32 Observations, Week 1

The new season brings opportunity to improve and Nathan Jahnke highlights performances that hinted at a step in the right direction.

| 3 years ago

32 Observations, Week 1

2014-32ObsIt is a new season which means new opportunities for players to make a good impression. This week’s 32 Observations looks at 32 players who played well in Week 1 in a particular area after not doing as well there last year. Of course, one week of good play doesn’t mean the player has suddenly turned everything around, but it’s a step in the right direction. Examples here, one for each team:

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: As a rookie, Robert Woods had 10 or more yards after the catch just four times, and never had more than 27. In Week 1 he had 44 yards after the catch, which was tied for seventh most in the league.

Miami Dolphins: Center Samson Satele had a +3.1 overall rating thanks to a +3.2 run block grade and no pressure allowed. That was his best grade in a game since Week 11 of the 2012 season, when he was a Colt and was playing the Patriots.

New England Patriots:  Linebacker Dont’a Hightower had four combined sacks and hits in 2013, which is the same amount he had against the Dolphins. He was one of just four players with four combined sacks/hits this week.

New York Jets: Quarterback Geno Smith had an Accuracy Percentage of 85.7% after completing 24 of 28 aimed passes which is tied for second best in the league. Last year his Accuracy Percentage was 67.4%; third-lowest for quarterbacks.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: In 2013, Steve Smith was held to 124 deep receiving yards on four catches which was 63rd among wide receivers. On one catch Smith is already over half way there with 80 deep receiving yards; currently tied for fourth for wide receivers.

Cincinnati Bengals: Tight end Jermaine Gresham had a +1.4 grade in run blocking, which is his fifth highest rated game in run blocking over the past five years.

Cleveland Browns: Receiver Andrew Hawkins saw at most three catches in a game each time he played since Week 14 of 2012. On Sunday he had eight catches which tied a career high, and 87 receiving yards which set a career high.

Pittsburgh Steelers: As a rookie, Le’Veon Bell averaged 3.5 forced missed tackles per game. In Week 1 he had 11 players miss tackles on him which was the most in the league.

AFC South

Houston Texans: In each of his first three seasons in the NFL, outside linebacker Brooks Reed had one game with six or more total pressures. Against Washington he had one sack, two hits and three hurries.

Indianapolis Colts: Last year when quarterbacks threw to Hakeem Nicks, they had a passer rating of 58.0 which was seventh-worst for wide receivers. On Sunday night when Andrew Luck threw to Nicks, he had a passer rating of 136.3, which was eighth-best for a QB-WR connection this week.

Jacksonville Jaguars: In every game that Dwayne Gratz was targeted at least once, he allowed a 40% catch rate or higher. In over half of those games he allowed at least two-thirds of passes thrown his way to be caught. Against Philadelphia, he allowed a catch on just one of four passes thrown his way. He also had one pass defended, so he is half way to already matching his 2013 total.

Tennessee Titans: In his first year with the Titans, Shonn Greene averaged 2.1 yards after contact per carry. On Sunday he increased it to 3.2 yards after contact, which was third among those with 15 or more carries.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: In 2013, defensive end Derek Wolfe had a Run Stop Percentage of 3.5, which was fifth-worst for 4-3 defensive ends. After one week this season, his Run Stop Percentage of 14.3 is tied for third for 4-3 defensive ends.

Kansas City Chiefs: After missing his rookie year, tight end Travis Kelce started the season strong with 3.5 Yards Per Route Run which was fourth for tight ends with at least 10 routes run.

Oakland Raiders: Last year safety Charles Woodson allowed a 78.9% catch rate which was the second most for safeties who were thrown at 30 times or more. In Week 1 he allowed a no catches as the only ball thrown his way, he intercepted.

San Diego Chargers: As a rookie, D.J. Fluker allowed an average of 3.2 pressures per game, and allowed two or more pressures in 14 of 17 games. In Week 1, he was one of two right tackles to not allow a single pressure in over 35 pass block snaps.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Middle linebacker Rolando McClain had six run stops which was the second most for a game in his career, and also the most for all middle/inside linebackers in Week 1.

New York Giants: Prior to this season, cornerback Prince Amukamara had two career games where he had two passes defended. In four targets against the Lions, Amukamara had his third such game.

Philadelphia Eagles: As a rookie, the best game Bennie Logan ever had against the run was a +0.9 grade. Against Jacksonville, he posted a +1.9.

Washington: Last year tight end Niles Paul wasn’t much of a receiving threat with 1.13 Yards Per Route Run and just 51 total receiving yards. In Week 1 he had 5.73 Yards Per Route Run which is the best for tight ends with at least 10 routes, and 86 receiving yards which is second most for tight ends.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: In 2013 Brandon Marshall led all wide receivers in drops at 15. In Week 1 he was one of five wide receivers to have eight or more catches and not drop a pass.

Detroit Lions: As a rookie, Ezekiel Ansah had three total hits on 359 pass rushes. Against the Giants, he also had three total hits but on 24 pass rushes.

