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Old 05-07-2013, 09:46 PM    (permalink
DeadEagle
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Until I see that happen, I think I'll trust the professionals actually getting paid by NFL teams to provide data.
Two things.



One, PFF put Blair Walsh, a glorified soccer player, among it's "top 101" NFL players. Instant credibility loss. I guess that's a result of the British in them. And you can't trust crap like that.


Second, 85% of NFL teams deem them not credible. That's a stat you seem to be ignoring.




And more importantly, John Lynch is the best safety. By far. PFF would tell you as much, but they've only been collecting info for like 37 minutes and Lynch has played longer than that. Newbies don't know football. Dexter Jackson is a close #2, because he leads NFL history with Super Bowl MVP's by safeties. You can't argue with hardware. But you can with software. Then I'd definately put Dashon Goldson, because he tucks his shoelaces into his shoes. And that's smart. Smart players win you games. Ronnie Lott should be #4 on my list, because his nephew is Ryan Nece. That counts for something. I'm going to leave the fifth spot open, because once Mark Barron rounds into form, he'll definately be #5.
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Old 05-07-2013, 11:59 PM    (permalink
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It's not so much "attacking" his credibility as stating the facts plainly:

bigbluedefense is a little-known poster on an obscure, niche football forum.

Profootballfocus.com is literally a multi-national, professional, highly regarded corporation that sells their data to civilians and actual NFL employees alike.

That has to be taken into account when comparing two disparate opinions.
What? So because ProFootballFocus is a business, it means that their opinions hold more value than an anonymous person? That's like saying Mike Mayock is 100% right on college scouting because he works in television compared to someone who reports on YouTube.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:19 AM    (permalink
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What? So because ProFootballFocus is a business, it means that their opinions hold more value than an anonymous person? That's like saying Mike Mayock is 100% right on college scouting because he works in television compared to someone who reports on YouTube.
Bloody hell, it's a complete logic fail no matter what example you use. No human or group of humans is infallible. As a matter of fact, the only "perfect" thing in existence is math. It's too bad people just can't grasp the concept that it's only a tool being clumsily wielded by a bunch of trumped up monkeys.

I really dislike "advanced statistics" groups like PFF and FO. Not only are they completely useless, they give internet simpletons a sense of intellectual empowerment.

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

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Old 05-08-2013, 01:53 AM    (permalink
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sabermetrics literally ruined baseball for me (well, i still cynically enjoy watching it and investing time in ootp); my favorite part about football is that it hasn't been torn apart by the long dick of an all-encompassing analytic model that tells you that mark reynolds 2013 april with his 20% (down ~10%) strikeout rate and 30% hr/fb rate are unsustainable so there is no point to getting excited about his production. or that pitcher X's sub 3.00 era is unsustainable because his fip is over 5 and he is just a lucky son of a *****.

i'm obviously exaggerating the whole baseball thing, but ****, just let me watch football and only care about the most superficial stats with respect to each player because i'm watching for entertainment.

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Old 05-08-2013, 03:57 AM    (permalink
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I'm a stats nerd and I enjoy doing some analytics stuff as a hobby. The thing is, anybody who is seriously doing work in that field would know the severe limitations of the work. As an example, take the statistical projections of college players to the NFL for positions where we even have models. We're usually very lucky to get something like r=.24. That's amazing from a social science perspective, and garbage to an NFL team.

And sabermetrics and apbrmetrics have made baseball and basketball more interesting to me (it's literally the only reason that I watch baseball); but that stuff isn't even relevant because PFF does the remedial version of sabermetrics. If they made remedial moneyball classes, PFF would be in the remedial version of that class. Football is nowhere near the other sports because the NFL and NCAA isn't collecting the right statistics, which is because the game is significantly more complex.

tl;dr: Don't worry about "moneyball" ruining the NFL, because we're still in the "Bill James printing books in his garage" stage of football statistical analysis.

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Old 05-08-2013, 04:19 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by robert pancake gallery View Post
sabermetrics literally ruined baseball for me (well, i still cynically enjoy watching it and investing time in ootp); my favorite part about football is that it hasn't been torn apart by the long dick of an all-encompassing analytic model that tells you that mark reynolds 2013 april with his 20% (down ~10%) strikeout rate and 30% hr/fb rate are unsustainable so there is no point to getting excited about his production. or that pitcher X's sub 3.00 era is unsustainable because his fip is over 5 and he is just a lucky son of a *****.

i'm obviously exaggerating the whole baseball thing, but ****, just let me watch football and only care about the most superficial stats with respect to each player because i'm watching for entertainment.
The '94 strike ruined baseball for me. I haven't followed it since.

