2020 Patriots Season:
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Dec 6th

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ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
And in 2013 - the year Deus sees as comparable, Amendola only played 12 games, Dobson only played 12 games, Thompkins only played 12 games, Vereen only played 8 games, and Gronk only played 7 games. So same idea.
 

Deus Irae

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2014 - Most key guys were healthy all year and played 14+ games.
2015 - LaFell only played 11 games; Edelman only played 9 games.
2016 - Amendola only played 12 games. Gronk only played 8 games.
2017 - Burkhead only played 10 games. Hogan only played 9 games. Edelman played 0 games.
2018 - Edelman has missed 4 games.

So just about every year we see guys that are hurt, suspended, whatever, that "throws the numbers off".

  1. SUSPENSION AT START OF SEASON, AFTER MISSING A FULL YEAR
  2. NOT ON TEAM, AND THEN HAS TO LEARN ENTIRE SYSTEM

Huge difference between that and "missed a game or two with injury".
 

Deus Irae

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And in 2013 - the year Deus sees as comparable, Amendola only played 12 games, Dobson only played 12 games, Thompkins only played 12 games, Vereen only played 8 games, and Gronk only played 7 games. So same idea.

2013 is comparable in having to play the bottom WRs as the #1 and #2 for extended games. There is no comp for that in 2014-2017.
 

Deus Irae

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You're trying to remove context from the numbers. That doesn't work. For the first 4 games of this season, the Patriots WR1 and WR2 were Hogan and Dorsett. That transitioned into Edelman/Gordon, but both of them needed time to integrate into the offense and become something resembling themselves. In the others years of your example, the team either had consistency at both WR1 and WR2 or had consistency at one of those spots along with more established depth right behind it.

2017: Cooks, Amendola
2016: Edelman, Hogan (Mitchell was not established, and Amendola was used mostly as a sub WR)
2015: Edelman, Amendola, LaFell, with Martin kicking in more after Edelman went down
2014: Edelman, LaFell (With Amendola being the WR3)

2015 was the year where Edelman was lost after the start of the season. It's also the one season of the four where the team didn't get to the Super Bowl.
 

maineman209

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Got this idea from some comments in other threads about how Brady is locking on to just a couple of receivers.

Looking at the last five seasons, trying to see how Brady is distributing the ball. The last five seasons featured two Super Bowl-winning seasons, a Super Bowl loss, and AFCCG loss, and then this year, when the team seems clearly in decline. So five different circumstances. Of course, 2016 also featured four games without Brady, but we're still counting all those games and their pass distribution because I don't feel like taking all that out. And 2016 was largely without Gronk, and 2017 without Edelman. So again, every season is different. Nonetheless, here's how it looked.

2014-2018
#1 target: 22.5%
#2 target: 17.6%
#3 target: 15.2%
#4 target: 12.2%
#5 target: 8.7%
#6 target: 6.6%
#7 target: 5.0%
#8 target: 3.9%
#9 target: 2.7%
#10 target: 1.9%
#11 target: 1.2%
#12 target: 0.9%
#13 target: 0.6%
#14 target: 0.5%
#15 target: 0.2%
#16 target: 0.2%
#17 target: 0.1%

Here's what the distribution looked like (top 10 targeted players only) when they won the two Super Bowls (2014, 2016):

2014
#1 target (Edelman): 22.3%
#2 target (Gronk): 21.8%
#3 target (LaFell): 19.8%
#4 target (Vereen): 12.8%
#5 target (Amendola): 7.0%
#6 target (Wright): 5.5%
#7 target (Thompkins): 1.8%
#8 target (Tyms): 1.8%
#9 target (Develin): 1.3%
#10 target (Bolden): 1.0%

2016
#1 target (Edelman): 29.1%
#2 target (White): 15.8%
#3 target (Bennett): 13.4%
#4 target (Hogan): 10.6%
#5 target (Mitchell): 8.8%
#6 target (Gronk): 7.0% (Gronk was hurt for half the season)
#7 target (Amendola): 5.3%
#8 target (Lewis): 4.4%
#9 target (Floyd): 1.1%
#10 target (Develin): 1.1%

So we see, maybe due to the Gronk injury, how much more Brady went to his #1 target (Edelman) than in 2014. Nearly 3 of every 10 of Brady's passes were aimed at Edelman.

What about Brady's recent MVP season - 2017, where he was amazing but they didn't win the Super Bowl? Edelman was out all season.

2017
#1 target (Cooks): 19.5%
#2 target (Gronk): 18.0%
#3 target (Amendola): 14.7%
#4 target (White): 12.3%
#5 target (Hogan): 10.1%
#6 target (Burkhead): 6.2%
#7 target (Lewis): 6.0%
#8 target (Allen): 3.8%
#9 target (Dorsett): 3.1%
#10 target (Hollister): 1.9%

So a much wider distribution among his top 9 guys anyway. And then what about this year?

2018
#1 target (White): 23.0%
#2 target (Edelman): 18.6%
#3 target (Gordon): 13.7%
#4 target (Gronk): 13.5%
#5 target (Hogan): 8.9%
#6 target (Dorsett): 6.5%
#7 target (Patterson): 5.3%
#8 target (Develin): 3.4%
#9 target (Burkhead): 2.6%
#10 target (Michel): 2.2%

Let's compare 2018 with the 2014-2018 overall average:

2018 - 2014-18
#1 target: 23.0% - 22.5%
#2 target: 18.6% - 17.6%
#3 target: 13.7% - 15.2%
#4 target: 13.5% - 12.2%
#5 target: 8.9% - 8.7%
#6 target: 6.5% - 6.6%
#7 target: 5.3% - 5.0%
#8 target: 3.4% - 3.9%
#9 target: 2.6% - 2.7%
#10 target: 2.2% - 1.9%

In other words, he's throwing to his top 10 targets at almost identical rates as he has over the course of his most recent 5-year period. Slightly more to his #1 and #2 receivers (41.6% in 2018 vs. 40.1% from 2014-18). Slightly less to his #3 receivers (13.7% in 2018 vs. 15.2% from 2014-18). Slightly more to his #4 and #5 receivers (22.4% in 2018 vs. 20.9% from 2014-18). But on the whole, it's almost identical rates. Nothing to suggest that his pass distribution is anything out of the ordinary. Interestingly, when they won the Super Bowl in 2014, he was super top-3 target heavy, with 63.9% of his passes going to his top three targets (Edelman, Gronk, LaFell). In 2016, when they won it all again, it was the most top-heavy season, with Brady targeting his #1 target (Edelman) 29.1% of the time.