Green Bay Packers: On Mason Crosby’s four kickoffs, he averaged 71.5 yards per kick. Last year he averaged 63.3 yards per kickoff, and had only five games where he averaged above 63 yards per kick.

Minnesota Vikings: Known for his running, Adrian Peterson had the sixth lowest Yards Per Route Run for running backs in 2012, and fourth worst last year at 0.66. After one week, Peterson is tied with an eighth-best 2.00 for those with at least eight routes run.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: Running back Steven Jackson has an Elusive Rating of 175.0 which is tied for second among backs. Last year he had a below average Elusive Rating of 31.0.

Carolina Panthers: In 2013 Byron Bell allowed three pressures per game, and had only one game where he didn’t allow a single pressure. In 2014 he already has matched his games without allowing a pressure, and was one of only two left tackles to play at least 35 pass blocks and not allow a pressure.

New Orleans Saints: In 2013 Junior Galette made a name for himself as a pass rusher, but was below average against the run where he had a Run Stop Percentage of 5.8. Against the Falcons he had a Run Stop Percentage of 11.1 which was third-best for 4-3 defensive ends with at least 10 run snaps.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Defensive tackle Akeem Spence was held to 12 run stops on 324 run snaps last year giving him a Run Stop Percentage of 3.7 which was lowest for defensive tackles with at least 200 run snaps. In his ten run snaps he had two stops giving him a Run Stop Percentage of 20.0 which is third best for defensive tackles.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: Left guard Ted Larsen had a +1.4 pass block grade and +1.3 run block grade. It was just the second game of his career where he had a grade at +1.0 or better in both.

St. Louis Rams: In 2013 Brian Quick had a below average 1.37 Yards Per Route Run. This year he is at 3.67 which is sixth-best for those with 20 or more pass routes.

San Francisco 49ers: In 2013 when Colin Kaepernick was under pressure, he was only accurate on 55.1% of his passes which was tied for fifth-worst in the league. Last week his Accuracy Percentage was perfect under pressure completing all of his aimed passes including a touchdown.

Seattle Seahawks: Defensive end Cliff Avril had a good 2013 season with a Pass Rushing Productivity of 11.0 in the regular season. He was excellent in the playoffs, and appears to have carried that on into 2014. His Pass Rushing Productivity of 17.4 in Week 1 was tied for the best for 4-3 defensive ends.


Follow Nathan on Twitter: @PFF_NateJahnke

| Director of Analytics

Nathan has been with Pro Football Focus since 2010. He is the Director of Analytics, an NFL analyst, and a fantasy writer.

  • Ben

    How do I pronounce Jahnke?

    • cameronmm


  • Shizzle Dawg

    I have an observation for the Redskins: last year they had record breakingly bad special teams. Now Andre Roberts is graded the #1 kick/punt returner.

  • chris

    Bell is a better RB than Lacy and it’s not even close. The PFF stats consistently show Bell to be the superior player.

    • Izach

      Honestly I’d say it depends on your style. Sure bells a better receiver out of the back field and more elusive, but as a steeler fan I will say bell dances a lot, things like spins and east west cuts and indecisiveness are about of his style. Lacy who I’ve watch less of in nfl but a lot of college seems to be the physically stronger runner for body size. He will hit guys more and be better at it not saying bell can’t just that lacys style lends itself to be a more powerful downhill type of game

    • SeattleSteve

      lol… you serious?

      • chris

        Yes. Bell is the AFC’s top rusher. Lacy has a concussion, a fumble vs DET, and a benching to his credit. Bell is better than a Lacy and it’s not close.

  • Basedrum

    Unless I missed it trying to paint it as Donte Hightower had a good game is ridiculous.

    • getAgripHumans

      Yes you missed it. He had a tremendous first half. he had exactly ZERO of the 9 missed tackles yet did have 1 of the 4 penalties (a penalty that would not have been called in Foxboro.)

  • Biebs

    Geno SMith was 23/28 this week. How could have he been 24/28 on “aimed passes”? Was he 23/27?

    • a57se

      I think you are misunderstanding the stat…

      • billyricky

        Then explain it to us.

        • a57se

          Did you notice that Accuracy percentage appears in BLUE ?
          If you click on it, the explanation for what it is will come up…
          I suggest right clicking and opening it in another window so you don’t lose your place.

    • Doug Emerson

      Was a pass play negated by a penalty? That could be what it is.

    • Richard Light

      Sounds like he was victimized by 1 Drop.

      When calculating accuracy percentage, it’s raw number of completions percentage + number of “drops”

      He was 23 of 28, but he shoulda/coulda/woulda been 23 of 28 if a Jet hadn’t dropped his pass. Hope that makes sense.

      • Richard Light

        Wow, 2 typos, my apologies

        Accuracy percentage = raw number of completions + number of “drops”

        He was 23 of 28, but he shoulda/coulda/woulda been 24 of 28 if a Jet hadn’t dropped his pass.

  • corners

    ” Linebacker Dont’a Hightower had four combined sacks and hits in 2013, which is the same amount he had against the Dolphins.”

    Kind of deceiving stat. Dolphins only gave up 1 sack sunday, not sure to who.