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A surprising look at how teams did in '10 with/without big-name receivers

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Ice_Ice_Brady, Dec 30, 2010.

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  1. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady In the Starting Line-Up

    Apr 3, 2006
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    Warning: If Cold Hard Football Facts attempts to steal the content of another of my posts, I'm going to to do something about it this time. You get paid to do your job; stop stealing my ideas and ask my permission. Your coincidental articles are getting all-too coincidental.

    Here's a quick, surprising look at how team's offenses have performed with the gain or loss of a big-time wide receiver. As you recall, some of the major acquisitions this offseason were Marshall, Holmes, Owens and Boldin, who were thought to be the missing pieces to a spectacular offenses. Although this is a small sample size, the results are still pretty amazing. I did not include teams (such as Arizona and Buffalo) where there was a big change at QB.

    NY Jets
    Added: Santonio Holmes (79 rec., 1248 yards, 5 TDs in 2009.)

    Scenario: Holmes was brought in as a talented WR to go alongside Braylon Edwards. It was thought that this coup would make the Jets more multi-dimensional and help stretch the field to help Mark Sanchez.

    2009 Offense: 21.8
    2010 Offense: 20.6

    Result: Although Holmes has made some big plays in clutch situations, it's hard to argue that the Jets are better off now. Sanchez has just a 54.8% completion rate, 6.5 ypa, a 75.3 passer rating, and according to Football Outsiders, leads the league with 13 dropped interceptions.

    Pittsburgh Steelers
    Subtracted: Holmes

    2009 Offense: 23.0
    2010 Offense: 20.8 (-2.2 ppg); with Roethlisberger 23.2 (+ 0.2 ppg)

    The emergence of Mike Wallace just shows that the Steelers knew what they were doing in trading Holmes. Wallace is as talented as SH but probably won't end up sharing a cell with Plaxico Burress. With Roethlisberger in the lineup, the Steelers are slightly better on offense this year, despite having a really, really bad offensive line. Perhaps they could have done better than a fifth rounder for Holmes, but once again the sky did not fall with the loss of a big name talent at wideout.

    Miami Dolphins
    Added: Brandon Marshall (101 receptions, 1120 yards, 10 TDs in '09)

    2009 Offense: 23.5
    2010 Offense: 17.7 (-5.8 ppg)

    Result: Yes, you can pin much of this on Chad Henne, but the Dolphins averaged almost 6 more ppg last year with mostly the same offense. You'd think that Marshall would have put them into an elite offensive class, but for whatever reason, their offense is much worse, and their payroll is bogged down with his enormous contract.

    Denver Broncos
    Lost: Marshall (traded)

    2009 Offense: 20.4
    2010 Offense: 21.1 (+0.7 ppg)

    Result: There's no question that the Broncos are bad this year on both sides of the ball, but again, they are actually averaging more points without Marshall. Brandon Lloyd was elected to the pro bowl and is outperforming BM from an individual standpoint. It's hard to argue that Denver should have extended him for big bucks when they have a guy who can outperform him already.

    San Diego Chargers
    Lost (hold-out): Vincent Jackson (68 receptions, 1167 yards, 9 TDs in '09)

    2009 Offense: 27.2
    2010 Offense: 28.4 (+1.2 ppg)

    Result: Jackson is an elite WR, but during his holdout, which was nearly the entire season, the Chargers offense didn't miss a beat. In fact, they've put up more points despite not improving much with their running game. You may recall the panic from San Diego, as many fans felt their offense would be average at best without VJ. Jackson was replaced with Malcolm Floyd and it doesn't look like there's much difference. In terms of landing a mega-deal, teams should take note.

    Baltimore Ravens
    Added: Anquan Boldin (84 receptions, 1024 yards, 4 TDs in '09)

    2009 Offense: 24.4
    2010 Offense: 23.9 (-0.4 ppg)

    This one is a real head-scratcher. By all objective means, the Ravens offense should have added another dimension with Boldin, who has 828 yards. Flacco is having a strong year, but the Ravens are still an average offensive football team despite many playmakers. Most importantly, in big games the offense still gets shut down.

    New England Patriots
    Lost: Randy Moss, traded after four games (83 receptions, 1264 yards, 13 TDs in '09)

    2009 Offense: 26.7
    2010 Offense: 32.0

    Randy Moss' Teams
    2009 Titans and Vikings: Better than this year
    2010 Titans and Vikings: Much worse than this year

    I think Moss was injured at some point in 2009, as he hasn't had a 100 yard game since mid-way through last year. But even if he were playing at a higher level, one has to wonder if he'd really improve these teams "that much." I think it is clear from the other cases pointed out that the big name wide receiver is overhyped, and this probably has a lot to do with Moss' '07 season.

    In fairness, these numbers are a little skewed. With Moss, the Patriots were averaging over 32 points per game, but that was against the dregs of the league and also included a bad performance against the Jets. I don't think the Pats would be any worse off with Moss in Tate's role right now, and they'd likely be better, but you can change a guy's attitude. The Patriots are better because of additions, rather than this one subtraction, but few would argue that the offense is playing at a much higher and effective level with #81 gone.

    Cincinnati Bengals
    Added: Terrell Owens (55 receptions, 829 yards, 5 TDs with Buffalo*)

    2009 Offense: 19.1
    2010 Offense: 21.0 (+1.9 ppg)

    Yes, the Bengals are slightly better this year on offense, but the 2009 version was more effective and turned the ball over less. Owens had a pretty big year before his injury, but is there any question that his circus act with Ochocinco ultimately made them worse? Last week Carson Palmer had his best game in several years when both of the O Brothers couldn't play.


