PFF Reaction Blog: Week 1
The NFL is back and so is the PFF Live Reaction Blog!
Our analysts have been working around the clock to get the week’s games to you and here’s where you’ll get your first glimpse of the results.
All through the day we’ll be dropping PFF Premium-style nuggets designed to give you information you simply can’t get anywhere else. Naturally you won’t get all of the info you’d get from a Premium subscription, but you’ll still see:
• The highest-graded players from every game – any make it to the PFF Page of Fame?
• Unique Signature Stats that offer more context than any box score number ever could.
• Snap numbers including routes run, pressured passes, slot coverage, and more.
• Analysis with a PFF twist on all the breaking news.
So bookmark the page and check back every half hour to be in the know.
17.30 – Steelers Place Three on I.R.
It was a rough season opener for the Steelers and it was compounded with the news from today that saw them confirm the losses of two starters and a valuable role player. The big news was the loss of Maurkice Pouncey and while we’ve never bought into the hype, there’s no doubt he turned himself into one of the more reliable centers in the league, finishing 12th last year in our rankings. The consolation is Pittsburgh were able to pick up Fernando Velasco who was a poor fit in Tennessee as they changed their offensive scheme, but did finish our 11th ranked center last year.
The others to go down were Larry Foote and LaRod Stephens-Howling. Neither is a top talent but this is a team that is short on depth and paying the price for building an aged roster. Foote earned a -11.9 grade last year and it was a surprise the team were unable to upgrade on him in the offseason. It remains to be seen who will fill in for him, but it was Kion Wilson who got the call for nine snaps on Sunday.
That’s every game up now so the updates will become a little less frequent but any major news we’ll still be reacting to.
16.30 NYG @ DAL Game Notes
– The three highest graded performances were by DeMarcus Ware (+5.4), Jason Hatcher (+4.2) and George Selvie (+3.4)
– The three lowest graded performances were by Mackenzy Bernadeau (-4.5), Will Beatty (-4.4) and David Wilson (-4.4)
– On the plus side for the Giants Justin Tuck found some of his old pass rush swagger. A sack, hit and four hurries on 36 pass rushes gave him six quarterback disruptions. Last year he managed seven once and his next highest was four (including just two in two games against the Cowboys).
– David Wilson had twice as many fumbles (two) as he forced missed tackles.
– The Cowboys defense missed four of 46 attempted tackles.
16.00 ARZ @ SL Game Notes
– The three highest graded performers were Robert Quinn (+8.2), Carson Palmer (+7.2) and Chris Long (+4.4)
– The three lowest graded players Darnell Dockett (-8.2), Cortland Finnegan (-6.3) and Eric Winston (-3.8)
– How did the Rams starting defensive ends grade so well? Well they combined for 81 pass rushes, with 4 sacks, three hits and four hurries shared out. Punishing.
– Of course for every hero there is a villain and the baddest tackle in town returned to the field to allow three sacks, a hit and a hurry. If not for his run blocking then the -2.8 grade of Levi Brown would have been much worse. He’s not a better player for having a year off injured on first impression.
– After struggling most of last year Andre Roberts looked like a new man as he picked up a team best 3.03 yards per route run. Even Larry Fitzgerald was only at 1.82. For the Rams Tavon Austin led the receivers with 1.64, but it was tight end Jared Cook who stole the show with a score of 4.27.
15.30 GB @ SF Game Notes
– The three highest-graded performers were Anquan Boldin (+4.7), Jordy Nelson (+3.7) and Alex Boone, Anthony Davis and Tramon Williams (all +2.4)
– The three lowest-graded performers were Jerron McMillan (-5.7), TJ Lang and Josh Sitton (each -4.0)
– Of Nelson’s 10 targets, seven went into Nnamdi Asomugha’s coverage and four of those were completed for 63 yards and a TD.
