AFC South drops, target report

November, 12, 2009
11/12/09
4:12
PM ET
Ten people who are part of the ESPN Stats & Information machine in Bristol, Conn. watch every pass thrown in the NFL to break them down in every way imaginable. Then they send the breakdowns to my e-mail box.

What a life I lead, huh?

Here’s my AFC South-centric review of their excellent review.

Sure hands are a major feature of the division which boasts three of the top five teams in the fewest drops by team category.
Fewest drops by team (percentage of passes)
Team Attempts Drops Drop pct.
Texans 313 7 2.2
Broncos 258 8 3.1
Falcons 236 8 3.4
Jaguars 258 9 3.5
Colts 313 11 3.5
>> League average: 5.5%

Major contributions to that excellent standing by Houston and Jacksonville come from Owen Daniels (zero drops in 58 targeted chances), Steve Slaton (40) and Mike Sims-Walker (51).

Among wide receivers with at least 25 times targeted, Kevin Walter ranks fourth with a 77.1 percent catch rate and Sims-Walker is 12th at 70.6 percent. The league average is 58.6 percent.

On the other end of the spectrum, despite a much better showing in San Francisco last week, Justin Gage 10th worst among wide receivers targeted at least 25 times with a 44.9 percent catch rate.

Onward, beyond drops…
  • Andre Johnson is the NFL’s most targeted receiver, with Matt Schaub looking to him 90 times. The Giants Steve Smith is second (87) while Reggie Wayne is tied with Larry Fitzgerald for third (86). Dallas Clark is seventh (72)
  • Nobody from the division rates in the top six for targets in the fourth quarter and overtime.
  • Nate Washington is tied for fifth in times targeted in the red zone with 10, and he’s caught nine for four touchdowns.
  • Wayne is tied for second (28) and Johnson is tied for sixth (24) in times targeted by passes thrown 15-yards or more downfield.
  • For more on Wayne and Randy Moss as we head towards the New England-Indianapolis matchup, please see this sister post.
  • Clark is the league’s most-targeted tight end with 60 catches on 72 chances. Daniels, done for the season with a knee injury, is fifth on the list with 58 targets.
  • Maurice Jones-Drew is the league’s third most-targeted running back (44) behind Ray Rice and Tim Hightower. Joseph Addai is fifth (41) and Slaton is sixth (39).
  • Jacoby Jones has three touchdowns in 17 times targeted, a 17.6 percent mark that’s 10th in the NFL but well above the league average of 4.35 percent.
  • No AFC South player ranks in the top six in drops or in the top eight for drop percentage among receivers targeted at least 25 times.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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