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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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   501. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:17 PM (#4003669)
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.


This is purely subjective of course, but there's nothing more boring to me than a running play. I literally push the skip-ahead button on my DVR when I'm watching on time delay.

What is absurd is that an RB breaks for a 15 yard gain, and the announcers go crazy. Meanwhile, 15 yard passes are ho hum.
   502. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#4003672)
In fairness to Schottenheimer, I think Rex Ryan is handcuffing him.


That's a fair point, but Schottenheimer was a crappy OC before Ryan. He was in NY under Mangini and the same problems were there. The year they had Favre the play calling was getting killed.

(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.)


I don't know who it was, but I know it wasn't Crennel.
   503. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:19 PM (#4003673)
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).


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.

Both of these kind of go to my point.
   504. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:21 PM (#4003675)
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.


I know people like to crap on Phillip Rivers but he's had a rotating cast of receivers for various reasons and it hasn't slowed him down. (Norv Turner on the other hand...)
   505. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:28 PM (#4003681)
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.


Tebow has been great at avoiding fumbles too.

The two driving factors of Tebow's success.

1) Denver is #5 in the NFL in TOP since Tebow took over. Under Orton, Denver was #30. TOP can be very overrated, however it is clear in this offense, Denver's opponents have had fewer plays and possessions since Tebow took over. This fact is a major contributor to the increased Denver Defense AT: "After Tebow"

2) Tebow has 2 turnovers. Another fact that has contributed to am improved Defense. I bet you can't find 3 QBs in the NFL with fewer turnovers than Tebow over his 6 starts.

-- Jason Cole of Yahoo wrote an article that featured basically one statistic to claim Tebow is winning with smoke and mirrors. Cole says NFL teams are 21-111 when scoring 20 or fewer points. No doubt this is a fact, but to simply claim that the Broncos and their unique offense are destined to become a .200% team ignores facts #1 and #2 above.

Harvey's claims there is a interception rate floor that exists, perhaps. But this doesn't negate the fact that some QBs are turnover prone and others are less prone. Tebow has demonstrated at a young age to be very protective of the football. It's likely his turnover rate increases, but it's becoming more likely Tebow really does have above average ball protection skills. Also, don't forget, because of this unique offense, Tebow can live with a higher INT rate than most, merely because his team is so run heavy. Total TO are all that matter, rate helps us know skill level and proficiency, but when it comes to games, actual TOs are what counts. This offense is geared to be less turnover prone than your typical NFL offense, this is the inherent truth to favoring run over pass.

Our understanding of football is in the stone age compared to baseball. I'd hope that people are curiously studying this and enjoying it, instead of lecturing us how this is going to fail because it won't win a Super Bowl...blah,blah,blah..

Tebow has clearly proved he belongs in the NFL as a QB, as he fits right in among that group of 50 or so NFL QBs that are utterly interchangeable parts, just behind the 5-6 elite QBs, we know their names, they are guys that just spin their wheels, never reach elite status yet get the keys to an NFL team for dozens of games. At the least I can take satisfaction in knowing this offense works too. It is actually working with weak personnel and a terrible coach of the system, that's amazing, and far exceeded what I expected.
   506. The Anthony Kennedy of BBTF (Scott) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:29 PM (#4003683)
This is why the Patriots always draft players who play along the line and rarely draft "skill" people early.


Err, no. Of the 1st and 2nd round draft picks since 2008 the Patriots have used 3 on linemen and 10 on other positions. 6 of those other 10 were DBs, of whom only 2 have thus far been any good (McCourty and Chung).
   507. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:30 PM (#4003684)
I'm immediately skeptical of head coaches with a defensive-minded background, i.e., who are former defensive coordinators.


Among the head coaches who were former defensive coordinators are Chuck Noll, Tom Landry, Don Shula, Bill Parcells, Bill Cowher, and Bill Belichick. That's an awful lot of Super Bowl victories, there.
   508. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#4003687)


This is purely subjective of course, but there's nothing more boring to me than a running play. I literally push the skip-ahead button on my DVR when I'm watching on time delay.


This is what the NFL has done to football. The NFL barely values running the ball anymore. Great run blocking lineman are passed over in the draft for several rounds. Only one team has a run based offense. The ability of NFL teams to run block simply sucks.

Watching a run based offense execute properly is great football and is great to watch. It is very difficult to coach a team team to dominate in the running game, when a team is able to do this, they are incredible. The ability to dominate is much more repeatable, just as repeatable as me picking up my morning coffee, when great running teams reach that level, nobody can stop them, the defense knows it and still can't do a thing.

Admit it, the NFL has a version of basketball on grass, where flags fly when a WR it merely bumped.

Fans that find running the football boring aren't football fans, you are an NFL fan.
   509. SoSH U at work Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:32 PM (#4003688)
I know people like to crap on Phillip Rivers


Actually, I absolutely love to crap on Phillip Rivers. He and the general manager* have made the Chargers my least favorite team.

* What can I say, I liked Marty.


I don't know who it was, but I know it wasn't Crennel.


The Eagles current defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was their offensive line coach last year. I can't think of any guys who served as coordinators on both sides of the ball, but there probably have been some.
   510. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:36 PM (#4003691)
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.

I think there's some truth to this, but it's not quite so black and white as Ray puts it (it never is).

I'd say that if you have a franchise QB and a strong offensive line or receiving corps (be that one stud WR/TE or several above-average receivers), then RB is a totally fungible position; that is, replacing the RB shouldn't have dramatic effect on your offense. Even the very, very best are much more fungible than even borderline franchise QBs; studs like Adrian Peterson(*) can be replaced and their offense doesn't totally crater, while second-tier QBs like Jay Cutler and Matt Schaub go down and their teams suffer.

On defense, the equivalent of a QB would be the DEs (in a 4-3) or NT and possibly OLBs (in a 3-4). And none of those positions are as important to a defense as a QB is to an offense. CBs are important, but have their importance diluted if the line cannot get pressure on the opposing QB.

Overall, I'd rank the positions something like this in terms of importance of top-tier players at said position:
QB
OT - DE (4-3) - NT (3-4)
WR(**) - OLB (3-4) - CB - MLB (4-3, Tampa 2 variety)
C - S - RB - DT (4-3) - DE (3-4)
G - OLB (4-3) - ILB (3-4) - TE
P - K

(*) And Peterson's a bit overrated; he's a terrible pass blocker, making him a liability in the passing game.

(**) Includes TE, if the TE is an integral part of the passing offense.
   511. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#4003694)
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


MLB overrated. CB underrated. But you have the basic flow correct. Great DE is better than LT. DT/NT more important than MLB.

In groups it's DL ---> OL ----> QB ---> LBs ---> DBs ---> Spec Teams ---> REC ---> RBs
   512. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:37 PM (#4003695)
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.


