Chat with KC Joyner
Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, uses game film to track, tabulate and analyze nearly every measurable statistic in an NFL game. He is a regular Insider contributor and has his own website at thefootballscientist.com.
Send your questions now and join KC in The Show on Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
KC Joyner (4:03 PM)
Hello! Apologies I'm a couple of minutes late, having some computer and storm related issues. Let's talk some football!
Why is there such a discrepancy with Cutler?s bad decision percentage (according to you), 1 out of every 20 passes, to his interception per pass ratio, 1 out of every 34 passes (better than Romo?s and Big Ben?s)? How exactly do you or, can you, quantify what a bad decision is? If Cutler throws a pass that is nearly picked off you call that a bad decision, but that pass was incomplete, the same result if he would have thrown the pass out of bounds. So how can that be a bad decision when the end result is the same? Also, if a receiver is running wide open down field and the quarterback doesn?t see him and doesn?t throw him the ball isn?t that a bad decision? What about taking an unnecessary sack? Another question, have you calculated when Cutler?s bad decisions occurred in games? First quarter, second quarter, and so on? Is it higher when the Broncos were losing? By how much? When they were winning? There are so many things that go into this flimsy stat that classifying Cutler in the same category as Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, JP Losman, and below Jason Campbell it takes away a great deal of your credibility. Two of those guys can?t get contract extensions and the other two can?t get contracts period! So if all these teams were trying to get Cutler, why don?t they pay more attention to this one stat that you find so important? Against the Jets last year Cutler rolled to his right, Vernon Gholston chased him, just before contact Cutler threw the ball across his body and across the field, to Tony Scheffler resulting in a 30 yard gain. According to you though that is a bad decision because he never should have thrown that pass, but he did and it resulted in a 30 yard gain, Denver won 34-17. Just saying.
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
Wow, what a long post. In a nutshell, a bad decision is given when a QB makes a mistake with the ball that leads to a turnover or a near turnover (e.g. dropped interception). Teams are willing to go with gunslingers because they tend to get a higher YPA than non-gunslingers, but there has to be a good balance between YPA and bad decision percentage for a team to win.
Hello? Some of us are looking for some Football Science here.
KC Joyner (4:07 PM)
My friend, we lost power just before the chat and my computer is being a bit chippy in restarting. Looks like it should be good now.
Do you have metrics on RB's receiving skills? How do Lynch and Fred Jackson measure out?
KC Joyner (4:11 PM)
RB receiving metrics are something I've been tracking for a while now and I am aiming to finally get to do some analysis on them in SF 2009.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
KC, did you hear that? That noise? It was the wheels already flying off of the 'Eagles to the Super Bowl' bandwagon. Not having Westbrook in training camp is going to remind Reid to do the wrong thing and keep throwing 75% of the time, right?
KC Joyner (4:13 PM)
I've said this a dozen times but I'll say it again - I'm betting the Eagles are going to run the ball a whole lot more this year, even with the Westbrook injury. They've got the O line to do it and they may not trust Donovan's arm quite as much as they used to.
KC Joyner (4:14 PM)
Tyler (St. Louis, Mo.)
I'm a math major and I love sports. How does one break into your field?
KC Joyner (4:15 PM)
I get this question all the time. My standard answer is that if you want to write about football, be it numbers oriented or standard fare, just start writing and posting/sending it around so you can build a readership.
Hi KC, Looking forward to my delivery of this year's Draft Guide. Who will this year's Forte and Johnson? You called it last year. Thanks for all your hard work.Hope all is well with you. Great wor
KC Joyner (4:17 PM)
Kmac, my friend, I am still in the midst of the run breakdowns, so I'm not quite ready to weigh in on that yet. Having said that, I do like Beanie Wells a lot. I recently did a post for the NY Times Fifth Down blog that showed the Cards O line did much better in POA run blocking than expected and Wells will benefit from that.
BSB (saving key strokes)
Should yoyu avoid NFCE players this season because the divisions defenses appear to be so strong? Or does it even out no matter what div you play in.
KC Joyner (4:19 PM)
I don't think it evens out but NFCE WRs will probably face the toughest sets of matchups of any divisional set of wideouts.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
KCJ: Yet another report about Westbrook being dinged up again. For the right price, do you think Edge would be a valuable addition to the Eagles? They did struggle in several notable short yardage situations last year.
