Blaming that on Vick is ludicrous.

Secondly, he's playing behind the worst OL in the league. When Winston Justice is your standout lineman, you have serious problems. Oh, and no FB Weaver either. He's making those 40-yd downfield throws *while* running for his life. And he's as accurate as McNabb on deep bombs if not moreso, with a stronger arm.

Thirdly, he passed for 170 yds in a half on GB, don't tell me it was because they didn't prepare for the Eagles to pass the ball a lot, or throw downfield, that's doubly ludicrous.

Fourthly, just looking at what he can do through the air is silly anyway. The whole point of Vick is that he's a dual threat, not that he drank Joe Mantana serum in prison.

Sure, he'll face better defenses than Det or Jax, but he'll also have more than 2 starts in 4 years under his belt - think that might help him a little [and the PHL O-Line might get healthier and more familiar with each other to boot.]

Finally, I didn't see one person say playing Jax and scoring 4 TDs is necessarily predictive. But Iggle fans will take it, period.

2 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Same old DVOA, undervaluing big plays in favor of steady gains. I get the point, but I've long held this is a weakness of the system.

53 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You know that Robert Meachem was the #1 WR in DVOA last year, right?

And just as a minor point of order, the players on this page are ranked by (D)YAR.

(I also like the Eagles)

132 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Sure, in a smallish sample you can have near-consistent massive success, which DVOA loves. That doesn't mean it may not be over-rating the Wes Welkers of this world and under-rating the Roddy Whites. I'm not saying it definitely is, but Meachem having a great DVOA last year doesn't come close to settling the issue.

135 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I think the real problem is not that it underrates big plays, but it doesn't measure the synergistic affects of players who make big plays. Just having Roddy White on the field is probably opening things up for other receivers. I don't know if that effect is even possible to measure however.

139 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Yeah, I would argue that the numbers, standard or advanced, have not truly captured the value of Randy Moss throughout his career, to name another obvious example.

196 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

They don't capture the value of Randy on Randy's DVOA rating, but they surely do in the Patriots offensive DVOA. Most of Randy's value just gets heaped on Welker and Faulk etc.

143 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Perhaps a better example than White is Brandon Marshall. His DVOA seems to always be around 0%, and even his DYAR has always been pedestrian. Yet in terms of football value, he's widely considered to be one of the better receivers in the league, and his supporters have had good reasons to support their view.

159 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I only mentioned Meachem as an example of DVOA possibly *overrating* big-play receivers.

Look at the other DVOA top 5 WRs last year. Sidney Rice, Vincent Jackson, Mike Wallace, Miles Austin. Wallace led the league with 19.4 yards/catch. Jackson was 4th. Anecdotally, and off the top of my head, I'd say Rice and Austin were best known for their having several big plays last year. As far as I can tell, DVOA is only unkind to "big-play" receivers who don't catch a high percentage of their targets. Desean Jackson was #2 in yards per catch, but with a 53% catch rate, finished 29th in DVOA.

Welker still came in 12th; Moss 10th. Maybe this is why the table is sorted by DYAR ;)

We can argue all day about which of those WRs is better, or what even defines a better WR, but the original post to which I replied is way off.

(I also like the Eagles)

3 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

"our article comparing JaMarcus Russell and Mark Sanchez's rookie seasons last year"

One (among many) of the big problems of that article was that it compared Jamarcus' second season in the league with Sanchez' first. Historically true rookie full-season starters had been very rare. It would have been appropriate to acknowledge the paucity of data and leave it there instead of an elaborate cheap shot.

Not one of the better efforts from FO.

192 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Yes, especially because it was not Jamarcus' rookie season any more than 2008 was Aaron Rodgers' rookie season, which is to say not at all. It was simply the first season that he actually got to play, which makes an enormous difference.

6 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Drat. I had copied the template and was all set to make an Irrational FO Hates Sam Bradford post. Then you had to put him at 11. That seems fair, dammit! How can I pour outrage onto the internet when you do such things?!?!?!

Also, how did Darby rate among RBs after Steven Jackson went down? I was at that game, and while his numbers weren't great, he seemed surprisingly effective. At one point the Rams handed him the ball 7 times in a row and he responded by grinding out several first downs.

4 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Thing is, though, any decent evaluator of talent did know that Lynch would be a reasonably effective running back. It's just that very few decent evaluators of talent have watched a Bills game in the last several years, and none of them have worked for the Bills. Someone like that could, for instance, have evaluated Trent Edwards during training camp and the preseason. Or they could have told you it was sheer and utter stupidity to select Aaron Maybin over Brian Orakpo.

76 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I think that even the Bills knew he'd be a reasonably effective running back. The issue is if/when he gets into legal hot water again and is facing a long suspension.

88 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

The problem with the Bills' drafting has not even been player evaluation. Sure, their player evaluation is horrible, but when you select C.J. Spiller to join two starter-quality running backs when you have no offensive line, no quarterback, and no pass rush, what does it matter if he's any good? So yeah, they took Aaron Maybin, which was along the lines of the Jags' Tyson Alualu pick, or the Broncos' Tim Tebow decision. But the bigger problem was that the Bills had needs much more serious than linebacker.

The Spiller pick was in some ways even worse, since while he is probably less of a reach than Maybin was, he is totally unnecessary to the Buffalo football team. If Maybin had worked out, he would be a focal point of their defense. If Spiller worked out, he'd still be a third competent running back and a competent kick returner (just like Roscoe Parrish).

193 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

"If Spiller worked out, he'd still be a third competent running back and a competent kick returner (just like Roscoe Parrish)."

Well, no. If Spiller works out (yes, present tense, he's certainly not already a bust), he'd be a Chris Johnson type back with great return skills, not simply a competetant back. The former is surely what the Bills are hoping for, and it would make a pretty large difference for their offense, albeit probably not the kind of difference they could get at other positions because of their depth at RB.

5 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In the Vick write-up, it's weird to single out one of the big gains on 3rd and long as being a bad play for Vick. Sure, it didn't convert - but because of DeSean Jackson, who actually had the first down and ran backwards over the line trying to make a big play and ended up being about a foot short. A charitable reading might say "Hey, Vick made an intelligent play there and got screwed by his WR in the DVOA" instead of lumping it in as being meaningless stat padding.

Really, I hate Vick as a man, but he's playing an entirely different kind of football from earlier in his career. The analysis is starting to get... unnecessarily negative? So what if the defensive-adjustment push him down to have him as a Top 15 DVOA for passing? That's really good, all things considered - better than McNabb last year. And what if he's still improving, the offensive line is improving and they're getting to do so against soft defenses (the best case scenario for trying to get a team working in unison.)

