32 Observations, Week 10

Highlighting players who've shown improvement from their 2013 performance, Nathan Jahnke shares an interesting note for one player on every team.

| 3 years ago

32 Observations, Week 10

2014-32Obs-WK10Late in the offseason, we looked at how players generally progress after their rookie year and the gradual improvement we expect to see. This week’s 32 Observations looks at the outliers to the typical cases by examining the players who have seen a huge leap in quality of play from 2013 to 2014, as well as some numbers to back it up. Each player will have their 2013 to 2014 overall PFF grades in parenthesis.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: Last year Da’Norris Searcy (-1.5 to +5.2) allowed an above average 0.50 Yards Per Coverage Snap. This year he is at 0.17 which is the second-best in the league.

Miami Dolphins: In 2013, Olivier Vernon (-7.3 to +14.6) had a pressure on one in every 11.1 of his pass rushes. In 2014 that has improved to one in every 8.7 pass rushes.

New England Patriots:  Center Ryan Wendell (-11.3 to +0.5) had the worst Pass Blocking Efficiency among centers in 2013 at 95.6. This year he has yet to allow a sack or hit and has an above average PBE of 97.9.

New York Jets: Inside linebacker Demario Davis (-11.5 to +2.2) had a Tackling Efficiency of 7.7 which was the fifth-worst of 40 qualifying inside/middle linebackers in 2013 thanks to 14 total missed tackles. So far in 2014 he has only missed three tackles which has led to a third-best 21.7 Tackling Efficiency among 44 qualifying linebackers.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: As the Ravens’ starting left guard over the first seven games of the 2013 season, Kelechi Osemele (-4.2 to +15.3) allowed 17 pressures. Over his eight healthy games as the their starting left guard in 2014, he has allowed just five pressures and has also earned a much higher run blocking grade.

Cincinnati Bengals: In 2013 Mohamed Sanu (-6.4  to +1.0) had the ninth-worst Yards Per Route Run at 0.98. This year he has more than doubled that to 2.12 which is in the Top 20 in the league.

Cleveland Browns: When quarterbacks threw to receivers Craig Robertson (-15.0 to +3.5) was covering in 2013, they had an NFL Passer Rating of 128.1 which was the fifth-highest in the league for middle/inside linebackers. This was partially thanks to him allowing five receiving touchdowns. In 2014 he has yet to allow a touchdown, and when quarterbacks throw his way he has allowed an NFL Passer Rating of 71.5 which is fifth-best in the league for middle/inside linebackers.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Left tackle Kelvin Beachum (-6.1 to +8.5) was average in pass protection in 2013 with a Pass Blocking Efficiency of 94.4. This year he has drastically improved, and has a PBE of 97.0 which is fifth-best in the league.

AFC South

Houston Texans: 3-4 Outside Linebacker Whitney Mercilus (-18.1 to +1.1) had a Run Stop Percentage of 3.3 as a sophomore which was third-worst among the 28 qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers. This year he already has just as many run stops at 13, and his RS% of 6.4% is seventh-best among 26 qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers.

Indianapolis Colts: Wide Receiver T.Y. Hilton (+4.7 to +11.2) was 16th-best in Yards Per Route Run at 2.03, and this year he has improved to 2.63 which is in the league’s Top 5.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Defensive Tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (-4.4 to +7.8) had eight missed tackles which was tied for the second-most at the position in 2013. This year he has allowed only two which is better than league average.

Tennessee Titans: With the Broncos, linebacker Wesley Woodyard (-4.5 to +4.7) was allowing a high 1.07 Yards Per Coverage Snap which was eighth-worst among the 35 qualifying inside/middle linebackers. This year with the Titans he is fifth-best at 0.64.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: Defensive End Derek Wolfe (-15.0 to +3.5) has had an incredible improvement against the run. In 2013 he had six run stops on 171 run snaps for a Run Stop Percentage of 3.5%. This year he has increased his run stops to 16 on just 110 run snaps for a RS% of 14.5%. The next best 4-3 defensive end is at 12.3%.

Kansas City Chiefs: Cornerback Sean Smith (+1.4 to +7.4) was allowing a high 6.1 yards after the catch per catch. This year that is down to 3.6.

Oakland Raiders: When quarterbacks threw towards Brandian Ross (-23.2 to -5.3) in 2013, they had an NFL Passer Rating of 140.0. This year that is down to 68.5.

San Diego Chargers: Cornerback Brandon Flowers (-5.4 to +11.9) allowed more than 40 receiving yards in 10 of 13 regular season games last year. This year he has allowed more than 40 receiving yards in just two of seven games.