The Pat's have basically the same offense, slightly modified, as Texas Tech under Mike Leach.
   513. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#4003696)
Fans that find running the football boring aren't football fans, you are an NFL fan.


Perhaps. I'm not offended by the comment.

I know there have been rules changes that favor the passing game, but there's also the possibility that teams are coming around to the idea that a pass-heavy offense is more effective. Which I've believed for years is the case.

Running plays average 3 or 4 yards. Passing plays average double that. There are risks with the passing game (interceptions) but so too with the running game (fumbles) for less reward. It seems utterly obvious to me that a pass-heavy offense is far more effective, particularly mid-range and deep passes.

Now is where people will tell me "You need to run to set up the pass." No, as Brady showed in 2007, as Warner showed in 2001.
   514. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:41 PM (#4003697)
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.


Bill Walsh agrees. Walsh had said that other than a few elite NFL players, the next 2,500 guys are interchangeable parts, guys on the street to pro-bowlers are separated by almost nothing. Often just coaching, healthy and the right situation.

This is the primary basis for the fact that a team like Bama could beat NFL teams. 1) Bama has more elite players than the bottom teams in the NFL and 2) every Bama starter is one of the 2,500 interchangeable part.

Of course NFL honks would lose sleep over this fact.
   515. Famous Original Joe C Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#4003703)
Of course NFL honks would lose sleep over this fact.

Why do you keep saying "fact"? That's a theory, not a fact.
   516. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:45 PM (#4003704)
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.

Sure it makes sense. All the play-by-play figures know is that Tebow did get 22 carries(*). You're likely right that very few other QBs would survive that many carries, but how exactly is that supposed to be modeled? Should any carries past Tebow's fifteenth or so simply be dropped? What should they be compared to?

Football metrics are all about context. What is being said is that a QB that was able to make it to 22 carries in a game should produce about 85 yards worth of value.

Tebow being able to rush 22 times in a game is impressive. But how much value is there in those carries, if one produces a fumble and the rest result in less than four yards a pop? Especially if they are runs on third down that don't result in a first down(**)?

(*) This is actually incorrect. FO doesn't count the kneeldown as a carry, so they have him with 21.

(**) As I said before, I don't have those figures(***), so this is speculative.

EDIT: (***) From FO's Quick Reads article this week:
"Tebow had only three first downs on the ground, and only two other successful carries. Four of his runs produced negative yardage, one of those carries was fumbled, and he went 1-for-5 on third downs, including failures to convert third-and-3 and third-and-2."

Given the opportunities, FO would expect a replacement QB to convert more than one of the five third downs or have fewer than four negative yardage runs. Is that really such an outlandish belief? Hell, Caleb Hanie scrambled for two third down conversions on Sunday.
   517. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:50 PM (#4003712)
This is why the Patriots always draft players who play along the line and rarely draft "skill" people early.


Err, no. Of the 1st and 2nd round draft picks since 2008 the Patriots have used 3 on linemen and 10 on other positions. 6 of those other 10 were DBs, of whom only 2 have thus far been any good (McCourty and Chung).


Thank you for parsing out your definitions of time, space, draft picks and what a skill position is. I should've defined it as RB and WR, which they not only rarely take early but have rare success with the picks. They did take Vereen and Ridley early this past draft - 2nd and 3rd round but those were their 3rd and 4th selections.

They have had an affinity for DBs of late which without a pass rush is a waste.


Patriots Draft
   518. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:52 PM (#4003714)
Running plays average 3 or 4 yards. Passing plays average double that. There are risks with the passing game (interceptions) but so too with the running game (fumbles) for less reward.


I don't doubt that in the current NFL, passing is favored by rule and also by the fact passing allows for poor teams to have a few random outcomes that might lead to a win better than a loss.

Your point above completely white washes the risk difference between pass vs run. There is a massive risk difference. I don't know why people turn questions of frequency into yes/no. Yes, can you turnover the ball in the run just as you can in the pass? Yes. Well duh. The only question that matters is how often or likely is one turnover to occur in the run vs pass.

Every level of football, a turnover in the passing game is several times more likely per/play than the run. Also, in the passing game, your QB can get sacked and you can throw an incomplete pass. Sure your RB in the run game can get stuffed for a 7 yard loss and get stoned for 0. But at a much smaller rate. Your fumble rate is also greater in the pass vs the run. Finally, your QB is an injury risk in the pocket vs handing off.

To me, anyone can pass a little and occasionally get lucky and a weak team can have a great passing game and upset someone. Running requires true talent level and true execution, very little flukish about a solid running game and it is almost impossible for a weak running team to have a big day running.

Rules are mostly the reason the pass is favored over the run in the NFL. The NFL has had run heavy eras before, there is a cycle to much of this, but it can't be ignored rules heavily favor pass.

One final point I will make based on decades of observation Mediocre-poor teams that pass give fans false hopes much better than mediocre-poor teams that run.
   519. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:54 PM (#4003717)
This is the primary basis for the fact that a team like Bama could beat NFL teams. 1) Bama has more elite players than the bottom teams in the NFL and 2) every Bama starter is one of the 2,500 interchangeable part.


This is not a fact. It is an opinion.
   520. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:56 PM (#4003719)
Faith is a fact.
   521. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 06:58 PM (#4003727)
This is not a fact. It is an opinion.

Obviously. And I obviously enjoy watching NFL honks get frazzled. Very thin skin they have.
   522. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:06 PM (#4003739)
The Eagles current defensive coordinator Juan Castillo was their offensive line coach last year. I can't think of any guys who served as coordinators on both sides of the ball, but there probably have been some.


And he's ####### terrible.

Mike Nolan, an excellent DC, was a WR coach for a year because Brian Billick wanted him on his staff and knew he'd have an opening the following year. There have been some, there's a college HC who did both but I can't remember who. Maybe I'm thinking of Rich Rodriguez, who started off as a defensive coach, but I want to say there's someone else too.
   523. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:07 PM (#4003741)
Bama would probably lose to the Colts by something like 56-0, but don't let that fact frazzle you.
   524. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:12 PM (#4003749)
I appreciate the feedback on my earlier question and understanding the loss of DYAR due to fumbling does reasonably explain why Tebow's rushing value would have been quite a bit lower than I would have suspected.

However, this statement "What is being said is that a QB that was able to make it to 22 carries in a game should produce about 85 yards worth of value," just doesn't wash for me. First, I highly doubt that it is actually true. But what's much more important analytically, is that the statement is entirely speculative. I just don't see how a metric that doesn't admit that it can't reasonably gauge what Tebow is doing can be trusted. There simply isn't a sufficient sample from which to determine a reasonable replacement value for a QB running the type of plays that Tebow is running.

It's almost as if a baseball manager had his second basemen pitch to the first hitter in every inning- you could theorize as to what value a replacement level P*2B hybrid player should provide, but you couldn't pretend to provide a legitimate replacement value for the position. The replacement value of that position- like the option NFL QB- is simply unknowable with the data we currently have.
   525. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:15 PM (#4003758)
Obviously. And I obviously enjoy watching NFL honks get frazzled.


