Saturday, December 15, 2007

Probowl running backs

It occurred to me that this might become a problem when I read Pete Prisco's 'real probowl' team. Pete did a questionable job (re: no Gary Brackett), but did recognize several Colts (Manning, Wayne, Sanders, Saturday, Hayden and praised Bethea as well). His real mistake was at the running back position where his gives the sentimental nod Fred Taylor. Taylor, the ultimate definition of mediocrity, has been getting some press for hitting 10,000 yards without ever making the Pro Bowl (a game where often three or four backs per CONFERENCE play). He picks Taylor over Joe Addai for the last slot, which surely would please Freddy since he said before the season that he was clearly the better back. I think it's time to look at the backs in the AFC, since I'm sure Prisco won't be the only one to make this mistake. Here's a list of the top several backs in the AFC:

-----------------Yards Carries YPC TDs Rec Yards TDs
Willie Parker --1217---306----4.0---2--21--155----0
Tomlinson -----1195---265----4.5---12--56--508---3
Wil. McGahee 1093---260---4.2---7---42--229---1
Joe Addai ------975----236----4.1---11--34--318---3
Fred Taylor ----944----191----4.9---3---9---58-----0
Jamal Lewis ----921----218----4.2---9--23--194---2
Justin Fargas ---920----196----4.7---3--22--181---0

From this chart, I think we can plainly see that Taylor is explosive, but ultimately a very one dimensional back. We all know he splits carries with Maurice Jones-Drew, as reflected by his low touch down numbers. While he has a high YPC, he lacks almost any other conventional stat commend him. He has only scored 3 TDs, and his receiving numbers are laughable. In fact, Justin Fargas of the Raiders has a BETTER resume for the Pro Bowl than Taylor.

If we use unconventional stats, such as the footballoutsiders DVOA or DPAR, we find Taylor ranked 10th IN THE AFC in DPAR (behind even Kenton Keith in DPAR!). Joe Addai? Third in the NFL behind Westbrook and LT. In VOA, which is a per play measure, Taylor rates a 0.0%, which basically means he is the PINNACLE of average.

I think this list essentially shows that LT, Joe Addai, and Willis McGahee offer the best combination of yards, YPC, TDs, and receiving yards. Willie Parker has big yards, but has been a joke in terms of actual production (if you think Freddy T's FO numbers are bad, check out Fast Willie's!).

Prisco essentially picked two backs of very questionable worth over one of the truly feared all around weapons in the NFL.


Bob M. said...

Perhaps because Freddie is finally not Fragile Freddie anymore?

Those long runs are impressive. I mean, damn, when's the last time Edge ran for 50/60 yards? Never, you say? Sheesh! Yet most everyone will agree in terms of overall production, quality, contributions, success, blitz pickup, etc, Edge is the superior back and is more likely to make the HOF than the Fredster. (I only bring Edge up because he and Freddie are chronological peers and faced off for years.)

But for a relative geezer (in this sport at least) those long runs are impressive. And his willingness to go from being "the man" to sharing the job with MJD is a testimony to his team-first character.

I would not worry about Prisco, who is hardly, um, well, his in Mensa application he spelled Yale with a "6". (Joke stolen from the Simpsons.) And Addai is surprisingly leading in the fan votes. Add in the slightly better informed coach and player votes, and Joe surely leads FF. LdT will get in, Joe, probably Willie due to the gross yardage and everyone's misconception of Pitt as a running team. After that? Whatever.

Bob M. said...

OMG, I just saw that he used tackles as a measure for the defenders. Proof of his idiocy made manifest. Yeah, like that is a consistently applied measure. I like the two safeties and Hayden getting mentions, but no Brackett? Ray Lewis may NOT be dead and his D is great against the run, but I think a few guys up front may have something to do with that--Ngata, Gregg?.

Oh, let's see, which LB has the most tackles? That's a useful metric. And for RBs, just ignore those TDs, and receptions--they don't really help teams.....

Anonymous said...

You might want to check out what Warren Sapp and D. Rhodes have to say about 18.


Anonymous said...

Did you mention that the Colts sent Edge a Super Bowl ring? I didn't know that until I read it today.

That's just pure class by the Colts.

John said...

Years ago, after Vern Fleming had retired and the Pacers were contending for a championship, I often thought that he should receive a ring after having played so many years for the franchise.

Of course, the lack of a championship then and for the foreseeable future (say, the next 40 years) has rather mooted that idea.

DZ said...

That's cool, but really hard to believe. Do you have a source on that? I'd really like to believe it.

John said...

Re: Sapp's comments, makes me want to forget the cheap shot on Clifton that landed him in a hospital.

But nope, if he ever ends up a Colt I'm done as a fan.

(Article link for those who can't copy/paste the long link above. Registration required.)

John said...

Edge gets his ring. (, searched for "Edgerrin James Super Bowl")

Shake'n'bake said...

Yards per carry is one of the best conventional stats, but FO's success rate is like YPC but better, you can find the real best backs. Success rate is determined by the % of runs that gain a significant portion of the yards needed for a 1st down. Running for 45% of the yards to the 1st on 1st down, 60% of the remaining yards to the 1st on 2nd, and getting a new set of downs on 3rd and 4th down are the plays that count as successes. This picks out the backs that consistently put the offense in good situations and move the chains, allowing the offense to sustain drives which leads to points. Addai is 6th in the NFL in success rate despite only averaging 4.1 yards a carry. No full time back has a better success rate. Fred Taylor is 31st.