NFC East

Dallas Cowboys: Cornerback Orlando Scandrick (+3.4 to +10.1) was one of the worst cornerbacks at tackling in 2013 with 14 missed tackles which was tied for eighth most at the position. This year he has just missed four which is around league average for the position.

New York Giants: On one in every 32 pass blocks in 2013, William Beatty (-11.7 to +10.1) allowed a sack or hit. In 2014 that has improved to one in every 47 pass blocks.

Philadelphia Eagles: In 10 of 16 games last year, Lane Johnson (-3.8 to +4.8) allowed a sack or hit. In five games this year he has yet to allow a sack, and has allowed just one hit.

Washington: Outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan (-0.6 to +8.9) already has more combined sacks and hits this year with 13 compared to his 12 from a year ago, doing so in just 263 pass rushes this year versus 426 last year.

NFC North

Chicago Bears: Last year linebacker Jon Bostic (-14.7 to +0.1) had a run defense grade at -0.3 or better in just three of 11 games. This year he has hit or beat that mark in all six games he has played in.

Detroit Lions: As a rookie Ezekiel Ansah (-2.2 to +8.1) had a below average Pass Rushing Productivity at 8.1. In his second year, he has increased that to 12.1 which is third-best for 4-3 defensive ends.

Green Bay Packers: New Packer Julius Peppers (-7.6 to +12.2) had a sack or hit on one in every 35 pass rushes in his final year with the Bears. In Green Bay, he’s had a sack or hit on one in every 21 pass rushes.

Minnesota Vikings: Defensive Tackle Sharrif Floyd (-5.9 to +10.9) had a Run Stop Percentage of 4.3 which was tied for fourth-worst among defensive/nose tackles in 2013. This year he has more than doubled that to 9.0, which is the eighth-highest.

NFC South

Atlanta Falcons: Last year edge rusher Jonathan Massaquoi (-7.2 to +4.5) had pressure on 9.8% of his pass rushes. This year he has increased that to 15.8%.

Carolina Panthers: In 2013, Jonathan Stewart (0.0 to +4.8) had an above average Elusive Rating of 51.3. This year he leads the league at 114.4.

New Orleans Saints: Offensive tackle Terron Armstead (-0.6 to +6.7) was penalized six times over his first seven games including his four games in 2013 and first three games in 2014. In his last six games he has not been penalized.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: In 2013 Major Wright (-27.0 to +0.1) allowed 1.06 Yards Per Coverage Snap which was second worst among safeties. This year he is at a better than average 0.36.

NFC West

Arizona Cardinals: When quarterbacks threw towards Antonio Cromartie (-11.4 to +10.2) in 2013, they had an NFL Passer Rating of 100.7. This year he has nearly cut that in half to 55.6.

St. Louis Rams: Last year for every 1.6 catches Kenny Britt (-14.8 to -1.7) made he also had a drop. This year that is up to every 10.5 catches.

San Francisco 49ers: Last year Antoine Bethea (-2.0 to +12.6) had an above average Run Stop Percentage of 3.7%, and this year that has nearly doubled to 7.2% which is just behind Kam Chancellor and Troy Polamalu.

Seattle Seahawks: Center Max Unger (+1.9 to +11.2) has a Run Block grade of +1.4 in four of five games this year. He did so in just three of 16 games last year.


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.

  • n

    read an article about wolfe suffering from depression last year.. this shows that it definately affected his play

    • anon76returns

      I can’t figure out the grading on Wolfe. He plays the closed end on the Broncos hybrid defense, so essentially a 3-4 DE. I know stats don’t exactly correlate with grades, but if you look at 3-4DEs that have similar pass rushing production to Wolfe (Wilkerson, Crick, McDonald, Bryant, Cox), they have a fairly narrow range of grades (mean 2.6, median 2.4, SD 3.8). Meanwhile Wolfe has a pass rush grade way out of this range (-8.8). Unless he’s just falling on his back on the plays where he doesn’t get a pressure, I find it difficult to believe that his pass rushing is really that much worse than the 3-4 DEs with similar numbers.

      • Dildo Baggins

        Its all about how that pressure comes. Im guessing alot of Wolfe’s pressures are created because Von Miller destroyed someone.

        • anon76returns

          Perhaps. But his primary role in the pass rush is to occupy double teams, freeing up Ware and Miller on the edge. Those two are both 10.0%+ in PRP, and get a ton of one-on-ones, which tells me Wolfe is doing what he’s supposed to do quite well. Actually getting stats from the pass rush is gravy, much like with a 3-4 end. Mercilus (and Watt!) help Crick, Lynch (and Smith!) help McDonald, Coples (and Richardson) help Wilkerson, and Barwin and McPhee help Cox. Yet all those guys still have (much) higher pass rushing grades than Wolfe.