Posts Tagged ‘trends’

Quick Hit: Pass/Run Ratios 2010 vs. 2011

October 22, 2011 Leave a comment

Anyone who has been following the NFL knows that passing yardage is up significantly this year. Tom Brady and Drew Brees are both on pace to throw for over 5,700 yards, Aaron Rodgers will hit 5,400 at his current rate and rookie 1st overall pick Cam Newton is on track to hit 4,925 yards. The league average is 242.8 passing yards per game, up from 221.6 last year. While a 21 yard difference per game may not seem like much, that adds up to an increase of over 10,000 yards across the league.

Part of the increase has come from an increase in yards per attempt. Last season, the average was 6.2 Y/A. This year, it’s up to 6.5. There are probably a number of factors: generally good weather, a lack of tackling drills in camp leading to more yards after the catch, shortened offseason programs, new league rules on hitting receivers etc.

The other part of of the league-wide passing increase is that teams are calling pass plays more frequently than last year. Here is the percentage of plays which are passes per team [(pass attempts+sacks)/total offensive plays]:

The difference column shows how much more a team is passing the ball in 2011 compared to 2010 (positive numbers indicate more passing, negative indicates more running). Two of the top 3 teams in terms of increased passing have new coaches (Mike Munchak in Tennessee and Pat Shurmur in Cleveland) and, somewhat surprisingly, the team which has reduced their passing the most also has a new coach (The 49ers’ Jim Harbaugh). The Raiders are the only team thus far in 2011 which has run more than they have passed.

Overall, pass plays make up 58.55% of league wide offense in 2011, compared to 56.93% in 2010. It will be interesting to see how these numbers change as the weather gets worse and defenses (presumably) start to tighten up.

Categories: Misc, Stats Tags: , , ,

Quick Hit: Wes Welker’s ridiculous pace

October 10, 2011 2 comments

5 weeks into the 2011 season and Wes Welker is on pace to not just break, but shatter, NFL receiving records. His 740 yards receiving is nearly 100 yards better than the next highest amount for any receiver in the first 5 games of the season. Unfortunately, history tells us that Welker can’t possibly sustain his pace. Here are the top 20 “first 5 games” :

Of the 18 guys from before 2011, only Brandon Lloyd was able to maintain his pace (he actually increased it) but he ended up missing 5 games to injury. As a group, there was an average 24.3 yard per game decrease. If we apply that average to Welker, he still ends up at a staggering 1979 yards.

Categories: Stats Tags: , , , ,

Player Size Over Time

October 10, 2011 Leave a comment

One of the things we hear a lot is “players are a lot bigger now than they used to be”. That line of reasoning has been used to justify everything from additional safety precautions are needed (theoretically, bigger players hit harder) to the better quality of play league-wide (bigger, more athletic guys can perform better than smaller, less athletic guys). While it’s undeniable that some players are significantly bigger than those from yesteryear, the size gains are surprisingly small for some positions.

Here are the average weights of players who started 6+ games for their team in a particular year:

And their height:

Finally, their BMI [(wt*703)/(ht^2)]


A few things jump out at us here:

The biggest gains have come from OL, and the gains are mostly weight related. A lot of that is probably muscle gains from advancements in workout routines and training regiments. As a group, OL have only gotten taller by less than an inch (0.8 inches to be exact), but they have seen significant weight gains – 56.5 lbs on average.


The guys they are blocking have also gotten bigger, but in a less uniform manner. Interior DL have actually gotten shorter by nearly an inch and a half, but are heavier by nearly 50 lbs. Defensive ends have gotten taller by a tiny amount (0.3 inches) and have only added half as much weight (22 lbs).


Wide receivers and DB’s have grown similarly, both positions being a bit shorter but a bit heavier.


The really interesting changes, or lack thereof, come from the RB and LB positions. Running backs have seen very little change, an inch shorter and less than 10 lbs heavier than their predecessors 40 years ago.  However, all of that change came in the early part of the 1990’s. Since 1990-1994, RB’s have remained surprisingly consistent in size. Similarly, linebackers have not changed much over the last 40 years and all of their change seemed to occur in the early 90’s. As a group, they got a bit heavier in the late 90’s/early 2000’s but that change is most likely a result of teams shifting to the 3-4 and DE’s becoming LB’s. As sub-package defenders and pass-rush specialists become the norm, linebackers have trended a little to the lighter side. As the spread offense and high powered passing attacks continue to prosper, we should see lighter LB’s.

Categories: Misc Tags: , ,
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