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Woodhead vs Tomlinson

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by CheeseMonkeys, Dec 21, 2010.

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Who is the more talented and valuable RB in 2010

  1. D. Woodhead

    90.3%
  2. L. Tomlinson

    9.7%
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  1. BradyFTW!

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    #12 Jersey

    Tomlinson: 256 touches
    Woodhead: 113 touches

    That might have something to do with it; don't see how that could possibly be a point *against* Tomlinson. If he only had 113, he'd almost certainly still be going full speed too. As for not being able to stand him, he very well might be my least favorite player in the NFL, but that doesn't change the fact that he's extremely good at what he does.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  2. BradyFTW!

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    Well, Ray Rice is about 20 pounds heavier than Woodhead, for starters. Either way, you're now arguing for Woodhead's value based on speculation of what you think he *might* be able to do, but no one has asked him to do it yet in three years in the NFL. It's certainly not impossible, but that's a pretty tenuous leap to base your entire argument on.

    And I'm going to have to question the "many players of Woodhead's size have been every down backs" point. Like who? Dunn, sure, but Rice and MJD are both significantly bulkier than Woodhead, and Sproles has never been an every-down back. Remember, Woodhead has pretty much admitted that his measurements in the media guide are exaggerated. He isn't 5'8, 195, and that's pretty obvious just by looking at him.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  3. BradyFTW!

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    By definition, value is a product of (among other things) scarcity. Being their only option absolutely does make him more valuable. Especially when he's taken on a role that wasn't originally planned for him, but because of his skill and versatility, he was able to give the team that option.

    Woodhead's next 40 yard run for the Pats will be his first one. He has one reception for >40 yards, so I'm really not sure what you're trying to say here. Don't know how you can characterize his 'many' 40 yard gains when he only has one of them. Yes, Woodhead's breakaway speed is better, at this point, than LT's, but you're comparing strength to weakness, and the gap still isn't as large as you seem to think it is.

    You do realize that you're talking about a guy with 580 career receptions for 4,309 yards, right? Tomlinson has great hands.

    I'm sure that that has nothing to do with the fact that, in any given season, by the time winter rolls around Tomlinson has more touches in the past four months than Woodhead has had in his three year career. Tomlinson's issues have nothing to do with cold weather, and everything to do with the fact that the Jets are overusing him. They've asked him to do something that Woodhead's physically incapable of doing, and he's performed adequately in doing it. Only in the mind of the most ridiculous homer would that make Tomlinson less valuable in comparison.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  4. Ice_Ice_Brady

    Ice_Ice_Brady Rookie

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    Let's try to look at these arguments and figure out the fallacious reasoning. The question is, which guy is better right now. First, let's define better. The guy that gives you the best chance to win.

    Simply because Woodhead is not an every down back does mean his value is diminished, unless Tomlinson could add above-average production in what Woodhead does not do. For example, any rational being would take Devin Hester over a full-time Laurence Maroney. Hester may not "be asked to do as much", but his value is irreplaceable.

    Let's apply this to the question at hand. Tomlinson, regardless of what he's asked to do, is a slightly above average running back on 1-2 down and an average, at best, running back on third down. You could easily replace him with about 50 running backs in the league and get the same production at either role; the fact he is asked to do a lot means very little in terms of his overall replacement value. Now, if Tomlinson was still a great player as a three-down back, obviously this would be a different outcome, and an elite three-down back is more valuable than an elite third-down specialist.

    Woodhead is currently perhaps the best third-down back in the NFL. If you were the GM of a football team, this is a guy who you'd shell out money for, not Tomlinson, because he cannot be replaced by a JAG; you can easily go out and get a 1-2 down back while still keeping a nice spot on the team for DW.

    So, to answer the question, Woodhead is certainly a better player right now. The Jets could sign a plethora of players like LT, or perhaps two guys that are better at specific roles (one for 1-2 down, one for third down), and potentially improve. With the way Woodhead is playing, the Pats really couldn't upgrade his role right now, and bringing in a strong 1-2 down running back would not affect his value.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  5. BradyFTW!