He's probably over-praised by the standard media... but there's no denying there's SOMETHING going on with him and he's playing a different kind of game. How often has he ever had as few as 4 rushing attempts in a game?

7 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

And another thing - the "only having 14 points" being Vick's fault? How about mixing in some blame with a coach who didn't call any running plays despite the effectiveness of the running game? Don't be hyperbolic - there's a whole entire team (and shitty o-line) and coaching staff on the field. The team is not living or dying by Vick, regardless of what FO and the mainstream media seem to think.

119 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by chemical burn

We all know that Football Outsiders have convincingly proven that you don't "run to set up the pass."

Knowing this, Andy Reid passes to set up the play action.

65 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

When the overwhelming majority of coverage has been unnecessarily positive, I'm sort of in favor of a small amount of unnecessarily negative coverage to even things out.

9 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

"The difference between the Jay Cutler who threw a handful of interceptions against the Packers last year and got away with just one on Sunday night isn't very large. Cutler threw two picks on the final drive alone, with one being called a questionable incompletion and the other a defensive pass interference penalty. He forced a throw into Earl Bennett on third-and-goal from the six-yard line that was nearly picked, and on the ensuing fourth down play, he threw behind an open Desmond Clark. (Clark still should have caught the pass.)"

Cutler's game was underwhelming, in my opinion, but this seems like a stretch. The first interception on the final drive was on the play where Matthews pretty obviously roughed Cutler (leading with the crown of the helmet into the QB's facemask is pretty definitive). I don't think it's unreasonable to believe that had an effect on the throw.

The second interception was not a good decision, but if Bennett doesn't get blatantly held/interfered with, there's at least a good chance he goes up for the ball and it just falls incomplete.

As for the goal-line pass to Bennett, I haven't seen a replay (I was a the game), but that looked less like it was "nearly intercepted" and more like Cutler "fit the ball into a tight window", and if Bennett doesn't have a knee on the ground when he catches it, it's a touchdown.

******

"Could we crowd-source interceptions? It's pretty clear that Eli Manning isn't responsible for the picks he threw on Sunday, but in our binary system of accounting for them, he either gets one full interception or no interception for each pass he throws. I wonder if we could ask readers to basically place a value on Manning's interception and say 'This one looked like it was 25 percent Eli's fault.' It might be too much guessing about intent, I suppose, to do with any sort of reliability."

I'm fine with giving Manning only 25% blame on the first interception if you give him 175% of the blame on the second, which he threw left-handed while scrambling. It's pretty disingenuous to act like Manning got unlucky with both his interceptions.

19 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Yeah the Cutler comments are somewhat hyperbolic. Any QB is going to have some near misses that could have been picks (even St Aaron of Wisconsin tried his best to throw one to Charles Tillman). As you pointed out there were clear penalties that the Packers would have benefitted from if they hadn't been flagged. The griping seems to come down to 'We'd have won if it wasn't for those pesky rules!'

If Rodgers had been throwing the ball away or taking sacks instead of running about helping Peppers draw holding flags all night his numbers might not look so good. He is a very good QB but he does make life very difficult for his offensive linemen.

38 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

The point about near INTs is simply not true. Outside of the Hail Mary INT Rodgers threw exactly one pass that I can recall that had a chance of being intercepted, and that would have been a difficult catch (a low pass to the inside where it looked like his WR might have turned outside, and a Bears CB made a diving attempt, maybe that is the one you mentioned).

Cutler threw at least 5 interceptable balls. Two the Packers simply dropped, one of which would have been fairly routine (the one on the last drive that looked almost like a catch and then a fumble before the refs blew the whistle and signaled incomplete). The DPI-nullified INT may have simply gone incomplete without the penalty, but it was still a ball thrown up for grabs into double coverage. The INT nullified by the helmet-to-helmet hit was another throw up for grabs over the middle that is probably still an INT with a legal hit to the body.

Cutler was bailed out by a combination of penalties and uncharacteristically poor hands by the GB DBs (although they also dropped about 3 potential INTs vs Philly in the opener). Rodgers on the other hand almost never gave the Bears D a chance to make a play on the ball, despite throwing 18 more passes than Cutler. Over time luck will even out, and Cutler is going to cost his team some games with these risky throws. It certainly happened enough last season.

40 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I don't even think Jimmy was saying Rodgers got away with as much as Cutler did last night, just that it was a rather extreme description of Cutler's game. I agree that the Bears will need Cutler to play better, on the whole, to truly be a contender.

On the other hand, I'd like to see how Rodgers would have done if the Bears' defense had decided to stop allowing smoke routes and managed to not miss a tackle on nearly every play. I'm not sure if you could see this on TV, but the next time the Bears line up a DB directly over the Packers' slot receiver in a non-goal-line situation will be the first.

184 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Oh, you could DEFINITELY see it on TV. On several plays I wondered out loud who was going to cover the slot reciever?

Also, to a previous poster, while it is probably true that the ball would still have been intercepted had the shot on Cutler as he was releaseing the ball been legal, it's equally true that if he isn't hit right as he's letting go of the ball, it's not anywhere near to a pick either. So it's not like he threw it up for grabs because of a bad read or while he was falling down. A split-second longer that the O-line holds and it's not an issue.

- Alvaro

49 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Other than the Tillman falied pick there were several occasions where Rodgers tried to hit a reciever deep and the safeties were breaking over the top of the ball leading to balls that could have gone anywhere (especially when Harris was still on the field). There is no way you can say those were good throws but similar throws by Cutler weren't any good.

I actually think the game came down to two very good QBs with overmatched offensive lines. One team (the Bears) mainly gave the underneath throws away and used their pass rush (Julius Peppers) to force the throw. This lead to a lot of checkdowns to Finley but very few throws down the field. The other team (the Pack) brought pressure from all over but occasionally it got picked up and the Bears were able to pick up large chunks of yardage (mainly to Knox). On the whole I thought Rodgers played slightly better but not by enough to compensate for a terrible kicking game by the Packers. That and it was really close.

64 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You contradict yourself. First you say that there were "several occasions where Rodgers tried to hit a reciever deep and the safeties were breaking over the top of the ball leading to balls that could have gone anywhere", and later say he had "a lot of checkdowns to Finley but very few throws down the field".

