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The nickel

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by eom, Apr 26, 2010.

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  1. eom

    eom Rookie

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    I've seen a bunch of discussion about the nickel because of our first round selection, so I'll borrow this from another board --- an accounting of week one nickel snaps from last year.

    pro football focus has almost every game up for week 1 already, so I really wanted to dig in there and use it somehow.
    http://profootballfocus.com/by_week.php?ta...eid=&stats=

    I decided to go in there and count up 3+ wr formations, and corresponding nickel snaps --- nickel inclusive of big nickel, dime, etc, and anything over 4 db's.
    basically, the way it worked out is pretty much every team roughly mirrors the 3+ receiver set w/their nickels, w/a few exceptions which I'll note.
    also, I had intended to just asterisk all stats that might have been inflated by the score in the 4th quarter, but then realized it's so many I might just put up a second post subtracting the 4th quarter out completely.

    in order from highest 3+ wr set %:
    (note: I don't have philly/car yet)
    I'll bold unusually low or high total snaps in both the upper and lower groups, respectively.

    IND (v jax 14-12) 55 3+ wr snaps of 71 total snaps (77%)
    AZ (v sf 16-20) 53/72 (74%)
    PITT (v ten 13-10) 53/74 (72%) -------- 9 of 9 in OT leaving 44/65 (68%) in regulation
    CLE (v min 20-34) 47/67 (70%)
    WAS (@nyg 17-23) 33/49 (67%)
    NE (v buf 25-24) 50/82 (61%)
    MIA (@atl 7-19 ) 35/59 (60%)
    HOU (v nyj 7-24) 30/50 (60%)
    DEN (@cin 12-7 ) 31/56 (55%)
    STL (@sea 0-28) 35/65 (54%)
    GB (v chi 21-15) 30/58 (52%)
    BUF (@ne 24-25) 29/56 (52%)
    OAK (v sd 20-24) 36/73 (50%)

    KC (@bal 24-38) 22/47 (47%)
    CIN (v den 7-12) 28/63 (45%)
    SD (@oak 24-20) 28/69 (40%)
    SEA (v stl 28-0 ) 24/70 (34%)
    JAX (@ind 12-14) 19/58 (33%)
    NO ( v det 45-27) 22/75 (30%)
    CHI (@gb 15-21) 21/72 (30%)
    DET (@no 27-45) 18/60 (30%)
    TB (v dal 21-34) 22/76 (29%)
    NYJ (@hou 24-7 ) 22/80 (28%)
    NYG (v was 23-17) 17/66 (26%)
    MIN (@cle 34-20) 16/65 (25%)
    TEN (@pit 10-13) 16/65 (25%)
    BAL (v kc 38-24) 21/90 (23%)
    SF (@az 20-16) 15/64 (23%)
    ATL (v mia 19-7) 12/68 (18%)
    DAL (@tb 34-21) 8/53 (15%)

    ranking them by % was pretty arbitrary, as absolute snaps are really all that matters if you're concerned about player participation and game stats, but these things will change from game to game.

    note -- the following teams played a bit different number of nickel snaps compared to what you might expect given their opponent's formations:
    TB played 18 nickel snaps, while their opponent played only 8 corresponding offensive snaps
    MIA 21 nickel snaps vs 12 expected
    GB 47 vs 21 expected
    SEA only 27 vs 35 expected


    and here's the list again updated with the first 3 game quarters broken out:


    first 3 quarters 3wr/total snaps -- whole game
    WEEK 1

    *IND (v jax 14-12) 43/54 (80%) -- (55/71 - 77%)
    *AZ (v sf 16-20) 37/55 (67%) -- 53/72 (74%)
    *PITT (v ten 13-10) 30/48 (63%) -- 53/74 (72%)
    WAS (@nyg 17-23) 23/39 (59%) -- 33/49 (67%)
    DEN (@cin 12-7 ) 22/41 (54%) -- 31/56 (55%)
    HOU (v nyj 7-24) 21/39 (54%) -- 32/50 (64%)
    *NE (v buf 25-24) 31/60 (52%) -- 50/82 (61%)
    PHI (@car 38-10) 26/51 (50%) -- 34/69 (50%)
    GB (v chi 21-15) 23/46 (50%) -- 30/58 (52%)
    MIA (@atl 7-19 ) 21/42 (50%) -- 35/59 (60%)
    OAK (v sd 20-24) 26/56 (46%) -- 36/73 (50%)
    CLE (v min 20-34) 16/36 (44%) -- 47/67 (70%)
    BUF (@ne 24-25) 15/36 (42%) -- 29/56 (52%)
    KC (@bal 24-38) 11/27 (40%) -- 22/47 (47%)
    NYJ (@hou 24-7 ) 22/58 (38%) -- 22/80 (28%)
    STL (@sea 0-28) 18/48 (38%) -- 35/65 (54%)

