Two Redskins Make Top/Bottom Players In ’08 – ’09 Performance Comparison

A great stat site that I like to monitor every season is Pro Football Focus, because they do a great job of breaking down every snap of every game and give an unbiased ruling on who produces and who doesn’t. And of course the information is as free as it is enlightening. Well they also have an articles section where they frequently show how their stat calculations are made, or compare rankings and then compile an all-NFL list by position… such as the articles I’m going to reference here today. First the good news… DE Andre Carter made the 2009 All-Improved NFL Players list.

Here is what they had to say about Carter:

Still struggled against the run, but played like a different man with Albert Haynesworth beside him, leading to more consistent pressure.

And so you see how this works — here below is the top 15 4-3 Defensive Ends in the NFL for 2009, where Carter was just behind the great Julius Peppers at #10… not too shabby:

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And of course Carter was ranked towards the bottom in 2008 at #65 because of his horrible run stopping abilities:

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Notice Jason Taylor and Demetric Evans were right there with Carter at the bottom of the list…. but anyway — great job for Andre Carter raising his level of play in 2009.

Now onto the bad news.  S LaRon Landry made the 2009 All-Declined NFL Players list. Here is the rationale:

Went from justifying his draft pick to looking like a complete bust in the spell of one year…no excuse for a safety giving up five touchdowns.

This is something that I’ve touched on before and unfortunately from an objective standpoint, the critical stance on Landry holds up.  While we all want to remember the LaRon from 2008 – frankly his play did not leave us reminiscing of the good times. Check this out — here is the bottom of the rankings of all Safety’s in the NFL. Landry is ranked the fourth WORST:

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And make no mistake about it — CC Brown, James Butler, Michael Johnson, Michael Griffin — these guys are BAD. I mean REALLY BAD!

So heading into the draft, depth at Safety is yet another concern for the Redskins this year. Some may say this is a fluke thing, some may think Landry can get his confidence back and have another top 5 year like he did in 2008.  But whatever the reason may be — make no mistake that this is an area of concern.  This team can only goes as far as the defense can take them, and stopping big plays from developing is of paramount importance. That responsibility falls squarely on the defensive secondary. Point being — you need to button it up in 2010, LaRon. Shut it down like you did in ’08.


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5 Responses to “Two Redskins Make Top/Bottom Players In ’08 – ’09 Performance Comparison”

  1. F.W. Roy says:

    Your use of Pro Football Focus (PFF) raises some questions particularly for safety ratings. Antrel Rolle was the free safety prize in the 2010 unrestricted free agent market. His contract with the NY Giants is one of the better ones for safeties -http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2010/03/antrel_rolles_contract_with_ny.html
    Admittedly, the sample of free safeties was fairly thin. Antrel Rolle PFF rating was 59th out of 87 safeties or below the top half of the safeties analyzed. PFF attempts to be objective IMO. This issue may be something else when it comes to rating the free and strong safety positions such as disruptive aspects of their play or perhaps it is the weighting scheme PFF uses in the various categories being rated. By clicking on the respective heading categories such as tackles, LaRon Landry comes up with 10th ranked in tackles, but also the 6th in missed tackles, 64th in percentage completions, and 5th on NFL rating. While my review of PFF stats is limited, it does suggest that there are unresolved questions that need to be addressed.

    • All excellent points and thanks for taking the time to give feedback. With PFF as you point out, the fact is they do try to be objective and use straight stats on every snap to isolate productivity…. not resume or reputation.

      Here is a good post that better explains how they go about breaking these things down even with the admitted problems, weighting, etc and what they do as an example of analyzing the players problmes and what that gets you in terms of a ranking.

      http://www.profootballfocus.com/articles.php?tab=articles&arc=&id=135

      To your points as you raised them:

      “The New York Giants also saw a pair of players rank in the top 10 poorest TIRs, with Aaron Rouse earning a score of 20.83 and Michael Johnson coming in at 18.97. Rouse’s score and poor performance in coverage was enough for the team to issue his marching orders this offseason and make free agent Antrel Rolle the league’s highest-paid safety. Worryingly for any Giant fans hoping Rolle will provide an upgrade in tackling, he finished the season just one spot better off than Johnson, with a TIR of 19.92.

      The NFC seemed to find itself at both extremes of the rankings, with seven out of 10 of both the poorest and best TIRs belonging to NFC players. Several individual teams proved to be as polarizing in the rankings as the conference was in reality, with one player showing very well, and another showing poorly. Washington’s Reed Doughty finished inside the top 10 TIRs with a score of 5.63, but his teammate in the defensive backfield, LaRon Landry, produced a TIR of 14.61 by missing 13 of his 89 solo attempts.”

    • And if you return to the point of the article and what the weight of a Safety is — the fact is that Landry was one of the worst in coverage in the NFL.

      CC Brown for the Giants for example — came in after Kenny Phillips went out for the season… he was a fantastic tackler and great in run stopping but absolutely horrible in coverage.

      Which do you think matters most for a safety?

      • F.W. Roy says:

        OK, let’s go back to Reed Doughty. If you look at the PFF Skins’ team defensive stats. Doughty was 4th in the number of tackles and 1st in the number of tackles per down played (second to Fletcher in tackles+assist). Fletcher is highly esteemed as a tackling machine, but Doughty is hardly acknowledged. Landry’s coverage rating is 83rd amongst safties (-11.1)whereas Doughty’s comparable rating is 51st (-2.1).

        “Which do you think matters most for a safety?” This is a question where the distinction should be made between free safety and strong safety. In certain respects Doughty was playing more like a linebacker. I don’t have the details, but I suspect Doughty’s run defensive play compensated for Orakpo weakness on run defense when Orakpo was playing right defensive end (as opposed to OLB). Also the Skins pass defense coverage as a whole including all the defensive backs suffered from efforts to compensate, even Hall’s play in man to man coverage.

      • The issue I’m pointing out is that there is nothing wrong with players being evaluated on their impact and productivity on a given play at their position. The top players ranked are both FS and SS… as are the bottom ranked ones. No distinction really needs to be made if you’re trying to evaluate the best and worst overall contributors.

        And to your point, the fact is that Landry has played both strong and free safeties — was drafted to be an in-the-box safety and found himself struggling to make plays even then.

        So in that sense its more a ranking in terms of “do you make plays” vs “do you make mistakes” when the action comes your way.

        It’s a very tangible ranking at that… does not account for intangibles, details, and the finer points of the on field game like scheme, play calls, etc. Admittedly, its not perfect. But when you want to know how often your free safety gives up a huge play — it tells you blindly where the problems were.

        James Butler, CC Brown, Michael Johnson — all former Giants and I can tell you with a straight face these guys are CONSTANTLY out of position, blow coverage, and give up big plays. There is a trend there.

        Landry is scraping the bottom of the barrel with them in 2009 for a reason… and its not fluke oriented. Its consistently poor production that EARNS you that ranking.

        You point out that teammates weaknesses account for something — that’s noted. But here is how PFF can be used to isolate some personal problems…

        LaRon Landry himself:

        – gave up 664 yards in coverage (2nd most)
        – 224 yards after the catch (4th most)
        – 5 touchdowns (tied for 2nd most)
        – 13 missed tackles (tied for 6th most)
        – 25.5% yards/completion average (3rd most)

        you can see why he got to be the subject of this article after a stellar 2008 season.