Baseball is far easier to apply advanced statistical analysis to than football. It was always a part of baseball strategy. The more modern analysis do take the fun out of things, though.

It will never work with football. There are far too many variables for any model to be truly meaningful. So, relax and enjoy the sport how you want.

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Old 05-08-2013, 04:27 AM    (permalink
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I'm a stats nerd and I enjoy doing some analytics stuff as a hobby. The thing is, anybody who is seriously doing work in that field would know the severe limitations of the work. As an example, take the statistical projections of college players to the NFL for positions where we even have models. We're usually very lucky to get something like r=.24. That's amazing from a social science perspective, and garbage to an NFL team.

And sabermetrics and apbrmetrics have made baseball and basketball more interesting to me (it's literally the only reason that I watch baseball); but that stuff isn't even relevant because PFF does the remedial version of sabermetrics. If they made remedial moneyball classes, PFF would be in the remedial version of that class. Football is nowhere near the other sports because the NFL and NCAA isn't collecting the right statistics, which is because the game is significantly more complex.

tl;dr: Don't worry about "moneyball" ruining the NFL, because we're still in the "Bill James printing books in his garage" stage of football statistical analysis.
You're obviously far more educated on the subject than I am. We also obviously agree about the current state of football analytics.

I'm of the opinion that it will never advance beyond it's current state because of that complexity you mentioned. What do you think?
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Old 05-08-2013, 06:21 AM    (permalink
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Originally Posted by robert pancake gallery View Post
sabermetrics literally ruined baseball for me (well, i still cynically enjoy watching it and investing time in ootp); my favorite part about football is that it hasn't been torn apart by the long dick of an all-encompassing analytic model that tells you that mark reynolds 2013 april with his 20% (down ~10%) strikeout rate and 30% hr/fb rate are unsustainable so there is no point to getting excited about his production. or that pitcher X's sub 3.00 era is unsustainable because his fip is over 5 and he is just a lucky son of a *****.

i'm obviously exaggerating the whole baseball thing, but ****, just let me watch football and only care about the most superficial stats with respect to each player because i'm watching for entertainment.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:22 AM    (permalink
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PFF has it's use, you just have to take it with a grain of salt just like any other statistical analysis.

Football is not a sport you can quantify. Especially when we only have a superficial understanding of what is going on, bc again, you don't have the playbooks, you don't know what was really supposed to happen.
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Old 05-08-2013, 08:28 AM    (permalink
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I agree with everything you said except this... and it's just me being nit-picky.

I understand the assignment and agree that he isn't asked to play the run, but focus on the pass game because he is the both the last line of defense and also a playmaker when the ball is in the air.

The only thing I'd add is that this is good coaching by Seattle. They emphasize a player's strengths, while covering their weaknesses.

Thomas most certainly has the physical ability to quickly reach the box from his deep post and be in position to make tackles for minimal gain. That's the same physical ability he uses to get to the sideline in coverage.

The problem is that he isn't going to be making many plays, even if he is in position versus the run. It's a weakness in his overall game. He isn't a balanced safety, he's a pure center fielder. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that and I agree with you regarding how important that role can be to a defense. It certainly doesn't diminish his value as a player or "ranking" as a safety.

An example of a more balanced, but not necessarily better safety, is Dashon Goldson. The 49ers play two deep safeties an often Goldson would line up just as far off the line of scrimmage as Thomas. The difference is that Goldson could hit and tackle, so he would often flash up into the box and make a stop from 20 yards deep. He isn't as good in coverage as Thomas or as good against the run as Chancellor, but is better than both in their weak area. That doesn't make him better overall, though.

I'm sorry for the long post just to nit-pick that a free safety can play the run when lined up 20 yards deep. I also prefer safeties that excel in deep coverage for the reasons you've already given. Just keep in mind that some prefer a more balanced player. Arguments can be made both ways, but I don't think either side could make a strong enough case to "win" that argument.

Also, I hate ranking players because there are too many variables in football due to it's heavy reliance on scheme and complete team performance. You could make the argument for many players that are mostly ignored having greater impact than flashy "star" players. I also dislike advanced statistics for similar reasons.

Ok. /rant
That's fine and I understand your point. For me, a FS is all about playing the deep ball and his range on the deep ball. I think schematically what this does for you can't be understated.

