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New York Times, Post Week-12 (2014): Total QBR

This week at the New York Times, I take my annual look at ESPN’s Total QBR:

In 2011, ESPN introduced Total QBR, or Total Quarterback Rating, a proprietary statistic intended to capture several of the hidden aspects of quarterback play. The next year, the Indianapolis Colts drafted quarterback Andrew Luck. And while he has helped revitalize the franchise, he has also served as one of the shining examples of how Total QBR credits players for positive plays that are otherwise ignored.

As a rookie, Luck ranked 26th in passer rating but ninth in Total QBR; last year he finished 18th in passer rating but eighth in Total QBR. So what was traditional passer rating missing when it came to Luck? In both years, he ranked in the top three in value added via penalties and on the ground. He did the little things — drawing a significant number of penalties (including value pass interference flags), making key contributions with his legs — that traditional passer rating ignored.

This year, though, Luck ranks slightly higher in passer rating (seventh) than Total QBR (eighth). Alok Pattani and Sharon Katz of ESPN Stats & Information, via email, shed some light on Luck’s season, along with other quarterbacks who have exhibited key differences between their Total QBR and passer rating numbers.

While Luck is having a breakout year via traditional metrics — he leads the N.F.L. in passing yards and is on a pace to set career highs in completion percentage, passer rating and touchdown percentage — he has taken a step back in some of the areas in which he used to excel. Luck picked up a first down on 78 percent of his rushes last year, but that number has dropped to 40 percent in 2014. Scrambles represent the majority of his rushes, and he gained a first down on 75 percent of them last year, compared with 29 percent of them this year. He also ranked third among quarterbacks in Expected Points Added via penalties in 2012 (+12.6), in part because he drew 13 defensive pass interference plays for 238 yards. This year Luck ranks 14th in penalty E.P.A. (+3.5), with five pass interference calls for 104 yards

You can read the full article here.

Finally, a Brian Hoyer note or two that made its way to the cutting room floor. Hoyer ranks 10th in ANY/A but 23rd in Total QBR. I was curious about that, and here is what Alok and Sharon were able to tell me:

  • Hoyer has really struggled on third downs. He ranks 2nd-to-last among qualifiers in completion percentage (49%), Y/A (5.7), and first down pct (32%) on 3rd downs.  Not coincidentally, the Browns rank 2nd-to-last in NFL in 3rd down conversion rate.
  • Hoyer has also been really bad at running, with 4 yards on 22 carries (only 4 1st downs).  Total rush EPA of -5.6 is lowest in NFL this season.
  • Hoyer’s also getting bad grades for the context of his interceptions: five of his interceptions cost his team 4+ EPA, including two of his picks against Falcons.  Only Cutler, Bortles, and Dalton have more “really bad” interceptions.
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New York Times, Post Week-11 (2014): Time To R-E-L-A-X

This week at the New York Times, a look at the best quarterback in football.

When an athlete is having an excellent season, it is common for the home fans to break out into chants of “M.V.P.” from time to time. This year, in Green Bay, a five-letter cheer may be more appropriate.

“R-E-L-A-X.”

That is what quarterback Aaron Rodgers told Packers fans after a loss to Detroit dropped Green Bay’s record to 1-2. One could understand the fans’ frustration: The Packers scored 16 points and looked overmatched in an opening loss to the Seattle Seahawks; looked inconsistent in a comeback victory over the Jets; then scored 7 points in the Week 3 loss to the Lions. Of course, a bad stretch for Rodgers looks like a great stretch for just about every other quarterback: Through the three games he had still thrown five touchdown passes against one interception.

But the Packers’ offense was struggling: Green Bay ranked 27th in scoring through three games. The passing attack ranked 24th in yards per attempt and the team was tied for 26th in rushing yards. The Packers gained 223 yards of offense against the Lions, the fewest in a game under Rodgers since the 2008 season. The 7 points were the fewest in any game that Rodgers had started for the Packers other than another 7-point effort against the Lions in 2010 when Rodgers left the game with an injury in the first half. For a fan base used to dominant offenses, the 2014 Packers were off to an ugly start.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times, Post Week-10 (2014): Kansas City Dominance

This week at the New York Times, a look at the surprisingly dominant Chiefs.

It was the most surprising result of the season. We just didn’t know it at the time.

In the summer, Las Vegas oddsmakers pegged the Kansas City Chiefs for eight wins this season. So in Week 1, when the Tennessee Titans visited Kansas City and won, 26-10, it was easy to acknowledge that it was going to be a down year for the team. After the loss, ESPN justifiably dropped Kansas City to 26th in its power rankings.

In Week 2, Kansas City lost a close game at Denver. Since then, the Chiefs are 6-1 and have outscored opponents by 89 points. They are tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the best point differential since Week 3, and no team has a better record over that period. The Chiefs’ 41-14 rout of the New England Patriots stands as perhaps the best performance by any team this season, and yet they continue to fly under the national radar. Is it still because of Week 1? The Titans have won only once since, and there is still no good explanation for the result. But there are a lot of reasons for Kansas City’s success.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times, Post Week-9 (2014): AFC North Dominance

This week at the New York Times, I look at the surprisingly successful AFC North.

At the midway mark of the season, the A.F.C. North is the best division in football. By the end of the year, it may be viewed as one of the strongest divisions in N.F.L. history.

The Cleveland Browns, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens are a combined 14-5-1 when not facing one another, which includes a five-game winning streak (no A.F.C. North team has lost an interdivision game since Oct. 19). That equates to a 72.5 winning percentage; the next-best record in interdivision games belongs to the N.F.C. West, but at 15-9 (62.5) that division is a full 10 percentage points behind the A.F.C. North. Since 1970, only five divisions have won more than 70 percent of interdivision games over the course of a full season.

The numbers may overstate the case because the division has benefited from some fortuitous scheduling. Teams in every division play all four teams from two other divisions each year. This year, the A.F.C. North was lucky to land the A.F.C. South and the N.F.C. South, the two worst divisions in football in 2014. Still, all four teams have winning records. In fact, the 2014 A.F.C. North is only the third division in N.F.L. history in which all of its teams posted a winning record after nine weeks, joining the 2008 N.F.C. East and the 1935 N.F.L. West. This sort of success is close to unprecedented, especially for a division that was an afterthought to many only two months ago. So what has been the secret behind the success of each team in the division?