And neither statement is really correct. Rodgers didn't have very many throws down the field at all. I can remember a play action pass down the deep middle to Jennings against a single safety where Jennings had good position but couldn't make the catch, a missed corner route to Driver, a sideline pass to Nelson that was broken up by a hit after the ball had gotten to Nelson, and a the completions down the seams to Finley. That was pretty much it for Rodgers deep passing attempts, and not a single ball other than the one previously mentioned where a Bear had even a chance to deflect the pass. The passes to Finley were into a few tight windows, but he was open and the passes were accurate, which is a far cry from throwing jump balls into tight double coverage or unloading late across the middle with a rusher in your face.

Otherwise I agree with you on the subject of line play and special teams. Neither line played well, they and their QBs just handled the situations differently, with the Bears going much more high risk, high reward. And GB's special teams were obviously a disaster.

90 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

What I meant was that he tried to hit his WRs down the field a few times early and it didn't really work with the Bears coverage shell as the safeties broke on the ball. Then the Pack shifted to hitting Finley on check downs and seam routes, I am not slagging this off, it is how offenses attack different coverages. The lack of security on the deep WR throws is what stopped the Pack going to them which is what I am talking about. Had the Pack been able to go down the field to their WRs then they would have scored more than 17 points. Maybe Rodgers (or McCarthy or whoever) did a better job of avoiding the risky throws than the Bears, I have already said that I thought Rodgers definitely shaded Cutler on the night but I don't think both QBs were given similar instructions. To some extent Martz wants his Qbs to be almost savant-like in their dedication to the play called. By contrast Green Bay have a very developed passing game based around quickly getting the ball into the hands of a quality group of recievers as often as possible. If you cloned a QB and put the clones in each offense you would get very different results.

On another note I think it is difficult to say whether or not Cutler would have completed the pass when he got Zomboed, they way his head snapped back as he was trying to throw must have affected the result. Cutler threw a TD on a very similar throw to Olsen so he can make them. Alas all is lost to speculation.

100 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Okay, I follow that argument. I guess the point I'm trying to get across is that Cutler's throws could have ended up with much worse results due to variables outside of his control, while Rodgers throws basically took luck out of the equation. Rodgers will never blow a game playing like he did in that game, while Cutler has and will, though things went his way this time.

I like the word Zomboed, has a nice ring to it.

44 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

So keeping plays alive is the wrong thing to do? You're kidding, right?

I'm pretty sure it's Rodgers' job to get the ball downfield and the linemen's job to, you know, block.

50 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

And when your linemen aren't going to be able to sustain blocks against one of the league's best DEs you can't try to keep plays alive forever. It is why you throw the ball away and check down.

BTW nice straw man.

69 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I'm fine with giving Manning only 25% blame on the first interception if you give him 175% of the blame on the second, which he threw left-handed while scrambling. It's pretty disingenuous to act like Manning got unlucky with both his interceptions.

Yeah, I'm not sure I understand this. That play got glossed over in Audibles too for some reason.

Yes, it was quite a leap by the LB to get up there and get it, but it would've also been a leap for the receiver (Boss?), who was being covered closely by at least two people at the time.

If you can set your feet and make an accurate throw with your actual throwing hand, sure... go ahead and try to jam it in there. On the run and left handed? That's a 12 on a 1-10 scale of bad decisions. It was an awful, awful play by Eli.

FWIW, I'd give him about 33% on the first one.

98 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Eli Manning currently leads the NFL in interceptions. He has not yet had a pass picked off by the first person to touch it. Every single one of his interceptions has been a tip drill, and all but one hit his receiver on the hands. That has to be some kind of record. To be fair, the left-handed pick was pretty awful, but part of the problem was that the receiver sat back waiting for the ball. Wes Welker or Larry Fitzgerald scores a touchdown on that play.

114 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I'm pretty sure Welker wouldn't have been able to jump high enough to get it.

It's also worth noting that one of his interceptions against Carolina did hit his receiver in the hands, but the throw was high enough that the receiver had a very slim chance of actually pulling it in. The intended receiver on the play (Ramses Barden) also happens to be about 6'6". And there were a couple of Carolina defenders in the area behind Barden, so even if he didn't get his hands on it, it still may have ended up a pick. So I think it's probably fair to put that one on Manning, too.

Even so, Manning has definitely had some wretched luck so far this year...

116 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Manning's season (and career) have been interesting, with regards to interceptions. It does seem, from memory, that he has a lot of tipped interceptions. However, throughout his career, he has always had a tendency to miss high when he's inaccurate. That leads to more cases of a receiver getting a hand on a ball that's not really catchable, and redirecting it to a defender. So, like you say, dmb, I don't think you can just count tipped passes at face value when evaluating Eli Manning; that's just as simplistic as saying "he threw X interceptions".

203 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

This reminds me of a comment in the '08 or '09 Pro Football Prospectus about Eli thinking there's a magic box three feet over Plaxico Burress' head and if he hits it, a mushroom will pop out.

[Anyone else remember that? Or have I been spending too much time downing Sierra Nevadas with raiderjoe?]

I guess the point is that maybe Eli tends to fire passes too high, resulting in tipped balls.

8 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

This is more of a matter of semantic labeling, but it is notable that Adrian Peterson is on pace to rush for over 2000 yards this season, without once, I think, making it onto Quick Reads "Five Most Valuable Running Backs" list.

If anybody thinks Cutler was even close to approximating Rodgers' play last night, they are crazy. There was a rare moment of announcers being useful during the game, when I was in the car, and heard Esiason and Malone talk about how Rodgers' mechanics were light years ahead of Cutler's and what a big difference that makes over the course of a season, or even a game.

The Vikings passing game is a complete mess right now, with all players contributing to it. They are going to have to try to win some games, over the oncoming brutal stretch of the schedule, with scores like 13-10 or 16-13. I dunno if Ol' Stubbleface has the patience for it.

13 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

If anybody thinks Cutler was even close to approximating Rodgers' play last night, they are crazy.

Is this prompted by anything, or are you just setting up a strawman? I don't disagree with you (Rodgers was brilliant last night; Cutler was inconsistent), but it sounds like you're responding to some homer Bear fans or ignorant mainstream media that I see no evidence of (at least in this discussion).

23 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I was simply struck by the wide disparity in performance of two guys of about the same age who were drafted in the 24th and 11th in the first round, and who have received a fair amount of attention. Wasn't trying to imply that I was responding to anyone in particular (which is why I wrote "if anybody") , and I apologize if it bothered you.