    NO ( v det 45-27) 19/54 (35%) -- 22/75 (30%)
    SD (@oak 24-20) 17/49 (35%) -- 28/69 (40%)
    SEA (v stl 28-0 ) 17/52 (33%) -- 24/70 (34%)
    CIN (v den 7-12) 16/48 (33%) -- 28/63 (45%)
    CHI (@gb 15-21) 16/53 (30%) -- 21/72 (30%)
    JAX (@ind 12-14) 13/43 (30%) -- 19/58 (33%)
    DET (@no 27-45) 14/50 (28%) -- 18/60 (30%)
    BAL (v kc 38-24) 18/67 (27%) -- 21/90 (23%)
    MIN (@cle 34-20) 14/51 (27%) -- 16/65 (25%)
    TEN (@pit 10-13) 14/51 (27%) -- 16/65 (25%)
    CAR (v phi 10-38) 11/52 (21%) -- 32/74 (43%)
    SF (@az 20-16) 9/42 (21%) -- 15/64 (23%)
    NYG (v was 23-17) 9/43 (20%) -- 17/66 (26%)
    DAL (@tb 34-21) 8/43 (19%) -- 8/53 (15%)
    ATL (v mia 19-7) 7/48 (15%) -- 12/68 (18%)
    TB (v dal 21-34) 7/52 (13%) -- 22/76 (29%)

    ranking them by % was pretty arbitrary, as absolute snaps are really all that matters if you're concerned about player participation and game stats, but these things will change from game to game.

    note -- the following teams played a bit different number of nickel snaps compared to what you might expect given their opponent's formations:
    TB (v DAL) played 18 nickel snaps, while their opponent played only 8 corresponding offensive snaps
    MIA (@ATL) 21 nickel snaps vs 12 expected
    GB (v CHI) 47 vs 21 expected
    SEA (v STL) only 27 vs 35 expected
  2. eom

    eom Rookie

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    could I at least get a smiley?

    I have feelings, too, you know.
  3. PatsChamp88

    PatsChamp88 Rookie

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    #75 Jersey

    :singing::singing::singing::singing:
  4. emoney_33

    emoney_33 Rookie

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    as soon as you provide a summary and/or analysis! :p
  5. BlitzFritz

    BlitzFritz Rookie

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    its a nice analysis.
    i think we are waiting for the conclusions and implications......


    [ i will take a cut:

    basically half the teams in the league are heavily weighted toward 3+ wide, using it in half their snaps. in many of these cases they may be in 4 wide.

    to cover this, a team on defense needs at least 2 strong nickel backs, and/or hybrid safety who is fast.

    ergo, draft a CB in Rd 1 ! ]

    smiley :)

    i could be all wrong too

    -- FRITZ
  6. eom

    eom Rookie

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    well, there's been a lot of discussion about mccourty and the value of an additional cb when we seemingly have 2 starters already.
    it's been pointed out by some that teams are migrating more towards a spread offense, using 3 wr ---- although, in his 'eei spot, belichick interestingly made the counterpoint that the pendulum is swinging back towards the run, and with the likes of the jets, miami, and baltimore on the schedule it was more important than ever to stop the run first when playing these run first teams.
    he actually ran through almost our whole schedule as examples of strong run teams, but I think I'd take issue with pitt and gb.

    anyway, early last year I counted all that stuff up, so I figured I'd milk a little more use out of it to present some hard #'s on 'the spread'.
    I left a space between the top half and bottom, for easier reading, and as I mentioned in the initial post, broke out the first three quarters in the second batch so as to try to weed out the effect of lopsided scores, although you still have to defend in the 4th when up by 21.

    so, as that one guy already observed, or whoever else while I was typing, about half the league has 3+ wr on the field at least half the time --- if you just measure by week one.

    I think the nickel is a pretty big part of the pats playbook, and whether this justifies the pick, or whatever, I'll leave up to the reader.
    one thing I DO know, however, is that putting crap corners on the field sucks.

    ps

    as for the 4 wides, my vague recollection is that only arizona played that any significant # of snaps.
    pitt might have been a distant second on that one at maybe 10%(?), or so, of snaps.
  7. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    A couple things from those numbers jumped out at me after a superficial look at that list.


    On the high end of those numbers is Indy, and that's not even taking Dallas Clark into consideration. He's a TE by name only; Clark is more a slot receiver, and he was thrown to 132 times last year. For perspective Randy Moss was targeted 138 times in 2009; Clark had more passes thrown his way than Anquan Boldin, Steve Smith or Ocho Cinco. In other words Indy's numbers would even be higher if you had a way of figuring in pass-catching TE's like Clark into the equation.

    On the opposite end there's Tampa Bay. Their top receiver was not a WR, but a TE: Kellen Winslow. So although they still were very low in the need to defend with a nickel set, it wasn't quite as extreme as those numbers make it appear to be. Dallas and Atlanta are in the same boat with Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez.


    Bottom line is that the rule/'point of emphasis' changes over the past few years have opened up the passing game dramatically. Because of those changes coaches need to adjust their defenses accordingly or be left behind in the dust. Defenses need a plan, and the personnel to be able to cover an athletic pass-catching tight end as well as a three (or four) receivers on the field together at the same time.

    Not only can you not build a team the same way you did thirty years ago; you can't build a team the same way you did seven or eight years ago. Look at how much discussion there has been here the last two years over the importance of a third wide receiver. Yet by contrast there has been almost no talk about the importance of a third corner. Doesn't it stand to reason that a third corner is equally as important as a third wide receiver?
  8. eom

    eom Rookie

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    oops....I typed all that up, like, 6+ months ago, so cut me a break on this, but I think I actually put the space at the 50% mark, rather between top 16 and bottom 16.
    so, it's just a couple short of half the league at or above 50% in week one for all 4 quarters.

    just to keep things accurate.
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