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Thursday, January 6, 2011
Position for position, Patriots produced


If you don't like reading about how great the New England Patriots are, then you might want to skip this item.

Football Outsiders managing editor Bill Barnwell broke down each offensive skill position using their core metrics, DYAR and DVOA, stats the show how well a player performs compared to NFL average expectations in terms of down, distance, scoring differential and the like.

As you would guess, the Patriots cleaned up.

Barnwell ranked the top five and bottom five players for an ESPN Insider column. Because the piece is for subscribers, I've been given special dispensation to share the AFC East players.

Quarterback: Tom Brady was the top-rated quarterback, as you would expect. His DVOA said he was 53.4 percent better than the average quarterback would be in the various situations.

The AFC East's other quarterbacks weren't in the top or bottom five, which probably surprises many Miami Dolphins and New York Jets fans.

Running back: BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Danny Woodhead finished fourth and fifth. Barnwell wrote they "obviously benefit from the presence of a dominant passing game. They aren't the fourth- and fifth-best running backs in football in a vacuum, but their level of production this year has been better than all but three other running backs."

In the bottom-five category were former Patriots running back Laurence Maroney at No. 1 and former Jets workhorse Thomas Jones at No. 5.

Wide receiver: No receivers made the cut in either group, but Patriots star Wes Welker and Dolphins sophomore Brian Hartline were mentioned as the two receivers who performed better than anyone else compared to their stats. Randy Moss didn't register because he didn't generate any numbers worth crunching.

Tight end: Guess what ... Two more Patriots. Rob Gronkowski was No. 3 and Aaron Hernandez was No. 5. Dolphins tight end Anthony Fasano was the most improved from the previous season.