    Based on points per game.

    Jets add Santonio Holmes. Offense scores fewer points.
    Steelers lose Santonio Holmes. Offense scores more points with Big Ben.
    Dolphins add Brandon Marshall. Offense scores fewer points.
    Broncos lose Brandon Marshall. Offense scores more points.
    Patriots lose Randy Moss. Offense scores more points.
    Vikings and Titans add Randy Moss. Both teams fall apart.
    Bengals add Terrell Owens. Offense scores more points, but is less effective.
    Chargers lose Vincent Jackson for most of season. Offense scores more points.
    Ravens add Anquan Boldin. Offense scores fewer points.

    Conclusion: While many Patriots fans felt that Anquan Boldin and Brandon Marshall were good options for the Patriots in '10, their signings may have hindered contracts for more valuable players. The Patriots understood the need to bulk up their passing game and did so with the draft. Next season, with all of their picks and a plethora of talented wideouts, the Pats will have an opportunity to get some real value. While sexy names like Larry Fitzgerald might be on the open market, it's apparent that great receivers don't necessarily make offenses better.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2010
  2. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Aug 3, 2009
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    Great analysis, really interesting findings too.

    I think the biggest issue is that teams that acquired an elite WR have tried their best to use those guys.

    Sanchez and the Jets have thrown way more than run. Last year, they ran 60.7% of the time compared to only 48.4% of the time this year.

    Interestingly enough, Sanchez was pretty bad opening night but got hot for a 3-game stretch after wards, posting 100+ QB ratings 3 times and not throwing a pick during this 4-game stretch. But in week 5, Holmes came back from suspension, and he's only posted 1 100+ QB rating in 11 games, and thrown a pick in 9 of those 11.

    For Henne and the Dolphins, it's not as easy to decipher but they've clearly changed their offense for Marshall. In 2009, they ran 48% of the time. In 2010, they ran 45%, a slight drop. But it's how they approach the passing game where you notice the real difference.

    In 2009, 24% of the passes went to the RBs. In 2010, less than 19% did. In 2009, 38% of the passes went to the top two receivers (Bess and Camarillo). In 2010, that figure is 49% (Marshall and Bess).

    Oddly enough, Bess has caught the same number of passes (and been targeted the same number of times) the past two years, so the big difference is between Marshall this year and Camarillo last year. Marshall has been targeted more, but both guys averaged around 11 yards per catch. Marshall has caught 61% of his targets, while Camarillo was up around 70%.

    Not suggesting Camarillo is a better receiver than Marshall, as targets mean a lot of things. But it clearly suggests they're trying to get the ball to Marshall a lot, and that's the main difference between this and last year's offense. The running game has also struggled significantly compared to last season, but I attribute a lot of that to the emphasis on the pass.
  3. jsull87

    jsull87 In the Starting Line-Up

    Dec 8, 2008
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    great stuff obviously alot of thought and its appreciated.

    i love how my 1st response to you mentioning larry fitzgerald was... yeah.. but fitzgerald would definatley be better hahah even in the face of your stats.

    My opinion on your findings are that for a defence even though its hard to cover marshel e.t.c when your offense has a focal point the defense has something to gameplan against.

    I think the pats went from that to ok we''ll develop our 1 and 2 wr 1 and 2 te and running game balance = harder to defend... if we want someone to go deep... just send tate if he's open great if not he just opened it up for welker, branch, gronk, hern in the middle and short routs
  4. javajunky

    javajunky On the Roster

    Mar 11, 2005
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    Seems that offensive line play has a bigger impact than receivers in the passing game.
  5. Uncle Rico

    Uncle Rico Pro Bowl Player

    Jan 26, 2010
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    No Jersey Selected

    I saw a few columnists on the web point out that CPalmer had his best game last week - -without TO and OchoCinco. Ravens will be a good test of whether there's a connection there.
  6. Sciz

    Sciz PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Jul 13, 2009
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  7. betterthanthealternative

    betterthanthealternative In the Starting Line-Up

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  8. ALP

    ALP Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Oct 7, 2007
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    very interesting....and after we got rid of moss, and saw what our offense looked like w/ Branch in here im finally decided

    i had rather have NO #1 wr, would much rather stick with two or three #2 wr's for as long as it takes

    this way too we dont have to pay a top wr 10mil a year, and doing so can afford Brady easier
  9. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    Dec 21, 2004
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    #12 Jersey

    It's more than having a #1 WR vs. multiple lesser WRs. It is about lining up several viable recieving threats and then exploiting the best match up.

    The reason Woodhead/Gronk/Hernandez are playing lights out for us is because one of them is drawing LBer coverage which Brady abuses the heck out of.

    So opposing teams go zone defense to eliminate the mismatch and that is where Brady eats them alive. He and Welker/Branch are masters of the option routes, so zone defenses have little chance, unless Welker drops the ball that is.
  10. convertedpatsfan

    convertedpatsfan PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Aug 3, 2009
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    #12 Jersey

    Miami Dolphins' Chad Henne, Brandon Marshall not on same page - Miami Dolphins - MiamiHerald.com

    Clearly they aren't on the same page. But Marshall's quotes made me really happy we didn't trade for him:

    That screams ME ME ME, and isn't really any different than variations I've read from T.O. or other diva WRs. Go on, throw some picks, who cares? Just give me a chance to go and get some catches.
  11. Bella*chick

    Bella*chick Addicted to the light

    Feb 22, 2005
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    #12 Jersey

    Good grief, could that guy be any more of a tool? Talk about the exact opposite of what we look for here.
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