Measuring performance in 2010

Now that the season is behind us, let’s look back at some numbers.  These numbers will reveal areas of weaknesses and strengths as the Giants head into the free agency period and the draft.  In this post, we will look at strength of schedule and defense.

First,  look at a revealing measurement provided by Cold Hard Football Facts (CHFF) called quality standings.  This simply measures  performance against teams winning records:

              NFC East

      Team

 W 

 L 

  PF  

  PA  

   Philadelphia   

 4

 2

 28.0

 24.5

   Dallas

 3

 5

 25.1

 30.1

   Washington

 3

 5

 17.4

 23.8

   N.Y. Giants

 1

 4

 19.2

 30

 Funny, I thought a 10 win season was something to be proud of?

Next, take a look at how the Giants performed as it relates to the strength of schedule.  Football Outsiders utilize a measurement called DVOA

 or Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. DVOA breaks down every single play of the NFL season to see how much success offensive players achieved in each specific situation compared to the league average in that situation, adjusted for the strength of the opponent.

The 2010 schedule ranks teams from 1 as the toughest schedule to 32 with the weakest schedule.   Furthermore, “PYTHAGOREAN WINS represent a projection of the team’s expected wins based solely on points scored and allowed.”  While “VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team’s weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).”

Unfortunately, this is a measurement of offense, defense and special teams combined.  They do not break it down by unit:

 

 TEAM 

 TOTAL 

DVOA

2010

 SCHED 

 RANK 

 PYTH 

WINS

 RANK 

  VAR. 

 RANK 

 1 

NE

44.7%

5.8%

7

12.3

1

18.6%

17

2

PIT

37.3%

5.2%

8

12.1

3

13.9%

12

3

GB

23.3%

2.4%

16

12.1

2

15.3%

15

4

BAL

23.0%

6.1%

6

10.6

6

5.1%

2

5

PHI

22.0%

-0.3%

20

9.4

10

9.3%

6

6

NYJ

18.7%

7.1%

5

9.8

8

23.9%

28

7

SD

17.6%

-4.9%

26

10.9

5

23.2%

26

8

ATL

15.9%

-1.8%

22

11.2

4

4.9%

1

9

NYG

14.5%

-3.3%

24

10.1

7

22.6%

24

This confirms many of the points brought up on this blog about their performance against quality opponents as well as their overall consistency.  Their lack of consistency is vividly displayed with a ranking of 24.  Again, the accountability factor comes in to play.

Let’s move on to their known strength, the Defensive Line.  Again CHFF gives a breakdown of YPA (yards per running attempt), NPP% (negative pass plays) which defines the percentage of plays that result in a sack or interception, and 3rd down percentage:

 

Team

 YPA 

  #  

 NPP% 

  #  

 3down% 

  #  

 Avg 

1t

   Pittsburgh

3.01

1

10.47

7

33.49

3

3.7

1t

  San Diego

3.71

5

11.78

2

33.65

4

3.7

3

  N.Y. Giants 

4.18

14

10.75

4

31.73

1

6.3

4

N.Y. Jets

3.57

3

9.11

12

36.99

10

8.3

It’s interesting to note that they excelled in NPP% in ranking 4th in the league and 3rd down % in ranking a league best.  But they were in the middle of the pack in YPA finishing 14th in the league.  Was this a result of poor defensive tackle play or what Pete has been shouting about a lack of production by the linebackers in the tackling department?

Furthermore Football Outsiders backs up the successes of the defense as a whole.  The DVOA measurement

 

 TEAM 

 TOTAL 

DVOA

 Weighted 

DVOA

 RANK 

 DEFENSE 

DVOA

DEF.

 RANK 

1

NE

44.7%

54.0%

1

5.5%

19

2

PIT

37.3%

40.0%

2

-18.5%

1

3

GB

23.3%

25.2%

4

-10.8%

2

4

BAL

23.0%

27.8%

3

-7.9%

4

5

PHI

22.0%

21.4%

6

1.4%

14

6

NYJ

18.7%

14.9%

7

-7.8%

6

7

SD

17.6%

21.5%

5

-6.4%

7

8

ATL

15.9%

13.5%

9

1.3%

12

9

NYG

14.5%

11.6%

10

-8.1%

3

10

NO

11.0%

13.6%

8

-2.6%

9

11

TEN

8.0%

1.1%

17

-4.1%

8

12

TB

4.2%

9.4%

14

6.9%

23

13

HOU

4.0%

9.8%

13

20.9%

31

14

MIA

3.8%

2.3%

15

-1.9%

10

15

IND

3.0%

-1.0%

18

8.2%

24

16

CHI

3.0%

11.5%

11

-7.8%

5

 

Again they faired very well ranking 3rd in the league for the regular season.

Finally, we all know about cover 2 and it’s shortcomings but let’s look at a statistic that reveals some of its issues.  YPPA measures the concept of “bend but don’t break defense.”

 

Team

 Yards 

 Points 

 YPPA 

1

Green Bay

4946

240

20.61

2

Pittsburgh

4430

232

19.09

3

Baltimore

5094

270

18.87

4

New England

5864

313

18.73

5

Atlanta

5319

288

18.47

6

Chicago

5029

286

17.58

7

Tennessee

5883

339

17.35

8

Cleveland

5601

332

16.87

9

Tampa Bay

5323

318

16.74

10

Washington

6228

377

16.52

11

St. Louis

5388

328

16.43

12

Kansas City

5283

326

16.21

13

New Orleans

4900

307

15.96

14

N.Y. Jets

4664

304

15.34

15

San Francisco

5244

346

15.16

16

Detroit

5498

369

14.90

17

Miami

4949

333

14.86

18

Seattle

5897

407

14.49

19

Minnesota

5002

348

14.37

20

N.Y. Giants

4972

347

14.33

This measurement tool defines a teams ability to keep opponents from scoring.  It takes into account “proficiency of offense and special teams, red zone defense, and turnover differential” as well.  But also is a significant measurement of big plays given up.  Overall, the defense did an exceptional job of limiting points off turnovers over the course of the season.  They also handled the disadvantages the special teams unit displaced upon them earlier in the season; again limiting opponents to scores.

The numbers suggest: 1) Reese needs to upgrade the linebacker unit and instill more speed in coverage.  As per Francesa’s interview with John Mara, the Giants owner told listeners linebacker is an area the Giants must upgrade.  2.) They can’t rely on certain players to continually mask their weaknesses.  Rolle revealed his struggles when he stated after the season that “I have to get in the mind-set of being able to transform myself from being up as opposed to playing back deep.”  But are you putting a guy in a position that he cannot perform on a consistent basis given that his “mind was just wandering” at times.  Is Corey Webster or Terrell Thomas capable of handling the speedsters based on Fewell’s scheme?

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