Neil’s NFL Daily: July 19, 2013

Neil Hornsby brings his series evaluating the league's expected 2013 starting line-ups to a close with a look at the Redskins and Titans.

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: July 19, 2013

It’s here. The final episode, the last stanza, the series’ “A Dream of Spring”. It’s not that there won’t be follow-ups — indeed, those will commence on Monday — but you get the drift.

We’ve already started the process of re-considering the “blue-chip” players, and on Monday we’ll republish any changes we’ve made to those 50-odd names currently on the list. There won’t be many, but I’ll deal with any egregious errors (sorry Brandon Marshall). I’ll also add a little more detail, some comments, and then ask for your considered feedback.

Anyway, for now, here are the Titans and Redskins. Enjoy.

For those new to the series and wanting to catch up, you can find the other teams covered to date with this handy set of links.

Charts by team:



Friday, July 19th

Tennessee Titans (Click to enlarge)


— All these receivers have the potential for so much more. At times Britt looks like he’s a certain candidate for “blue-chip” before he gets injured or goes and does something unnecessary. Wright was probably worn out from all the WR screens he ran, and Washington still looked reasonable despite a down year for him. With second-rounder Justin Hunter now joining the ranks, they just need someone to get them the ball consistently.

— It’s possible that Chris Johnson could have a big year and is under-graded, but it’s also fair to say we haven’t graded him positively as a runner since 2010 and that, by some margin, is the best part of his game. It’s clear he needs a good run-blocking offensive line in front of him and if Warmack works out, together with the addition of tight end Walker, that is what this unit will be.

— I’ve put down average for Griffin but that, ironically, is the thing he’s least likely to be. One of the most talented players at his position he takes turns playing well (2008, 2011) or terribly (2009, 2010 and 2012). Last year was so bad he’s still biting on a play-action fake from Week 5 now.


Washington Redskins (Click to enlarge)



— I feel sorry for Barry Cofield, an incredibly good player in the right scheme, and apologize for the above grade, but he is not a nose tackle. Even in the Giants’ 4-3 he was not the best player of the run and now it’s getting silly. Hopefully the Redskins won’t be in base too often.

— Orakpo is probably the next closest 3-4 OLB to being called “elite”, but coming off that injury I’m not happy to make the leap just yet. I’m simply hoping “high quality” isn’t too much of a stretch in 2013 given what he’s gone through.

— London Fletcher may have all the intangibles in the world, but unfortunately we can’t (and therefore don’t) measure those. We simply document performance, and in that regard Fletcher was very poor. Considering all games, only Rey Maualuga graded lower and only Paris Lenon was below him in run defense ranking. He missed more tackles than anyone else and only 39 of his 104 tackles were stops. He played well in 2011, so maybe he just had a blip but last season looked like a year too far to me and, while not a good one to finish on, it may have been wise to stop there.


Other editions of Neil’s NFL Daily can be found HERE


Follow Neil on Twitter: @PFF_Neil


| PFF Founder

Neil founded PFF in 2006 and is currently responsible for the service to the company's 22 NFL team customers. He is constantly developing new insights into the game and player performance.

  • Derrick

    Three blue chip centers and only one blue chip MLB, even though there are more inside linebackers in the league?

    • PFF_Neil

      The problem is to be classed as elite we were looking for players to be superb in each facet of play (or quite unbelievable in one). All the centers are very good run blockers and pass protectors and have been so before.[aside: it’s likely we’ll add another center over the weekend too]. The linebackers either have flaws (e.g. Daryl Washington’s coverage), were too new (Wagner) or just didn’t grade well enough this year. Both Derrick Johnson & Navorro Bowman probably would have made the grade in 2011 but were not at their best in 2012.

      When you think about it though it would be very peculiar if every position had the same number of elite players simultaneously every year. That’s simply not the way reality works.

      • yy212

        you are not just looking for someone in or above the upper tail of the bell-curve of play quality at the same position? isn’t “eliteness” a relative measure?

        • Abouthat

          I think the point is that the quality of play at every position isn’t the same year in and year out. Lets say that between two years, the rules for grading are the same so numerical grades are comparable. Say in 2011 there are five truly awesome LBS with grades of 30+ points. Now what if in 2012, it’s a down year for LB play, and only one LB gets a grade of 30+ points. Do four other linebackers deserve to be called “elite” just because there should be the same amount? IMO, and I think in PFFs opinion as well, the answer to that question would be no. On the flip side, maybe only 3 receivers get grades of 30+ one year, and the next year there are 7 to pass that benchmark. Do some of them have to get robbed of their status as “elite” just because there are too many of them, regardless of actual performance? The way PFF is doing it (I think) the answer to that is no.

          PFF guys, like always, feel free to correct me if i misrepresented you.

          And the specific number 30+ was a random one I picked. I don’t remember specifically what grade would be elite, I just needed a number for the sake of the example.

          • yy212

            okay, that works for me. but that should be specified cleary enough and early enough…..doesn’t help to give a measurement without specifying units!

          • Abouthat

            “Measurement without specifying units” I’m not sure what you are referring to. Are you talking about when I say grades of 30+? When I said that I was assuming that everyone knew that I was referencing PFF grades of over 30, so there isn’t really a unit as far as I know (points, maybe?). Or are you not talking about that?

          • yy212

            sorry. poor metaphor. Maybe better to simply say it would be nice to have the play quality categories clearly defined….the explanation that grading is _not_ measured relative to other player’s performance, was a good start……whatever…..have a good weekend!

          • joof

            I totally get you. Some years their may be an elite FB while others years they may be no elite fullbakcs, same goes for Guards, FS and every other position.

            Another example could be to use the center position in the NBA. Dwight Howard has been classified as one of the most elite players whereas hes really just the best center at a time when the position has no great players so he should be graded as very good and 0 centers should be elite. Wheras in other years the center position may have 5 elite centers

          • Abouthat

            IMO, a perfect example. I wish I had thought of that rather than my convoluted hypothetical analogy.

  • joof

    What about Mike Martin at DT for the Titans

    and how would a player´s intangibles like Fletchers not factor in his performance?
    He makes plays still,right?
    Maybe youre saying a player just happens to be in the right place at the right time but it cant be scored as a positive?
    Or random good things happen so often that it cant be a coincidence but you cant say he made a good play?
    Or maybe you mean a player may make subtle plays that help his team but they cant be graded as a good play since its so subtle?

    can you explain this more?

    • Abouthat

      I think (and I wonder if PFF guys get sick of me clarifying for them) they mean “intangibles” as in, maybe Fletcher is a great guy in the locker room, maybe he helps develop young players, maybe he makes proper adjustments to the team’s defense as a whole pre-snap so that the defense is more successful with him out there, but those aren’t things that PFF can attribute to him and grade him for. Ultimately they only grade what Fletcher does on the field (as far as I know, the examples you’ve cited WOULD be things PFF grades, not intangibles) and what he did on the field last year was poor.

      • joof

        Ohhhhh you mean leaderships, good work ethic, helping plan the defensive gameplan, calling defensive plays and making adjustments to blitz or not blitz. This is sorta like a catcher in baseball. You cant grade their relationship with the pitcher or how they call pitches. etc

  • Jeff

    You said a while back that the Miami Dolphins went 6 defensive backs on 15 plays. Can you tell me what weeks those plays were in and if they were in a 3-2-6 or a 4-1-6?

    • Guest

      Here you are:

    • Guest

      Here you aren Jeff:

    • Guest

      Is this what you wanted Jeff?

    • Guest


    • Guest

      Defensive packages 2012: