GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last week, I introduced you to an alternative way of looking at the results of the one-on-one pass rushing/pass blocking drill that is among the most entertaining -- and telling -- things the Green Bay Packers do in training camp.
To review, reader Luke Stanke -- a Green Bay native and graduate student at the University of Minnesota who has an interest in statistical analysis -- offered to devise a formula, similar to the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) used in college basketball. The formula ranks the players involved in the drill based on my subjective results of each head-to-head matchup (more below). Stanke has two metrics: a regular RPI and a weighted RPI. The RPI is one-quarter winning percentage plus one-half opponent winning percentage and one-quarter opponents’ opponents winning percentage.
The chart below shows the latest rankings.
Here are some thoughts on those rankings:
DE Mike Daniels has the best record (16-16) among the defensive players yet ranks as only the sixth-best defensive player. Why? Many of his reps have come against second- and third-stringer players. Nevertheless, Daniels has been one of the most impressive players in this drill. Even when he hasn’t scored a win in the rep, he often gets a good push. Daniels had two sacks in a limited role last season as a rookie but appears to be in line for more playing time this season. With rookie first-round pick Datone Jones (ankle) out this past week, Daniels received significant practice time in the nickel package. Now he has to prove whether he can be as successful against starting-caliber players.
Based on these rankings, Marshall Newhouse (15-4) would look like the clear-cut favorite to win the starting right tackle job over Don Barclay (36-8). Not so fast. Some of Barclay’s reps, especially early in camp, came at center and guard. Also, when Newhouse gets beat, he often gets beat badly. In last Friday’s preseason opener against Arizona, the aging John Abraham smoked Newhouse around the edge and had a strip-sack of quarterback Graham Harrell, who lost the fumble.
The Packers don’t put Clay Matthews through this drill very often. Last summer, he took only 10 reps and went 4-6. Though he’s winless this season in nine tries, he’s clearly been experimenting with some new moves. Also, twice this week he appeared to have beaten rookie left tackle David Bakhtiari only to slip on his way to the quarterback.
Some reporters who score this drill give ties. To me, there’s a clear-cut winner each time. If the defensive player’s move would not result in a sack, a quarterback hit or a pressure, then the offensive player gets the win. Under that grading system, the drill is heavily slanted toward the offense.