Yes, we know you're a troll. Why anybody bothers to respond to your nonsense, I have no idea, however.
   526. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:21 PM (#4003760)
It's almost as if a baseball manager had his second basemen pitch to the first hitter in every inning- you could theorize as to what value a replacement level P*2B hybrid player should provide, but you couldn't pretend to provide a legitimate replacement value for the position. The replacement value of that position- like the option NFL QB- is simply unknowable with the data we currently have.


The problem is that there is no reason to compare your P2B to a replacement P2B. When the alternative is to have an actual pitcher, he should get compared to replacement level pitchers when pitching. You don't have to compare Tebow to some mythical construct, in fact you shouldn't. He is an NFL QB, he should be compared to other actual NFL QB's and the value they provide.
   527. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:21 PM (#4003761)
Given the opportunities, FO would expect a replacement QB to convert more than one of the five third downs or have fewer than four negative yardage runs. Is that really such an outlandish belief? Hell, Caleb Hanie scrambled for two third down conversions on Sunday.


I think that they're arguing that there is a difference between a scramble and a called run play. Scrambles often result in larger gains because the QB is usually past the DL and the LBs are back several yards. Find a hole in them and you can get 6+ yards fairly easily.
   528. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:34 PM (#4003775)
He is an NFL QB, he should be compared to other actual NFL QB's and the value they provide.

How much value are NFL QBs supposed to provide when they carry the ball 20 times a game? And how does one arrive at that number?

If the metric just gave a QB value (yards per snap let's say) that would be one thing and your comparison would work. But its breaking QB play down into passing value and rushing value. It's that rushing value that I'm questioning. I don't see how it's possible to calculate a legitimate baseline.
   529. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:41 PM (#4003789)
However, this statement "What is being said is that a QB that was able to make it to 22 carries in a game should produce about 85 yards worth of value," just doesn't wash for me. First, I highly doubt that it is actually true. But what's much more important analytically, is that the statement is entirely speculative. I just don't see how a metric that doesn't admit that it can't reasonably gauge what Tebow is doing can be trusted. There simply isn't a sufficient sample from which to determine a reasonable replacement value for a QB running the type of plays that Tebow is running.

Well, that's certainly true. I'm not sure that FO has declared with any level of certainty that the know how to guage Tebow's value. I'm not sure anyone does, really. We're all simply speculating what he brings to the table, since there hasn't been an NFL QB like him in decades.

------

How much value are NFL QBs supposed to provide when they carry the ball 20 times a game? And how does one arrive at that number?

That's a great question. And nobody really knows. All FO can do, for now, is extrapolate the value previous QBs have had per carry to a 20-carry game. That's probably not entirely correct.

I actually think FO should break up their Quick Reads into a passing, rushing, and receiving section. Tebow's rushing yards should get compared to other rushers, not other QB's who have rushed. A yard, first down, or touchdown gained rushing is essentially the same if it comes from a RB, QB, WR, or nose tackle. Why would it be wrong to compare Tebow's 22 carries to 22 carries by Michael Turner, or Mark Ingram, or Shonn Greene?

EDIT:
I think that they're arguing that there is a difference between a scramble and a called run play. Scrambles often result in larger gains because the QB is usually past the DL and the LBs are back several yards. Find a hole in them and you can get 6+ yards fairly easily.

This is kind of what I'm getting at, I think. Tebow's rushing yards, as a QB, are inherently different from most QBs' rushing yards, since they're coming on more designed runs. So why not compare him to RBs? (And FO *might* be doing this; I'm not sure if the baselines for QB runs are different than RB runs.)

So in that sense, if a RB got 21 carries, and wound up with 67 yards, three first downs, and a fumble, would you really call that an above-replacement day?
   530. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#4003791)
Why would it be wrong to compare Tebow's 22 carries to 22 carries by Michael Turner, or Mark Ingram, or Shonn Greene?


Because none of those carries were scrambles.
   531. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:44 PM (#4003793)
If the metric just gave a QB value (yards per snap let's say) that would be one thing and your comparison would work. But its breaking QB play down into passing value and rushing value. It's that rushing value that I'm questioning. I don't see how it's possible to calculate a legitimate baseline


If you treat every single rush as an individual rush, it is. When talking about value added, it doesn't matter that he's rushing way more than another quarterback and that it has potential to alter the value as he adds on rushes. Think of it like a pitcher: when talking about value added, we don't adjust a starter's 8th inning so it has less effect than his 1st.
   532. smileyy Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:47 PM (#4003795)
This is purely subjective of course, but there's nothing more boring to me than a running play.


The great running backs (likely aided by great lines and offenses that stretched the field) were really compelling to watch -- Emmitt Smith (as much as I hated the Cowboys), Terrell Davis. When you could see a guy grinding 4-6 yards a carry (and occasionally breaking one) and making an unstoppable offense...that was compelling in its own way.

There's also the possibility that teams are coming around to the idea that a pass-heavy offense is more effective


I believe this to be true, too. Which doesn't mean that I have to like it.

OTOH, watching _bad_ run-based football is probably even worse than watching bad pass-based football.
   533. SoSH U at work Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#4003797)
Well, that's certainly true. I'm not sure that FO has declared with any level of certainty that the know how to guage Tebow's value. I'm not sure anyone does, really. We're all simply speculating what he brings to the table, since there hasn't been an NFL QB like him in decades.


It's interesting in that piece linked from FO, they determined that the Broncos' improvement is primarily the result of Tebow, specifically because his addition to the lineup, and the running threat he presents, has been the main catalyst for the team's overall improvement running the ball.

It does illustrate the difficulty of evaluating players in a sport where performance is so interwoven with and dependent on the other members of the team.
   534. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#4003801)
Because none of those carries were scrambles.

True. So the options are:
a) Go through every single rushing attempt by Tebow, classify it as a scramble or a designed rush, and compare it to the relevant baseline;
b) Treat every carry as a scramble, and compare to the QB baseline;
c) Treat every carry as a designed rush, and compare to the RB/WR baseline.

Option (a) is probably the best, but also logistically a nightmare for stats that are published on Tuesday morning. Options (b) and (c) have the same flaws.

And all this assumes there are different rushing baselines for QB and RB/WR runs. And if there should be. I go back and forth.

If we purely want to measure the value of a play, there should be only one baseline. After all, an eight-yard run on third and ten has the same value no matter who the player was. On the other hand, if we want to compare Tebow to other QBs, we should only use runs by QBs.

Really, Tebow causes these problems because there's no one else like him in the sample. At the moment, he's a great example of an outlier to FO's methods.
   535. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:51 PM (#4003803)
"You're likely right that very few other QBs would survive that many carries, but how exactly is that supposed to be modeled? Should any carries past Tebow's fifteenth or so simply be dropped? What should they be compared to?"


