Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sleep in our Eyes

Man, there's nothing like waking up on a Saturday morning and plunging into the world of NFL stat sheets. Anyway, the result of our diligence is this week's Eyes in the Backfield. Enjoy such eye opening nuggets as:

Looking back on last week's Eyes, it's astounding how much Peyton Manning and Dwight Freeney can cover up. The Colts defense was essentially flawless, and Manning played one his best games ever. It helped us to shut our eyes to the fact that the Horse still couldn't run the ball, and the line was spotty at best. 18to88 and a sunny day at the Luke made us feel like all was right in the world. Indy has now won three of four, and is seriously threatening to make a run in the AFC. To do so though, they'll have to brave the snow and ice of Lambeau field. Or maybe not. This week, keep an eye on...

1. Watch for rhythm. Having a big week is one thing, but putting together impressive wins is something else. The Colts are entering a tough stretch filled with the biggest games on their schedule. A strong game on both sides of the ball tomorrow will mean the Colts head into Tennessee having won 4 of 5 games and playing good football. If the offense can't consistently move the ball or generate the big plays that marked last weeks win, all the good feeling from the Texans and Ravens game will be gone in the depression of a three game deficit in the South.

2. We say it every week, but watch the line. You'll know the Colts offense is back when you see the offensive line allow Peyton to stay in the pocket and when it opens holes for the run game. That didn't happen last week, as Peyton made up for a lot of mistakes by the guys blocking for him. The coaching staff apparently feels more comfortable with Charlie Johnson at left tackle than with Tony Ugoh. That's fine, but he'll have to prove he deserves to stay on the field for reasons other than having a big heart. The Packers line has trouble applying pressure to the quarterback, so if the Colts can't stop them, they'll be in big trouble come next week at Tennessee.

For more, just click here

Great work by Shake. He looks at the fumble rate of Freeney and Mathis. Amazing. These numbers will shock you.


Shake'n'bake said...

The Marvin highlight video JaketheSnake posted on Stampede Blue is crazy. The most insane part is that it's 7 minutes long and doesn't even have 1/4th of Marvin's career TDs.


Shake'n'bake said...

Did you know that Freeney and Mathis are the only players in the active top 50 in sacks to have forced a fumble on over half of those sacks?

That's INSANE.

Deshawn Zombie said...

I was literally just linking to your work as you commented.

Really nice find man.

Bob M. said...

Regarding Eyes #14, all I have to say is this: "Martin Prince, report to the principal's office immediately. And bring that big, juicy chess club brain with you."

Shake, et al, when will people start to value a DL's pressure stats holistically? 10 sacks = 10 sacks. But how about 9 sacks, 4 FF, and 20 hurries? I never gave FF much thought until Freeney's rookie year--a FF not recovered is still a bigger deal than a basic sack, but a FF recovered by the D is worth a holy hell of a lot more than a basic sack. And a hurry leading to an INT is worth more than a sack as well. I suppose, like tackles, it's subjective and not standardized across all teams, and so the "hurry" stat can't be used too widely. (except at FO and by agents/teams negotiating contracts!)

Anonymous said...

Def line stats are tough to evaluate. Offenses generally use 5 or 6 to block 4. The defender who is so good he gets doubled may be the reason a lesser player gets sacks, etc. Or the offense that is so effective that it forces opponents to pass every play makes the pass rushers on its defense look good. Or the defense that is structured to allow a defender to ignore run and focus on pass rush inflates his apparent value. Same for the secondary that forces the QB to hold the ball longer.

Remember that Urlacher was superman when he had two great tackles in front of him (see also Ray Lewis). When he didn't, he looked far less effective.

It's a team game and it all works together.