First off, I would like formally welcome Steve Gesuele to UltimateNYG. Steve and others worked hard last year on content in review of the All 22 film. It is great to have his coverage this season so that we can find out more about what is going on forensically with the players/team when we review each game.
I cannot speak highly enough about Pro Football Focus. I will plug these guys until the cows come home, because any serious football fan is nuts for not spending $27 dollars per season to get their player and team grades. A few years back, when we first looked at them, we saw some minor grading inconsistencies that led us to want to undertake our own grading of the team. It was an absolutely insane amount of work, a living hell. These guys at PFF get most, if not all of it right, so spending a relatively small amount of money for the service to get the outsourced reviews of player performance is a total layup. Just spring for the couple of bucks and then comment on a stat here or there that you see that you want to want to bring to the blog's attention.
After two games, it is foolhardy to leap to too many (long range) conclusions based on the PFF stats compiled on the Giants thus far. But with that caveat said, we can certainly glean a lot. For starters, it is a tale of two cities, as the offense has been woeful and the defense has held up relatively well considering. The Giants rank third to last (30th) in rush offense in the NFL. They are in the middle of the pack in pass offense. The pass defense is very soft, at 29th, and surprisingly thus far the Giants rush defense is ranked 2nd in the league. Where PFF is so good is that you can quickly drill down and examine the breakdown of individual player performances which contribute to those rankings. That is what truly separates the stats- they are "bottom up" grades built on a total of individuals, whereas when you see ESPN or NFL.com's unit rankings, all they use are yards. As an example, when we look at the run blocking, we see that all of the linemen (excluding Snee, who is barely above 0) have a negative grade. Or that in pass protection, the three greatest offenders have been Will Beatty, Chris Snee and Justin Pugh, all by a country mile. We can state unequivocally here, after 2 games, that Eli does not have as much time to throw because of those 3 players. This is based on a total of sacks, QB hits and QB hurries.
Where have there been bright spots? I really am not concerned with Eli's play, and the PFF reviews substantiate that. Despite a poor (NFL Formula) passer rating that has him ranked 25th in the NFL, his passer grading based on each play has him the 13th ranked QB. Why? Because the breakdown of each play assigns credit and blame to whoever deserves it, not based purely on the result. So a QB who is not getting the same protection will have a different ranking. And dropped passes, or INTs caused by crazy deflections (ie Da' Rel Scott), will not count the same way a ball is thrown directly at (DeMarcus Ware) a DE on a screen.
Lastly, Ryan Mundy, Justin Tuck and Victor Cruz lead the team in PFF grading. I may have given you some overal data, but you have no idea how much more stuff is at PFF. It's worth it to subscribe.
I've looked at the DT alignment for the first 2 games (150 plays here, coaches film must be missing a few...).
- I'm not a pro, so any technique I give in the file is approx.
- Overall, it's either Joseph + Jenkins or Patterson + Rogers. This was particularly true in the second game with only 3 snaps not following this scheme (18 in DAL). I hadn't noticed that and it's quite surprising to me. It'll be interesting to see how this goes in CAR.
- When in "standard packages" (J+J or P+R) Joseph and Patterson are always the LDT. Joseph absolutely always plays LDT this season, same for Rogers on the right side. At first I wanted to keep track of who's playing weakside or strongside but it looks to me that guys just have their sides, quite like our CBs. Patterson is the one switching depending on who's playing alonside him : he's on the left when Rogers or Jenkins are in the game, he's on the right when Joseph is on.
- Tuck had 17 snaps at DT, always on the left side, and only once was he not next to Jenkins (Rogers was the other DT on 1 play). He's the only DE who played there, althoug Kiwi lined up between the tackles on 1 play vs Denver. Patterson and Rogers were on the field for that play so I kept them as DT, Kiwi was just a DE lined up in the middle (that's the play with 93 in 7-technique, outside the TE).
- Outside of plays with Tuck as DT, Jenkins only played 2 snaps with somebody else than Jospeh.
- I also wanted to keep track of double teams but it turned out to be quite even between the players.
- As far as "techniques" go, there doesn't seem to be a rule. It would be interesting to track if techniques depend on weak/strong side but ... well.
They also write interesting articles. While 3TFO and ReFO are nice to have an overview of other teams strengths and weaknesses, the good stuff is the film analysis.
Anyway I said I liked our DT rotation before the season (not that I was the only one saying that !) and it's been one of the very few bright spot of this team so far.
The defense played 156 snaps over the 1st 2 games (Rolle being the only player on the field for all of them by the way - he's the player who's taken the most snaps since the season he came over btw²).
DTs snap count:
So while we have 2 starters and 2 subs, it's not like Rogers and Patterson are not very active.
In DAL, Hayden and Hatcher have taken 111 and 106 snaps (overall D : 132 snaps). Next is Cohen with 38 and finally Long with 18.
In ATL it's 121, 109, 74 snaps for the DTs.
Now what interesting I think are the assignments they're given : they pass rush on 65%, 61%, 66% and 60% of their snaps (same order, Jenkins, Joseph so on).
It's not like the coaches think "ok, we have this guy who's gonna play the run and this guy who's gonna play the pass".
And if we look at PFF grades for the big guys, they may be wrong about that.
Let's compare the DTs grades overall, in pass rush and run D [it doesn't add up as I'm not counting penalties and the 1 coverage snap that earned Patterson a -1 (what's up with that PFF btw ? A DT has one cover snap in 60 and it cuts his grade by 33% ?) I tweaked Mike's overall rating because ... c'mon.]
Jenkins : 1.5 / 0.6 / 0.5
Joseph : 1.9 / 1.6 / 0.9
Rogers : 2.3 / -1.0 / 3.1
Patterson : 2.8 / -1.8 / 4.6
So Rogers and Patterson are our best DTs ?
Ok maybe palying those 20 extra snaps would get them tired and lower the grades but still, that's pretty nice.
What also jumps out are the difference between pass rush and run D.
Rogers and Patterson don't do much in pass rush - it's not like J&J are awesome or anything, but they are better. The real difference though comes in run D where Rogers and Patterson really seem to be an upgrade.
Now what would be interesting is watch where those guys play (1 or 3 technique) and when they are on the field. The snap count seems to indicate that we don't use the DT depending on the situation (ie obvious running downs).
Maybe we should ?