KC Joyner (4:20 PM)
Absolutely. I just did a piece on Edge for the NY Times blog. It found that he did quite well on runs where he had all POA wins (i.e. where no lineman lost a POA block). That means he'll get a team yardage if they give him blocking and Philly's O line could do that.
Sheldon (Harrisburg, PA)
Please answer this! Who do you believe will better WR? Jeremy Maclin, Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt? Thanks
KC Joyner (4:22 PM)
Give me Nicks all the way, at least for this season. He runs the route tree as well as anyone I've seen in a while.
Cameron (San Diego/Geico Cubicle) [via mobile]
Hey K.C., always look forward to your chats. Do you think Rivers puts up repeat numbers or do you believe with a healthy L.T. They come down a little bit from a pass happy offense? Thanks in advance
KC Joyner (4:23 PM)
That will be a pass-centric team from now on. Gates is great, Vincent Jackson finally developed into a really good wideout and Chambers has some tread on his tires. They'll lean on that part of their offense as much as possible.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
KCJ: Do you have the link for that Edge piece available? Dont see it on your homepage.
KC Joyner (4:24 PM)
Just go to the NY Times sports section and look for the Fifth Down blog. I'll also be sending it out via my Twitter feed after the chat (which is kcjoynertfs).
Hey KC. Count me among the few Bears fans willing to acknowledge that the guy up in GB is probably still better than our QB. But I have heard that a great deal of Cutler's bad decisions and INTs come in the redzone, do you think being on a team with a more reliable running game will allow him to cut down on bad passes and turnovers when there are the same # of defenders in less space?
KC Joyner (4:26 PM)
It's funny that all of the Bears fans I've had correspondence with are bashing me for comparing Cutler to Grossman. Grossman only took the Bears to the Super Bowl, so I'm saying if Cutler could get his bad decision rates down a bit, he could do the same. I just want Bears fans to jump on Cutler's back as much as they did Grossman's when Cutler makes one of those big mistakes (and, mark my words, he will).
KC, there has been a lot of debate on Vince Young recently on all of the sports talk radio channels. Did you do any metrics on him? I am still amazed he got Rookie of the Year over MJD. He was terrible that year, and his TEAM won a few games despite him.
KC Joyner (4:28 PM)
I don't have his rookie numbers right in front of me but I do remember that he had a very good bad decision rate given how often Tennessee asked him to go vertical. I was totally on his bandwagon before last season, as I figured he would work well in a Heimerdinger offense but the pressure obviously got to him and that didn't work out. If he gets over that pressure (and he's by far not the first athlete to go through that), he'll make Titans fans forget all about Kerry Collins.
KC, this is my favorite chat, so thanks. How good, or not, was the vikings' defense last year, and how bad will it be if Winfield gets hurt because he didn't work out with the team like two years ago?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
Still working on the NFC North teams, so I can't quite weigh in 100% on how the graded out. I will say that Winfield had a terrific metric campaign and one could have easily made a case for him for defensive player of the year. I don't think he'll be hurt by the lack of working out with the team.
Frederick LeClair (Newport,VT )
If the Kansas city chiefs have any chance, how far do you think they will get in the season?
KC Joyner (4:33 PM)
After breaking down about four of their games, I have to admit to being surprised by just how poorly the Chiefs players were grading out. Their passing attack did OK and one of their young CBs did well (I believe it was Flowers), but from a run blocking and run defense perspective, they have a really long ways to go. It'll take two years before they are vying for a .500 mark.
Well KC you can also count me amongst the last of the Grossman bandwagon. He never got a fair shake in last years "competition" and basically took himself out of the NFL by resigning with the Bears. It's a shame because he's more talented than at least half the QBs in the NFL.
KC Joyner (4:34 PM)
I couldn't agree more in some ways but in others I have to get on Grossman. He showed he could run with the big dogs but once the heat got too great, he stopped fighting and just seemed to accept his fate. He is talented enough and should be fighting to get on some roster where he could play for a starting gig. Jeff Garcia was in that spot a few years ago and he fought through it and so should Grossman.
Jordan (St. Louis)
KC, while I was extremely happy the Rams upgraded their offensive line through the draft, it seems we still lack a big play reciever. What do you think of the release of Torry Holt not only as a player, but as an experienced veteran who could have helped some of our younger recievers?