You can read the full article here.

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This week at the New York Times, I look at what may be the greatest class of rookie receivers in NFL history.

In fact, through eight weeks, wide receivers from the class of 2014 have caught 38 touchdown passes. That number may not mean much out of context, but consider that no other class of receivers can match that total.

The class of 2010 receivers — players in their fifth season — are next. That group has 37 receiving touchdowns, and is led by Antonio Brown (seven touchdowns), Demaryius Thomas (six), Dez Bryant (five) and Emmanuel Sanders and Brandon LaFell (four each).

Third- and fourth-year wideouts, who entered the league in 2012 and 2011, are tied for third place with 30 touchdowns for each class. The third-year receivers are a deep group: Kendall Wright has four touchdown catches, while Mohamed Sanu, Travis Benjamin, Brian Quick and Alshon Jeffery each have three scores. The 2011 class is more top-heavy, and led by Randall Cobb (nine), Andre Holmes (four), Torrey Smith (four) and Julio Jones (three).

But no class can match what is being done by the 2014 rookies, at least when it comes to receiving touchdowns. And the performance of the group is not impressive only among current players; this level of production is a historical outlier, too. Last year, rookie wide receivers caught 58 touchdowns, the most by any class of N.F.L. rookies in history (excluding the 1987 rookies who were replacement players).

The 2014 class is on a pace to exceed that mark, but it is striking how far rookies have come in such a short time. It was just 2006 when rookie wide receivers were responsible for only 26 receiving touchdowns all year. That number increased to 28 in 2007 and 31 a year later, marks that have been eclipsed by this rookie class before the calendar hit November.

You can read the full article here.

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This week at the New York Times, I look at some of Seattle’s struggles to win as defending champs.

Staying on top of the football mountain is often more difficult than getting there. That is a lesson the defending champion Seattle Seahawks have been painfully experiencing this season. The Seahawks often face each opponent’s best effort, and that reality was clear against the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

The Rams pulled off a 28-26 victory powered by a pair of special teams trick plays; these are the sort of plays that teams hold back for years before unveiling them at a key time against a significant rival, and Seattle played the guinea pig in Week 7.

In the first half, St. Louis called an unusual punt return fake, in which the team sent both Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey as potential returners. The punt went in the direction of Bailey, but Rams blockers crossed the field to set up for a return by Austin as if that was where the ball was heading. The Seahawks, following the blockers and not the ball, wound up out of position. The end result was an easy touchdown on a play St. Louis will not be able to use again for years.

As I’m wont to do, I end with a look at some quirky stats from the season to date. Including, of course, a depressing Jets stat. You can read the full article here.

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New York Times, Post Week-6 (2014): Big D in Detroit

This week at the New York Times, I looked at the dominant Detroit defense.

It is a new football era in Detroit. For five years, the Lions were known as a talented but undisciplined squad that failed to reach its potential under Jim Schwartz. The defense, in particular, was high on names but low on production. And while the offense had its moments, it was asked to do too much: In five years Detroit won only two games when it failed to score 20 points, the second fewest in the N.F.L. over that span behind San Diego.

But this year the new-look Lions have already won a pair of low-scoring affairs against division rivals. In Week 3, Detroit held the Packers to 7 points, the fewest in any game that Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers started and finished. The Lions also held Green Bay to 223 yards, the fewest in any game with Rodgers since 2008. On Sunday, Detroit’s defense was outstanding: It recorded eight sacks and three interceptions against Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and forced five three-and-outs with a sixth drive ending in a four-and-out.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times, Post Week-5 (2014): From 0-2 to 3-2

This week at the New York Times, I look at a pair of teams that have gone from 0-2 to 3-2, a statistical rarity, and a league-wide passing trend:

About three weeks ago, you probably heard some variation on the following statistic: Since 1990, only 12 percent of teams that started 0-2 ended up making the playoffs. Seven teams started 0-2 this season, but two of those have rebounded with three-game winning streaks.

Andrew Luck leads the N.F.L. in passing yards and touchdowns while posting a 100 passer rating. His Colts lead the league in points scored, and Indianapolis has the second-best point differential in the N.F.L., behind the San Diego Chargers. The Colts, division champions in 2013, are back on top of the A.F.C. South, tied with the Houston Texans for the division’s best record. As a result, it is probably hard to even remember that only three weeks ago, the Colts were one of those struggling 0-2 teams.

The A.F.C. South was the worst division in football last year, and not much has changed in 2014. In interdivision games, A.F.C. South teams are 5-11, the worst record of any division. That is one of the biggest reasons the Colts were able to jump from last to first place so quickly. Indianapolis has feasted on its poor division.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times, Post Week-4 (2014): Statistical Superlatives

This week at the New York Times, I look at the best players from the first month of the season.

Most Valuable Player: Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

The best marriage in football occurred one year ago in San Diego, uniting a coach and a quarterback. In 2012, Philip Rivers had the worst season of his career, prompting the team to fire Norv Turner and replace him with Mike McCoy. In 2013, Rivers was named the comeback player of the year by The Associated Press. He has been exceptional since McCoy arrived.

This year, Rivers leads the N.F.L. in passer rating despite facing Arizona, Seattle and Buffalo, three of the top pass defenses in football. Rivers is completing 70.1 percent of his passes, averaging 8.4 yards per attempt, and sports a sparkling 9-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Rivers was not only the best quarterback in the N.F.L. in September; he was also the most valuable one.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times, Post Week-3 (2014): Arizona Magic

This week at the New York Times, I take a look at the most underrated GM/HC combo in the league: Steve Keim and Bruce Arians. Keim probably should have been the GM of the Year in 2013, while Arians has been dominant against the spread.

In 2012, the Arizona Cardinals won only five games, prompting the organization to make significant changes. Steve Keim was promoted to general manager on Jan. 8, 2013; nine days later, Bruce Arians was hired as Arizona’s next coach. Keim and Arians immediately helped turn around the Cardinals: Despite being in the N.F.L.’s toughest division, Arizona surprisingly won 10 games in 2013. And with a 3-0 start this season, Keim and Arians are again exceeding expectations.

