Last year, I looked at AV Retention Rates, a measure of how sticky a team’s composition was from year to year. We’ll get to the methodology in a minute, but let’s start with two examples.
Cincinnati was very consistent from 2014 to 2015. Andy Dalton was the quarterback both years, and Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, and A.J. Green were the three leaders in yards from scrimmage in 2014 and again in 2015. The offensive line was unchanged, with Andrew Whitworth, Andre Smith, Clint Boling, Kevin Zeitler, and Russell Bodine as the main five in both years, although Smith and Zeitler missed some time in 2014. The big change on offense wasn’t external, either: it was the return from injury for both Tyler Eifert and Marvin Jones, which dropped Mohamed Sanu down in the pecking order.
On defense, Geno Atkins, Domata Peko, and Carlos Dunlap were starters on the defensive line both years, with Rey Maualuga manning the middle and Reggie Nelson and George Iloka at safety. Adam Jones and Leon Hall were two of the three cornerbacks to play 60%+ of defensive snaps in both years, with the main change in the secondary being being Dre Kirkpatrick replacing Terence Newman (Minnesota). On the line, the big change was the return of Michael Johnson from a one-year stint in Tampa, with Wallace Gilberry dropping from 73% of snaps to 58% as a result. And at linebacker, Maualuga, Vincent Rey, Vontaze Burfict, and Emmanuel Lamur were the four to see the most snaps in both 2014 and 2015, though the pecking order changed a bit.
In other words, the 2015 Bengals looked a whole lot like the 2014 Bengals. But in Washington, turnover was the story of the 2015 season. In 2014, Kirk Cousins started 5 games; last year, he started all sixteen. Matt Jones and Chris Thompson combined for over 50% of snaps at running back last year, reducing the heavier load endured by Alfred Morris in 2014. Tight end Jordan Reed caught 11 touchdowns and led the team in targets last year, but started two games and didn’t score in 2014.
On the offensive line, only LT Trent Williams was a holdover. With RG Chris Chester in Atlanta, 5th overall pick Brandon Scherff took over and started all 16 games. Morgan Moses, a third round pick in 2014 who started just one game as a rookie, took over at right tackle, relegating 2014 starter Tom Compton to the bench (he’s now in Atlanta with Chester). Kory Lichtensteiger (center) and Shawn Lauvao (left guard) both started in 2014, but were lost early in the season with injuries, putting Spencer Long (G) and Josh LeRibeus (C) into the lineup.
At safety, Ryan Clark, Brandon Meriweather, and Phillip Thomas were replaced by Dashon Goldson, Kyshoen Jarrett and Trent Robinson. At corner, Bashaud Breeland was the consistent presence year over year, but David Amerson (one of the lone blunders from Washington’s front office last year) and E.J. Biggers were replaced by Will Blackmon and DeAngelo Hall (limited to just 3 games in 2014). The front seven was relatively consistent year over year, though Jarvis Jenkins and Brian Orakpo were gone in 2015, with Preston Smith, Ricky Jean-Francois, Terrance Knighton coming on board. [click to continue…]