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    Actually, he's ranked second behind Rashad Jennings. If you're going to use DVOA like that, then Jennings should be starting over MJD, the Jets have one of the very best RBs in the NFL in Brad Smith, and Derrick Ward should be starting over Arian Foster. There's a reason why FO separates the guys with <100 carries from the rest. It's because trying to compare them is pointless. Unless you actually believe that Brad Smith, Danny Woodhead, Rashad Jennings and Derrick Ward are the top four RBs in the NFL. If that's the case, then I think we'll just have to agree to disagree.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  6. Ice_Ice_Brady

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    I'll take my lumps on the 40-yard gains, as facts are facts. However, as you conceded, Woodhead certainly has more breakaway speed (and if I may add again, acceleration.)

    The fact that Tomlinson has had an illustrious career and caught lots of passes is moot here. We're talking about who is better now. Certainly you can't judge players based on the last thing that you saw (as Michael Vick MVP campaigners should take note), but let's look at the bigger picture. Over the last eight games (and yes, Tomlinson's durability and age was the big concern), LT is averaging 3.6 yards per carry; he has not run for over 55 yards once; he has not scored a touchdown in seven games; his longest reception of the season is 21 yards.

    Woodhead averages 11.2 yards per reception; Tomlinson averages 7.1. That says a lot about their open field abilities. If you look at Tomlinson's production after the bye week, you'll see that this is more than a trend; it's a loss of ability due to age. His longest run in the past seven games is 14 yards.

    In terms of Tomlinson's hands, I don't have the evidence to argue this, but I've watched most Jets games this year with Sunday Ticket and it's obvious that he's no longer close to the receiver he used to be.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  7. Kasmir

    Kasmir Rookie

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    I actually look up stuff before I post it:

    Maurice Jones Drew: 5-8 205
    Maurice Jones-Drew NFL & AFL Football Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

    Barry Sanders: 5-8 203
    Barry Sanders NFL & AFL Football Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

    Danny Woodhead: 5-9 200
    Danny Woodhead NFL & AFL Football Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

    Ray Rice: 5-9 195
    Ray Rice NFL & AFL Football Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

    Warrick Dunn: 5-9 180
    Warrick Dunn NFL & AFL Football Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

    Darren Sproles: 5-6 181
    Darren Sproles NFL & AFL Football Statistics - Pro-Football-Reference.com

    Now players weights fluctuate, the Patriots list Woodhead at 195 and the Jets had him at 197. I suspect Rice has bulked up a bit from when he entered the league. And I agree that Woodhead is closer to 5-7 than 5-9. But he's real stocky, he looks 195+ to me. Woodhead is in the weight class of Rice and Sanders, not Dunn or Sproles.
  8. BradyFTW!

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    #12 Jersey

    Sure, I'm with you on that. Would you agree that that's a combination of reliability, versatility, and efficiency?

    Well, that didn't last long. The lack of versatility absolutely diminishes his value. Now, if he's far more efficient than Tomlinson in his diminished capacity, then he can certainly make up for it...

    Well, that's a pretty nonsensical analogy, for starters. How does Woodhead-Tomlinson equate to Hester-Maroney? Maroney's issue isn't that he performs in bulk rather than efficiency; his issue is that he isn't very good by any measure. That's just disingenuous to claim that the same point is being made in either case.

    And this is where we disagree. You think there are 50 RBs who could do what LT does? No way: name 25. The only reason why he's not a top-10 RB right now is because the Jets stupidly wore him down with 250+ touches.

    Absolutely not. There are a whole lot of guys who are better specialists than Woodhead. In fact, they're so good that their teams choose to play them in an every-down role, so that they can have more of an impact on the game (kinda flies in the face of your first point, doesn't it?)

    Examples: MJD, Matt Forte, Ray Rice, Darren McFadden, Adrian Peterson, LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Peyton Hillis, Knowshon Moreno, Jahvid Best... that's just off the top of my head. Woodhead isn't even close to the best RB in the league at his role. For the role that he plays, I'd take most of the guys listed above over him without a second thought. He's the best third down specialist who isn't talented/versatile enough to have a more substantive role in the offense.