Entering this season, the focus in the N.F.C. West was on the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers, a team that has played in the N.F.C. championship game in each of the past three years. Las Vegas set Arizona’s projected wins total at only 7.5, a result of a difficult schedule and the significant roster turnover experienced by the team in the off-season. The Cardinals were replacing four of the team’s defensive starters from 2013 — Karlos Dansby, Darnell Dockett, Daryl Washington and Yeremiah Bell — while a fifth, Tyrann Mathieu, is still limited as he recovers from anterior cruciate ligament surgery. A sixth defender and the team’s best pass rusher, John Abraham, is already lost for the season after playing only one game.

You can read the full article here.

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This week at the New York Times, I take a look at how Andy Dalton and Ryan Fitzpatrick are relying on yards after the catch to produce great efficiency numbers.

Two 2-0 teams have ridden the short-passing game to success. For the Cincinnati Bengals and the Houston Texans, the best players in their passing attacks are not the quarterbacks. As a result, both teams have constructed offenses that focus on high-percentage passes and getting the ball into the hands of their best playmakers.

Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is averaging 9.1 yards per attempt through two weeks and 13.8 yards per completion; both marks are the highest in the league. But Cincinnati players have averaged 9.2 yards gained after the catch per reception, easily the highest mark in the N.F.L. Running back Giovani Bernard is responsible for 25 percent of Dalton’s passing yards, but most of the credit there goes to Bernard. On his 11 receptions, he has gained 141 yards, with 158 yards coming after the catch (Bernard’s average reception came 1.6 yards behind the line of scrimmage). For wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, 90 of his 120 receiving yards have come after the catch, with the majority of those coming on his long touchdown against Atlanta.

As a result of the efforts of players like Bernard and Sanu, 67 percent of Dalton’s passing yards this season have come after the catch. That is the second highest percentage in the league behind Minnesota’s Matt Cassel. While it is easy to be impressed by Dalton’s gaudy numbers, it is fair to wonder how much of the credit belongs to Dalton and how much belongs to his talented teammates.

You can read the full article here.

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The weekly New York Times posts are back! This week, I look at how unusual it is for the Patriots to occupy the AFC East cellar.

After seven months without meaningful football, it is easy to overreact over the first week of the N.F.L. season. This does not mean Week 1 is unimportant; it is as important as any other week.

Still, what happened Sunday, at least in the American Football Conference East, was not any less extraordinary. For only the third time in a single week since 2001, the Patriots lost while the Jets, the Dolphins and the Bills won. The other times that happened were Week 6 in 2012 and Week 15 in 2004. New England ran away with the division title in both of those years, so do not declare the king dead just yet. But to put that statistic in perspective, consider that there have been 17 weeks since 2001 when the Patriots won while the Jets, the Dolphins and the Bills lost.

To understand the A.F.C. East is to understand its history. New York, Buffalo and Miami finished with a better record than New England in 2000. Since then, none of them has. Recent history shows this to be a remarkably stable division: in fact, the 2013 A.F.C. East had the fewest changes in wins of any division from one year to the next since the N.F.L. realigned divisions in 2002. The Patriots have long been the overlord of the division; most expected more of the same in 2014, but it may be time to re-examine that narrative.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 17, 2013

In my final article of the year at the New York Times, I look at one key statistic for each team.

Denver Broncos: Quarterback Curse

Can Peyton Manning break the hex? Only four quarterbacks — Tom Brady (2007), Rich Gannon (2002), Kurt Warner (2001) and Dan Marino (1984) — have played in a Super Bowl in the season in which they won the passing yards title, with none of the four winning the game. Since 1950, only Johnny Unitas in 1959 and George Blanda in 1961 (in the American Football League) have led their league in passing yards and won a championship in the same season.

Some quarterback will become the first player to pull off this feat at a Super Bowl, and Manning seems as strong a candidate as any: he broke the single-season record for passing yards, a record which is under league review.

The last player to be named the N.F.L.’s most valuable player and win the Super Bowl in the same season was Warner, in 1999. Manning will almost certainly be named the M.V.P. for the fifth time in his career, which means he can end two streaks with one Super Bowl title.

Indianapolis Colts: Giant Killers Have Slain San Francisco, Denver and Seattle

Only six teams have ever beaten three teams in the regular season that won 12 or more games. Two of those teams, the 1990 Bills and the 1999 Titans, went on to play in the Super Bowl, while another, the 2003 Patriots, won the Super Bowl. The 2011 Ravens team that lost in the final seconds of the A.F.C. championship game, to New England, is also on the list. The 2002 Saints are the only outlier on the list: New Orleans swept the eventual Super Bowl champion Buccaneers but missed the playoffs.

Indianapolis, of course, is the sixth such team. Few teams run hot and cold like Indianapolis: countering those mammoth victories were embarrassing blowout losses to St. Louis, Arizona and Cincinnati. The Colts would be wise to put the game in Andrew Luck’s hands and waste fewer carries on Trent Richardson, but Indianapolis will not lack confidence entering the playoffs.

San Francisco 49ers: Best Team Through Three Quarters

The 49ers followed an N.F.C. championship in 2012 with 1-2 and 6-4 starts this season. As a result, San Francisco is one of the more underappreciated 12-4 teams in recent memory. The 49ers have averaged 18.1 points through the first three quarters of every game, while allowing just 9.6; that 8.5-point differential is the best in the N.F.L. San Francisco has a habit of dominating teams early and letting up on them late: the 49ers have been outscored in the fourth quarters of games this season, 119-117. But will the team be more ruthless in the postseason?

Last year, Jim Harbaugh waited until the playoffs to unleash the full potential of the Pistol offense under Colin Kaepernick. Against the Packers, Kaepernick set an N.F.L. record for rushing yards by a quarterback in a game. San Francisco has operated conservatively this year, and easing up in the fourth quarter of games has hidden how dominant the 49ers can be. Does Harbaugh have another trick up his sleeve for January?

You can view the full article, and the statistics for the other nine teams, here.

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A special bonus article this week at the New York Times, as I took a look at the incredible career of London Fletcher.

On Sunday, Fletcher, a Washington captain, will play in his 256th straight game, the third-longest streak in N.F.L. history for a player who was not a kicker, behind only Brett Favre’s 299 games and Jim Marshall’s 282.