15 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Agreed, Rodgers looked like the better quarterback last night, clearly. Not to say Cutler played poorly; he had a fairly "meh" game, I thought.

The mechanics *could* be troublesome, though I sometimes wonder if for, QBs like Cutler (or a young Favre), mechanics are not as important. Due to Cutler's arm strength and ability to throw pretty accurately even off his back foot, he can get away with some less-than-perfect mechanics. And if he were to put that all together, he'd be scary-good.

Cutler's skillset is pretty vital to the Bears winning games right now. The line is miles better than last year, but it's still a bit below average. A QB like Orton, whom I like a lot and looks pretty good this year, would have a really tough time doing anything for this Bears offense. Cutler doesn't have to set his feet or have a lot of time (his quick release is rarely talked about, in my opinion) to get a strong or accurate throw off.

28 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Oh, there is no doubt that Cutler has physical skills that make proper mechanics less important that they are for the typical qb, and there are Hall of Famers, like Favre, who have gotten away with inconsistent mechanics. I think Cutler may be like Favre in another way, in that his performance will swing significantly with how well and how hard he is coached.

Favre was at his best when Holmgren was putting him through the wringer, and he fell off when guys like Sherman deferred to him too much, and got better when McCarthy came in and were willing to confront him again. I am uncomfortable with the degree of hitting Martz exposes his qbs to, but there is no doubt that he coaches qb very, very, hard, so if Cutler is all receptive to coaching, and he keeps being able to take shots to the kisser like he did last night, I think his partnership with Martz will be very productive.

36 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Very good points, Will. Martz's influence on Cutler (and the wide receivers) has been pretty significant so far. Hopefully, it continues to improve the passing offense.

43 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I have also thought the Martz-Tice partnership would be fascinating to watch, since it was announced. I have speculated that Tice wouold go all Kyle Turley on Martz eventually, given their different approaches; Tice, in Minnesota, always was quite willing to use maximum protection schemes, which of course makes sense when you have Randy Moss, and a qb like Culpepper who tends to hold the ball forever. Perhaps this was just residue of the roster's skill set, and not really reflective of the coach's preference. Well, most of these relationships work out a lot better when a team is 11-5, than they do when a team is 5-11, and I suspect that will be the case with Martz and Tice.

71 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Not to take anything away from Tice (the line has improved, and moving Omiyale to LT last week was an important adjustment), but I think the game against Dallas was a good counterexample to going max protect in order to stifle a pass rush.

In the first quarter, the Cowboys were battering Cutler; that finally changed when, instead of going max protect, the Bears starting send out extra receivers on short routes. This allowed Cutler to get the ball out quickly, and due to the Dallas blitz leaving fewer men in coverage, led to some good YAC. Dallas then had to dial back the blitzing, opening up other aspects of the offense.

In that specific case, doing the opposite of max protect actually improved the QB protection.

41 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Lynch had 79 yards on 13 carries. Peterson had 160 on 23. Lynch caught one 7 yard pass, Peterson caught 5 for 30.

No one really believes that Lynch was more valuable to his team on Sunday.

I've always had a sense that this system grossly underestimates the value of big scoring plays. The problem with a bunch of 5 yard plays that are so called successful plays is you are liable to have something go wrong before you score. Peterson's one 80 yard run was probably more valuable than what Lynch did in the entire game.

103 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Peterson's 80 yard run may have been worth as much as Lynch's whole game, but the rest of Peterson's game probably had negative value. Outside of the 80 yarder, he had 22 carries for 80 yards, 7 targets for 30 yards, and about a 30% success rate.

163 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

One of the confusing things about the system(s) is the fact that they're for both description and prediction. Aaron's explained as such, saying that the system is somehow balanced between how good a play was and what that play means in the long run.
This leads to a lot of "good game, but not indicative of future good games" undervaluing, and a lot of "bad game, but indicative of future good games" overvaluing. I might be oversimplifying, but I'd like to see people take it into account more often, and not just try to explain specific plays so much.

FWIW, I use what I saw to determine how somebody played in a specific game, but use DYAR/DVOA to get a better picture of how they will play against different teams.

10 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Oh, and while I thought Rodgers was great last night, could we just advocate that the intentional grounding rule be enforced in a manner consistent with the language, and not expect that a striped shirt is going to discern how well the qb and receiver are coordinating their behavior?

21 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Agreed. While the description of the pass in the paragraph might very well be 100% accurate, the screw-up was bad enough that any objective viewing of the play requires that the flag be thrown. Having the referees discern the intent of the play itself would lead to wildly inconsistent results.

35 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

while the throw would have been off, it would not have been so far off that it would have necessitated intentional grounding. In a league where grounding gets called far too infrequently, this was one case where the flag should have stayed in the refs' pocket.

Echoing the above, agreed. He wasn't outside the pocket and there was no one in the remote vicinity of the throw. It has to be called.

171 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Philip Rivers got away with one against the Seahawks that was just as bad, if not worse. There was no flag thrown. The ball landed 5 yards out of bounds without a Chargers player in the picture.

11 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Have you watched the tape with Vick? Multiple passes were dropped by Jackson, Celek and others. I'm guessing, though, that the DVOA simply sees those as incompletions?

I happen to agree that Vick is being helped by poor defense (obviously). At this point, though, you're simply choosing to argue about the context over any other sort of analysis. Do what you want, but you might want to take a look at the tape.

16 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In the last Walkthrough, Tanier analyzed every single Vick drive. I wasn't able to see the game, so I don't know how accurate his analysis was, but it's there.

29 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You're right in that DVOA only sees drops as incompletions. However every QB has some passes dropped, and Philly has good enough WRs and TEs at this point that, at least over the long haul, if Vick has poor or mediocre numbers the receivers will not be a main cause.

At this point DVOA does not separate individual player performances from those of his teammates, which can be a drawback in arguing over individuals but is useful in evaluating complete teams for future projections. DVOA sees Vick as likely to regress against better defenses. He can prove that wrong by playing more consistently and dominantly against the weaker defense he faces.

228 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Don't you really mean QB [insert name here] will not play as well against better defenses? Every QB I've seen plays worse against the good ones, by definition. I remember the Niners had to *bench* Steve Young because Philly was nearly murdering him in the backfield on MNF during a 40-8 loss.