That's why I don't really care much about his ability to tackle in the run game, or ability to cover big TEs in man. He doesn't need to do that to be very effective.

Ed Reed is arguably the greatest FS of all time. Not bc of his versatility, but bc he was hands down the best deep ball FS in his prime. Ed rarely covered the TE or played in the box. That's a waste of his ability.

A FS who can cover the entire back end on his own is priceless. The coverage disguises, coverage shells, and blitzing disguises/shells you can run bc of him is priceless. Absolutely priceless. It makes your defense that much better.

For example I can come out in a Cover 2 shell, roll into a Cover 3 before the snap, then zone blitz out of the Cover 3 shell and ask my FS to cover a good 35 yards on his own to keep coverage integrity. All while disguising my play twice before the snap.

That's a great luxury to have. Most teams would get toasted for trying. Thomas gives you the ability to execute that and not worry about getting torched for a 40 yard TD.

That's why having that individual skillset is so valuable to me.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:48 AM    (permalink
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That's fine and I understand your point. For me, a FS is all about playing the deep ball and his range on the deep ball. I think schematically what this does for you can't be understated.

That's why I don't really care much about his ability to tackle in the run game, or ability to cover big TEs in man. He doesn't need to do that to be very effective.

Ed Reed is arguably the greatest FS of all time. Not bc of his versatility, but bc he was hands down the best deep ball FS in his prime. Ed rarely covered the TE or played in the box. That's a waste of his ability.

A FS who can cover the entire back end on his own is priceless. The coverage disguises, coverage shells, and blitzing disguises/shells you can run bc of him is priceless. Absolutely priceless. It makes your defense that much better.

For example I can come out in a Cover 2 shell, roll into a Cover 3 before the snap, then zone blitz out of the Cover 3 shell and ask my FS to cover a good 35 yards on his own to keep coverage integrity. All while disguising my play twice before the snap.

That's a great luxury to have. Most teams would get toasted for trying. Thomas gives you the ability to execute that and not worry about getting torched for a 40 yard TD.

That's why having that individual skillset is so valuable to me.
I agree that Reed in his prime was GREAT at playing deep, but THERE IS SO MUCH MORE than that playing safety. Like stated above, if you just wanted someone that could play deep you could draft a CB and move him back there. you have you play the run, you have be able to match up on the TE or help in the running game.

Dont get me wrong i think Reed is still one of the best, but its because he could do anything asked of him. He would lay the wood, come up and help in the running game.
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:56 AM    (permalink
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I agree that Reed in his prime was GREAT at playing deep, but THERE IS SO MUCH MORE than that playing safety. Like stated above, if you just wanted someone that could play deep you could draft a CB and move him back there. you have you play the run, you have be able to match up on the TE or help in the running game.

Dont get me wrong i think Reed is still one of the best, but its because he could do anything asked of him. He would lay the wood, come up and help in the running game.
Randy Moss was one of the best WRs of all time and the greatest deep threat. Because he wasn't running an extensive route tree does not diminish how good a player he was. The fact that Moss could dictate coverage made him the most dangerous offensive weapon of all time.

Having a free safety with elite range and ball skills does a similar thing. It allows the defense to focus its attention elsewhere. Having an elite FS allows defenses to do similar things to what the Jets did with Revis at CB. You know what he is going to do and you bring help to other areas.

I would take a guy who is great at one massive thing, than someone who is very good at a lot of things
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:01 AM    (permalink
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I agree that Reed in his prime was GREAT at playing deep, but THERE IS SO MUCH MORE than that playing safety. Like stated above, if you just wanted someone that could play deep you could draft a CB and move him back there. you have you play the run, you have be able to match up on the TE or help in the running game.

Dont get me wrong i think Reed is still one of the best, but its because he could do anything asked of him. He would lay the wood, come up and help in the running game.
See, it's not that simple actually. Playing Safety is very different from playing CB. CBs are used to playing at the LOS up on a man, or if they're in off zone they're playing a quarter of the field. Your ability to diagnose route combinations and pick up the right read is not as difficult as a CB vs Safety.

A deep S is playing the entire field, the entire route combination. He needs to diagnose on average 4 to 5 routes within 1.5 seconds and pick up the proper key, while also diagnosing how his teammates are holding up in coverage and who's breaking down.

