Neil’s NFL Daily: May 30, 2013

Today Neil Hornsby takes a brief look at Quentin Jammer's move to Denver before continuing his trek through the perils of subset scouting - this time examining the league's ...

| 4 years ago

Neil’s NFL Daily: May 30, 2013

With most current transactions relating to draft picks being signed, the most interesting signing was that of ex-Charger Quentin Jammer by the Broncos. After losing out to the Raiders in the Charles Woodson derby, for reasons I speculated on last week, it seemed they still needed a safety and converting Jammer from corner to safety was their back-up move. Regardless of the speculation, I don’t think either Rahim Moore or Mike Adams is in much danger as the role the Broncos need to replace is that of Jim Leonard. Last year Denver spent 12% of snaps in dime with Leonard as the third safety and I suspect that is now Jammer’s job to compete for with David Bruton and Quinton Carter.


Thursday, May 30th

Subset Scouting

I explained the concept in some detail Tuesday, so if you didn’t catch the principle it’s all there.

Simply put, we’ve been examining which players show the most variation in performance and who are the less likely to go through the highs and lows of performance. Having already covered wide receivers and corners, today I’m looking at running backs.


The table below shows the overall grade together with those for the player’s best four games and worst four.

Top 15 Halfbacks Ranked by Grade Differential

RankNameTeamOverall GradeSum Best Four GradesSum Worst Four GradesBest/Worst Difference
1Marshawn LynchSEA17.814.7-7.422.1
2Arian FosterHST6.411.3-9.020.3
3Doug MartinTB12.811.9-8.320.2
4Chris D. JohnsonTEN-9.07.5-12.119.6
5C.J. SpillerBUF25.414.9-4.219.1
6Trent RichardsonCLV6.111.2-7.418.6
7LeSean McCoyPHI9.911.7-6.718.4
8Willis McGaheeDEN3.410.9-7.318.2
9Matt ForteCHI2.19.0-9.018.0
10Ahmad BradshawNYG14.213.3-4.718.0
11Daniel ThomasMIA-6.06.1-11.417.5
12Stevan RidleyNE8.49.1-8.317.4
13Reggie BushMIA-2.68.2-9.017.2
14Shonn GreeneNYJ-2.47.7-8.716.4
15Frank GoreSF18.512.5-3.415.9

As per the receivers on Tuesday, the halfbacks with the biggest differentials include some high-class talent, but remarkably not our top ranked player. That Adrian Peterson graded so highly but did so without having any real “off” days is just another indication of his genius. His worst four games (obviously not shown on this table) summed to an incredible +0.2. So, even at his worst, Peterson is still (definitively) better than the majority of backs in the league.

I’m not at all surprised to find Reggie Bush on this list. He has clear talent in the open field and when he can get space he will always do well, but his obsession with bouncing outside at the merest whiff of inside traffic creates problems often obscured by the media’s highlight-reel mentality which instead concentrates on the rare, but none-the-less fantastic, mazy runs.

Halfback Dependability

Now a look at the 10 most consistent halfbacks. Once again, these are ranked by the standard deviation of coverage grades.


Halfbacks Ranked by Consistency of Grades (minimum 120 attempts)

RankNameTeamAttemptsOverall GradeSD
1Mark IngramNO1561.91.01
2Steven JacksonSL2589.21.04
3Alex GreenGB135-3.21.06
4DeAngelo WilliamsCAR173-0.11.24
5Jamaal CharlesKC2858.41.29
6Mikel LeshoureDET2151.01.35
7Darren McFaddenOAK216-19.21.4
8Vick BallardIND2110.81.4
9Adrian L. PetersonMIN34829.81.4
10Michael TurnerATL222-3.41.45

Once more this is a real mix of top quality (Peterson, as mentioned earlier, together with Jackson and Charles), dire play (McFadden), and something in between (Ingram and Williams) — each consistent in their own way.

Ingram is the most interesting because for some time now he’s been the Saints’ least impressive back. When you let a player of Chris Ivory’s talent essentially walk (yes, I know there’s a draft pick involved, but you know what I mean) you have to have confidence that Ingram is actually going to turn into something and his positive reliability last year was a move in the right direction.


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


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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.

  • Pedro

    These subset scouting reports have been great – please keep them coming. Would love to see the top 15 (or whatever) individuals at a position, based on overall score for the year, with the standard deviation. Would be more apples to apples in a way – ok all of these guys are good to great, but among them, these guys are consistent and these other guys are all over the place…