– Clay Matthews recorded seven defensive stops on the day (including one sack) and shone in run D with a +3.1 grade vs. the ground game
– Colin Kaepernick hit on three of his nine deep attempts, with one drop and one touchdown.
15.00 – Two Games to Go
And the blog has it on reliable authority they’ll both be in soon!
14.30 – MIA @ CLE Game Notes
– The three highest graded performers were Cameron Wake (+7.8), Desmond Bryant (+3.3) and Paul Soliai (+2.9)
– The three lowest graded performers were Oniel Cousins (-6.5), Mitchell Schwartz (-4.4) and John Greco (-4.0)
– How did Wake get such a high grade? When you turn 40 pass rushes into three sacks, two hits and five hurries that’s what happens.
– In the battle for the most yards per route run Brian Hartline led the way with 2.71. That was more than Brandon Gibson at 2.33 while big money free agent Mike Wallace picked up 0.38 yards per route run.
– A tough day for Brandon Weeden who had to contend with four drops, but struggled massively under pressure. His completion percentage dived to 20.8% on the 30 plays he was pressured and he averaged just 3.2 yards per attempt while taking six sacks.
14.00 – Time in Pocket
We collect a host of data at PFF and one of the newer things we collect is time in the pocket data. What does this tell you? Well for starters you get a good idea of which quarterbacks are holding onto the ball the most. Take a look at the top three from this week so far;
1. Geno Smith (3.32)
2. Terrell Pryor (3.31)
3. Russell Wilson (3.09)
The bottom three?
1. Andy Dalton (2.04)
2. Carson Palmer (2.23)
3. Ben Roethlisberger (2.43)
13.30 – Ron Rivera Reaction
The Panthers Head Coach has come out and said the passing attack was too conservative. That’s the kind of accountability you like to see in your coach calling the shots but it would have been hard to argue otherwise. Quarterback Cam Newton attempted just two passes over 20 yards in the air and just four more over 10 yards in the air, with 14 of his aimed passes thrown less than 10 yards. The shame is that every single pass over 10 yards he threw was catchable (five completions and one drop).
We’re aiming to have every game up within the next couple of hours (who needs sleep?) and so just a reminder if you want to get all the grades, all the stats and all the snap counts you really need to join the thousands already signed up to PFF Premium. At just $0.07 per day we’d say that’s good value.
So what are the top graded performances out there so far?
Well we’ll have an early (to be updated after Monday Night Football) Team of the Week later on today but as it stands some of the best performances belong to;
– Jay Cutler (+6.5)
– Austin Howard (+5.2)
– Shaun Phillips (+5.7)
12.30 – MIN @ DET Game Notes
– The three highest graded performers from this game were Willie Young (+5.5), Ndamukong Suh (+4.8) and Matthew Stafford (+3.8).
– The three lowest graded performers from this game were Darius Slay (-4.4), Erin Henderson (-4.3) and Chad Greenway (-3.2).
– The Vikings defense blitzed just five times the entire game. When they didn’t blitz Stafford was averaging 8.8 yards per attempt and completed 65.8% of his passes.
– Getting the start after a fine preseason, Young gave Matt Kalil all sorts of problems rushing the passer and against the run. Kalil gave up a hit and three hurries. In his rookie year there were only two contest were he gave up four or more hurries.
– No denying who the star of the show was however when it came to getting pressure. With a hit and seven hurries Suh generated a pressure on 26.7% of his pass rushes. Lions fans will be praying for no league action regarding his late hit on John Sullivan.
12.00 – TEN @ PIT Game Notes
– The three highest graded players from this game were Jurrell Casey (+4.9), Steve McLendon (+3.7) and Ben Roethlisberger (+2.9).
– The three lowest graded players from this game were Robert Turner (-5.5), Marcus Gilbert (-3.5) and LaRod Stephens-Howling (-3.1).