Nothing. Sometimes you don't have enough data to reach a quantitative conclusion. The correct answer is "Insufficient Data" not "random speculative number pulled out of our ass that we will treat as if it has basis in fact"

"Football metrics are all about context. What is being said is that a QB that was able to make it to 22 carries in a game should produce about 85 yards worth of value."

And what I am saying is that there is no way to no what the QB "should" produce if the sample size of QBs with similar numbers of carries can be counted on one hand. Comparing a QB's rushing production to either (a) RBs, who can't pass or (b) other QBs, who may run one designed run play every 3 games, is simply speculation. The MoE in the number they spit out for Tebow is unconstrained but certainly enormous. That number adds no information in assessing his value.

"Given the opportunities, FO would expect a replacement QB to convert more than one of the five third downs or have fewer than four negative yardage runs. Is that really such an outlandish belief? Hell, Caleb Hanie scrambled for two third down conversions on Sunday."

It's not outlandish, but there's no way to know if its true or not. Particularly if Denver was running option, its impossible to assess Tebow's running in a vacuum without considering his effect on the RB's running. And there's a huge difference b/w scrambling for a first down on a designed pass play and rushing for a first down on a designed run.

Football Outsiders producers numbers - to the tenths place! - with no attempt to estimate margin of error, without fully revealing the calculations underlying the numbers, and without demonstrating the validity of the underlying principles (to the extent we know what those are) supporting the numbers. It's basically a whole brand built around the football equivalent of "Joe, Derek Jeter is hitting .325 on 2 and 2 counts" "That proves he's a great two-strike hitter, Tim".
   536. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 07:57 PM (#4003805)
Option (a) is probably the best, but also logistically a nightmare for stats that are published on Tuesday morning.


This could be easily separated. The play by play data indicates a rush or a scramble.
   537. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:00 PM (#4003808)
'zop:

I'm not sure why you're so adamant. I don't believe anyone here is taking FO's numbers as gospel.

Generally, they pass the smell test. There are weird results, of course, so it's important to realize that you can't blindly take their numbers and draw concrete conclusions. You have to use them as one input of a player or team's value, along with other figures and your own observations.

Personally, I would expect that a QB(*) who was able to withstand 21 carries in a game should produce more yardage and value than Tebow did against San Diego. In fact, Tebow himself has produced more on fewer carries in other games. The Chargers game was far from his best rushing performance of the year. From what I've gathered, the Chargers specifically focused on containing his rushing, forcing him to beat them with his arm; and it appears he did just enough on that front to win the game. It will be interesting to see how defenses gameplan against him moving forward. The Jets are a good defense, and had bottled him up quite well until his final drive, when they appeared to stop trying to contain his scrambling.

Will other teams continue the Chargers' strategy? Teams with better secondaries, that will stifle his passing? Or will he improve as a passer and burn those teams? It's certainly compelling, and anyone who makes predictions with any certainty is probably full of ####.

(*) And frankly, QBs that can carry the ball 21 times a game, many as designed runs, are really a re-definition of the position. They should be compared to other QB-RB hybrids.
   538. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#4003810)
If you treat every single rush as an individual rush, it is. When talking about value added, it doesn't matter that he's rushing way more than another quarterback and that it has potential to alter the value as he adds on rushes. Think of it like a pitcher: when talking about value added, we don't adjust a starter's 8th inning so it has less effect than his 1st.

Focusing on volume (the number of carries) wasn't the best way to make my point. Whether it's 1 carry or 20 carries, the Tebow carries are qualitatively different than most NFL QB carries. Very seldom do NFL QBs have planned runs. They very rarely run except on sneaks or busted plays. As such, we just don't have any real way of determining how many rushing yards Tebow should have gotten. We don't have the data to do it.

I do think "volume" in the football context can be much more valuable than it is in the baseball context and should probably be treated differently, but that's a separate issue.
   539. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#4003813)
It's interesting in that piece linked from FO, they determined that the Broncos' improvement is primarily the result of Tebow, specifically because his addition to the lineup, and the running threat he presents, has been the main catalyst for the team's overall improvement running the ball.


Well, "determined" isn't the word I would use. "Speculated" is more like it. As has been noted here, the Bronco defense is allowing significantly fewer points since Tebow took over, and the offense isn't scoring any more. That's not conclusive evidence of anything, but neither is ferreting out subtle changes in DVOA.

The other thing I would say is: Shouldn't any adept QB improve the team's running game? If you added Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers to the Bronco offense, they'd likely improve the rushing attack as well, just because teams would have to be so much more focused on defending against the passing game. But I don't know that FO would give those guys extra credit for that.
   540. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#4003814)
Focusing on volume (the number of carries) wasn't the best way to make my point. Whether it's 1 carry or 20 carries, the Tebow carries are qualitatively different than most NFL QB carries. Very seldom do NFL QBs have planned runs. They very rarely run except on sneaks or busted plays. As such, we just don't have any real way of determining how many rushing yards Tebow should have gotten. We don't have the data to do it.


We have the Michael Vick's of the world to draw from. I know it's qualitatively different than the option, but it's the best we've got.


I do think "volume" in the football context can be much more valuable than it is in the baseball context and should probably be treated differently, but that's a separate issue.


I agree, but I don't think the difference is that much.
   541. Eddo Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:05 PM (#4003818)
Focusing on volume (the number of carries) wasn't the best way to make my point. Whether it's 1 carry or 20 carries, the Tebow carries are qualitatively different than most NFL QB carries. Very seldom do NFL QBs have planned runs. They very rarely run except on sneaks or busted plays. As such, we just don't have any real way of determining how many rushing yards Tebow should have gotten. We don't have the data to do it.

So why not compare his runs to RB runs? Or at least the designed runs. The expectation for a RB run on first-and-ten should be the same for a designed Tebow run, shouldn't it?
   542. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:09 PM (#4003821)
As has been noted here, the Bronco defense is allowing significantly fewer points since Tebow took over, and the offense isn't scoring any more.


But FO is saying that despite allowing fewer points, the defense isn't playing any better than before.
   543. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:11 PM (#4003823)

But FO is saying that despite allowing fewer points, the defense isn't playing any better than before.


They're saying the defense is playing better but that it pales in comparison to the improvement in the offense.
   544. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:12 PM (#4003825)
From what I've gathered, the Chargers specifically focused on containing his rushing, forcing him to beat them with his arm; and it appears he did just enough on that front to win the game. It will be interesting to see how defenses gameplan against him moving forward.


The Bears game in 2 weeks will be another good litmus test. They have the players and coaching to game plan and execute a defense that can stop the Broncos. Of course saying and doing are two different things.

