Want to understand the game better, hunt for future break out players or try to spot trouble before it happens? “Beyond TDs and Tackles” will be offering a handful of players and situations that you should consider when you are watching the games or even just looking at the box score. Everyone knows which players blew up over the weekend but you can gain advantages by following the changes as they start and get better definition on how to value players. Have any questions? Just hit me on twitter @SteveGalloNFL or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed it on Monday night -- which means you live under a rock – John Gruden had a screengasm about Jimmy Graham’s 43 yard touchdown on a SLUGGO SEAM. In the following image, you can see where Gruden highlighted the route that each receiver ran, and the safety.
But Gruden made it seem like that safety was supposed to be covering an area that he wasn’t responsible for – in actuality, he was responsible for Jimmy Graham in the slot. Also, Gruden failed to point out how safety Chris Clemons was trying to get the attention of fellow safety Reshad Jones to move him to the deeper middle of the field (Check out this vine and watch Clemons (circled in yellow), but it was too little too late, and then the pump fake was the final dagger.
I’m not going to beat a dead SLUGGO like Gruden did, but the reason I’m pointing this out is to show that not all TDs are the same. There are TDs where a player outright beats a player, a QB makes an absolute perfect throw, there’s a lucky bounce of a tipped ball, and even a breakdown in defensive communication or alignment. As for the Graham TD, it was a combo of many of those things, but a key part was the fact that this was in New Orleans and the crowd seemed to make it harder for the two safeties to communicate. So often we hear about how it’s hard for offensive linemen to play on the road when it’s noisy, but as this play seems to show, it can be just as difficult on the defensive side of the ball too.
30 For 30
Two weeks ago we took a look at Adrian Peterson’s splits and situational carries. Then last week included a breakdown carries season to date. The last thing that was pointed out last week was that in his last 30 carries he was averaging 2.8 YPC. This week, I think it’s only fair to once again take a look at Peterson’s last 30 carries. In his last 30 carries – spanning two games – he has a 5.4 YPC. That’s a 92.3% increase in Peterson’s YPC average over what we looked at last week. It just goes to show how quickly the tide can change in the NFL. Other players that the tides have changed for are: Arian Foster, Eric Decker, Matt Schaub and Josh Freeman. Not all have changed for the better. Here are a few players I think the tides are changing for: Roddy White (good, not a decoy anymore), Le’Veon Bell (good, showed some wiggle) and Stevie Johnson (bad, QB issues).
More Isn’t Always Better
Unlike the AT&T commercial, More Is Better, the same isn’t always the case in football. Case in point, CJ Spiller. Sure, fantasy owners always want their guy to get more touches/carries, but sometimes, be careful what you wish for. Last season Spiller had 250 total touches – an average of 15.625/game. 207 of those touches came rushing the football and on those rushes he averaged 6.0 YPC. When you added all his stats up he finished 2012 with 240.20 fantasy points – 7th most among RBs. Off that performance and coupled with the new Bills offensive coordinator, Nathaniel Hackett, saying, “We’re going to give him [Spiller] the ball until he throws up. So he’s either got to tap out or throw up on the field. Let’s just put it that way.” It’s easy to see why fantasy owners made Spiller a very early selection in most drafts. However, more isn’t always better. Thru four games, he has accumulated 75 touches (66 rushing, 9 receiving), which equates to 18.75/game, and extrapolates to 300 touches for the season. As for Spiller’s YPC average this year on those 66 rushes, it sits at 3.48. Shortly after I finished writing this about Spiller he went out and played against the Browns on Thursday Night Football. Spiller was injured in week 4 so we weren’t sure what to expect. You know what’s funny? Less was more with Spiller tonight…8 touches (all rushes) for 66 yards with a TD. Granted Spiller wasn’t 100%, but I’ll be shocked if we see him average more than 15 touches/game the rest of the season. As Spiller proved tonight…more isn’t always better.
Something’s Gotta Give
This week the Patriots and Bengals face off, and I’m sure that many will be watching how the Patriots offense does against the Bengals beat up secondary. What I’ll be watching is to see what happens when the Patriots run over their left guard. The following charts speak for themselves.
Patriots Rushing Offense
Bengals Rushing Defense