– So the Steelers didn’t start a rookie on defense since the first time in forever. But Jarvis Jones did get on the field for 44% of snaps (compared to 68% for Jason Worilds). In those 30 snaps he rushed the passer just nine times and didn’t generate any pressure. He spent four snaps in coverage and the rest in the run defense. Quiet debut.
– What could Chris Johnson do against the Steelers fearsome front? Well his 3.1 yards per carry weren’t overly impressive, with a high of 11 yards and just four tackles missed. 38 of his yards came after contact.
– In the battle for snaps at wide receiver, Kenny Britt led the way for Tennessee in running 20 routes. Nate Washington was at 19 and Kendall Wright at 12. Despite seeing more playing time than Wright, Damien Williams only ran four routes.
11.30 – CIN @ CHI Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were Jay Cutler (+6.5), Carlos Dunlap (+4.0) and Stephen Paea (+3.6).
– The three lowest graded players were Martellus Bennett (-5.3), Domata Peko (-2.2) and Jermon Bushrod (-2.1).
– Some ultra excellent play from Cutler saw him complete 9-of-12 on passes aimed over 10 yards, though under pressure he was only 2-of-8.
– A big day for A.J. Green who picked up a huge 4.76 yards per route run. At the moment that’s more than any other receiver with nine games up on the week.
– A well done to right tackle Jordan Mills (+3.4) who despite being faced with a tough task only gave up one quarterback hurry and impressed in the run game. While Kyle Long (-1.7) wasn’t as impressive it’s worth noting that Geno Atkins lined up at defensive left tackle on 25 plays.
11.00 – SEA @ CAR Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were Star Lotulelei (+2.8), Greg Hardy (+2.7) and Derrick Coleman (+2.4).
– The three lowest graded players were Chris Scott (-5.6), Marshawn Lynch (-3.1) and K.J. Wright (-2.9).
– Despite completing all bar one of his attempts over 10 yards in the air (with the other dropped), Cam Newton attempted just six passes over the distance.
– Jermaine Kearse only ran 15 routes but averaged 3.27 yards per route run. That wasn’t quite as many as Doug Baldwin at 3.6, but just further evidence of how deep this team is at receiver. It was however Golden Tate that led the team in routes run with 31.
– Both Charles Johnson and Hardy had four quarterback disruptions. In a win for pass protection nobody else had more.
10.30 – NE @ BUF Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were Shane Vereen (+3.9), Danny Amendola (+3.8) and Sebastian Vollmer (+3.6).
– The three lowest graded players were Colin Brown (-7.8), C.J. Spiller (-3.5) and both Kiki Alonso and Marcell Dareus (-2.6).
– Bills rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel threw deeper than 10 yards in the air on just seven occasions, completing three of them for 55 yards.
– New wide receiver Danny Amendola picked up 2.6 yards per route run from the slot. That was better than the 2.1 Wes Welker averaged last year.
– With a new hybrid defense the Bills rans a 3-4 on 18 on plays and on 10 plays they ran a 4-3.
10.00 – ATL @ NO Game Notes
– The three highest graded players were Cameron Jordan (+5.2), Zach Strief (+2.9) and Corey Peters (+2.6).
– The three lowest graded players were Sam Baker (-4.1), Lamarr Holmes (-4.1) and Jahri Evans (-4.0).
– Drew Brees used play action on 31.6% of his dropbacks. The results on the play he did use them were him going 8-of-11 for 76 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Without play action his yards per attempt went up to 11.7 and he completed 18-of-24 for 281 yards and a touchdown.
– The Falcons rookie cornerbacks had encouraging games. Top pick Desmond Trufant allowed 4-of-5 for 42 yards with a pass deflection, while Robert Alford was even better in breaking up one of the four aimed his way and intercepting another. He allowed just one completion for 19 yards.
– Much was made of the multiple roles the Falcons are using Kroy Biermann to perform. In preseason they mixed him up at strongside linebacker and defensive end depending on whether a team depending on packages (going as far to swap depending on if the offense was in 21 or 12 personnel). In this game they were a little more conservative, using him as a base down linebacker and nickel pass rusher. He spent 31 snaps at defensive end, four splut out wide in coverage, and 34 at linebacker. He rushed the passer on 29 snaps, dropped into coverage 11 times and was in run defense on 29 snaps.