KC Joyner (4:36 PM)
I did a post on Holt for the NY Times blog (today's questions seem to be trended towards blog subjects I've covered) that found Holt did quite well on certain types of shorter go routes, so he's still got some speed. He's also one of those rare types that is actually a good mentoring veteran and not just an older player whose experience won't be passed on to his younger teammates. Stl will miss him terribly and Jax will benefit greatly from his presence.
KC, My favorite team, the Dolphins, drafted two CBs the first day. How often does a rookie CB have good metrics and are either likely to meet them?
KC Joyner (4:38 PM)
Rookie CB metrics tend to go two ways. There are those who struggle early on and then improve greatly as the season progresses (i.e. DRC from the Cards last year). There are also those who do well early on and then seem to hit the wall later. Miami will need their young CBs to make immediate contributions given their schedule.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
You said last week that you found in your research that it really only takes 1 or 2 bad players to make expected bad plays to cause a team to lose. It was also mentioned that you are able to identify those players based on your metrics. Assuming that is true, why would you not try to predict the outcomes of games? Wouldn't it be more lucrative for the entire Scientist family if you were able to correctly predict winners? I am willing, as a loyal chatter, to accept 1 or 2 picks a week from you this year, in secret, just to see if your theory is correct. Deal?
KC Joyner (4:40 PM)
Cosmo, I've got the writing bug. I enjoy writing and running a tout service just wouldn't give me the same satisfaction as writing.
I think the difference in what Garcia and Grossman went through was a littel different from a public pressure stand point. Sure people questioned if Garcia could still play but he wasn't nationally ridiculed as a joke for 2.5 years.
KC Joyner (4:41 PM)
Not to be disagreeable here but Garcia's sexuality was called into question by one of the highest profile media figures the NFL has ever seen. Grossman only had to take grief for a couple of bad passes.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
KC, do you think it was a mistake for Dallas to release Ellis, he had eight sacks last year.
KC Joyner (4:43 PM)
Dallas is such a pass rush heavy team that I'll bet they believe they can get a similar total of sacks without Ellis. The metrics I did on Dallas also show that Ellis was terrible against the run and that's the most likely reason for his departure.
KC, I implore you, use your powers for the good of mankind not filthy lucre.
KC Joyner (4:43 PM)
jeff (miami, florida)
Do you really see Chad Henne being given the starting job in 2010 regardless of how chad pennington plays this year?
KC Joyner (4:44 PM)
Jeff, this is Bill Parcells we are talking about. He won't give anyone anything. If Henne wants the job, he'll need to wrest it from Pennington's hands.
Pick one of the 3 to be your QB for 2009 only: Eli, Donovan or Romo?
KC Joyner (4:45 PM)
Eli. I didn't like Donovan's performance in the second half of the year last season and Romo is a fair-weather performer.
Will Julius Peppers be a distraction for the Panthers this year since he didn't get traded?
KC Joyner (4:46 PM)
I think he'll be a lot like Haynesworth was when he didn't get the big deal he thought he was worth. He'll play lights out in an effort to make his case for future seasons worth of pay.
Frederick LeClair (VT)
KC, what about Matt Cassel do you think he will do much for the Chiefs maybe possibly having a succsesful season this year?
KC Joyner (4:48 PM)
There are a lot of things to like about Cassel. He posted Tom Brady-like bad decision rates, so if you ask him to dink and dunk, he can do it with the best of them. His issue was vertical passing, as he had the 2nd lowest vertical YPA in the league last year. Even dink and dunkers have to go deep sometimes so that part of his game needs to get better.
Tom (River North)
KC, is there any way that Kurt Warner repeats his 2008 performance? It looks like the rest of the division has gotten better, and that's where Warner's numbers were really good.
KC Joyner (4:49 PM)
Good point on the division being improved. I also wonder if Whisenhunt is finally going to put his foot down and run the ball more often. He's got a good enough O line to do it and Wells gives him a terrific young RB talent to lean on. Warner will still have good numbers but he won't be as much of the centerpiece of this offense as he was in 08.
Philosophically speaking, Pittsburgh has always been run first. Since Cowher left, they've allowed Ben to throw it a little more, and the results are hard to argue with. With a healthy FWP and Mendenhall in the mix, do you expect them to go back to the old philosophy, or stick with what is working?