The following week will be Tebow vs Brady, the whole week leading up will have talking heads wetting themselves in anticipation.
   545. Bad Doctor Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:12 PM (#4003826)
However, this statement "What is being said is that a QB that was able to make it to 22 carries in a game should produce about 85 yards worth of value," just doesn't wash for me.

I don't think they really say that. I think they look at every single one of those runs, the down and distance, the opponent, and then gauge how productive it was. Although their write-up on Tebow's Week 12 gives the DYAR, and the numbers go into his DVOA, it's telling that the comment on his entry dealt more with success rate -- i.e., if you don't convert a 3rd and 2 and a 3rd and 3, that's really bad, regardless of what type of play was called.

Football Outsiders producers numbers - to the tenths place! - with no attempt to estimate margin of error, without fully revealing the calculations underlying the numbers, and without demonstrating the validity of the underlying principles (to the extent we know what those are) supporting the numbers. It's basically a whole brand built around the football equivalent of "Joe, Derek Jeter is hitting .325 on 2 and 2 counts" "That proves he's a great two-strike hitter, Tim".

FO in its early days was pretty open source about the calculation and baselines, you might even be able to still find it on the site somewhere. I don't re-read the statistical toolbox in the annual every year anymore, but I know they have traditionally had a very prominent disclaimer in the discussion of the stats that says something like, "DYAR doesn't mean we estimate that Lesean McCoy was worth 1,200 yards in 2010. It means that we estimate that Lesean McCoy, with the Eagles' line blocking for him, with Michael Vick drawing the defense's attention, with DeSean Jackson keeping a safety out of the box, with Andy Reid calling the plays, etc. was worth 1,200 yards in 2010." You have to take context into account to get anywhere with NFL numbers, but that doesn't mean that FO thinks it has all the context taken into account and that its numbers are foolproof. (Now, it has been a pretty bad year for them on matters that their writers/commenters -- including myself in that latter category for some of these, unfortunately -- have tended to be pretty absolute about: e.g., Stafford, Newton, Tebow, Pierre Paul.)
   546. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:14 PM (#4003829)
They're saying the defense is playing better but that it pales in comparison to the improvement in the offense.


"If we look at the Denver Broncos defensive numbers before and after Tim Tebow took over in Week 7, we see almost no difference"
   547. ?Donde esta Dagoberto Campaneris? Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:16 PM (#4003832)
The expectation for a RB run on first-and-ten should be the same for a designed Tebow run, shouldn't it?

I would probably disagree, but I guess my point is that if you have to put a question mark at the end of your sentence, you don't have a metric that is worth much.

I don't mean to dump on the FO numbers. My sense of NFL statistical analysis of individual players is that, much like baseball defense, it's going to require a substantial increase in the data we take down on each play before we can do much of anything valuable with it. And, currently, FO seems to be doing the best they can with what we've got- I appreciate that effort.

I am a bit uncomfortable however when people put numbers on things when they probably don't have enough information to reasonably do so. And I think in the Tebow context- with respect to his running- that's basically what they are doing. I'm not outraged or anything, I just think it's a dubious use of statistics. It's not a capital offense, but perhaps some light flogging would be appropriate.
   548. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:17 PM (#4003834)
"If we look at the Denver Broncos defensive numbers before and after Tim Tebow took over in Week 7, we see almost no difference"


Now, part of the reason why there's no difference is that the Broncos got clobbered by Detroit 45-10 back in Week 8. So what if we set the line after that game instead of after six weeks? Well, now we see a little bit of improvement, but still nowhere near as much as you might expect.
DEN defense Total Rk Pass Rk Run Rk
Weeks 1-8 8.3% 21 19.5% 25 -4.4% 14
Weeks 9-12 2.1% 15 10.4% 20 -8.1% 14
   549. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:20 PM (#4003838)
Now, part of the reason why there's no difference is that the Broncos got clobbered by Detroit 45-10 back in Week 8. So what if we set the line after that game instead of after six weeks?


Yes I saw that part too, and I don't care for it. Everyone looks better when you take their worst game out of the evaluation.
   550. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:24 PM (#4003841)

Yes I saw that part too, and I don't care for it. Everyone looks better when you take their worst game out of the evaluation.


It's also an outlier at more than 2.5 SDs from the mean of the last 6 games.
   551. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:30 PM (#4003844)

But FO is saying that despite allowing fewer points, the defense isn't playing any better than before.


I'm aware of that; I'm saying I don't necessarily trust their metrics, especially when there are other metrics that say differently. I believe the Denver defense hasn't improved in recent weeks to the same extent that I believe the Texans are better than the Packers.

It is a fact that the Denver defense has allowed fewer points per game since Tebow took over, and that the Denver offense has scored fewer. It is not a fact that "the defense isn't playing any better": it is well-informed speculation.
   552. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#4003848)
Bill Walsh agrees. Walsh had said that other than a few elite NFL players, the next 2,500 guys are interchangeable parts, guys on the street to pro-bowlers are separated by almost nothing. Often just coaching, healthy and the right situation.


Yes. I think you take Brady/Belichik and put them on any team in the NFL and that team will win 11-13 games.

Don't the Colts this year basically show this in reverse? Without Manning they were nothing.
   553. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:34 PM (#4003850)
Your point above completely white washes the risk difference between pass vs run. There is a massive risk difference. I don't know why people turn questions of frequency into yes/no. Yes, can you turnover the ball in the run just as you can in the pass? Yes. Well duh. The only question that matters is how often or likely is one turnover to occur in the run vs pass.

Every level of football, a turnover in the passing game is several times more likely per/play than the run. Also, in the passing game, your QB can get sacked and you can throw an incomplete pass. Sure your RB in the run game can get stuffed for a 7 yard loss and get stoned for 0. But at a much smaller rate. Your fumble rate is also greater in the pass vs the run. Finally, your QB is an injury risk in the pocket vs handing off.


Don't forget, though, that when you turn the ball over throwing deep passes, it becomes the equivalent of a punt.
   554. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:42 PM (#4003858)
Don't the Colts this year basically show this in reverse? Without Manning they were nothing.


I'd agree but the 2010 Colts were showing their age already. With Manning this was a team which might have struggled to make the playoffs.

The Patriots didn't fall apart without Brady. The Steelers didn't fall apart without Ben.
   555. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:46 PM (#4003865)

Yes. I think you take Brady/Belichik and put them on any team in the NFL and that team will win 11-13 games.


I think that's right, but in large part, it's right because of Belichick's ability to identify talent. The Patriots don't win because Belichick is so brilliant at the X's and O's; the Patriots win because Belichick is able to tell who can play and who can't.

The point is, any team that hires Belichick will no longer have a random collection of NFL-quality players. They'll have a team that's made up of guys who are better than that.
   556. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:49 PM (#4003870)
I'm aware of that; I'm saying I don't necessarily trust their metrics, especially when there are other metrics that say differently. I believe the Denver defense hasn't improved in recent weeks to the same extent that I believe the Texans are better than the Packers.


