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
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
Rank Name Team Overall Grade Sum Best Four Grades Sum Worst Four Grades Best/Worst Difference
1 Marshawn Lynch SEA 17.8 14.7 -7.4 22.1
2 Arian Foster HST 6.4 11.3 -9.0 20.3
3 Doug Martin TB 12.8 11.9 -8.3 20.2
4 Chris D. Johnson TEN -9.0 7.5 -12.1 19.6
5 C.J. Spiller BUF 25.4 14.9 -4.2 19.1
6 Trent Richardson CLV 6.1 11.2 -7.4 18.6
7 LeSean McCoy PHI 9.9 11.7 -6.7 18.4
8 Willis McGahee DEN 3.4 10.9 -7.3 18.2
9 Matt Forte CHI 2.1 9.0 -9.0 18.0
10 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG 14.2 13.3 -4.7 18.0
11 Daniel Thomas MIA -6.0 6.1 -11.4 17.5
12 Stevan Ridley NE 8.4 9.1 -8.3 17.4
13 Reggie Bush MIA -2.6 8.2 -9.0 17.2
14 Shonn Greene NYJ -2.4 7.7 -8.7 16.4
15 Frank Gore SF 18.5 12.5 -3.4 15.9
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.
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)
Rank Name Team Attempts Overall Grade SD
1 Mark Ingram NO 156 1.9 1.01
2 Steven Jackson SL 258 9.2 1.04
3 Alex Green GB 135 -3.2 1.06
4 DeAngelo Williams CAR 173 -0.1 1.24
5 Jamaal Charles KC 285 8.4 1.29
6 Mikel Leshoure DET 215 1.0 1.35
7 Darren McFadden OAK 216 -19.2 1.4
8 Vick Ballard IND 211 0.8 1.4
9 Adrian L. Peterson MIN 348 29.8 1.4
10 Michael Turner ATL 222 -3.4 1.45
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.
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