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Thursday, November 17, 2011

[OT] Q4 NFL Thread

So as what not to annoy the people in the “no, no, the fact that we exploit our players and refuse to cut them in on the cash except for dirty booster money makes us amateur and pristine!” thread.

Mike Vick was injured in the posting of this thread.

Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 17, 2011 at 01:08 PM | 2939 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   401. JJ1986 Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:50 PM (#4002217)
I can't believe I'm defending DeSean Jackson here, but Vince Young isn't doing his receivers any favors with the lollipops he throws over the middle.


The long dropped TD was thrown very short. Jackson had to basically stop and let the defenders reach him after he had run through them. That's mostly Young's fault.
   402. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:56 PM (#4002222)
The long dropped TD was thrown very short. Jackson had to basically stop and let the defenders reach him after he had run through them. That's mostly Young's fault.


You mean the one that went through his hands?

Anyways, that's not the one that irks Eagles fans the most, it's the alligator arms later in the game that killed any chance of him returning to our good graces.
   403. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#4002232)
The absolute best thing Tebow does, even better than his running, is to avoid turnovers. He hasn't thrown an interception (or fumbled the ball away) in four straight games now. With that Broncos defense, as long as the offense can avoid making big mistakes that give the other team a short field, they're going to win a few games.


Mike Francesa's theory on this is that Tebow is so inaccurate that he doesn't throw interceptions.

I haven't been watching enough to know whether there is merit in this. But I guess the theory is that if your receiver is at 10 o'clock and you misfire and throw it to 11 o'clock (the typical bad QB), it's going to get picked off. But if you misfire and throw it to 2 o'clock (Tebow), there's no defender there to intercept it.
   404. ColonelTom Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:02 PM (#4002234)
DeSean hasn't been the same over the middle since his concussion last year. He's definitely short-arming balls and looking over his shoulder, but I'm not convinced it's a conscious effort to protect his FA value. That doesn't excuse it - he says he's a top-5 receiver, and top-5 receivers make those catches. But I don't think he's deliberately giving a half-assed effort to catch balls in coverage.
   405. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#4002242)
It has been shown that extremely low interception rates are unsustainable. Tom Brady is the latest example as the 2010 rate was simply off the charts and 2011 is more representative of his 'normal state'.

Certainly a qb who throws less than the league norm offers fewer chances for interceptions. But the notion that a quarterback can avoid being representative of what we know to be the minimal turnover rate is just silly.

The interceptions will come. Just ask Michael Vick how things turned out over the latter part of 2010 and early 2011.

The examples are many.
   406. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:07 PM (#4002243)
Norv Turner is going to get fired at the end of this year, right? There aren't many coaches who have done less with more the way he has.


Yesterday he sat on the ball with 30 seconds to go in regulation, content to go to OT instead of trying to get into FG range. And I think he was at his own 40; it's not like he was pinned on his own 5.

There are some really good NFL coaches -- the talent distribution for NFL head coaches is MUCH wider than the talent distribution for MLB managers -- but there are too many bad coaches who don't understand the value of a possession. It's one thing to sit on the ball heading into halftime -- that is stupid and drives me crazy -- but sitting on the ball heading into OT rises the incompetence to unfathomable heights.

There was also a team yesterday that punted on the opposing team's 40. It may have been Norv. I don't see the upside there, compared to just going for it on 4th down.
   407. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:11 PM (#4002246)
You mean the one that went through his hands?


Again, Jackson had his defenders beat and had given his QB the opportunity for an easy big score. Instead, Young made it difficult by waiting such that Jackson didn't get the ball until he had stopped and was surrounded by defenders. Yes, none of the defenders actually got their hands on the ball, but they were there. Young needed to deliver his receiver the ball without all the traffic. The catch should still have been made, but ignoring the fact that Young made it that much harder is ridiculous.
   408. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:15 PM (#4002251)
but I'm not convinced it's a conscious effort to protect his FA value.


I tend to agree, but considering that Jackson has done other things to consciously protect (and in other cases harm) his FA value, it can't be easily written off.
   409. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#4002254)
The catch should still have been made, but ignoring the fact that Young made it that much harder is ridiculous.


Maybe I blacked out while typing it but I don't believe you saw me excuse Young for that throw.
   410. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#4002258)
For the record I am ambivalent on The Great Tebow Debate of aught 11.

But I do become concerned when folks appear to be propagating the notion that a qb can consistently generate an extremely low interception rate. That belief has been disproven several times.
   411. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:22 PM (#4002260)
A guy described as a game manager when it's anyone other than the polarizing Tebow.


You're the one who said he was "considerably better" than Orton, and an "average QB". If you want to lump him in with Orton/Cassel/Grossmann/Henne and other assorted game managers, go right ahead.
   412. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:24 PM (#4002265)
But I do become concerned when folks appear to be propagating the notion that a qb can consistently generate an extremely low interception rate. That belief has been disproven several times.


I believe that's probably true, which is why I've tried to confine my remarks to how Tebow has played, rather than as an assessment of how good he'll be in the future. I've said he's done a decent job managing the Bronco offense this year, performing about at an average level of quarterback. I think both of those should be pretty non-controversial, and certainly far less ridiculous than a remark about the hilarity of him starting at QB in the NFL.


You're the one who said he was "considerably better" than Orton, and an "average QB". If you want to lump him in with Orton/Cassel/Grossmann/Henne and other assorted game managers, go right ahead.
You're the one who said he was "considerably better" than Orton,


And you're the one who specifically took exception to my comment that he's done a decent job managing the Broncos offense. If you want to try to pretend otherwise, go right ahead.

I think he's played better than Orton did. You want to quibble over what constitutes considerably, knock yourself out.
   413. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#4002273)
It has been shown that extremely low interception rates are unsustainable.


It has, but Denver's offense is just so different that this could be an outlier.

As has been said before, the real test will be next season though, after teams have all off-season to evaluate film on the Broncos. The Wildcat worked great in 2008, okay in 2009, and then was nothing more than an occasional gimmick in 2010 and is now essentially out of the league. Surprise surprise, teams adjust when you give them more time to evaluate.
   414. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#4002281)
DA

Interception rate is interception rate. The actual number of interceptions will be lower given fewer passes. But the interceptions will happen.
   415. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:44 PM (#4002289)
I'm basically with Harveys on the interception issue.
   416. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:48 PM (#4002294)
Avoiding interceptions is something Tebow is extremely conscious of. If his receivers are covered, he'll just tuck the ball and run rather than force it into coverage.

He's thrown one INT in 143 passes this year, and he certainly won't keep that up. But I wouldn't be surprised if his INT rate stays fairly low throughout his career.
   417. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#4002295)
Tom

I am fine with folks stating his rate will be low relative to the league. But he is highly unlikely to be some special outlier.

Too many elements beyond his control. Passes are tipped. Receivers fall down. Weather issues.

Unless, of course, folks really are going to claim some divine intervention.

P.S.

And really, does anyone REALLY believe that Tebow is any more concerned about interceptions than any qb NOT named Favre? Really? Tim Tebow takes EXTRA SPECIAL CARE?

I really find that hard to believe.
   418. Conor Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#4002296)
Yesterday he sat on the ball with 30 seconds to go in regulation, content to go to OT instead of trying to get into FG range. And I think he was at his own 40; it's not like he was pinned on his own 5.


There was also the Jets game a few weeks ago; they ran the worst 2 minute drill I've ever seen to end the game. No urgency, throwing the ball over the middle for 5 yard gains, etc. I understand Norv isn't the QB, so he wasn't throwing the ball, but I have to think the coach has some influence there.

Didn't he also call a TO, then challenge a play, which he lost, burning 2 time outs?
   419. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#4002297)
Interception rate is interception rate. The actual number of interceptions will be lower given fewer passes. But the interceptions will happen.


Not if the game is being played differently than everyone else. For example if you had a team throwing an incredibly high percentage of screen passes, you would have a very low interception rate.

In Tebow's case, as Tom says, if the receiver isn't open he'll just tuck it and run. FWIW his INT rate in college was 1.6%.
   420. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:53 PM (#4002298)
Never mind. DA answered my question.
   421. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:57 PM (#4002301)

Denver's defense averages under each QB:

Orton: 385.8 yds, 28 points
Tebow: 329.8 yds, 20 points


Offensive points per game:

Orton: 21
Tebow: 19.3

Tebow's average is slightly skewed by the two overtime games. In regulation, it's Orton 21, Tebow 18.3.
   422. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:01 PM (#4002305)
Offensive points per game:

Orton: 21
Tebow: 19.3

Tebow's average is slightly skewed by the two overtime games. In regulation, it's Orton 21, Tebow 18.3.


Even better.
   423. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:03 PM (#4002307)
DA

Unlikely. But once the data set fleshes out we will find out what is and is not.
   424. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:17 PM (#4002318)
Unlikely. But once the data set fleshes out we will find out what is and is not.


And you base this on what exactly? Yes, a 0.7 interception percentage is likely unsustainable. Things like tipped balls and receivers falling down happen to anyone. If he attempts 20 passes next week and throws 2 INTs, he'll be at 1.8%, which is Aaron Rodgers' career rate (and is also Tebow's right now).

You're only looking at outcomes, you have to look at the process that gets you there. If Tebow is only throwing passes where the chances of an INT are slim, he's of course going to have a low percentage of INTs.

And a sub 1.0 INT percentage for a season has happened before.
   425. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:29 PM (#4002331)
DA

I am not speaking to a single season.

And I already granted that he may well be at the lower end of the curve for INT rate.

But I have a lot of doubt he will not be some special case.

Right now we don't have enough games to know anything. It's all conjecture.

We shall see.
   426. Adam M Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#4002332)
Yesterday he sat on the ball with 30 seconds to go in regulation, content to go to OT instead of trying to get into FG range. And I think he was at his own 40; it's not like he was pinned on his own 5.


Yeah, that move drove me crazy, but only because I have Vincent Jackson on my fantasy team. If I was an actual Chargers fan I would have been throwing things at the TV.

What is sad is that Norv will probably get another head coaching job despite repeated demonstrations that he is not a good coach.
   427. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:30 PM (#4002333)
DA

And I already spoke to the Brady season. And others like it. Sure they happen.
   428. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:38 PM (#4002344)
And you're the one who specifically took exception to my comment that he's done a decent job managing the Broncos offense. If you want to try to pretend otherwise, go right ahead.

I think he's played better than Orton did. You want to quibble over what constitutes considerably, knock yourself out.


I took exception to you calling him an average quarterback, and I still do, and have offered plenty of data to support that. He is comfortably outside of the top 20 by any reasonable metric that isn't "count the W's!!!".