This year, his top 3 targets (White, Edelman, Gordon) are getting just 55.3% of the targets, so he's spreading it around more. He's definitely not throwing to Gronk as much, but on the whole, he's looking very much like how Tom Brady usually looks in terms of ball distribution.

Excellent analysis and presentation!

I started looking at target distributions in 2007 - the year of the Moss/Welker Show - and ended up focusing on the top 4. This "Tier-1" has typically included just two WR, plus a TE and most often an RB. They've also typically seen 65%-70% of Brady's targets.

Below that, there's usually a "Tier-2" comprising 3 guys (sometimes 4) who see +/- 20% of the remaining targets, and then a "Tier-3" encompassing all the rest of the eligible receivers (7-10 players) who are then splitting the leftovers (12%-15%).
 

ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
You're trying to remove context from the numbers. That doesn't work. For the first 4 games of this season, the Patriots WR1 and WR2 were Hogan and Dorsett. That transitioned into Edelman/Gordon, but both of them needed time to integrate into the offense and become something resembling themselves. In the others years of your example, the team either had consistency at both WR1 and WR2 or had consistency at one of those spots along with more established depth right behind it.

2017: Cooks, Amendola
2016: Edelman, Hogan (Mitchell was not established, and Amendola was used mostly as a sub WR)
2015: Edelman, Amendola, LaFell, with Martin kicking in more after Edelman went down
2014: Edelman, LaFell (With Amendola being the WR3)

2015 was the year where Edelman was lost after the start of the season. It's also the one season of the four where the team didn't get to the Super Bowl.

No kidding they didn't have Edelman or Gordon. But in 2015 they were without Edelman for 7 games. They've been without Gronk for huge stretches. It happens almost every year that they lose key receivers for many games. When you take a big enough time frame, as I have done, all that stuff tends to come out in the wash.
 

Deus Irae

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No kidding they didn't have Edelman or Gordon. But in 2015 they were without Edelman for 7 games. They've been without Gronk for huge stretches. It happens almost every year that they lose key receivers for many games. When you take a big enough time frame, as I have done, all that stuff tends to come out in the wash.

During this latter part of 2018, after working Edelman and Gordon into the lineup, and with the team essentially at full health in recent weeks, the Patriots are currently throwing to their top 3 targets 64% of the time. I'm sorry that your analysis has been shown to be insufficient for not dealing with that, but saying stuff like "without Edelman for 7 games" doesn't fix it. Edelman was out at the end of the year, but his WR2 was still there. There was not a 4-6 game stretch where both the WR1 and WR2 were either out or still getting into the offense. And since it never happened, it damn sure didn't happen at the beginning of the season, so it didn't set a team back from the start.

No matter how you try slanting your argument, it's never going to work, because your position is untenable. You might as well be saying that we shouldn't adjust our opinion of 2008 based upon it having been Cassel, instead of Brady, under center.
 

luuked

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Do you want to explain "better"?

What is there to explain. Look at the second half stats against Miami and compare it to how he looked last week despite getting screwed by at least 4 major drops and countless presnap penalties.
 

Deus Irae

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Dorsett targets

Games 1-5: 24
Games 6-10: 6
Games 11-14: 2 (and 0 in the last 3 games)


It's as if context matters.
 

ivanvamp

In the Starting Line-Up
During this latter part of 2018, after working Edelman and Gordon into the lineup, and with the team essentially at full health in recent weeks, the Patriots are currently throwing to their top 3 targets 64% of the time. I'm sorry that your analysis has been shown to be insufficient for not dealing with that, but saying stuff like "without Edelman for 7 games" doesn't fix it. Edelman was out at the end of the year, but his WR2 was still there. There was not a 4-6 game stretch where both the WR1 and WR2 were either out or still getting into the offense. And since it never happened, it damn sure didn't happen at the beginning of the season, so it didn't set a team back from the start.

No matter how you try slanting your argument, it's never going to work, because your position is untenable. You might as well be saying that we shouldn't adjust our opinion of 2008 based upon it having been Cassel, instead of Brady, under center.

You cannot find any two seasons with the same set of circumstances. If I want to be Deus-dickish about it, I could point out that not only would we need to come up with the exact same receiver scenario, but also the exact same opponents, and the exact same game plans, because if we're going to be honest, sometimes the Pats' game plans call for a LOT more passing to the RBs, or they have a particularly juicy matchup one game for one receiver and they exploit that. You didn't mention any of that.

There is no season analogous to 2018. Every season is its own thing, with its own set of circumstances. Injuries, suspensions, the team schedule, game-planning, hell, even the weather, all come into play. Even who the coaches are matter. The Pats under McDaniels vs. under a different OC.

So forgive me if I'm not going to play your game. I'm perfectly content with what I found. If you want to go through the work of putting ALL THAT together, be my guest. If you don't, just know that even your "2018 is like 2013 in this way" analysis (such as it is) is woefully inadequate as well, if we're going to be honest about things.
 
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