I'm actually with you on this. My post was speaking specifically to what FO was saying about the offense and the defense, I should have made that clear.
   557. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:52 PM (#4003872)
I think that's right, but in large part, it's right because of Belichick's ability to identify talent.


It's because of Belichick's ability to coach. Belichick the GM (and thus talent evaluator) is pretty bad. Mayo and Arrington are the only starters in their back 7 work anything. Coaches as GMs never works.
   558. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:57 PM (#4003881)
Don't the Colts this year basically show this in reverse? Without Manning they were nothing.

I'd agree but the 2010 Colts were showing their age already. With Manning this was a team which might have struggled to make the playoffs.


I don't think they make the playoffs. That defense is atrocious.
   559. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#4003886)
I think that's right, but in large part, it's right because of Belichick's ability to identify talent. The Patriots don't win because Belichick is so brilliant at the X's and O's; the Patriots win because Belichick is able to tell who can play and who can't.


And I disagree, because (as I said) I believe the talent is interchangeable. The Patriots win because Belichik has Brady and helps/allows Brady to do his thing.

I will agree with you in one respect regarding Belichik's ability to identify talent: He identified that Brady was better than Bledsoe (if not great), and actively kept Brady as his starting quarterback even after Bledsoe had returned from the Moe Green injury. I give Belichik full credit for that. (And, as I said, for helping/letting Brady do his thing free of restrictions.)

Was Belichik considered a great coach before he inserted Brady as his starting QB? It's like Torre with the Yankees.
   560. Nasty Nate Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:01 PM (#4003889)
Don't forget, though, that when you turn the ball over throwing deep passes, it becomes the equivalent of a punt.


I think interceptions run back for touchdowns are much more common than the long interception-that-serves-as-a-punt.
   561. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:02 PM (#4003891)
There's also the possibility that teams are coming around to the idea that a pass-heavy offense is more effective


I suspect we're close to seeing that pendulum start swinging back toward running the ball more, in much the same way we've seen a swing back to "traditional" baseball in MLB. That's not to say the passing game is going to disappear, but I think it's at the end of the elasticity curve right now and about to contract.

With that said, the baseball analogy doesn't hold particularly well, because the NFL continues to tweak its rules to create a more QB/pass friendly game. If MLB were to decide to award 1B on three balls instead of four the reversion to "little ball" wouldn't be nearly so great these days.
   562. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:05 PM (#4003893)
And I disagree, because (as I said) I believe the talent is interchangeable.


Do you think Nick Mangold and Colin Baxter are interchangeable?
   563. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:06 PM (#4003895)
And I disagree, because (as I said) I believe the talent is interchangeable. The Patriots win because Belichik has Brady and helps/allows Brady to do his thing.


They won with Cassell, too.
   564. SoSH U at work Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:08 PM (#4003900)
With that said, the baseball analogy doesn't hold particularly well, because the NFL continues to tweak its rules to create a more QB/pass friendly game. If MLB were to decide to award 1B on three balls instead of four the reversion to "little ball" wouldn't be nearly so great these days.


Exactly. There's nothing inherently superior to throwing the ball vs. running the ball. Through its modification of the rules, the NFL has made passing a far more effective way of moving the ball. I wish they'd reverse this, not because I love a run-based attack, but I prefer when there are multiple ways to play winning football (in much the same way I prefer when baseball isn't tilted too heavily toward TTO style ball).
   565. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:10 PM (#4003903)
And what I am saying is that there is no way to no what the QB "should" produce if the sample size of QBs with similar numbers of carries can be counted on one hand. Comparing a QB's rushing production to either (a) RBs, who can't pass or (b) other QBs, who may run one designed run play every 3 games, is simply speculation. The MoE in the number they spit out for Tebow is unconstrained but certainly enormous. That number adds no information in assessing his value.


It doesn't matter what he "should" produce in that exact same context. That misses the point. Tebow had 22 carries for 67 yards and a fumble. If the replacement can hand the ball off for a better average result, or drop back and chuck it for a better result in those 22 snaps, then it's below replacement.

You are essentially asking to take runs off the board because the guys a submariner, and it's unfair to compare him to overhead pitchers.
   566. Joey B. Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#4003904)
This is the primary basis for the fact that a team like Bama could beat NFL teams. 1) Bama has more elite players than the bottom teams in the NFL and 2) every Bama starter is one of the 2,500 interchangeable part.

I think you're nuts. A couple of years ago, Mark Ingram became the first 'Bama player to ever win the Heisman. Well, he's the freaking #3 running back on the current Saints depth chart.

In any given season, even the best college football teams usually only have a few guys who are ready to even make an NFL roster, much less start. Last year I believe that Alabama had five players drafted, and Auburn four. There are years when teams like some of the great Miami Hurricanes teams might have as many as eight guys drafted, but even then, not all of them are ever good enough to start right away.

Any NFL offensive line or defensive line would absolutely decimate a college offensive or defensive line across the ball from them. And even the bad NFL offensive teams would quickly identify the weak spot on a college defense and tear it apart.
   567. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:11 PM (#4003905)
I suspect we're close to seeing that pendulum start swinging back toward running the ball more


Based on what? 2011 has the lowest rushing attempts per game in the last 20 years, probably more but I stopped looking beyond 1991.
   568. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:12 PM (#4003908)
Bama would probably lose to the Colts by something like 56-0, but don't let that fact frazzle you.


Wow, the guy that wrote this doesn't know a lick about football.
   569. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:12 PM (#4003909)
Do you think Nick Mangold and Colin Baxter are interchangeable?


And the Colts offense struggled with Jeff Saturday not in the lineup.
   570. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:14 PM (#4003910)
Based on what?


Just gut instinct, which is notoriously prone to be plain wrong. Also, I'm a Falcons fan, so I see a lot more running than many folks would, probably.
   571. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:16 PM (#4003913)
And the Colts offense struggled with Jeff Saturday not in the lineup.


I think a good portion of the Falcons' early season struggles in 2011 was due to the absence of Todd McLure.
   572. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:20 PM (#4003919)
The great running backs (likely aided by great lines and offenses that stretched the field) were really compelling to watch -- Emmitt Smith (as much as I hated the Cowboys), Terrell Davis. When you could see a guy grinding 4-6 yards a carry (and occasionally breaking one) and making an unstoppable offense...that was compelling in its own way.

Absolutely.
I've never paid much attention to football, but I used to love watching Earl Campbell beat up an entire defensive squad, week after week.
   573. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:23 PM (#4003922)
Wow, the guy that wrote this doesn't know a lick about football.


Eh, probably, but still more than you.
   574. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#4003924)
Just gut instinct, which is notoriously prone to be plain wrong.