You want to quibble over what constitutes comfortably, knock yourself out.
   429. McCoy Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#4002351)
I don't see how anyone can really call him an average QB or that he has done a decent job on offense.

The offense has been on the field basically one possession more a game but that has more to do with the defense stiffening up over the last 6 games and the defense creating turnovers. Despite having a few more minutes and not coughing the ball up as much as Orton did or as the team did overall in Orton's starts Tebow's offense is scoring less points and simply doing less. They went 5-1 for the most part because of their defense and believe the defense scored two TD off interceptions and set the Broncos up with great field position numerous times during his starts. Give Tebow Orton's defense and they wouldn't really be better over those 4 games.
   430. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#4002355)
I took exception to you calling him an average quarterback.


Then you might want to consider quoting the post you actually object to, rather than the one where I said he did a decent job managing the offense. Consider this an opportunity... (-:

And, of course, I still disagree. I think, all things considered, he's a played as an average quarterback. Whether he is one or if he's playing above his head remains to be seen.

He is comfortably outside of the top 20 by any reasonable metric that isn't "count the W's!!!".


He's 19th* in passer rating (well, he would be if he qualified). I'm sure it's not the best metric, but it isn't Count the Ws either.

* Rather than just include Tebow, I also counted John Skelton, who rates ahead of him but has thrown half as many passes.
   431. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 28, 2011 at 08:15 PM (#4002395)
Then you might want to consider quoting the post you actually object to, rather than the one where I said he did a decent job managing the offense.

I did specifically quote average quarterback from you. I didn't put it in quote tags, because I wanted to use it in a sentence. But there are quotation marks round it and everything...

He's 19th* in passer rating (well, he would be if he qualified).

And Skip Schumaker led MLB last year in SO/9, doesn't make him a good pitcher.
   432. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2011 at 08:31 PM (#4002415)
I did specifically quote average quarterback from you. I didn't put it in quote tags, because I wanted to use it in a sentence. But there are quotation marks round it and everything...


Not in the post that started the debate. I could provide a link for you, but it's on the previous page so it shouldn't be hard to find.

And Skip Schumaker led MLB last year in SO/9, doesn't make him a good pitcher.


If he doesn't qualify under the passer rating metric, then he doesn't qualify under any of them.

As it is, I included a guy who has thrown half as many passes as him as rating above him in the metric, just to avoid any kind of assertion of cherry picking. But if you're going to drop a Skip Schumaker, I guess trying to engage in an honest argument with you was a waste of my time.
   433. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 28, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#4002435)
Not in the post that started the debate. I could provide a link for you, but it's on the previous page so it shouldn't be hard to find.


True. But it does contain an explanation as to why QBR is not a good metric to evaluate Tebow with, which is why I didn't feel like repeating myself when you brought it up. Maybe you should go back and reread it.
   434. Bad Doctor Posted: November 28, 2011 at 09:42 PM (#4002467)
You're only looking at outcomes, you have to look at the process that gets you there. If Tebow is only throwing passes where the chances of an INT are slim, he's of course going to have a low percentage of INTs.

The best analogue is McNabb. From 2000 through 2009, McNabb qualified for the QB Rating leader in nine seasons. In those seasons, his interception rate was always between 1.5 and 2.4 percent, inclusive. (His one short season, he had a 2.5 interception percentage.) He was in the top 6 in the NFL in fewest interceptions 8 of those 9 seasons, and 8th in the other one. I don't know what Harvey's is picturing, but I'd call him a reliably low-turnover quarterback.

I think McNabb has always been the blueprint for Tebow. Make up for your general inaccuracy by throwing a good deep ball and taking no chances on short and medium stuff. McNabb didn't throw timing patterns and back shoulder stuff like the elite QBs, and he was famous for missing low on short throws, but the plus side of all that was he was pretty turnover proof. Also, because of his mobility, he could fall back to scrambling when pressured, rather than putting up a risky pass. I don't know if Tebow will be as accurate deep as McNabb was, but his career has taken the interesting turn in that his rushing is being actively encouraged, rather than discouraged as it was for Donovan.
   435. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#4002473)
As a mere observer, I believe Tebow has been fortunate to date in the lack of turnovers, not just interceptions but also fumbles. I have only seen three of his games and not all of those either but have already seen several passes that were possible interceptions save for circumstance. And while a big, rugged lad for a qb it's only a matter of time before the added carries/exposure results in fumbles. Nobody is fumble proof as a runner.
   436. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2011 at 10:05 PM (#4002483)
I don't know what Harvey's is picturing, but I'd call him a reliably low-turnover quarterback.


I don't think Harveys was suggesting that guys can't be low-INT QBs. Only that there is a threshold INT rate, and numbers below that simply can't be sustained. Both those positions seem pretty reasonable.
   437. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#4002485)
Post 436 is an accurate summary.
   438. stanmvp48 Posted: November 28, 2011 at 11:35 PM (#4002524)
More about SD play calling. Getting the ball into the kicker's theoretical "range" about the 34 yard line in overtime and then running three times and ending up right where they started. He is not the only coach who acts as though there is some rule against throwing in that situation. Another first down would have almost certainly one the game. I also had the feeling they were conscious of leaving denver as little time as possible if they didn't socre. Not sure that was good strategy either, given their place in the standings.
   439. Yardape Posted: November 29, 2011 at 12:25 AM (#4002547)
Didn't he also call a TO, then challenge a play, which he lost, burning 2 time outs?