Having somehow survived for 16 seasons without sustaining any kind of disabling injury, all while playing amid the chaos and attrition rates that are parts of an inside linebacker’s life, Fletcher has said he plans to call it quits after Sunday’s game while he is still ahead.

By the end of this week, though, he was hedging a bit, not quite sure he was truly ready to walk away.

Five weeks ago, Fletcher moved ahead of Eugene Robinson, a safety for 16 seasons, and became the career leader in games played by an undrafted defensive player. Earlier this season, he broke Derrick Brooks’s record of 208 consecutive starts at linebacker. On Sunday, Fletcher will start his 216th consecutive game. He has, in effect, dodged a million bullets in a game that is tough for any player to endure physically.

You can read the full article here. In addition, related readings on Fletcher can be found here and here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 16, 2013

Black Monday is just four days away. This week at the New York Times, I look at which coaches are likely to be coaching their last games with their current franchises on Sunday.

Last season, seven N.F.L. coaches were fired on the day after the regular season, also known as Black Monday, with Jacksonville dismissing Mike Mularkey a couple of weeks later. This season, Houston has already fired Gary Kubiak, and as many as 10 more coaches could be fired Monday.

Likely to be Fired

After an 0-8 start, it seemed inevitable that Greg Schiano would not coach the Buccaneers in 2014. Then Tampa Bay won four of its next five games, becoming just the third team since 1978 to start both 0-8 and 4-9. But with two straight losses, Tampa Bay has lost any late-season momentum, and with it, any seeming justification for retaining Schiano.

After trading for Darrelle Revis and signing Dashon Goldson, the Bucs were a popular pick to win 10 games and contend for the Super Bowl. But with the Panthers and the Saints on the rise, and the Falcons just a year removed from an N.F.C. championship game appearance, Tampa Bay has quickly become an afterthought in the division. Even though he has been there for just two years, expect Schiano to be one of the first victims on Black Monday. The Buccaneers have won just 5 of their last 21 games.

When the Lions hired Jim Schwartz, the team had just finished an 0-16 season. Expectations were low and patience was high. Schwartz won 2, then 6, then 10 games in his first three years in Detroit, but the team has fallen apart since a playoff appearance in 2011. Last season, the Lions finished 4-12, and Schwartz drew criticism for fielding one of the least-disciplined teams in the N.F.L.

Detroit has become known for late-game implosions. Over the last two seasons, it is a league-worst seven games below .500 (6-13) in games decided by 7 or fewer points. This year, after a 6-3 start and injuries to the N.F.C. North quarterbacks Jay Cutler and Aaron Rodgers, the division seemed to be there for the taking for the Lions. Instead, a 1-5 stretch has eliminated them before the final week of the season.

Minnesota Coach Leslie Frazier is low on job security, too. Adrian Peterson’s 2,000-yard campaign helped lead the Vikings to 10 wins in 2012, but the rest of Frazier’s tenure has been underwhelming. In fact, those 10 wins represent half of Frazier’s win total in three and a half seasons in Minnesota. With double-digit losing seasons in two of the last three years, bringing back Frazier would be tough to take for increasingly frustrated Vikings fans.

Perhaps the most puzzling part of the Minnesota decline has been in the secondary. Frazier was a defensive backs coach in Philadelphia and Indianapolis and a defense coordinator in Cincinnati before coming to the Vikings as the defensive backs coach in 2007. But Minnesota ranks last in points allowed, passing yards allowed and passing touchdowns allowed. If Minnesota allows two passing touchdowns to the Lions on Sunday, that will bring the season total to 38 and set a post-merger N.F.L. record.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 15, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I look at the dominant Seattle pass defense.

As the passing revolution overtakes the N.F.L., football fans have become immune to the avalanche of falling records. Teams are averaging 239 passing yards per game and completing 61.3 percent of passes, metrics that would be single-season records. Peyton Manning is on a pace to break the single-season record for passing yards and passing touchdowns, and there was discussion last week that he was not even the most valuable player in the league. Josh Gordon set records for receiving yards in a two-, three- and four-game stretch this season, and the Cleveland Browns lost each of those games. You can forgive fans for not being impressed by gaudy passing numbers when Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles starts the season with 19 touchdowns and no interceptions.

The league average Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt this season is 5.97, which would also be an N.F.L. record. (The previous high was 5.93, set last season.) The Seahawks have allowed just 3.40 ANY/A, easily the best in the league (San Francisco and Carolina are second and third at 4.62 and 4.73). But since the ANY/A league average has been rising for years, we cannot just compare Seattle to teams of yesteryear. We also need to measure how far from the league average each pass defense has performed.

The simplest way to measure deviation from the average is to measure the standard deviation among all pass defenses in the N.F.L. In 2013, the standard deviation of the ANY/A ratings of the 32 teams is 0.93. As a result, Seattle’s pass defense is 2.76 standard deviations above the 2013 mean of 5.97. If the Seahawks can maintain that level of dominance, it will rank as the fourth best season since 1970.

By this method, the top pass defense was fielded by Tampa Bay in 2002, the year the Buccaneers won the Super Bowl. In 2002, Tampa Bay allowed 2.34 Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt; that season, the league average was 5.35 and the standard deviation was again 0.93. As a result, the Tampa Bay pass defense was 3.22 standard deviations better than average. In the postseason, the Buccaneers allowed just three touchdowns while scoring four touchdowns on interception returns.

You can read the full article here. Below are the top 75 pass defenses from 1950 to 2012 using this formula:

YearTeamANY/ALGAVGSTDEVvalue
2002Tampa Bay Buccaneers2.345.350.933.22
1988Minnesota Vikings2.155.020.893.21
1970Minnesota Vikings0.724.161.182.91
1982Miami Dolphins1.224.761.332.66
1985Chicago Bears2.744.860.92.37
1974Pittsburgh Steelers1.593.910.982.36
2008Pittsburgh Steelers3.175.71.092.33
1977Atlanta Falcons1.093.551.062.32
1980Washington Redskins2.364.871.082.32
2005Chicago Bears3.375.340.862.28
1998Miami Dolphins3.575.310.762.28
1965San Diego Chargers2.443.920.662.26
1969Minnesota Vikings0.964.671.652.24
1973Pittsburgh Steelers0.583.891.482.23
1987San Francisco 49ers3.215.040.832.19
1965Green Bay Packers2.315.011.242.19
2003New England Patriots3.265.20.892.18
1963Chicago Bears0.814.871.872.18
1986Chicago Bears2.634.961.072.17
1952Los Angeles Rams1.313.120.862.1
2006Baltimore Ravens3.645.380.832.1
1997San Francisco 49ers3.525.160.782.1
1962Green Bay Packers1.395.011.742.08
2010Green Bay Packers4.095.730.792.08
2001Cleveland Browns3.35.190.912.08
1961San Diego Chargers0.913.851.432.06
1994Dallas Cowboys3.765.380.782.06
1956Chicago Cardinals0.653.881.572.05
1991Philadelphia Eagles2.995.181.072.05
2004Buffalo Bills3.665.630.962.04
2009New York Jets3.485.651.062.04
2007Indianapolis Colts3.985.520.762.03
1969Kansas City Chiefs1.764.231.232.02
1990Pittsburgh Steelers3.245.291.022.01
1950Cleveland Browns0.493.151.331.99
1991New Orleans Saints3.065.181.071.99
1971Baltimore Colts1.673.931.151.96
1996Green Bay Packers3.125.141.031.96
2009Buffalo Bills3.575.651.061.95
1995San Francisco 49ers3.915.410.771.95
1964Washington Redskins2.314.61.181.95
2012Chicago Bears4.35.930.841.94
1997Green Bay Packers3.655.160.781.93
1967Green Bay Packers1.284.321.61.9
2008Baltimore Ravens3.645.71.091.9
2000Miami Dolphins3.295.211.021.88
1999Tampa Bay Buccaneers3.495.180.91.88
1986San Francisco 49ers2.954.961.071.87
1960Buffalo Bills2.24.0611.86
1975Oakland Raiders1.214.041.521.86
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New York Times: Post-Week 14, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I look at the questionable decisions of the man responsible for the struggles of the 2013 Colts.

After a 2-14 season in 2011, the Indianapolis Colts hired Ryan Grigson as their general manager, and his success was immediate. In 2012, the Colts made the playoffs and he was named executive of the year by two groups: Pro Football Weekly in conjunction with football writers, and The Sporting News.

But in the N.F.L., what worked one year often fails the next, and Grigson is receiving on-the-job training on that very fact.

Although the Colts won 11 games last season, they lacked the talent to compete with the top teams. The 2012 Colts were outscored by 30 points. According to Pro-Football-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System, Indianapolis had the easiest schedule in the N.F.L. in 2012, and with that taken into account, the Colts rated as the 24th-best team in the league.

It’s the job of the general manager not to get caught up in come-from-behind victories and shiny won-lost records when assessing the roster. To Grigson’s credit, Indianapolis aggressively tried to patch the team’s many holes; unfortunately for the Colts, that effort was mostly unsuccessful.

Indianapolis (8-5) has clinched the A.F.C. South with three weeks left. The two biggest reasons for that are Andrew Luck and the rest of the division. The A.F.C. South has an 11-25 record in interdivision games, a 30.6 winning percentage that is easily the worst in the league.

Indianapolis is not a great team. It may not even be a good one: the Colts have been outscored, 316-313. It is probably silly to dismiss the Colts — or any playoff team — as Super Bowl contenders after the Giants and the Ravens got hot at the right time over the last two years. But next off-season, Grigson will be challenged to cover up the weak spots on his roster. And despite the executive of the year awards on his shelf, some of the damage was self-made.

You can read the full article here.

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Checkdowns: Tale of a Tailspin Graphic (NYT)

I contributed to this New York Times graphic regarding the Jets struggles.

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New York Times: Post-Week 13, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I look at what offensive records may be set this season.

Peyton Manning remains on schedule to break the single-season touchdown and passing records. With 41 touchdowns in 12 games, he needs 10 in his final four games to break Tom Brady’s single-season record of 50 passing touchdowns. The tougher record will be the yardage mark, set by Drew Brees in 2011 with 5,476 yards. Manning is on a pace for 5,500, leaving little margin for regression.

But we have come to expect superlative performances from Manning. Much more surprising is that Philadelphia’s Nick Foles has several records in his sights:

■ Foles, the Eagles’ backup quarterback to begin the season, has thrown for 19 touchdowns with no interceptions. The record for most touchdowns to start a season without an interception is 20, set by Manning this year.

■ Foles has thrown for a touchdown on 9.7 percent of his passes, the highest rate in the league. Since 1970, only three quarterbacks — Brady in 2010, Steve Young in 1992 and Ken Anderson in 1981 — have led the league in both touchdown rate and interception rate in the same season.

■ The highest touchdown rate in a season was produced by Sid Luckman of the Bears in 1943 (13.9 percent). Foles will not be able to get to that record, but he could set a post-World War II record (10.0 percent, set by another Eagle, Adrian Burk, in 1954) or a postmerger record (9.9 percent, by Manning in 2004).

■ The single-season passer rating record was set by Aaron Rodgers in 2011 at 122.5; Foles, remarkably, has a 125.2 rating with four games remaining.

■ The record for most pass attempts without an interception is 127, set by the Colts’ Paul Justin in 1996. Even if Foles throws one interception, he can set the record for interception rate among qualifying passers as long as he throws 245 or more passes. That record is held by Damon Huard, who threw one interception on 244 passes in 2006 (0.4 percent).

One other quarterback has a possible record in view: San Diego’s Philip Rivers has completed 70 percent of his passes this season. He would need a strong finish to break the record of 71.2 percent set by Brees in 2011. Even if he falls short of Brees, if Rivers continues to complete 70 percent of his passes, he will join Brees, Ken Anderson, Steve Young, Joe Montana and Sammy Baugh as the only quarterbacks to complete such a high percentage in a season.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 12, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I analyze the Cardinals, the Steelers, and some record-setting points and yardage numbers.

