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Stats Don’t Lie: AP Can Still Be Considered “Elite,” Sweat’s Speed Should Open Some Eyes

By Marc Lande

Hey Washington Football fans, a few of you have been following this writer recently and might have come to the conclusion that he feels the name is racist but what about actually writing on football.

Well, once again, this writer feels he is scooping the Post and all other outlets on fairly well-known league wide statics, which most Washington football team fans should know about regarding a few players.

If one navigates ones computer’s search engine to NFL.com, one can access NFL Next Gen Stats in quite a few categories: real NFL insiders stuff, really!

Scoop 1, Offense: AP is still quite productive according to Next Gen Stats analysis.

Let us start with rushing against 8 men fronts.

According to Next Gen Stats, 8+ Defenders in the Box (8+D%) is defined as “On every play, Next Gen Stats calculates how many defenders are stacked in the box at snap. Using that logic, DIB% calculates how often does a rusher see 8 or more defenders in the box against them.”

Here is this writers breakdown and stat analysis of AP in 2018 vs. 2019:

In 2018, AP saw 8+D%: 16.73

In 2019, AP saw 8+D%: 29.83

In 2018, AP ranked 39th in 8+D% amount.

In 2019, AP ranked 16th in 8+D% amount.

In 2018, AP averaged 4.2 yards per carry.

In 2019, AP averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

In 2018, AP had 251 carries.

In 2019, AP had 211 carries.

The differences of 40 carries does not disprove the statement this writer will make: putting more people in the box did not slow down AP. Encouraging sign for Washington football team fans.

According to Next Gen Stats (EFF) is defined: “Rushing efficiency is calculated by taking the total distance a player traveled on rushing plays as a ball carrier according to Next Gen Stats (measured in yards) per rushing yards gained. The lower the number, the more of a North/South runner.”

Here is AP’s breakdown and stat analysis from 2018 and 2019.

In 2018, Elijah McGuire led EFF with a 5.2 EFF.

In 2018, AP ranked 12th at 4.31.

In 2019, David Montgomery (Jets) led EFF with a 4.05.

In 2019, AP ranked 6th with an EFF of 3.89.

A case can be made that AP was the most efficient runner in the league in 2019. Four more years why not writes this writer! With age. AP seems to be getting better.

Yet, one unnamed outlet was firing a shot off the deck of AP tenure here in Washington recently arguing AP is lucky to get 1 more year here. Huh?

The 5 runners ahead of AP in EFF, the aforementioned Montgomery, Chris Carson (SEA), Josh Jacobs (OAK), Miles Sanders (PHI), and David Johnson (ARI traded in offseason to HOU) and all have similar EFF to AP.

But not 1 of these runners had an 8D over 21%. AP’s this writer remind was over 29%.

In fact, Christian McCaffrey the best runner last season by most standards only ranked 17th in EFF. Of course this stat would be lower stats than many runners because he had a heavy workload of 289 carries to AP’s 211 carries.

Yet, McCaffrey’s 3.46 EFF and 23.34 8D have me wondering if AP is slowing down or getting better with age, I say better.

In previous articles this writer had published on the Redskins, this writer refers to AP as ‘the second coming of John Riggins.’ Nobody knows AP speed these days as Riggo’s speed was always in question with the Washington football team. But both runners were known to be diesels.

We had a 3-3 stretch last season fueled primarily on AP’s and Guice’s legs at times. Food for thought!

Now no need to look at a passing game that was under taps for most of the season whether Callahan or Gruden.

Of note, McLaurin cracked the top 10 in one Next Gen Stat and so did Steven Sims. Instead of a huge statistical analysis of both, what can I gleam: McLaurin’s TAY% (number of deep yards a receiver accounts for the whole team) of 37.09%. meant McLaurin was able to get open downfield.

Steven Sims ranked 6th in the league in average cushion (CUSH) at 6.7. According to NFL Next Gen stats, CUSH is defined as: “The distance (in yards) measured between a WR/TE and the defender they’re lined up against at the time of snap on all targets.”

This tells me that Sims speed: much respected by opposing defenders. Food for thought.

Remember the Washington Football team while looking good for a stretch last season, did wound up with the 2nd overall pick and the cause of this many fans would blame on the offensive side of the ball. Hmmm?

Scoop 2, Defense: Now, on the defensive side of the ball, there will not be many sights of our defense on NFL Next Gen Stats in categories.

But there was a play made by the defense end Montez Sweat. With under 6:20 left with the visiting Detroit Lions leading 16-13 facing a key 3rd and 5, Washington football team player Montez Sweat came barreling around the right side of the OL and sacked journeyman QB Jeff Driskel.

Driskel had no shot to get rid of the ball because Sweat got their way too fast by most NFL standards. The Redskins got the ball, proceeded to drive down the field and tie the game and then won in the last seconds on a Hopkins 39-yard field goal. Did Sweat’s sack energize the Washington football team on the field, I think so.

The play turned out to be the third fastest sack in the NFL according to NFL Next Gen Stats at 1.97 seconds.

To put into perspective how Herculean an effort, since 2016 the only faster sacks by non-secondary players (6th overall) are Cam Johnson (formerly CLE) incredible 1.82, Chris Jones (KCC) 1.95 and Myles Garrett (CLE) 1.95. So, Sweat’s feat, there are only 3 faster sacks (by non-secondary players) since 2016 (the inception of Next Gen Stats).

That is what we brought Sweat in to do 20 times a season fans who are high in the Sweat camp had been saying before the season began.

Further insight, if the 32 NFL teams over the past 4 seasons, this writer estimates [because this writer does not know (lol)] that each defense averages 2 sacks a game (this writer watches much football to determine this), Sweat’s sack is ranked about 4th thru 7th out of a possible 256 (+/- a few) total sacks by this estimation. That is blinding.

This writer leaves it to NFL NEXT GEN pundits to project Sweat’s career fastest and given that he has already played 16 games with a grand total of 7 sacks, at least 10 sacks from Sweat look like a possibility next season.

Yet, this writer keeps seeing us ranked at 28th (according to ESPN) or under 6 wins.

Hmmm, do not we play this games for a reason. Just food for thought


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