It is. Teams are passing the ball more and running the ball less than in recent years. (The only seasons that come close or exceed 2011 levels are 2002 and 1995, both expansion years.) Three QBs are on pace to break Dan Marino's yardage record. Could this be an outlier? Sure, but the numbers have been trending that way:

2011: 34.2 pass, 27.1 rush
2010: 33.7 pass, 27.2 rush
2009: 33.3 pass, 27.5 rush
2008: 32.3 pass, 27.6 rush
   575. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:27 PM (#4003926)
That's fair (@574.) In my slight defense, I'll note that I said "we're close to seeing that pendulum start swinging back" and close to the end of the elasticity curve.
   576. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:28 PM (#4003927)
It is. Teams are passing the ball more and running the ball less than in recent years. (The only seasons that come close or exceed 2011 levels are 2002 and 1995, both expansion years.) Three QBs are on pace to break Dan Marino's yardage record. Could this be an outlier? Sure, but the numbers have been trending that way:

2011: 34.2 pass, 27.1 rush
2010: 33.7 pass, 27.2 rush
2009: 33.3 pass, 27.5 rush
2008: 32.3 pass, 27.6 rush


As the rules have opened up passing and as High Schools and Colleges develop better passing games, passing's taken off. Not only in attempts but also in success. Only a rule change or a new defensive scheme will turn things back.
   577. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:30 PM (#4003929)
Do you think Nick Mangold and Colin Baxter are interchangeable?


Yes.

EDIT: Er, I don't know who Colin Baxter is. Assuming he has NFL talent (he can play in the NFL), then, yes.
   578. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:31 PM (#4003930)
Is there any way to break those stats @574 out into three data sets: runs, screens and downfield passing? Again, just on basic gut, it seems there are a LOT more screens being thrown these days, especially the WR hitches where the wide out just sits down and what's basically a long lateral from the QB who doesn't even drop back into the pocket. I know those are technically "passes" but I think they're more properly considered a spread-option run play built for the NFL.
   579. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:33 PM (#4003932)
I can't comment on the Bama - Colts issue, since I don't watch college football. My suspicion is that Tom is correct that the 2011 Colts would destroy Bama, all else being equal, and that's what my friends who watch both sports would tell me.

When I speak of interchangeable parts, I am talking about players who have the talent to play in the NFL. I suspect broad swathes of the Bama team do not.
   580. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:33 PM (#4003933)
Only a rule change or a new defensive scheme will turn things back.


I expect what rules changes we see in the near future will actually expand the passing game, as that would move the game out of the high-concussion danger zone a tad bit.
   581. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:37 PM (#4003935)

I think you're nuts. A couple of years ago, Mark Ingram became the first 'Bama player to ever win the Heisman. Well, he's the freaking #3 running back on the current Saints depth chart.

In any given season, even the best college football teams usually only have a few guys who are ready to even make an NFL roster, much less start. Last year I believe that Alabama had five players drafted, and Auburn four. There are years when teams like some of the great Miami Hurricanes teams might have as many as eight guys drafted, but even then, not all of them are ever good enough to start right away.

Any NFL offensive line or defensive line would absolutely decimate a college offensive or defensive line across the ball from them. And even the bad NFL offensive teams would quickly identify the weak spot on a college defense and tear it apart.


I love getting NFL honks to regurgitate stuff like this. It's about as uninformed and stupid as when baseball was ruled by scouts chomping a cigar talking about hustle. Repeating what others say doesn't make it true.

Clemson has a true Frosh WR that would start for 20 NFL teams today. South Carolina has a true Frosh DE that would start for half the league. Neither of these guys are draft eligible. Honey Badger is the best LSU defender, not draft eligible.

Supreme college teams collect more elite talent than NFL teams. The NFL has a draft, rules that make it really, really hard to get more than just a few elite players on one team. The Colts have a garbage roster. Bama has more elite players. The Colts would love to turn their roster over and cut a few dozen of those guys, guys that probably will never play again.

I'm very sensitive to exaggeration when debating people. Mark Ingram you claim was the #3 RB on NO. That's a baldfaced lie. He leads NO in rushing yardage and attempts and TDs. Why lie? What's the deal with that? You know google exists right? Why can't you just say he is mediocre? FYI: the Bama people would have told you Ingram was their 2nd best RB in 2009 the year he won the Heisman. So there is that.

NFL people are very sensitive people. I'm attacking their heroes. I get it. Fact is, the gap between NFL and its next level down is the smallest in major America sport. Every year NFL is dominated by guys in their first professional season in ways that just don't happen in MLB or NHL ever, and seldom in the NBA.

Look at the Bengals, 1st year professionals at QB and WR replace NFL multiple year vets, "studs", now finally the Bengals are headed to the playoffs? What, 1 playoff appearance in 20 years? Patrick Peterson setting NFL records, not even week 13 yet. Von Miller best player on Denver....by a mile. Every year is like this.

Wisconsin has 3 drafted lineman, all won starting jobs, even the 7th rd pick.

In case you missed it, football is a young mans game, younger players are better players. Thanks to the NFL rule that you can't be drafted until 3 years post HS, college powers are able to collect and amass huge numbers of elite players and replacement level depth. Add in the fact they are often better coached, there you go.

The gap between the NFL scrubs and an average player on a loaded team like Bama is nothing. The difference would be in elite players....favoring the college squad.

56-0 is just pure emotion talking.
   582. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:40 PM (#4003936)
I can't comment on the Bama - Colts issue, since I don't watch college football. My suspicion is that Tom is correct that the 2011 Colts would destroy Bama, all else being equal, and that's what my friends who watch both sports would tell me.


I don't doubt the consensus would pick the Colts. Just as a plurality of Americans choose Pizza Hut as the #1 pizza.
   583. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:44 PM (#4003939)
I'm very sensitive to exaggeration when debating people. Mark Ingram you claim was the #3 RB on NO. That's a baldfaced lie. He leads NO in rushing yardage and attempts and TDs. Why lie? What's the deal with that? You know google exists right? Why can't you just say he is mediocre? FYI: the Bama people would have told you Ingram was their 2nd best RB in 2009 the year he won the Heisman. So there is that.


He has about the same number of total touches that Sproles and Thomas has and averages less per attempt for both rushes and passes. He is also tied with Sproles and behind Thomas in TD. That pretty much makes him the #3 RB. Why not actually look at it in depth? You know google exists, right? Why can't you just say that he's the third best RB on the team?
   584. Every Inge Counts Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:47 PM (#4003942)
This year's Alabama defense which dominated the league this year probably will have 8-10 guys drafted out of the starting line-up. I don't think they would allow 56 to the Colts. If they can beat the Colts...not so sure, the Colts are pretty terrible.
   585. Nasty Nate Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:48 PM (#4003943)
I love getting NFL honks...


what is a honk? does this have anything to do with honkbal?
   586. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:50 PM (#4003945)

Clemson has a true Frosh WR that would start for 20 NFL teams today. South Carolina has a true Frosh DE that would start for half the league.