Bruce Arians is doing it again. A year ago, he helped turn the Indianapolis Colts from the worst team in the N.F.L. in 2011 to a playoff team in 2012. Hired as the team’s offensive coordinator, he was named the Associated Press coach of the year for his work as the interim head coach after Chuck Pagano, who was found to have leukemia, took a leave of absence. The Arizona Cardinals hired Arians as their head coach after firing Ken Whisenhunt, and now Arians is a viable candidate for the same award with a different team.

After Kurt Warner retired in January 2010, Arizona’s passing attack crumbled. From 2010 to 2012, the Cardinals completed just 54.0 percent of all passes, the lowest rate in the league. Also, no team was sacked more often or threw more interceptions than Arizona. Arians was hired to fix an attack that was among the worst in the league, and while the team started slowly — Arizona began the year 1-2, then 3-4 — the Cardinals (7-4) have been red hot over the last month.

Over the last four games, quarterback Carson Palmer has completed 69.0 percent of his passes, averaged 8.9 yards per attempt and thrown 8 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Over that time, the team is averaging 30.25 points a game and is 4-0. And while Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald remain the stars in the desert, two young players have provided the missing spark to the offense.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 11, 2013

Eight teams fired their head coaches last year. How are those eight coaches doing in 2013? And will there be more firings next year because of the Reid effect? That’s what I’m writing about this week at the New York Times.

Andy Reid may be the worst thing to happen to struggling coaches. In 2012 under Romeo Crennel, the Chiefs appeared to be a talented team but finished 2-14. Even the biggest Kansas City optimists could not have expected the addition of Reid and quarterback Alex Smith to turn the Chiefs into a Super Bowl contender overnight. But Reid has all but locked up the coach of the year award and engineered one of the great turnarounds in league history. If general managers break close calls in favor of replacing their coaches in the off-season, call it the Reid effect.

Chip Kelly, who replaced Reid in Philadelphia, has done a superb job, too. The 2012 Eagles were a 4-12 team that relied on fourth-quarter comebacks to win each of those games. Philadelphia had an inconsistent offense and a terrible defense, which caused ownership to make the splashy hiring of the off-season by bringing in Kelly from Oregon.

The Eagles’ offense has come close to matching the hype that surrounded Kelly’s arrival. Philadelphia is in the top 10 in yards and points per game, and the Eagles are the only team to rank in the top three in both yards per pass attempt and yards per carry. Quarterback Nick Foles has 16 touchdown passes and no interceptions and leads the league in yards per pass attempt, and LeSean McCoy leads the N.F.L. in yards from scrimmage.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 10, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I talk about the shocking development that follows after a bad offensive line loses two of its starters:

Off the field, the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin dispute has dominated the headlines in Miami. On the field, the absence of the two allowed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive line to dominate the Dolphins offense on Monday night.

Entering the game, no team in the N.F.L. had rushed for fewer than 18 yards this season, and no Dolphins team had ever rushed for fewer than 7 yards in a game. But those records were pushed aside Monday as Miami rushed 14 times for 2 yards against Tampa Bay in a 22-19 loss, the lowest production by an N.F.L. team on the ground since 2007.

Miami’s offensive line has been a weakness all year, making the team ill-prepared to replace the two men who started most of the season on the left side of the line. The absence of Incognito, a left guard, was particularly notable on one of the key plays of the game. Early in the second quarter, Miami called a run play to Daniel Thomas with the ball at the team’s 1-yard line. Tampa Bay linebacker Lavonte David shot into the backfield immediately after the snap, running free between the center and the backup left guard to tackle Thomas for a safety.

Those 2 points, combined with the extra point Miami eschewed for a failed 2-point conversion attempt later in the game as a result of the safety, provided the final margin in the game.

The Dolphins had a chance to win the game in the final minutes, but the offensive line again let the team down. Trailing by 3 with two minutes left, quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked on consecutive plays, thwarting the team’s comeback. Those were the only two sacks of the game, but the team’s pass blocking has been a problem all year, even when Martin and Incognito were in the lineup.

You can read the full article here, which closes with a review of the playoff picture in both conferences.

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New York Times: Post-Week 9, 2013

There are seven teams that have two or fewer losses this year. But that doesn’t mean those teams are without weakness: this week at the New York Times, I look at the biggest concern for each of the top teams in the NFL:

Seattle Seahawks (8-1)

Seattle has the best record in the N.F.C. and may have the most talented team in the N.F.L. The defense has allowed just 5.0 net yards per pass attempt and is tied for the lead league with 13 interceptions, thanks to a dominant secondary. A punishing running game is complemented by one of the game’s brightest stars at quarterback, Russell Wilson, who is 12-0 at home.

But … the offensive line could cost the team home-field advantage. The Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung has played in two games this year after injuring his foot; he is scheduled to come back at the end of the month. Right tackle Breno Giacomini, with a knee injury, should come back in December. The team’s other Pro Bowl lineman, center Max Unger, missed two games with an arm injury and left the game last week with a concussion. As a result, the Seahawks have been sacked on 10.2 percent of their pass plays this season, the third-worst rate in the league.

New Orleans Saints (6-2)

As long as Sean Payton and Drew Brees are around, the Saints will be defined by their offense. Tight end Jimmy Graham leads the league with 10 touchdowns despite playing with a partly torn plantar fascia for the last month. Darren Sproles and Marques Colston are battling injuries, but the long-term outlook is positive for both. Brees has thrown 21 touchdown passes, second in the league behind Peyton Manning. But that’s business as usual in the bayou. More notable is a revitalized defense that ranks fifth in points allowed per game.

But … New Orleans is allowing 4.9 yards per carry, the second-worst rate in the league. The defensive coordinator Rob Ryan can confuse quarterbacks, but he cannot cure the Saints’ tackling woes. The Jets rushed for 198 yards Sunday, providing a blueprint for Saints opponents. A path to the Super Bowl probably requires beating Seattle or San Francisco, or both, two of the league’s best rushing teams. And trouble may be just around the corner: the Saints have only a one-game lead in the N.F.C. South over the resurgent Panthers. In 2012, Carolina rushed for 492 yards in two victories against New Orleans; the Saints’ defense does not seem any better equipped to stop the Panthers this year.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 8, 2013

It’s mid-season awards time at the New York Times!

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE FIRST HALF (NON-QB EDITION) Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs. Honorable mention: LeSean McCoy, Jimmy Graham, Calvin Johnson.