KC Joyner (4:50 PM)
I'm a good portion of the way into the Steelers breakdowns and will be finishing them up sometime next week (got a few NFC East games left to go before starting the AFC North). From what I've seen at this point, the Steelers O line is grading out quite well in run blocking. They stink at pass blocking so that makes me think they will lean on the ground game even more this year.
KC, what sort of response do you give to those who question the relevance and usefulness of advanced stats in team sports? I often find those who dismiss stats such as yours or Hollinger?s and say that baseball is different (which it is) because it's a more individual sport
KC Joyner (4:53 PM)
Baseball stats do lend themselves to segmentation more than standard football stats, but that still doesn't preclude gridiron stat analysis from being relevant.
Eric (Long Island, NY)
hi kc! I've began looking at some ff projections and most sites have forte as the 2nd or 3rd rb. This seems way too high for me I was wondering if you thought the same considering you can get kevin smith 2-3 rounds later.
KC Joyner (4:54 PM)
I like Forte as a fantasy RB a lot but I wouldn't put him that high because of his O line.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
KCJ: Seems Coach W gave the Cards center, Lyle Sendlein, a huge vote of confidence by not signing/drafting another center. What do you think the Cards coaching staff sees in him that perhaps you dont see?
KC Joyner (4:55 PM)
I have no idea what they see in Sendlein. Maybe it's a matter of that they think one of their backup centers can take over the starting gig. Or maybe they figure he'll get better with more practice. With the number of good centers in FA this year, I'm surprised the Cards didn't do more to go down that path.
What do you metrics tell you about Roy Williams? I see a lot of ex-players are saying he can't run the route tree but are they basing that on last season and dismissing 2006?
KC Joyner (4:57 PM)
He was in the bottom five in overall WR metrics last year but I know some of that had to do with injury. I would say that the key to Williams isn't whether or not he can run the tree but rather if the Boys have someone who will stay on his case week to week. Martz did that in Williams great year in Detroit and that is why Williams lit it up.
tomwit nj [via mobile]
As a scientist, do you approve of dihydrogen oxide as a supplement?
KC Joyner (4:58 PM)
Hey now, I've seen that Penn and Teller episode with the dihydrogen monoxide joke and yes I am in favor of H2O as supplement.
What do you think of the MLB and NBA draft process compared to the NFL? Which league do you thing is the most organized when it comes to drafting?
KC Joyner (5:00 PM)
I like the NBA's idea of a lottery for early draft picks. The NFL used to do something like that with the bonus pick in the 1950s and I'd like to see them repeat that process to keep teams from having as much incentive to lose late in the year.
Jim (North Carolina)
What do your metrics tell you about Brian Westbrook? He is 29 and I know the media is jumping all over his "minor" injury, but is he starting to break down or does he have a lot left in the tank?
KC Joyner (5:02 PM)
I'm working on the Eagles at this moment and what strikes me so far about Westbrook is that he had injuries just about all the way through last year. RB is the one position you can't get by with an injured player at and given his history, any "minor" injury is a cause for concern.
Tom (River North)
KC, to follow up on DJ's draft question, did you read the exchange between Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell? I thought Gladwell brought up a great point about how teams are rewarded for mediocrity and that maybe every team should be in a lottery.
KC Joyner (5:04 PM)
I didn't see that exchange but Bill and Malcom are two of my favorite writers, so I'll have to check it out. I will say that I also wrote in my book Blindsided about how the NFL is not the meritocracy it claims to be. It is a socialist system and does reward mediocrity because of it.
Forte's O-line? Ive looked at some film of Forte (whats available on the internet) and the guy had lanes you could drive a truck through a majority of his big games. I hate the Bears but I fail to see how his numbers are anything BUT his O line.
KC Joyner (5:04 PM)
Robert, when I speak of the Bears O line, I'm speaking of consistency. Yes, there were many plays where they opened big holes for him but they were also beaten too often at the POA. And please don't get me wrong - I'd still place Forte near the top of any fantasy RB list.
KC, Does Ken Lucas give Seattle much of a boost at CB now that Josh Wilson and Kelly Jennings will cover the slot where they seem to be more effective? Thanks!
KC Joyner (5:07 PM)
Ken Lucas for the most part had a good 2008 campaign but he did struggle late. If he gives Seattle what he gave Carolina early last year, it will be a big upgrade for the Hawks. Well, hate to fly but Mrs. Scientist has just put chicken enchiladas on the table, so it is dinner time! Hope to see you all here next week!