Against Oakland last week, yes he did.
   440. stanmvp48 Posted: November 29, 2011 at 12:45 AM (#4002553)
"would have almost certainly one the game"

One the game? Cook you are illiterate.
   441. Srul Itza Posted: November 29, 2011 at 02:54 AM (#4002597)
Fake field goal on the first possession -- sign of confidence or lack of respect for the Giants?
   442. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 29, 2011 at 05:04 AM (#4002665)
Terrible non-reversal on that Giants challenge of the fumble. The runner's right forearm, cradling the ball, hit around the same time as he released the ball - but his left forearm hit the ground before that. He was clearly down.

I'm rooting for the Saints, but I feel bad for Scott.
   443. stanmvp48 Posted: November 29, 2011 at 05:28 AM (#4002674)
no onside kick down 18
   444. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 29, 2011 at 05:39 AM (#4002680)
Getting back to the 2-point conversion question. You're down 19. The defense is offsides, giving you a half-the-distance penalty. How the hell do you not go for 2 (and cut it to 17) in that situation?
   445. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 29, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#4002990)
Football Outsiders' QB ratings for the past week were just released. Tebow had -41 yards above replacement. And that's as a rusher, not as a passer. He actually was 42 yards over replacement as a passer.
   446. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:07 AM (#4003230)
Football Outsiders' QB ratings for the past week were just released. Tebow had -41 yards above replacement. And that's as a rusher, not as a passer. He actually was 42 yards over replacement as a passer.


And their team rankings are out, and they talk specifically about Denver. They say the defense hasn't really improved.
   447. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:19 AM (#4003234)

And their team rankings are out, and they talk specifically about Denver. They say the defense hasn't really improved.


Their formula seems to have KC having just a good a chance (31%) as the Bears (33%) and the Lions (32%) have of beating the Packers. I wonder why there's such an odd result. They only thing that makes sense is that they think the Packers have a significantly greater chance of pulling Rodgers in the last two games than in the game against KC.
   448. phredbird Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#4003237)
on the subject of interceptions, is drew brees an outlier? ever since i saw that video of him being tested for how accurate he throws, whenever i watch him on tv, it seems like he can just put the d@mn ball wherever he wants.
   449. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:22 AM (#4003238)
And their team rankings are out, and they talk specifically about Denver. They say the defense hasn't really improved.


I'd feel a lot cockier about this line in the piece:

Denver's offense has improved more than Denver's defense, and the biggest reason for the improvement really is Tim Tebow.

If it didn't come just a few inches below this:

Team Rank
HOU 1
GB 2
   450. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:25 AM (#4003240)
Their formula seems to have KC having just a good a chance (31%) as the Bears (33%) and the Lions (32%) have of beating the Packers. I wonder why there's such an odd result. They only thing that makes sense is that they think the Packers have a significantly greater chance of pulling Rodgers in the last two games than in the game against KC.


Do they have a significant talent gap between the conferences? That would go some of the way (besides HFA) toward answering your question and mine about the rankings of the top two teams.
   451. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:29 AM (#4003242)

Do they have a significant talent gap between the conferences? That would go some of the way (besides HFA) toward answering your question and mine about the rankings of the top two teams.


The NFC has won 3 more games than the AFC, but I'm not sure what it would be after adjusting for scheduling. Certainly not enough to outweigh the vast difference between KC (DVOA of -23.7%) and the Bears (21.9%) and Lions (9.3%).
   452. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:29 AM (#4003243)

Their formula seems to have KC having just a good a chance (31%) as the Bears (33%) and the Lions (32%) have of beating the Packers. I wonder why there's such an odd result. They only thing that makes sense is that they think the Packers have a significantly greater chance of pulling Rodgers in the last two games than in the game against KC.


KC is the only road game for Green Bay among those three.
   453. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:37 AM (#4003245)
KC is the only road game for Green Bay among those three.


They must have one hell of a home field advantage in that formula.
   454. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 30, 2011 at 01:52 AM (#4003252)
Green Bay's point differential is not represenative of a team that is undefeated.

The 1996 Packers had a differential of 456-200 for the season. GB has already surrendered more points in 11 games than that squad.

Sure this Packer scores more often but I am more impressed by a team that holds opponents to 12.5 games than 20. And though today's rules favor offense the 1996 team seems better to me. And the 1996 had better special teams though 2011 are pretty good.

Anyway, while I get everyone's numbers fundamentally I see this Packer team as having been a bit fortunate that things have fallen in place for an undefeated season to date. The numbers and talent base don't support that level of success.

13-3? Sure.

Quibbling? Sure

Just giving my two cents.
   455. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#4003258)
Football Outsiders' QB ratings for the past week were just released. Tebow had -41 yards above replacement. And that's as a rusher, not as a passer.

Is that metric supposed to suggest that a replacement level NFL QB would have run for over 100 yards if you gave him the carries that Tebow got last Sunday? Because if that is the claim, it seems pretty ridiculous.