All within 1.5 seconds. You have to process information fast. This is not an easy transition for a CB to make bc of that. It's a different skill set. That's why zone CBs typically have an easier time transitioning but even then many do not hack it.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this is the only important role of a FS, but I do believe that his ability in this role is his most important quality. And Earl isn't horrible in everything else. He can lay wood, he can cover WRs, he isn't great vs the run but he's not awful either. He's good enough in the other aspects for me and so much better than anyone else as the deep FS that I rank him ahead of everyone else for it.

Obviously this is a personal preference of mine. If you want a more balanced safety than Earl isn't your guy, but for what I look for in a FS, I would rank him well above anyone else.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:16 AM    (permalink
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Having a guy who can play deep like Earl Thomas makes everyone that much better. It gives you more flexibility everywhere. If you can take away the deep ball and make opposing QB's pay for mistakes down the field, it opens up everything in front of your deep guy. Not many teams have that. The Patriots have needed that deep safety for a long, long time and it has been the difference for us in a lot of games.

In today's game the enforcing type safeties are becoming more and more restricted by the new rules, it makes the guys who can play deep that much more valuable. I'll take Thomas over any safety in the league personally, after him I would take Byrd and Weddle. Byrd is one of my favorite players in this league, he is well rounded and makes plays. Weddle is a great player and I am still pissed we drafted Meriweather over him. Of all the "Patriots Player" moves we have made I still can't understand how we drafted Meriweather over Weddle. BB say Meriweather as the next Ed Reed, that is my only explanation. Weddle played corner and safety in college and was incredibly productive, that screamed BB.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:28 AM    (permalink
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Get 3 down linebackers and you shouldn't need all around safeties. Having linebackers who can match up in man with TE's, disrupt passing lanes in the intermediate areas of the field, and quickly close on guys in the flat eliminates the need for a traditional SS. It's part of the reason why I find it amusing that people disparage the value of a quality LB, but at the same time knock a safety down for not having the skills that a good quality LB can provide.
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:54 AM    (permalink
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Get 3 down linebackers and you shouldn't need all around safeties. Having linebackers who can match up in man with TE's, disrupt passing lanes in the intermediate areas of the field, and quickly close on guys in the flat eliminates the need for a traditional SS. It's part of the reason why I find it amusing that people disparage the value of a quality LB, but at the same time knock a safety down for not having the skills that a good quality LB can provide.
I think the issue is those guys are so hard to find. Big TEs are no longer slow, plodding men who run short routes. Having a guy who can not only match someone like Gronk or Vernon Davis in pass coverage, but also be a hammer in the run game is virtually impossible to find, let alone get 3 of them.

Although, that is one of the reasons the 49ers have been good defensively. They don't sub that often. Both Willis and Bowman can thrive in coverage and against the run, it really isn't a liability to have either on the field against any formation. But those two guys are top 3 LBs in the league.

I don't think the value of a top LB is diminishing, I think the quantity of quality LBs are diminishing
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Old 05-08-2013, 10:57 AM    (permalink
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It's just as hard to find a SS who can cover a TE as it is to find a LB who can cover a TE.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:08 AM    (permalink
Denver Bronco56
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I guess this is all personal preference.


BUT I still would rather have a player that can do everything, then someone elite at one thing. Finding a LB that can run with the likes of Vernon Davis or Gronk, but still play the run is just as hard as a safety that can cover the TE and help in the running game.

Reed and Polamalu were not ONE trick ponys, they could do anything you asked of them.... I just dont see that in Thomas, or really any safety in the NFL right now.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:13 AM    (permalink
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Byrd and Weddle are the closest to being complete safeties I think.

Thomas is good enough in the other areas. I don't really consider him a 1 trick pony, but that one trick is a trick he's really really really good at.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:14 AM    (permalink
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I guess this is all personal preference.


BUT I still would rather have a player that can do everything, then someone elite at one thing. Finding a LB that can run with the likes of Vernon Davis or Gronk, but still play the run is just as hard as a safety that can cover the TE and help in the running game.

Reed and Polamalu were not ONE trick ponys, they could do anything you asked of them.... I just dont see that in Thomas, or really any safety in the NFL right now.
Short memory huh...

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Old 05-08-2013, 11:19 AM    (permalink
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Short memory huh...