12 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Oh, this is going to be entertaining. So, Vick is number 2 in passer rating and he still ranks a Chad Henne in DVOA. Also, an awful lot of confidence that he will have less success as "teams figure him out". "Mop up duty"? Then there's the fact that Desean Jackson isn't top 5 in DVOA. And of course, if these two characters pound the Hogs and take the fourth quarter off again, Vick will still be "worse than Chad Henne". Then the week after in San Fran. Of course, the three weeks after *that* would have doubters eating lots of crow, I suspect.

You know what?

I think the fundamental error in your thinking is that you guys aren't comprehending just how conservative this offense is, passing-wise. What Vick is doing right now is simply not easily stoppable, and they aren't showing much in the way of creative playcalls.

20 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

>So, Vick is number 2 in passer rating and he still ranks a Chad Henne in DVOA.

But QB rating is a terrible stat, doesn't take into account fumbles, sacks, situation, opponent, or much of anything really.

26 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by shah8 (not verified)

I am not trying to be patronizing, but have you taken the time to understand how DVOA works? Or read the introductory explanation at the top of the page?

31 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by SamWyatt (not verified)

Sure, you can be patronizing as much as you want. It's not as if I'm not enjoying a feeling of superiority over people who mistake baroqueness for genuine and effective complexity.

I haven't bothered to learn the details.

1) Football is too noisy a game for statistics, period. All efforts at big-time statistics is simply an effort at mindwankery.

2) I routinely see losing quarterbacks way up high, and sheltered quarterbacks up there as well. There is routinely a bunch of players that are ranked too high and low in runningback stats and receiver stats. Of course, I realize these stats are pretty bad early in the season, but this is just really poor predictative efforts.

45 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I do not support the torture of statisticians.

After all, who'd make a home for rescue mathheads?

51 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

>Football is too noisy a game for statistics, period. All efforts at big-time statistics is simply an effort at mindwankery

Then why are you commenting at a site dedicated to statistical analysis of football?

>I routinely see losing quarterbacks way up high

It's entirely possible for a QB to outplay his counterpart on the field and still lose. Football is a team game. The designation "losing quarterback" seems meaningless.

>There is routinely a bunch of players that are ranked too high and low in runningback stats and receiver stats.

I'm unsure about what that statement means. If FO says "Player X is, according to our statistics, ranked #7 in the league", it's not valid to say "Player X is ranked too low" because Player X is ranked exactly correctly, according to the statistical measure in question. You could question the validity of the statistical system, but you should present good, and on this site preferably statistical, measures of why the statistical system is flawed. For instance, people above, and many other times, have commented that DVOA unduly rewards consistent gains over big plays, which may very well be a flaw in the system, or the comment questioning whether we should maybe look at the Eagles offensive DVOA as a whole, rather than simply Vick's individual DVOA are good topics of discussion. But simply saying "DeSean Jackson isn't in the top 5? this system is stupid" doesn't really get anyone anywhere.

74 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by shah8 (not verified)

Wow. Just, wow.

First, let us begin with how you didn't even bother to correctly read, or maybe you just did not comprehend, what I wrote before responding. I specifically told you I was not trying to be patronizing. I said it because enough frequent the site without bothering to see what DVOA actually means. It was a legitimate question. Just a little tip, but actually understanding what is said to you before respond goes quite a ways with credibility.

Second, admitting to us that you actually are petty, "enjoying a feeling of superiority over people," isn't going to make anyone want to actually take you seriously, or listen to you any more either.

Third, how does one set a line between what is 'baroque' and what would is 'genuine and effective' complexity? Seems arbitrary and self-serving.

Fourth, admitting that you are criticizing something that you haven't even taken the time to understand takes a pair made of brass, so kudos to you on that sir!

And lastly, coming to, and commenting on, the site while being actively close-minded about the entirety of its contents, while still using statistics such as passer rating to counter the statistic that you don't agree with, while stating that statistics such as those do not matter in professional football is the most impressive of all.

But thanks for the comment

96 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by SamWyatt (not verified)

Thing is...

"I'm not a racist/misogynist/etc, but" almost invariably leads to racist/misogynist/etc comments. In that sense, "Not to be patronizing, but" is taken in the exact same way, and I gave it all the due respect that deserves, which was a raspberry.

In any event, in the real world, there are tons of economists out there trying to sell these oh so complex models that, oh my goodness, tends to output mostly what people want to hear, same as any fortune-teller. Nobody in this busy world of ours has time to dig out the what the guts of the thing actually measures on the low-level. Especially when it comes to statistics, as in the end, statistics requires a pretty good grasp of episto philosophy to figure out what the assumptions are, what the desired question precisely is, and what answers actually answers that question. That's not that easy for an outsider to figure out, sometimes. It is much faster to simply eyeball the results and compare it to crude measures, like YPA/QB Ratings. Meteorologists, for example, will compare sophisticated hurricane models against someting called a Clipper model, which is just climatic info from previous hurricanes and not an actual model. DVOA is something that I actually compared with crude rankings. And crude rankings after Week 1 predicted Week 3 success better than DVOA. I also watched a bunch of games, and I can directly eyeball Henne to Vick to Rodgers to Cutler and get the sense that it's whack.

Is that arbitrary? Or good ole' skepticism.

As far as being in the right place? I sure am, if what matters is my own personal entertainment. It's not as if I've been verbally abusing people. This is supposed to be math, and not church as well!

105 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I have some issues with how the individual stats on this site are labeled, with the caveat that using a very long descripion of a stat is a little unwieldy. I think the tems stats are much more useful. Do you not see some problems with your use of one week's results to draw conclusions about the predictive value of the team stats here?

108 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Wait, did I ever talk about team stats? If I did, that wasn't intended.

I would not ever use any system for football, as it's far too calvinball for my tastes to try and predict stuff. Plus injuries, especially the ones people keep quiet about, skews everything.

I *do* think that towards the end of the season, that DVOA would have superior predictions compared to just eyeballing rough stats. It's just that there's a ton of noise early in the season, and some people are really inputting biases when they should be using their *humbled* common sense **cough**Vick**cough.

124 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

A couple of things :

1) "And crude rankings after Week 1 predicted Week 3 success better than DVOA."

Actually expanding on that and showing it with real numbers/information would be a great way to better make your point. And perhaps lead to a more intelligent discussion of how much value there is in early season DVOA.

2) This is a week by week ranking, not cumulative for the season, so I just wanted that to be clear. If you're using the above to compare "Henne to Vick to Rodgers to Cutler" it's for this week only. Some of your comments and others made it seem like this wasn't clear.

164 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

1) This is a list of DYAR, not DVOA.