I'm pretty skeptical of the value of statistical analysis with respect to individual players in the NFL context and I would think it's very hard to compare Tebow's rushing skills versus his peers because the number of NFL QBs who have run the plays that he is running (in the last 40 years) can be counted on one hand. My sense of that DYAR number is that it is treating Tebow's runs as though they were like the majority of NFL QB runs which tend to be on busted plays and probably- because of the way sacks are treated- have a higher average than running plays from a regular back (though I'm just guessing here.) Does anyone have a better understanding as to how that rushing DYAR number is being calculated?
   456. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:05 AM (#4003263)
Nobody is fumble proof as a runner.


BenJarvus Green-Ellis says hello.
   457. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:17 AM (#4003270)
Does anyone have a better understanding as to how that rushing DYAR number is being calculated?


Here's their explanation, although it's not much of an explanation.
   458. smileyy Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:26 AM (#4003277)
Sure this Packer scores more often but I am more impressed by a team that holds opponents to 12.5 games than 20.


If they're more talented than other teams on both sides of the ball, wouldn't more possessions be more likely to result in a win?
   459. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:28 AM (#4003278)
Does anyone have a better understanding as to how that rushing DYAR number is being calculated?


Without wading through that whole thing, I take it he's actually being compared to all runners.

It is worth noting that's it's above average rather than above replacement.
   460. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:31 AM (#4003279)
Green Bay's point differential is not represenative of a team that is undefeated.

The 1996 Packers had a differential of 456-200 for the season. GB has already surrendered more points in 11 games than that squad.

Sure this Packer scores more often but I am more impressed by a team that holds opponents to 12.5 games than 20. And though today's rules favor offense the 1996 team seems better to me. And the 1996 had better special teams though 2011 are pretty good.

Anyway, while I get everyone's numbers fundamentally I see this Packer team as having been a bit fortunate that things have fallen in place for an undefeated season to date. The numbers and talent base don't support that level of success.

13-3? Sure.

Quibbling? Sure

Just giving my two cents.


I wouldn't necessarily argue with any of that. But taking all that into account, I can't agree with a system that has them ranked below Houston.
   461. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:40 AM (#4003291)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis says hello.
One of those guys is going to fumble at some point.
   462. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:51 AM (#4003295)
Green Bay's point differential is not represenative of a team that is undefeated.


I don't think we have a representative sample of undefeated teams to argue what is and what isn't the correct point differential for an undefeated team. But it's not like they're sluggish in point differential. At their pace, they would be third best since 2000 - 2007 Patriots and 2001 Rams are better (Rams by 6 points, Patriots by 90+). Both lost the Super Bowl.
   463. puck Posted: November 30, 2011 at 02:58 AM (#4003303)
Does anyone have a better understanding as to how that rushing DYAR number is being calculated?


You could ask at the site. Or email Aaron Schatz, he always seemed like a nice guy to me, he'll probably answer.
   464. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:02 AM (#4003305)
I wouldn't necessarily argue with any of that. But taking all that into account, I can't agree with a system that has them ranked below Houston.


What it comes down to is whether or not you believe Green Bay has the 26th best defense in the league.
   465. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:07 AM (#4003309)

Is that metric supposed to suggest that a replacement level NFL QB would have run for over 100 yards if you gave him the carries that Tebow got last Sunday? Because if that is the claim, it seems pretty ridiculous.


It's not quite like WAR -- Tebow fumbled, for example, and that's probably worth -30 DYAR right there. In addition it's defense-adjusted, and they have San Diego as the #30 defense in the country. Note that he had 67 yards on 22 carries. Against an average defense, he'd have what, 30 yards? On 22 carries? That sounds sub-replacement to me.

The system puts a lot of value on getting first downs, converting third downs, and avoiding negative yardage plays, and Tebow did poorly on all those metrics. On the other hand, it does seem to have helped Denver running backs, so you have to consider the entirety of the team context.


It is worth noting that's it's above average rather than above replacement.


No, it's above replacement. DVOA is value above average.


Without wading through that whole thing, I take it he's actually being compared to all runners.


That's not entirely clear.
   466. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:22 AM (#4003314)

The system puts a lot of value on getting first downs, converting third downs, and avoiding negative yardage plays, and Tebow did poorly on all those metrics. On the other hand, it does seem to have helped Denver running backs, so you have to consider the entirety of the team context.


The QBR formula also puts a ton of value on not throwing interceptions.

I really haven't looked at much of the research that drives advanced stats in football, but the more I think about it, the more DVOA seems like WPA: very context dependent and much more concerned with telling us what happened, not giving us an idea of what will happen in the future.
   467. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:29 AM (#4003318)
on the subject of interceptions, is drew brees an outlier? ever since i saw that video of him being tested for how accurate he throws, whenever i watch him on tv, it seems like he can just put the d@mn ball wherever he wants.

Brees did throw 22 picks last year.

------

Is that metric (-41 rushing DYAR) supposed to suggest that a replacement level NFL QB would have run for over 100 yards if you gave him the carries that Tebow got last Sunday? Because if that is the claim, it seems pretty ridiculous.


Not really. It used to be DPAR ("P" = points), which was less confusing, since you couldn't compare it to actual yardage.

(For this exercise, I'll ignore the "D" in DYAR, which stands for "defense-adjusted".)

Someone mentioned the fumble. Turnovers are worth something like -45 yards (this goes back to The Hidden Game of Football, and studies by Burke at Advanced NFL Stats and by guys on the P-F-R blog have come up with similar figures). Fumble recoveries are 50/50, so Tebow's counts as roughly -22.5 "value" yards.

