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Monday, April 20, 2009
Dolphins clear winners in center switch


Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Two weeks ago, I posted an entry on the beauty of KC Joyner's work.

The Football Scientist concocts formulas to help explain otherwise unquantifiable performances. You can't judge how well a particular offensive lineman performed by glancing at a box score.

That's where Joyner comes in. He breaks down film to grade offensive lineman and cover corners and nose tackles.

In his latest entry on the New York Times' football blog "The Fifth Down," Joyner provides an informative look at decisions the Miami Dolphins made at center.

The Dolphins signed Oakland Raiders free agent Jake Grove and later traded young starter Samson Satele to the Raiders for a sixth-round draft pick.

Joyner views the switch as a distinct upgrade for the Dolphins even though they parted with Satele, who started all 32 of his NFL games after being drafted with the second-round pick acquired when the Dolphins trades Wes Welker to the New England Patriots.

Joyner determined Satele won 79.5 percent of his point-of-attack blocks, a respectable figure. But his numbers plummeted against big 3-4 nose tackles.

The Dolphins face behemoths Kris Jenkins of the New York Jets and Vince Wilfork of the New England Patriots twice a year. Marcus Stroud, a defensive tackle in the Buffalo Bills' 4-3 defense, is no slouch either.

Joyner points out the Dolphins averaged 5.4 rushing yards per attempt, but he computed numbers against Jenkins and Wilfork that halved that output.

Grove, on the other hand, won 90.6 percent of his point-of-attack blocks.

I don't want to keep people from checking out Joyner's blog by printing all of his calculations, so please check it out to view his math.