No offense is as dependent on one player as the Chiefs are on Charles. He leads the league in carries on first-and-10 and has produced a higher percentage of his team’s offensive yards than anybody else. He has scored eight of the Chiefs’ 16 offensive touchdowns and gained at least 100 yards from scrimmage and scored a touchdown in each of his first seven games, making him the second N.F.L. player to do so (O. J. Simpson, 1975). In Week 8, he did not score, but picked up 120 yards in a victory over Cleveland.

DEFENSIVE PLAYER J. J. Watt, Houston Texans. Honorable mention: Richard Sherman, Robert Mathis, Justin Houston.

Watt had one of the N.F.L.’s best defensive seasons in 2012. He has been nearly as productive this year despite not capturing headlines. According to Football Outsiders, he has eight tackles for loss on running plays in seven games (and five more tackles for no yards); this time last year he had nine tackles for loss and four more on runs for zero yards. His sack totals are down this year — although 4.5 is respectable for a 3-4 defensive end — but Football Outsiders credits him with 12 hits on quarterbacks (not including sacks), compared with six at this point in 2012.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR Ken Whisenhunt, San Diego Chargers. Honorable mention: Adam Gase, Jay Gruden.

Coach Mike McCoy and the offensive coordinator Whisenhunt have revived the career of quarterback Philip Rivers. Before the team’s Week 8 bye, San Diego ranked second in points per drive and trailed only Denver in first downs per game. Rivers has completed a league-leading 73.9 percent of his passes. More impressive is that the San Diego offense has endured key injuries and succeeded with castoffs. Running back Danny Woodhead (a former Jet and Patriot) has 40 receptions, and the former Broncos receiver Eddie Royal has six touchdowns, easing the loss of the starting wide receivers Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR Bob Sutton, Chiefs. Honorable mention: Rob Ryan, Dan Quinn.

The Chiefs (8-0) lead the league in points allowed (12.2 per game), third-down conversion rate (25 percent) and sacks (36). They are the first team since the 1977 Falcons to hold each of their first eight opponents to 17 or fewer points. This is Sutton’s first year in Kansas City after more than a decade with the Jets; in 2012, without Sutton, the Chiefs finished 25th in points allowed and last in passer rating allowed.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 7, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I look at how the Chiefs have gone from worst to first:

The Chiefs have found success in an unusual way. In the modern N.F.L., the best teams tend to be the best passing teams, but Kansas City has managed to succeed with a mediocre passing attack thanks to a great defense, excellent field position, a dynamic offensive talent and an easy schedule.

Kansas City’s defense has been dominant, ranking first in both points allowed and passer rating allowed. Bob Sutton, a defensive coach with the Jets from 2000 to 2012, has done a remarkable job transforming a defense that struggled in 2012 into the league’s best in 2013.

Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson made the Pro Bowl in each of the past two seasons and has been strong again this season, but he is just the third best linebacker on the team, behind outside linebackers Justin Houston and Tamba Hali.

Houston has 10 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries. Hali has nine sacks and four forced fumbles, and he has returned an interception for a touchdown. Hali has 40 hurries, the most in the N.F.L., according to Pro Football Focus. No. 2 on that list? Houston, with 28.

Houston and Hali made the Pro Bowl last year, but they are reaching new heights this season in part because of a greatly improved defensive line. Dontari Poe, Tyson Jackson and Mike DeVito were question marks entering the season, but the three have produced remarkable results through seven weeks.

I also discuss how Alex Smith has the lowest average depth of pass this season, but still has a mediocre completion percentage:

Smith’s average pass has traveled just 6.23 yards past the line of scrimmage this year, the shortest of any passer. Quarterbacks who throw shorter passes tend to produce high completion percentages — Smith, who frequently checked down with San Francisco, too, completed 70.2 percent of his passes last year — but this season, Smith has completed only 58 percent of his passes with Kansas City.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 6, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I look at the hard-to-read Carolina Panthers. Carolina has won six of nine games since I declared them a sleeping giant. On the other hand, the team has a losing record this season and has beaten teams with a combined one victory. In other words, as tends to be the case, you see what you want to see when looking at the Panthers.

We will have to check back in three months for the final answer, but there are signs that the Carolina Panthers, a disappointment at 2-3, could become one of the N.F.L.’s breakout teams.

First, Coach Ron Rivera, quarterback Cam Newton and the Panthers will have to overcome a well-earned reputation as a group that cannot beat good teams; that cannot win close games in the fourth quarter; and that is too conservative on fourth down. As a rookie in 2011, Newton dazzled N.F.L. fans, but the Panthers finished 6-10. Carolina was 1-7 against teams that finished with a winning record, and the Panthers won once in nine tries when they had the ball and were trailing by one score in the fourth quarter.

The same issues cropped up last year. Carolina started 3-9, with an 0-7 record in games decided by 7 or fewer points and a 1-5 mark against teams that finished with a winning record. With the season effectively over at the three-quarters mark, the Panthers finished 4-0, ensuring that Rivera would be back for another season.

This season, the Panthers defeated the winless Giants, 38-0, in Week 3 and won in Minnesota against the 1-4 Vikings, 35-10, on Sunday. But the Panthers have blown two fourth-quarter leads. And after a loss to Arizona, Carolina was 5-15 since 2011 in games that were within one score entering the fourth quarter, the worst mark in the league.

But there is reason to be optimistic about the Panthers. Carolina has outscored its opponents by 41 points this season, the most by a 2-3 team since 1921. There has been a strong relationship between points differential and the future performance of 2-3 teams. Of all the 2-3 teams from 1990 to 2012, 11 have outscored opponents by 20 or more points, with an average points differential of 28.5. Over the rest of the season, those 11 teams won 64.9 percent of their games.

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 5, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I fawn over Andrew Luck:

Luck ranks fourth in ESPN’s Total QBR metric, which includes two of the hidden areas where Luck excels: rushing and third-down passing.

Luck has produced the most value on the ground of any quarterback in the league, according to Total QBR, slightly better than Michael Vick. Luck has scrambled on third down five times in five games, and he has picked up a first down each time. That doesn’t include a designed third-down run for a touchdown to ice the game in San Francisco.