Tebow had 67 raw rushing yards. Subtract the 22.5, you're at 43.5 total. He accumulated that on 22 carries. That's slightly less than two yards of value per carry.

Now, since Tebow had -41 (D)YAR, FO is saying a replacement QB, on 22 carries, would have 84.5 yards (provided he did not fumble). This seems to make sense; that's still less than four yards per carry.

Bringing the "D" back into it, the Chargers (Tebow's opponent) have a poor rushing defense (2.8% DVOA, or 2.8% worse than an average run defense, 22nd in the league). So FO isn't even saying that a replacement, against an average defense, would have 84.5 yards.

------

With regards to the Packers' unexpectedly low DVOA rating and ranking -

FO's numbers often under-predict wins for teams with truly elite QBs (the individual QB stats are pretty accurate, though). The Manning-led Colts consistently outperformed their DVOA-derived expected wins (along with their Pythagorean wins). It's likely that, due to the time-management aspect of football, a great QB can be worth more raw wins than statistics would suggest.
   468. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 03:49 AM (#4003324)
Brees did throw 22 picks last year.


Brees made some mind boggling bad decisions for a QB of his level last year. Just in Falcons games alone he was making throws that rookies make, such as chucking the ball down the middle of the field as you are falling forward trying to escape a sack.
   469. stanmvp48 Posted: November 30, 2011 at 04:04 AM (#4003333)
GB is only + 8 yards per game this year. I realize a team with a lead is conceding yardage late in the game and not always trying to score itself; but I remember many years when the best teams are + 100YPG
   470. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:03 AM (#4003359)
OK, I understand how they arrive there. But I'm curious: Does anyone think that even before the Schaub injury, that Houston was a better team than GB?

No, it's above replacement. DVOA is value above average.


Whoops. Thanks.
   471. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:21 AM (#4003372)

FO's numbers often under-predict wins for teams with truly elite QBs (the individual QB stats are pretty accurate, though).


But how do you know that? If the numbers don't add up at the team level, why do you trust them at the individual level?

It's similar to the problem I have with WAR in baseball. (Well, one of the problems.) If WAR had more than a nodding acquaintance with actual team wins, I'd be much more inclined to trust it at the player level.
   472. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:48 AM (#4003381)
But I'm curious: Does anyone think that even before the Schaub injury, that Houston was a better team than GB?


No. I would place them behind GB, NE, Pitt, NO and would have to think about a few others. They have a great run game but there are real questions about Schaub in big games and their passing game, even with a healthy Johnson, lacks depth.

They have beaten very few good teams.
   473. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 04:36 PM (#4003556)
I like Football Outsiders, but this has seemed like a really poor year for their proprietary metrics. You have the ridiculous overrating of the Texans and Jets, the crazy odds on some of those upcoming Packers games, and it seems like every week they throw out a running back who gained something like 45 yards as one of their top rushers of the week, based on defensive adjustments or some such.

it doesn't invalidate the accuracy of their system, although this year has caused me to question it more and more. I'll say this: If this was the first year of DVOA, and they were forced to try to convince people that the Jets were almost as good as the Packers and Patriots, I think their audience would be roughly nil.
   474. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 04:59 PM (#4003578)
I don't see why people think the Jets are any good. They're +15 in point differential, and I know that number is clouded by strength of schedule and such, but you'd have a hard time convincing anyone that a really good team is +15 after 11 games. They've basically been healthy but for Tomlinson, and no team is always completely healthy.

They can't move the ball. I don't even blame Sanchez; the offensive gameplan is so conservative that he doesn't get a chance to move the ball. They won't let him throw downfield much. So he hasn't really mastered that part of the game, which means that when they're trailing late and he needs to throw downfield, it's difficult for him, AND he has to deal with prevent defenses and such.

So much of football in the NFL is gameplan. So much of it is. And I don't mean specific play calls but overall playcalling strategy (how often you throw and whether you spread out the offense and pass deep, etc.) which the head coach dictates. I would say that the head coach has at least 50% effect on the outcome of the game, equivalent to the players, just by virtue of dictating the overall strategy on offense and how conservative it is.

I actually have a theory that most of the players on the field are interchangeable except for the quarterback and elite wide receivers and runningbacks. I think any team with a good quarterback and a good head coach can win with any set of NFL-quality players beneath them. I think Brady and Belichik show this.
   475. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:05 PM (#4003584)
Another issue: Eli and the fourth quarter. If he's such a great player in the 4th quarter -- if he raises his game to a new level -- why isn't he good enough to stay out of so many 4th quarter situations to begin with? The really good QBs, like Rodgers and Brady, are blowing teams out more regularly and so are more often staying out of situations where they need a "4th quarter comeback."
   476. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#4003592)
Brees made some mind boggling bad decisions for a QB of his level last year. Just in Falcons games alone he was making throws that rookies make, such as chucking the ball down the middle of the field as you are falling forward trying to escape a sack.


Exactly. That's another reason why even the best interception rates regress; all QBs are prone to bad decision-making and having "off" days.

------

But how do you know that? If the numbers don't add up at the team level, why do you trust them at the individual level?

It's similar to the problem I have with WAR in baseball. (Well, one of the problems.) If WAR had more than a nodding acquaintance with actual team wins, I'd be much more inclined to trust it at the player level.


Fair point; I meant that individual QB ratings pass the smell test.