2) Opponent adjustments are cumulative, but a players previous performance still has no effect on their week-to-week rankings. Look at the positional pages for that.

3) The D isn't in effect yet.

166 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Alrighty then, how is average player benchmarked? Standard deviation over the median from week to week, or is that cumulative as well?

168 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Your question is a little confusing, but I'll try to answer what I think you are asking.

DYAR measures how successful a player is cumulatively, over a predefined "replacement-level player." This replacement-level player isn't actually a real player, but a baseline against which all players are measured.

So you take the success points earned on each play, subtract the baseline from each one, and add up all the results. Then you get this stat. On quick reads, it is simply the plays run that week. If you want to see every play ran for the year, check the positional ranking pages.

Everything is explained in far more detail here http://www.footballoutsiders.com/info/methods.

177 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Thanks, but the parts that pertains to replacement value is not very transparent at all. I couldn't even judge whether replacement value is judged every week or from last year, or is it cumulative...

182 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Replacement value is just a baseline. So on 1st and 10 from the 50, if you run it's something like 3 yards. Anything over that you get is the value above replacement. FO doesn't make it crystal clear what the baseline is because that's how they make their money.

It is the same every week though.

130 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by shah8 (not verified)

So, you made a presumption, then when given a not only plausible, but actual reason for the statement, you stand by your presumption? And to top it off, you admit that I was actually correct when I asked the question?

Your second point is completely specious to what I was saying. In fact, DVOA isn't anywhere near as complicated a concept as you try to make it out to be.

And you missed what I was getting at with your last post. What I was saying is that life is too short to 'troll.' Constructive criticism is absolutely fantastic, and no model is perfect, many people here point out the legitimate flaws with the system, but that is not what you are doing, you're just throwing rocks.

145 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

shah8, where do you get off talking about giving a comment "the due respect [it] deserves?" You, more than any troll I've seen here in years, deserve no respect at all for your petty, condescending, inflammatory, and most of all, inaccurate analysis.

161 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Ninjalectual, is it? Where *are* those intellectual shuriken, hmmm?

Now, when you can *use* that fearsome brain of yours and engage with what the topic is, such as "Hey! DVOA isn't doing what you think it sez! First of all, it measures factors a, b, c, and it gives product m, n, l. Why use QB Ratings when you can use this, since you can do x, y, z when you want to measure some esoteric f, g, h. It only gives odd results because t, u, v happens and and when you take them into consideration, you'll see it works out when you factor it by T variable."

Do you see where I'm going with this? Don't you think any other person who can fool around with a calculator might see you as kind of gullible if all you can say is that it works--and that man is the meanest meanie evah?

172 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Shah8 is completely right here.

I love reading footballoutsiders.com but you can see the bias in reporting using the veil of stats as the facts.

As an Eagles fan I do watch closely Vick's play and he wins games and scores TDs. And yes against not great teams the last two times but to come and play green bay that well means more than the writer is willing to give.

But Eli's atrocious play. The writer speculates "oh how much of the INTs to attribute to Eli."

Maybe Eli looks like the people the writer grew up with and not Vick. So Eli gets the benefit of the doubt in the interpretation but Vick doesnt.

To realize the limits of footballoutsiders one only need look at what the Cardinals did in their SB appearance.

176 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

The Cardinals are a horrible test case, given that nobody expected them to make the Super Bowl. DVOA ranked them fairly highly when they were 7-3; then Arizona proceeded to play horribly for the rest of the regular season, including a 48-20 loss to the Eagles, a 35-14 loss to the Vikings and a 47-7 loss to the Patriots.

181 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Eli's "atrocious" play? Are you referring to his one atrocious play? Because his "play" in the more general sense has been anything but atrocious, and this is coming from someone who would love nothing more than to watch him fail.

At one point on Sunday, Manning was something like 18/20 with very respectable yardage and 2 INTs ... one of which was an eminently catchable pass that was tipped by his receiver into a defender's hands. (The other was the aforementioned single atrocious play.) When Manning played Carolina, all three of his picks hit his receivers' hands, and only one of those throws wasn't a pretty straightforward catch.

And I'm unsure how the Cardinals' Super Bowl appearance highlights the "limits" of Football Outsiders. Is it because FO failed to predict that the Cardinals would get there? If so, I suppose you're right in the sense that they make incorrect predictions ... just like anyone who actually makes predictions. I suppose that's a "limit," but I think if that's your criteria, then everyone who makes predictions is pretty "limited."

202 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Please, you eli lovers really.

This is a quote from an AP (which is actually more unbiased than the stuff here:

"As for little brother Eli, that hangdog look after his team’s second straight defeat says plenty. The Giants quarterback was battered by his big brother’s team in Week 2, then threw two interceptions—including one with his left hand—in a loss to the Titans.

If the NFL resembled the stock market, Peyton’s price would be soaring, Eli’s would be plummeting. Peyton ranks first in the league with a 116.9 passer rating; Eli is ninth in the NFC at 81.7, with five TD passes and six interceptions."

Eli played pretty good last year (as good as McNabb) but this year hasnt been playing that well. But the slant that the writers here put is saving Eli. If Vick did the same things, Im sure the slant would go the other way. BTW whats this obssession with Vick on every other article that FO writes.

As far as the Cardinals, the numbers were SO out of whack that they kept on predicting they would lose and they didnt. And what kind of argument is that it was just a prediction. I thought the numbers are supposed to help us in some predictive power. But Football as we see there are many confounding factors and very difficult to isolate them

207 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Eli lovers? There isn't an intelligent site on the internet that's been more down on Eli than this one here.

220 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Eli hasn't been playing well? Which Eli are you watching?

Eli Manning is having a great year, his team just forgot to play defense for a couple of games, and his receivers have tipped a bunch of balls into the air. With the exception of the left handed throw this week, every pass he has had picked off has hit his receivers on the hands, and been tipped up into the air for a defender. That happens. But it isn't (mostly) on Eli. He has (even with those plays) completed 66% of his passes for almost 8 yards per attempt, with five touchdowns in three games. If we take away the tipped balls, he's 72 for 102, over 70%, and would be passing for roughly 300 yards a game. As it is, he's on course for over 4000 yards and about 28 touchdowns, equivalent to last year.

Now, tips and drops are part of football, and I'm not pretending that Eli's tendency to wing balls at tip-of-the-helmet height to receivers is ideal, or totally on the receivers when they don't catch every last one. But having five failed catches come up interceptions in three games is beyond "them's the breaks". Eli is being ragged on for throwing a few freak interceptions, despite playing really good football.