    What you're claiming is like saying that the best sixth man in the NBA is one of the truly elite players in the league, because he offers something 'irreplaceable'. It's also why baseball teams don't make a habit of taking their best starter and converting him into a closer. The closer position is reserved for talented players who, for one reason or another, are not capable of being an exceptional starter, much like 3DRBs vs. every-down RBs.

    LaDainian Tomlinson 2010 salary: $6,731,630
    Danny Woodhead 2010 salary: $391,240

    Now granted, that's not entirely fair. Woodhead will get paid a lot more when it's time for an extension. Let's look at, say, Kevin Faulk instead:

    Kevin Faulk, 2010 salary: $2,007,280. Even if you take his previous contract, which paid about $3 to $3.5 million per year for the best third down specialist in the NFL, it's pretty clear how GMs feel about the relative importance of a good every down back vs. an excellent specialist. The proof is in what they pay.

    The simple fact is that a good every-down RB will always be paid more than an excellent third down RB, for the same reason that pretty good tackles are paid more than excellent guards, and pretty good cornerbacks are paid more than excellent safeties: because they're in a position to have a far greater impact on the game.



    So, to answer the question, Woodhead is certainly a better player right now. The Jets could sign a plethora of players like LT, or perhaps two guys that are better at specific roles (one for 1-2 down, one for third down), and potentially improve. With the way Woodhead is playing, the Pats really couldn't upgrade his role right now, and bringing in a strong 1-2 down running back would not affect his value.[/QUOTE]
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  9. sbpatfan

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    Woodhead and Tomlinson are completely different players. It's like comparing the production of Wilfork as a defensive end in the 3-4 to Julius Peppers as a defensive end in the 4-3.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  10. BradyFTW!

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    As I said before, MJD, Sanders, and Rice are far thicker than Woodhead. Completely different build, and I don't buy for a second that Woodhead weighs in the neighborhood of what those guys weigh. Dunn's a fair point, and Sproles has never been an every-down back.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  11. BradyFTW!

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    It would be irrelevant if we were talking about speed or acceleration, as I've already noted. But guys don't forget how to catch the ball as they age. If he's caught 580 passes out of the backfield, then it's pretty clear that he has good hands. It's one of the few skills that doesn't go away.

    Right, because he has 256 touches on the season. The Jets overused him. If he, like Woodhead, only had 113 touches on the year, he'd be fine. If Woodhead had 256 touches, he would be slowed down considerably too. Hence why Belichick never gives RBs 250+ touches anymore- last time he did, it basically ended Corey Dillon's useful career, and Belichick clearly learned from that.

    I've already acknowledged that Woodhead is better in the open field, but it says even more about the offenses that they play in. Defenses don't fear Sanchez, so there isn't much open field to run in if you're a Jets RB.

    If we're asking which RB is more valuable to the Pats in the Pats' offense, then I could see making a case for Woodhead, but the OP certainly didn't frame it that way, and if anything implied the opposite (would Woodhead have been more valuable to the Jets than LT, to which the answer is an obvious no).
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  12. Kasmir

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    Mea culpa. Every frickin time I published the DVOA and DYAR numbers until this thread I mentioned that Woodhead is just short of qualifying (82 vs 100) for the rushing leaderboard. So you're right: if you take every frickin back in the NFL that FO has DVOA on, regardless of number of carries, Woodhead is only #2. I stand corrected.

    He fully qualifies for the #1 DVOA position in receiving leaderboard, but to pick that nit too: if you add every other frickin receiver in the NFL, regardless of number of catches that FO rates, Woodhead drops to #2 in receiving DVOA as well.

    I stand corrected. He's only the 2nd best DVOA back in rushing, and the 2nd best DVOA back in receiving. That's in efficiency per play. What about total production?

    Woodhead hasn't had enough touches to be #1 in receiving DYAR (cumulative production), but he's still #4 in the NFL by that measure. He doesn't have enough carries to make the rushing DYAR leaderboard, but since it's cumulative it's easy to rank him: he's #9 in the league in absolute production in rushing. (No other unranked rusher would move into the top 10 of DYAR, but Jennings and Ward would move into the top 20).