As it is, my overall point was that while every component of DVOA (offensive passing, offensive rushing, defensive passing, defensive rushing, special teams, etc.) at least seems accurate, the aggregate tends to underrate teams with elite QBs, at least compared to wins. I think of it as a leverage issue; the final few minutes of a game are extremely high-leverage situations, and a QB's worth becomes much more pronounced.

Perhaps a solution could be to weight offensive passing DVOA more when computing estimated wins. On that front, I sadly do not have the knowledge required to be of much use.
   477. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:12 PM (#4003597)
I actually have a theory that most of the players on the field are interchangeable except for the quarterback and elite wide receivers and runningbacks. I think any team with a good quarterback and a good head coach can win with any set of NFL-quality players beneath them. I think Brady and Belichik show this.


The Pats have top players at left tackle, left guard, nose tackle and middle linebacker, some of the most important positions on the field.
   478. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#4003609)
The Pats have top players at left tackle, left guard, nose tackle and middle linebacker, some of the most important positions on the field.


And tight end. They're pretty weak at running back, though.

I don't think it's any coincidence that Ray's non-interchangeable players all have gobs of stats at hand, so we can get a handle on how good they are. If there was a reliable number to measure a center's performance, I think you'd see as much variance as you get at other positions.
   479. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:28 PM (#4003610)
The Pats have top players at left tackle, left guard, nose tackle and middle linebacker, some of the most important positions on the field.


Football is won at the point of attack. Win the battle there and you can get by with having mediocre talent at WR, RB and even CB. You need lines that get push, a positive turnover differential, discipline with regards to penalties and good special teams.

This is why the Patriots always draft players who play along the line and rarely draft "skill" people early.
   480. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:29 PM (#4003611)
re: 474

This is why I laugh every time I see Brian Schottenheimer's name mentioned when head coaching gigs open up. He is a bad game planner, bad play caller and Sanchez hasn't developed one bit. That's a trifecta that should get you fired.

I actually have a theory that most of the players on the field are interchangeable except for the quarterback and elite wide receivers and runningbacks.


I wouldn't even include elite RB. As long as you have 2 capable ones, you're in good shape. The offensive line is more important IMO.
   481. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:33 PM (#4003614)
Now, since Tebow had -41 (D)YAR, FO is saying a replacement QB, on 22 carries, would have 84.5 yards (provided he did not fumble). This seems to make sense; that's still less than four yards per carry.


This is a breathtakingly stupid statement. It "makes sense" that a replacement QB would have 84.5 yards on 22 carries? A replacement QB who carried the ball 22 times would (a) never get 84.5 yards unless it was Vick or Newton (b) never last 22 carries without being carried off on a stretcher and (c) does not exist, since the number of other times an NFL QB has carried the ball 22 times in the last 60 years is ZERO.

What a ridiculous statement. It really captures the enormous MoE, the blackboxing, and the flawed "lets fit the stats to match the W-L results" analysis process that makes me just shake my head at how shitty the Football Outsiders analysis is. If I'd trust the advanced stats 80% and the scounts 20% w/r/t a MLB player, and 50/50 with respect to an NBA player, I think the split would be, at best, 10/90 with respect to an NFL player. I fail to see how Football Outsiders has demonstrated any value to what they do beyond a basic eyeballing of schedule and adjusting for turnovers/possessions/attempts.
   482. McCoy Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#4003617)
I believe it is a replacement RB would gain those yards and not a replacement QB. Now obviously it is still flawed in that not every play in which Tebow ran was designed so that Tebow ran the ball. The metric is still a long way off from being something one should rely on.
   483. SoSH U at work Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:41 PM (#4003622)
I wouldn't even include elite RB. As long as you have 2 capable ones, you're in good shape. The offensive line is more important IMO.


If I'm running a team, I'd give serious thought to simply running an entirely new group of rookie/second-year running backs through the roster every two years. In general, I'd prefer young legs that haven't been ground down by 16-game schedules.
   484. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:48 PM (#4003629)
If I'm running a team, I'd give serious thought to simply running an entirely new group of rookie/second-year running backs through the roster every two years. In general, I'd prefer young legs that haven't been ground down by 16-game schedules.


This works until they get the QB killed or put the ball on the ground. Fresh legs are trumped by a good offensive line and knowing how to play. If you can get fresh legs, too, that's a benefit.
   485. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#4003643)
I believe it is a replacement RB would gain those yards and not a replacement QB. Now obviously it is still flawed in that not every play in which Tebow ran was designed so that Tebow ran the ball. The metric is still a long way off from being something one should rely on.


But a replacement RB is not a QB. And Tebow being capable of handling 20 carries matters, because (a) the read option, which in theory should juice the RB's YPC if run correctly, is only viable if the QB is also a reaosnable running threat and (b) a QB can pass - and while Tebow may be below average as a passer, is is off the charts as a passer in the pool of players who can carry the ball for 20 runs in a game.

The problem with football statistical analysis is that there simply isn't enough information available to solve for a player's value quantitatively given all the independent variables that influence results.
   486. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:55 PM (#4003645)
The 1996 Packers had a differential of 456-200 for the season. GB has already surrendered more points in 11 games than that squad.

I believe that it's almost pointless to try to do this kind of comparison. Today's NFL teams are almost playing a different game than they were just 15 years ago. The current Packers don't have a good defense, but good tough defense has practically been made illegal in the game now.
   487. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 05:58 PM (#4003648)
If I'm running a team, I'd give serious thought to simply running an entirely new group of rookie/second-year running backs through the roster every two years. In general, I'd prefer young legs that haven't been ground down by 16-game schedules.