09.30 – TB @ NYJ Game Notes
We’re doing our best to keep up with the game coming in. In a game about one quarterback, it was the other who’s poor play stole the show.
– The three highest graded players were Austin Howard (+5.2), Damon Harrison (+3.1) and Donald Penn (+3.1).
– The three lowest graded players were Josh Freeman (-7.4), Doug Martin (-5.6) and both Davin Joseph and Gabe Carimi (-3.2)
– What went wrong for Freeman? He completed just 3-of-12 passes aimed over 10 yards in the air and was amazingly less accurate (47.8%) when he wasn’t pressured. 125 of his 210 yards came after the catch.
– A solid debut against the run for Sheldon Richardson. He picked up four defensive stops on 24 run snaps.
– The Jets have named Antonio Allen their starting safety but that doesn’t mean he’s on the field for all their packages. In various nickel and dime packages he was replaced by Josh Bush (three snaps) and Jaiquawn Jarrett (nine snaps) though the team obviously likes his versatility on early downs, where they’re comfortable having him in line up over a receiver (17 of his 48 snaps).
09.00 – KC @ JAX Game Notes
Again the staff have been busy and they’ve already got this ReFocused article up. Some notes from the game.
– The three highest grades from the game were Derrick Johnson (+5.5), Branden Albert (+4.1) and Justin Houston (+3.8).
– The three lowest grades from the game were Blaine Gabbert (-4.4), Roy Miller (-2.6) and Allan Reisner (-2.2).
– Rookie right tackles got a workout in this game. Luke Joeckel was in to pass protect on 51 snaps and gave up a sack and foru hurries. That was good for a 92.2 pass blocking efficiency score. That was bested by the 93.9 score of Eric Fisher who allowed three hurries on 37 pass blocks.
– The Jaguars new defense had them in a 3-4 look on 9 snaps and 4-3 on 26. The Chiefs spent the majority of their time with three receivers on the field, with 35 of their snaps with at least three receivers on the field.
– The completion percentage of Gabbert dropped to 33.3% on the 16 dropbacks he was pressured. He took six sacks as well. Not a good ratio when you’re pressured on 35.6% of dropbacks (by comparison Alex Smith was pressured on 18.4%).
08.30 – OAK @ IND Game Notes
The blog got a lay in, but Ben Stockwell didn’t. He’s been burning the midnight oil and not only is the game up, but you can also visit the ReFocused article here for a great breakdown on the game. Now for some of the most noteworthy grades, snaps and stats coming out of the game.
– The three highest graded players from the game were Vance Walker (+3.8), Andrew Luck (+3.6) and Lamarr Houston (+3.5).
– The three lowest graded players from the game were Louis Nix (-7.1), Kelvin Sheppard (-5.8) and Bjoern Werner (-3.0).
– Of all the receivers in this game Reggie Wayne led the way with 3.1 yards per route run. Rod Streater finished second with 2.1 while Raiders old boy Darrius Heyward-Bey ended up with a respectable 1.5. In his final year with Oakland he managed 1.19.
– The Raiders offensive line gave up a pressure on 13 of 37 passing plays. New right tackle Tony Pashos was perfect. Some team will kick themselves for not making a move on him sooner than the Raiders did.
– The Colts hybrid defense saw their base package consist of 18 snaps in a 4-3 look, and 22 in a 3-4 one.
08.00 – We’re Live!
You may have remembered last year we started live blogging through the day to give you reaction to all the breaking news and analysis on all the games as they come in. Well the good news is we’re going to be doing it this year with even more reaction and with games going up even quicker to the site.
Sit back refresh the page and every 30 minutes we’ll be breaking down the top performers and more.