Statistics by themselves can be a bit deceptive if not used in the proper context of player evaluation. Those wanting to make their own particular point can always find some numerical prop to ensure their’s is the loudest voice in the room. That’s why as a former General Manager it was imperative to listen to what was being said in conjunction with seeing the stats being presented.
What advanced statistical analysis can do is tell a story about the QUALITY of production a player is providing and perhaps under what circumstances. This can help lead front office decision makers to more informed conclusions and hopefully more QUALITY production of their own. Stats can serve as a map of sorts through the clouded picture of self-evaluation and guide GM’s where to focus their efforts to improve their football team.
Just be careful which route you choose to take when leaning on statistical data to supplement player evaluations. I’ve become a BIG FAN of ProFootballFocus.com and the unbiased guide they provide in seeing the big picture of player production.
The Football Educator
After three straight weeks of not mentioning any defensive players, it is time for the 32 Observations series to show the defenders in the league some love. Here you’ll find anything from how teams are using their players to when they are successful to any other interesting tidbit I found when researching.
Buffalo Bills: There have been six plays where an offensive player was thrown at behind the line of scrimmage and Manny Lawson was the man in coverage. The offense has only been able to manage 3 total yards on those six plays, with five of the six being coverage stops for Lawson.
Miami Dolphins: Of the 31 times that Nolan Carroll has been the man in coverage on a targeted pass, six have come on plays where the receiver was running a ‘go’ route. Carroll did not allow a catch on any of those six passes.
New England Patriots: This year the Patriots have put their cornerbacks in press coverage more than any other team. All four of their cornerbacks with significant playing time rank in the Top 7 in terms of percentage of plays lining up in press. Alfonzo Dennard is at the top at 78.2%, followed by Kyle Arrington at 71.7%, Logan Ryan at 65.3% and Aqib Talib at 63.1%.
New York Jets: Cornerback Kyle Wilson has the lowest Yards Per Coverage Snap in the league at 0.53.
Cincinnati Bengals: Backup Defensive End Wallace Gilberry has rushed the passer 21 times on third downs, and has managed a sack on three of those plays. His three third-down sacks total is second in the league.
Cleveland Browns: Looking at passes that are in the air for 10 or more yards, Buster Skrine has been targeted the most in the league, and Joe Haden is tied for the second most. They both have been very successful on these plays, as Skrine has allowed just seven of 29 passes thrown his way to be caught for 111 yards, while Haden has allowed five of 24 passes thrown his way to be caught for 89 yards.
Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers have one of the best 3-4 outside linebackers in pass rushing with Lamarr Woodley who brings pressure on 20.2% of his pass rushes. The frequency his teammates at outside linebacker bring pressure are less than half as often as Woodley. Jarvis Jones has pressure on 10.0% of his pass rushes and Jason Worilds at 7.0%.