And every team in the NFL has 20 players who would start for Clemson or South Carolina.

Yeah, Honey Badger is great, and his LSU team is terrific. And 75 percent of them are going to be working at Wal-Mart in five years.
   587. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:53 PM (#4003951)
Is there any way to break those stats @574 out into three data sets: runs, screens and downfield passing?


I'm sure there is. I was just going off of the raw data.

I know those are technically "passes" but I think they're more properly considered a spread-option run play built for the NFL.


A screen is not an option. It is a designed passing play.
   588. JJ1986 Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:56 PM (#4003952)
Patrick Peterson setting NFL records, not even week 13 yet.


Someone (PFF?) rated him as the worst CB in the league.
   589. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:57 PM (#4003954)
It's a running play that's designed to begin at the edge rather than in the middle. Thus the "pass" to the edge.

This should be distinguished from middle screens that actually go past the line of scrimmage in the air.
   590. DA Baracus Posted: November 30, 2011 at 09:59 PM (#4003956)
Someone (PFF?) rated him as the worst CB in the league.


PFF can't even get player participation right, so I take their ratings with a grain of salt.
   591. Joey B. Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:06 PM (#4003963)
I'm very sensitive to exaggeration when debating people. Mark Ingram you claim was the #3 RB on NO. That's a baldfaced lie. He leads NO in rushing yardage and attempts and TDs. Why lie?

Now why don't you go ahead and try including their receiving stats as well, which is especially important on a team like the Saints which throws to their backs quite a lot.
   592. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:11 PM (#4003966)
This year's Alabama defense which dominated the league this year probably will have 8-10 guys drafted out of the starting line-up.


USC 2009 had 8 plus a few offensive guys. The three LBs have made the most of their situation. But the others are spread all over the map; many not starting, especially right out of the block. That Bama will place that many is a testament to their ability in college, not their ability in the NFL.
   593. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:21 PM (#4003974)
I'm very sensitive to exaggeration when debating people. Mark Ingram you claim was the #3 RB on NO. That's a baldfaced lie. He leads NO in rushing yardage and attempts and TDs. Why lie?

Now why don't you go ahead and try including their receiving stats as well, which is especially important on a team like the Saints which throws to their backs quite a lot.


I'll answer. Ingram has the fewest yards, is second in touches (all three are within 6 touches) and is tied with Thomas and behind Sproles in scores. In his defense, Ingram has played less due to injury. He'd likely have more touches and possibly more scores than the other two if he'd played more games. On a per game basis, he is the weakest in yards per game.
   594. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:25 PM (#4003979)
This year's Alabama defense which dominated the league this year probably will have 8-10 guys drafted out of the starting line-up.


That's very impressive, and it's possible I'm overestimating how many points the Colts would score against the Alabama defense.

Still, let's compare the numbers: Bama has 8-10 guys good enough to be drafted into the NFL. This year's Colts defense - a very bad NFL defense - has around 20 guys good enough to be drafted into the NFL.
   595. Bitter Mouse Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:27 PM (#4003981)
In case you missed it, football is a young mans game, younger players are better players.


I don't think this means what you are saying it means. Yes football skews young (I think this is because it is more athletic and less skilled than baseball for example), but I also think players get better with better coaching, experience and even physical development for at least a few years after leaving college.

And talking about rookies starting is misleading because it is often because of salary cap issues and not talent that causes very young players to start in the NFL. Thinking otherwise is just ignorant.
   596. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:38 PM (#4003989)
And talking about rookies starting is misleading because it is often because of salary cap issues and not talent that causes very young players to start in the NFL. Thinking otherwise is just ignorant.


Football skews young in comparison to baseball because of career-debilitating injuries and that football mandates players begin at a certain age while baseball mandates they begin at a certain ability. There are many 25-year-old rookies on baseball rosters; few in the NFL.
   597. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:40 PM (#4003992)
It doesn't matter what he "should" produce in that exact same context. That misses the point. Tebow had 22 carries for 67 yards and a fumble. If the replacement can hand the ball off for a better average result, or drop back and chuck it for a better result in those 22 snaps, then it's below replacement.

You are essentially asking to take runs off the board because the guys a submariner, and it's unfair to compare him to overhead pitchers.


Except that in football, everyone's stats are dependent on everyone else's. If the Broncos are, e.g, running option, and Tebow is keeping on a disproportionate number of plays when the option is blown up, his YPC might be lower but be directly related to another back's higher YPC. If the Bronco's are running more often to reduce total possessions b/c they have inferior talent and want to keep absolute margin as low as possible, and the higher ToP increases defensive performance on a rate basis, but (to borrow NBA statstical concepts) running "efficiency" is inversely correlated with running "usage", then Tebow's YPC might not reflect the value his carries create which is reflected in the team's total results.

Basketball statistics, even tempo-adjusted basketball statistics, are hugely context dependent. Football is an order of magnitude more complex and intermeshed than basketball. The kind of statistical analysis y'all are using to analyze Tebow is fake - it makes you feel like you're approaching problems rigorously and quantitatively but in reality, it incorporates just as many W.A.G. assumptions as eyeball analysis, it just hides them beneath a veneer of acronyms and overly-precise numbers.
   598. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:49 PM (#4004002)
http://www.mmbolding.com/BSR/Chicago_Charities_College_All-Star_Game.htm

They used to play the first round draft picks against the NFL champion in pre-season every year. Through the 50s the games were competitive, but after that they were generally not.

And that college team was a thousand times better than even an Alabama or LSU would be this year, and the level of talent in the NFL wasn't nearly as good as it is today.
   599. booond Posted: November 30, 2011 at 10:56 PM (#4004006)
They used to play the first round draft picks against the NFL champion in pre-season every year. Through the 50s the games were competitive, but after that they were generally not.

And that college team was a thousand times better than even an Alabama or LSU would be this year, and the level of talent in the NFL wasn't nearly as good as it is today.


As much as I'm on the side of the worst NFL team, that game's not an accurate reflection of anything. Neither team had practiced much nor was there anything of value at stake.
   600. LionoftheSenate (Brewers v A's World Series) Posted: November 30, 2011 at 11:10 PM (#4004010)
He has about the same number of total touches that Sproles and Thomas has and averages less per attempt for both rushes and passes. He is also tied with Sproles and behind Thomas in TD. That pretty much makes him the #3 RB. Why not actually look at it in depth? You know google exists, right? Why can't you just say that he's the third best RB on the team?


Ha, I get a defense of the lie I was told. Does anyone here have integrity? The original post said Ingram was 3rd on the depth chart.

NFL.com

Here is the fact. Ingram #1 on depth chart.

Why couldn't the guy just said he was average? Why couldn't he say Ingram had a smaller yards per attempt? Why are you defending a lie? It's not hard to check basic facts. Why are you unable to google NFL.com depth charts?
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