    So despite limited touches, Woodhead has contibuted the 9th most adjusted yards rushing in the league this year, and the 4th most adjusted yards receiving. FO doesn't have a combined leaderboard, but it looks like he'd be about #5 overall in total adjusted yards from scrimmage by running backs this year -- with a fraction of the touches the other leaders have.

    To summarize, according to FO's system, Woodhead is so efficient per play that he's delivering elite production despite having limited touches and targets. Hence my modest suggestion that he be given some more touches.

    http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stats/rb
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  13. Deus Irae

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    91-11 for Woodhead right now. That's a lot of kool aid.
  14. Kasmir

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    I'm certainly not going to argue with you about which statistics you choose to believe, although disbelieving independent statistics that challenge your predisposed beliefs is a pretty good operational indication of prejudice.

    Again, I'm not accusing anyone of racial prejudice in this matter, although that certainly may be a direct or indirect factor for some folks. With Woodhead I think it starts with that he doesn't look like a football player, then extends to the discounting of his credentials, and a general Bayesian disbelief that so many people in the NFL could be so wrong about him.

    This becomes almost loony denialism about his athletic and physical measurables. Lot's of folks just refuse to believe he's fast and agile, or that he really weighs 195lbs. That's just crazy. The numbers are easy to verify, and the results are visible before our very eyes.

    Not to pick on anyone, but someone here swore that there was no way Danny Woodhead had anything like the lower body strength of Kevin Faulk. Despite the evidence of our eyes, and Tedy Bruschi's specifically pointing out how strong his lower body strength is. That's denialism.

    I hope I've adequately addressed the denialism about the Football Outsiders numbers. Remember, I didn't cherry pick FO, and they're an inherently objective site that is not part of some pro-Woodhead conspiracy.

    Your argument about salaries is another interesting red herring. One thing about underrated players is that they have lesser market value than their true value. Belichick never pays more than market if he doesn't have to. Woodhead was cut by the Jets. He was undrafted. He was unable to get a Division 1 scholarship. He's always proven his detractors wrong. Now, in the NFL, with limited touches, he's a top 5 producer at running back according to the most respected independent statistical system publicly accessible. But you could pick him up off the waiver wire, and sign him for a song. He's the very definition of underrated. Let's check back in two years and see what deal Danny gets when the league catches on to who he really is.

    Danny Woodhead has always been underrated, and everything I can see says that's continuing. But I'll bet that at some point soon it'll become undeniable that the little guy really is something special.
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  15. Kasmir

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    I'm sure there's more than enough p*ss for any amount of Koolaid.
  16. Deus Irae

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    Obviously not, given the 91-11 landslide.
  17. MC FLY AZ

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    KASMIR i think your right on the money. i would love to see woody get 20 carries in a game and have 200 yds. Then maybe these guys will stop thinking that he can't be an every down back.

    Its funny people on this forum talk like this season for woodhead is a fluke and they just can't believe it. i think over the next 5 or 6 years he will be one of the most valuable players on the team. and making people look like idiots who ever thought he wasn't............. enough.
  18. patsfan-1982

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    no one is calling Woodheads season a fluke... but how can you compare Danny Woodhead, to LaDainian Tomlinson, ( a first ballot hall of famer ) Woodheads career numbers are not as good as LT's 2010 season witch is one of the worst of he's career
  19. CheeseMonkeys

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    True, I knew some people think they are too different to compare, but that's why I asked who is more valuable to their team.

    Anyone else think it's a crazy idea to start Woodhead and give him 15+ carries in a game? I think he could do it and be successful. As someone else listed, there are many more running backs with similar height and weight (Barry Sanders, Ray Rice, MJ Drew).
  20. Pessimistic Pete

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    Woodhead is the ****ing man but you can't compare a starter to a 3rd down back.

    If you asked me if BJGE was more valuable than LT then the answer is yes. Same YPC but killing him in TDs and second half of the season production.
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