I NEVER said Raheem Moore was good...or top 5
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:20 AM    (permalink
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I think Moore was fine last season. Unfortunately for him people are going to remember him for that blunder in the playoffs.
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Old 05-08-2013, 11:21 AM    (permalink
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Oh he was very much improved, and very solid...but Nothing to brag about or mention in top 5 discussions.
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Old 05-08-2013, 12:30 PM    (permalink
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I know, people get so sensitive about stuff like that. It like caused an uproar on the steelers board i use

He plays a disciplined brand of football, which is needed to compensate for polamalus chaos. But he has horrible closing speed, is afraid of turnovers, and only really excels at laying a boom, which legal or not draws a flag 50% of the time. He is a solid, middle of the pack safety. Nothing more
I considered Clark's season last year as good as any safety in the NFL (Earl Thomas was great in the playoffs so I might consider him to have the best year when all is said and done). With Polamalu' injury shortened season, Clark stepped up and became a complete player, which he's always been, but it was magnified more last year than ever before. He was the best player in the secondary. The secondary that gave up the fewest passing yards in the league (Keenan Lewis' Pro Bowl caliber season also helped). And it's not like the front 7 was so dominating and putting all kinds of pressure on the QB.

You seem to focus on all the negatives. I don't know why. You seemed to have had no problem with Weddle making my list. Both players were asked to do almost identical things last year. They could both play the deep half or deep third on one play, then come up in the box as the 8th run defender the very next. If you look at their impact stats (INTs and FFs), then you have two players that are nearly identical in terms of turnovers (Weddle with one more INT). Their tackles are also very close as both had around 100 tackles.

Saying he has horrible closing speed? Only excels at laying the boom? And is afraid of turnovers? WTF. You kinda need a running start to lay a boom, so I don't how a guy with horrid closing speed could ever be in such a position to lay a boom.

This reminds me of Chris Hope. Hope was a really good player in the Steelers defense. The second they lost him, they were giving up big passing plays left and right. Clark eventually filled the void after a couple years in the system, and has since been a better player then Hope ever was. Clark completely takes away anything deep. The Steelers never give up anything deep (unless its in Denver, then you get to really see his impact). It isn't because of Polamalu, that's not his game or his strength, or the great CBs they have.

I'm not going to say Clark is elite against the pass because he doesn't force enough turnovers (which you alluded to by talking about how afraid he was), but he's very good because of his positioning and instincts. I'm not going to say he's elite against the run because there's a guy who plays SS right next to him that is elite against the run (and the difference is astronomical), but he's very good at playing down in the box. Not to mention, he stepped up as the leader in that defense last year and showed that he could play next to complete garbage and play like a great safety that does a little bit of everything.

There is a current discussion that is taking place. Some are saying that they'd rather have a guy who's elite at something over a guy who does a bunch of things well, but nothing great. Some want the player that does everything well. A lot has to do with your surroundings. Some players are asked to do more than others because they have terrible players around them. Clark was asked to do more last year because of injuries. Some players have great CBs and can allow their ball hawking to shine through, or their ability to play in the box. Either way, I don't think you can fault a player who does what's asked of him really well. Just like you can't be overly critical of a player who tries to overcompensate for terrible play around him (Malcolm Jenkins). Ryan Clark might be in the ideal situation. He might be completely average anywhere else, but I can't judge him on that. I can only judge him on him being in the perfect scenario.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:15 PM    (permalink
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I'm a stats nerd and I enjoy doing some analytics stuff as a hobby. The thing is, anybody who is seriously doing work in that field would know the severe limitations of the work. As an example, take the statistical projections of college players to the NFL for positions where we even have models. We're usually very lucky to get something like r=.24. That's amazing from a social science perspective, and garbage to an NFL team.

And sabermetrics and apbrmetrics have made baseball and basketball more interesting to me (it's literally the only reason that I watch baseball); but that stuff isn't even relevant because PFF does the remedial version of sabermetrics. If they made remedial moneyball classes, PFF would be in the remedial version of that class. Football is nowhere near the other sports because the NFL and NCAA isn't collecting the right statistics, which is because the game is significantly more complex.

tl;dr: Don't worry about "moneyball" ruining the NFL, because we're still in the "Bill James printing books in his garage" stage of football statistical analysis.
yeah, i'm didn't mean to imply that i was worried about the nfl, more the opposite and why pff metrics alone hardly validate objectively ranking one player over another. and i understand the appeal of advanced statistical models, but i was a fan of baseball long before i read moneyball or fangraphs, and knowing everything that is going to happen (and again this is obviously a complete exaggeration) just spoils the experience for me on some level. i'm not saying it's a bad thing, just that i can't really generate the same level of passion for the sport when real life plays out like a simulator (that isn't completely true, but you get the point). fangraphs is awesome, don't get me wrong.

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