I sort of agree. I wouldn't go with a whole new stable of RBs every other year, that's overkill. You'd be spending the whole year trying to figure out who's more effective at this, who's more effective at that and so on. You want stability. One way or another you will need to replace a RB every other year or so, so I would just draft one in the 2nd/3rd/4th round alternating years. (There's no need to draft a RB in the 1st round, 2nd round is fine.) RBs are system players and they're the easiest position to plug and play, and in today's NFL the RB position has become pretty devalued.
   488. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:01 PM (#4003650)
I don't think it's any coincidence that Ray's non-interchangeable players all have gobs of stats at hand, so we can get a handle on how good they are. If there was a reliable number to measure a center's performance, I think you'd see as much variance as you get at other positions.


This is a fair point. But the elite quarterbacks tend to win consistently, year after year, no? Brady? Manning? Rodgers? Montana? Do these elite QBs, once they establish themselves, turn in 3-13 seasons? Rarely if ever.
   489. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:04 PM (#4003652)
This is a fair point. But the elite quarterbacks tend to win consistently, year after year, no? Brady? Manning? Rodgers? Montana? Do these elite QBs, once they establish themselves, turn in 3-13 seasons? Rarely if ever.


Do they win because they're an elite QB or do they land with a team ready for an elite QB? It is likely a little of both. Situation is important.
   490. smileyy Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#4003653)
In today's NFL the RB position has become pretty devalued


I completely agree, and that makes me pretty sad. I'm not sure we'll ever see the great onces that I grew up with, because that skill set isn't as valued anymore.
   491. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:06 PM (#4003654)
(c) does not exist, since the number of other times an NFL QB has carried the ball 22 times in the last 60 years is ZERO.


That's a little skewed, since Tebow was playing a five-quarter game. Through the end of regulation, he had rushed 16 times. I don't know how to find out how often a QB has carried the ball 16 times over the last 60 years, but I do know that Bobby Douglass once had 19 carries in a game. Michael Vick's career high is 15.
   492. SoSH U at work Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#4003656)
But the elite quarterbacks tend to win consistently, year after year, no?


I can't imagine anyone would argue against the value of an elite QB. But the other positions you listed are probably less indispensible. The Colts and Pats have won year after year without elite RBs, and have run out a number of non-elite WRs (and Manning and Brady likely make the ones they have look much better than they really are).
   493. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#4003657)
I also criticize NFL announcers for never pointing out any bad players, except for bad QBs. (My standard joke is "To listen to the announcers, every player in the NFL is good or above average.") Well, perhaps this is just the result of the talent gap at these positions being so narrow, with some exceptions for the really great players.
   494. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:12 PM (#4003661)
But the elite quarterbacks tend to win consistently, year after year, no?


Yes, but the quarterback is obviously the most important position on the field. They shouldn't be lumped in with running backs and wide receivers. Larry Fitzgerald might be the best WR in the game, but he can't keep Arizona from sucking.
   495. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#4003662)
I don't know how to find out how often a QB has carried the ball 16 times over the last 60 years, but I do know that Bobby Douglass once had 19 carries in a game. Michael Vick's career high is 15.


I did a P-I search of players with 10+ rushes and 5+ pass attempts in a game and the only people with 16 or more are Tebow, Bobby Douglass twice, Billy Kilmer and AFL journeyman Al Dorow.
   496. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#4003663)
This is why I laugh every time I see Brian Schottenheimer's name mentioned when head coaching gigs open up. He is a bad game planner, bad play caller and Sanchez hasn't developed one bit. That's a trifecta that should get you fired.


In fairness to Schottenheimer, I think Rex Ryan is handcuffing him. I think Ryan has instructed him to run a conservative offense that relies on screen passes and such and doesn't take many shots downfield.

I'm immediately skeptical of head coaches with a defensive-minded background, i.e., who are former defensive coordinators.

(Just learned last week that, I think it's Romeo Crennel, who has been both a defensive coordinator and an offensive coordinator. That impressed me.)
   497. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:13 PM (#4003664)
I also criticize NFL announcers for never pointing out any bad players, except for bad QBs. (My standard joke is "To listen to the announcers, every player in the NFL is good or above average.")


They point out mistakes but it's a team game. If the defensive line sucks then the corner backs get toasted. If the offensive line sucks then there are no holes. Hard to go deeper than what's on the screen without reviewing film.
   498. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:14 PM (#4003666)
Do they win because they're an elite QB or do they land with a team ready for an elite QB? It is likely a little of both. Situation is important.


That might be true initially, but they win year after year, for more than a decade, while everything around them is changing.

Think of how often Brady's team has changed around him. He wins, and turns players into stars (like Welker) simply by utilizing them a lot.
   499. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#4003667)
I'd rank positional importance something like this

QB ---> LT ---> 4-3DE/RushLinebacker ---> MLB ---> RT and C ---> NT/DT ---> WR ---> 4-3OLB/3-4Ted ---> SS ---> RB ---> G ---> 3-4DE ---> CB ---> FS
   500. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:16 PM (#4003668)
I also criticize NFL announcers for never pointing out any bad players, except for bad QBs.


All announcers in all sports do this. You never hear an announcer say "this guy has no business in the league" at least not national ones.
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