Saturday, September 5, 2009
What to make of Rams' run on turnovers
By Mike Sando
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Brian writes via Facebook: Takeaways,takeaways, takeaways. Rams have 12 in 4 preseason games. They have also shown the ability to tighten up in the red zone on D. Spags' imprint is definitely wearing off on this team.
Mike Sando: The Rams forced one turnover during the 2008 preseason and only two the year before. They have 12 this preseason, including seven fumble recoveries. What does it mean? Well ...
The number of turnovers forced per game did not correlate from preseason to regular season in 2008. The statistical correlation produced a negative number (minus-.114). The more mathematical people in the community here can put that in perspective, but the greatest possible correlation is 1.0.
The Rams forced one turnover in four preseason games last season. They forced 1.6 turnovers per game during the regular season. The difference of nearly 1.4 turnovers per game from preseason to regular season marked the second-widest absolute disparity in the league. An unusual preseason total appeared untrustworthy as an indicator for the regular season.
The Chargers forced a league-high 12 turnovers during the 2008 preseason, or three per game. Their 16-game regular-season total was just 24, 17th in the league and 1.5 fewer per game than in preseason.
Twelve of the 15 top turnover-forcing teams in the 2008 preseason saw their turnovers per game decline during the regular season. None of the 15 experienced significant improvements. None of the top five turnover-forcing teams during the 2008 preseason ranked higher than 17th in that category during the regular season. However, two of the teams ranked sixth through eighth ranked among the top five, with Baltimore first and the Jets fifth. Both teams were simply better on defense than the Rams.
The Rams' preseason thievery might not mean much, in other words.