185 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

A) He never said "Not to be patronizing, but." You really should learn to read. He prefaced what he thought might be percieved as a patronizing statment by saying that is not his intent but rather actually wanting to know wehter you had read th description, as you wouldn't be the first person to post without doing so and be completely off-target because of that.

B) As a skpetic I am actually offended by your use of the word. What you are doing is pretty much the opposite of skepticism, which implies coming to a problem without preconcieved notions and letting the evidence and the scientific method (something which you seem to be completely against). Saying "I dont' understand htis, therefore it must be wrong," is a staple of quacks, woo-peddlers and close-minded true-beleivers. You know, the sworn enemies of skepticism. So to answer your question, yes it si completely arbitrary and actually the complete opposite of skepticism.

C) Saying that these rankings are biased because of a personal like/dislike of a player or team is like saying that the result you get from a quadratic equation is biased because of the personal like of the person solving the equation for odd numbers.

In conclussion, please stop trolling.

- Alvaro

194 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You watched a bunch of games on TV. Without coach's film, you know little. You don't see all 22 players on the field, so you can't really judge QB play.

99 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

QB rating is a simple formula that doesn't claim to predict future performance.

Don't get confused between stats as in numbers, and actual statistical manipulation that gives out normalization or odds.

137 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Great! DVOA and DYAR don't claim to predict future performance, either, so whew! They're save from your criticisms.

183 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You should tell this to Aaron. He is using DVAO for playoff odds and such, and player DVAOs for preseason predcitions. Poor guy he is clueless, he must be stopped.

208 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You can use yards allowed to make predictions, too, but that doesn't make it a stat designed for the purpose of predicting things, either.

14 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Cutler's game was underwhelming, in my opinion, but this seems like a stretch. The first interception on the final drive was on the play where Matthews pretty obviously roughed Cutler (leading with the crown of the helmet into the QB's facemask is pretty definitive).

******

Definitively is was actually Frank Zombo, not Matthews.

Emphasized

18 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

There is no Clay Matthews, there is no A.J. Hawk, there is no Frank Zombo; there is only Ugly White Packers LB.

(And, in Eddo's defense, the ESPN team repeatedly assigned the penalty to Matthews, even doing an isolation replay on him, which showed him engaged in a block 10 yards away from Cutler.)

32 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Thanks for defending me, Tom, though it's really just my fault. I was there, so I wasn't misled by ESPN, and I just got my UWPLBs mixed up. :)

59 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Lucky you. I drove by on my way home from work, and the tailgating was spilling all the way onto the grass bordering Lake Shore Drive. Must have been an awesome atmosphere.

One quick thing: Did I actually hear a "Kuuuuuuuuuhn" cheer when UWPFB carried the ball? Were there that many cheeseheads there? Me no likey.

72 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Yes, you did hear that correctly.

However, in my experience, this was probably the least-populated-by-Packer-fans game in this rivalry I can remember being to in my 10+ years of regularly going to games. (My dad would not shut up about this.) It seemed to us that there were less than half the Packer fans we expected.

125 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Fair enough. Gotta give it to Packer fans, they do show up and support that team no matter where they're playing. (I could insert a gratuitous comment here about their probably being unemployed and not caring about their families which is why they have the free time and means to travel and buy tickets, but that would be beneath me.)

134 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Honestly, in my experience, the Packers don't get the highest visiting fans turnout at Bears games. I'd put it:

1. Eagles (really, and it's surprising to me)
2. Vikings
3. Packers
4. Steelers
5. Lions

141 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

>1. Eagles (really, and it's surprising to me)

As a Philly fan who now resides in Chicago, this baffles me too. It's virtually impossibly to get tickets, and I rarely meet other Eagles fans around...maybe they live in the burbs or something.

150 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I wonder if the fact that the last two times the Eagles have been here were night games, which generally get a different crowd than standard day games. Those could be clouding my impressions a bit.

57 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

That was pretty funny. They just kept talking over it as if it was showing a completely different play, and never even acknowledged it until the actual rough was shown a few seconds later.

22 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Calling Vick's performance against Green Bay 'mop up duty' is ridiculous. He was a fourth and one away from forcing overtime in that game. I also seem to recall reading somewhere that discounting late game performance in two touchdown spreads is inadvisable, because those plays are indicative of ability, too

188 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

As shown by the Pats defensive performance in the second half of Week 1, that everyone chalked to "garbage time" but in reality was a harbinger of their problems for the last two weeks.

24 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Now hold on a second. Yes Sanchez was pretty good on third downs. But its not like his overall accuracy was totally out of whack with his usual line. He threw 53%, his career line is 54 and for the season he's at 58. I'll admit to not being an expert on the typical dynamics of downs and accuracy. However, i'm pretty sure its inappropriate to suggest that his success this season is being driven by some luck about when his good tosses are coming in the series. As you point out, in his previous games he was at his normal level of third down conversion.
Bottom line: He's playing better than last year. And he's about to get another weapon. I'll take it. The jets can't be serious unless he's top 15, and it looks like he might be at that level.

25 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

QB Carolina should be credited with 1 less fumble (lost). QB Carolina put the football in Mike Goodson's belly, where somehow Goodson managed to completely "loose the handle" then fling the ball into the Bengals D. I'm not sure how that got credited to QB Carolina and it was certainly not a 3rd aborted snap.

27 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I really thought the Rodgers pass was intentional grounding, I will have to go back on the DVR but I believe there was pressure on him and he threw it away. I also agree that you could probably call holding on almost any play but I saw a lot of holding on the Packers line that wasn't called.

Finally to make this a total homer post, sure Cutler caught a few breaks and didn't look that great. I would like to looking at the charting data but I believe that is who he is, a QB who isn't consistant for a whole game but does catch on fire. Finally, sure they were a few missed interceptions but he is still cursed with having Devin Hester at WR who dropped at least two catches that I remember.

33 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Agreed on most counts. Peppers, in particular, clearly had the Packers offensive lineman intimidated.

Though I will defend Hester. Yes, he had the one terrible drop, but even ignoring the punt returns, he had a decent game. His route-running looks so much better than it ever has in the past; there was one play where he ran up about 10 yards, then made a ridiculous cut in and was wide open for a first down gain.

(As an aside, the most difficult part of seeing the game in person was having trouble telling Hester and Knox apart. They're both little, shifty guys, with a "3" as the ones digit of their numbers. So I apologize if I misidentify Knox as Hester or vice versa anywhere in this thread.)