Luck doesn’t run often — excluding kneel-downs, he has just 15 carries — but he makes the most of them with an average of 9.3 yards per carry. Against Oakland, his 19-yard touchdown on third-and-4 was the game winner.

Another reason for the Colts’ success: Luck has played at his best in the biggest situations. According to Albert Larcada from ESPN Stats and Information, Luck has played extremely well but in some under-the-radar ways on third down.

His third-down pass attempts have led to six defensive pass interference or defensive holding calls — those are ignored by traditional statistics but help a team just as much as a completion, and no other other quarterback has drawn more than four such penalties.

Luck has been sacked just once on 47 dropbacks on third down, another underrated quarterback skill. Add in Luck’s excellent play on third downs generally, and Lacarda says that Luck has a league-leading (and near-perfect) 97.6 QBR on third down. To put that in context, Peyton Manning is second at 90.2. As a team, Indianapolis has converted on 50 percent of its third downs, the second-highest rate in the league behind the Broncos (58.3).

You can read the full article here, which also includes some Geno Smith trivia.

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New York Times: Post-Week 4, 2013

This week at the New York Times, I examine the brothers Manning:

Twenty months ago, Eli Manning and the Giants won the Super Bowl at Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis, the home stadium of his All-Pro brother, Peyton. This year, Peyton seems poised to return the favor. No team is hotter through four weeks than the Denver Broncos. Although five teams are undefeated, the Broncos’ scorched-earth pace makes them the front-runners for the Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium.

At least, that is how it appears. The Broncos have outscored opponents by an average of 22 points. The Patriots are 4-0, too, but New England has won by 8 points a game. As it turns out, that differential means the Broncos are much more likely to be the better team over the rest of the season.

Consider that from 1990 to 2012, 66 teams began the season 4-0; on average, those teams won a more modest 61 percent of their games over the final three-quarters of the season. In other words, a perfect start to the season does not guarantee much, to which the 2012 Arizona Cardinals can attest.

By looking at points allowed and points scored, we can get more precise estimates of how many wins we can expect from a team over the rest of the season. Using the 66 undefeated teams to start the season since 1990, a linear regression model — using points scored and points allowed as the two input variables — has the Broncos winning 13.5 games this season, well ahead of the Patriots. (Of course, the regression model does not know that the Patriots will be getting Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola back from injury.)

You can read the full article here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 2, 2013

My article this week revolves around how Phil Emery has reshaped the Bears. It’s too early to grade any general manager, but the early returns are promising in Chicago.

In January 2012, the Chicago Bears were looking for a new general manager. That search concluded with the hiring of Phil Emery, a relative unknown who had been serving as Kansas City’s director of college scouting. Emery did not make immediate splashes, but one year later, he made two bold decisions that could have easily turned the Chicago faithful against him.

The Bears went 10-6 in 2012, but Emery chose to fire Coach Lovie Smith. The move was not without controversy; Marty Schottenheimer and Steve Mariucci had been the only coaches in the last 20 years to be fired after winning 10 games.

Bears players liked Smith, and replacing him was going to be challenging no matter whom Emery hired. But Emery went a step further: he didn’t hire an aspiring young offensive coordinator or the next great college coach. Instead, he went to the Canadian Football League to find Marc Trestman, coach of the Montreal Alouettes.

The next decision might have been even more courageous. Emery and Trestman got into a public contract dispute with Brian Urlacher, the on-field face of the Bears for the last decade. Chicago could have re-signed Urlacher, whose contract was expiring, but new management offered (in Urlacher’s words) a lowball contract to retain him.

As it turns out, Emery and Trestman read the market correctly: Urlacher retired after finding that no team was willing to spend big money on an aging linebacker. The new leaders risked alienating fans and losing the good will that new hires typically receive. But no one is spending much time these days thinking about whether Emery should have retained Smith or Urlacher. That’s because the Bears are 2-0 and one of the more exciting teams in the N.F.L.

You can read the full article, along with some other bits of statistical trivia, here.

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New York Times: Post-Week 1, 2013

For the past few years, I have written a weekly in-season article for the New York Times’ football blog, The Fifth Down. The Fifth Down has been folded into the regular sports section, so you can find my weekly articles on the NYT Sports Page. The main subject in my article this week revolved around Chip Kelly’s NFL debut and the failure of the running game in week one. But since today is also game day, here is an excerpt about a bit of trivia for the Jets-Patriots game:

Belichick against Rookies

The Patriots defeated Buffalo and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel on Sunday, 23-21. On Thursday Night, rookie Geno Smith and the New York Jets travel to New England in hopes of pulling off a big upset. Rookie quarterbacks are now just 4-11 in games against Bill Belichick’s Patriots, although one of those wins came from the last Jets rookie to start against New England: Mark Sanchez. New York is a thirteen-point underdog in week two, which is par for the course. With the exception of a meaningless week 17 game against Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans in week 17, 2006, no team with a rookie quarterback has ever been favored to beat Belichick’s Patriots. At thirteen points, that makes Smith’s Jets the largest underdog of any of these rookie-led teams.

YearWkOppQuarterbackLoc.BoxscoreLineW/LPFPA
20131BUFEJ ManuelHomeBoxscore10Loss2123
20126SEARussell WilsonHomeBoxscore4Win2423
201211INDAndrew LuckRoadBoxscore10Loss2459
201213MIARyan TannehillHomeBoxscore9Loss1623
201217MIARyan TannehillRoadBoxscore10Loss028
20109CLEColt McCoyHomeBoxscore4Win3414
20092NYJMark SanchezHomeBoxscore3.5Win169
200911NYJMark SanchezRoadBoxscore11Loss1431
200617TENVince YoungHomeBoxscore-3Loss2340
20048PITBen RoethlisbergerHomeBoxscore3Win3420
200413CLELuke McCownHomeBoxscore11Loss1542
200420PITBen RoethlisbergerHomeBoxscore3Loss2741
200315JAXByron LeftwichRoadBoxscore6Loss1327
200213DETJoey HarringtonHomeBoxscore6Loss1220
200117CARChris WeinkeHomeBoxscore6.5Loss638

For his career, Belichick is 18-9 as a head coach or defensive coordinator against rookie quarterbacks.

You can read the full article here.

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