180 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

You are not alone in having trouble telling Hester and Knox apart. Mike Tirico got them confused early in the game when he said a short pass was to Hester when it actually was to Knox. He never bothered to correct himself.

30 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Does Moore's DYAR include his long punt return, or do you calculate DYAR for returns?

34 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I was going to start like this: "If DYAR continues to rate Detroit QBs over Brett Favre, I'm going to have to laugh. Last week was one thing, but this week?"

Then I reconsidered. Exactly what do we accomplish by trying out DYAR rankings across the leagues? I've read about the stat and everything, but it just seems to lead to some bizarre conclusions by using - if I understand it - an "average replacement", as it were, instead of the actual replacement.

Of course, my wanting to complain is tempered by the fact that this week's ranking more or less makes sense as a ranking no matter what it's based on.

120 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Don't read too much into the difference in such close one week ratings. The week to week variance of a player performance is greater than the difference between how the Lion QB and Favre played. However in no way are either playing well so far this year. Which is something pretty clear from the week to week performance tables. People seem transfixed on splitting hairs between 1 or 2 or the 27th and 28th best passer, rather than looking at the broader trend.

For the record Favre raw numbers say 61.9 %, 2 TD, 6 INT 6.2 YA
QB Detroit say 60.7 %, 3 TD, 5 INT 6.1 YA

Why would anyone be surprised to see the two grouped closely by a rating system?

39 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Unrelated to this feature, I am sitting here watching some top-ten lists on NFL Network, and any time Aaron Schatz or Mike Tanier are shown, they're listed as a representative of "profootballoutsiders.com". Why is the "pro" in there? And why not just "Football Outsiders"?

86 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

All part of their strategy to take over the world. Their subsidiaries NCAAfootball outsiders, HSfootball outsiders, Peeweefootball outsiders, Flagfootball outsiders, and of course Futbol outsiders have yet to be launched, but wait until they do.

I say inside ten years, they'll be running the world like the Stonecutters. I, for one, will sit back and await Steve Guttenberg's career resurgence.

46 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In Cutler's defense, the Packers were routinely sending heat while he was backpedaling out from under center in an empty set with only five-man protection. He had to move off his spot almost immediately on nearly every throw he made last night.

48 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Has DVOA for individual players shown any proven predictive capabilities? I know that team DVOA does, but has Vick's personal DVOA been proven to mean anything whatsoever? In my opinion, we should be looking at the Eagles offensive DVOA as a whole and judging Vick by that, since him drawing a spy or whatever solutions evidently render him useless immediately (weird that it hasnt happened yet) only serve to open up the rest of the offense.

54 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Yes Bill, Charlie Batch all by himself is favored to beat Baltimore. Polamalu, Harrison, Woodley, Ward, and Mendenhall are all expected to stay on the sideline watching Batch cover Boldin, tackle Rice, and block Ngata. It should be an epic battle.

56 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I was really impressed with Rodgers last night. I really didn't expect him to be very good and thought he was overrated significantly last year. The reason I was negative was his tendency to hold onto the ball too long, but watching last night I saw several plays where he made great decisions to avoid a sack by either making a good move to get out of the pocket or just throwing the ball away.

In watching Rodgers I see I guy I would very rarely blitz. He gets the ball out as quick as anyone I've seen. I would do everything I could to keep in the pocket as well. He's an excellent runner and throws brilliantly on the run. The only weakness I see is when is trapped in the pocket and he doesn't see an open receiver. He just seems to slow down and almost freeze at times.

62 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I actually thought he was a touch quick in throwing the ball away, as was Cutler. More Cutler, I think, but definitely Rodgers on the grounding (where, in my view, they called it based on the obviousness of him chucking it away, rather than on anything the receiver did or should've done... I agree about the route adjustment possibly being wrong, but Rodgers pretty obviously just chucked that one out of bounds.)

Better to be quick than slow, of course.

The only weakness I see is when is trapped in the pocket and he doesn't see an open receiver. He just seems to slow down and almost freeze at times.

He and Ben both do this sometimes. It's really odd how they can be so decisive sometimes and so indecisive others. Obviously it's a coverage thing... it's just funny that they're both so able to avoid sacks that 90% of other QBs would take, but then also take sacks that 75% of others would avoid. Rodgers seems to be improving in this regard, which makes him a serious weapon (as if he wasn't already).

66 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I think QB's like Roethlisberger and Rodgers just have trouble giving up on a play. I think Roethlisberger is overrated for that very reason. Thought the same of Culpepper. But it seems to me in some late games last year and the one game I've watched this year that Rodgers is evolving and getting rid of the ball. Certainly the sack rate plummeted in the second half of last year and I believe he's only been sacked 3 times this year.

That to me bodes very well for GB.

61 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

DYAR confuses me. D implies a D based adjustment, but a guy doing poorly in an important situation when the D would be keyed to what he is trying to do gives him a horrible result.

It's an oddly leveraged stat. How many replacement level RBs would be able to consistently get a yard from the 1?

89 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

In reply to by crack (not verified)

They're adjusting for the quality of the defense. It's easier to get that yard against the Lions than the Ravens.

117 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

DVOA (and DYAR) also adjust for down and distance, as well as game situation (field position, time remaining, score differential, etc.). I guess you could say that's part of the "A" in DVOA, or the "R" in DYAR -- they're taking a look at the outcome of each play in comparison to the average (or replacement-level) result of plays run in similar situations.

Chris M is correct, that the "defensive" adjustment refers to controlling for quality of opponent.

197 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

It can't be replacement level. There is no way that not getting a TD from the 1 is worth -10 made up fake yards compared to replacement level.

What replacement level back, which would be approximately the 65th best back in the league, would be expected to make a yard in that situation with any regularity? Leverage index is overwhelming replacement level.

198 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Think of it this way. Imagine a really mundane replacement back. He might get the ball into the end zone, for the sake of argument, one-seventh of the time. That's pretty bad. But it still averages to one point per attempt.

So each failed attempt to score from the 1 is worth -1 point compared to a replacement level back's per-play average. How many YAR-yards do you think equate to a point?

199 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

I'm not even sure it's relevant, since scoring a rushing touchdown from the 1 yard line is 99.99% on the offensive line. Behind a good offensive line, I'm willing to bet I score from the 1 at least 1/4 the time.

63 Re: Week 3 Quick Reads

Is there a reason you don't just go ahead and credit a QB for yards gained on DPI, rather than keep apologizing for not including it?