Originally written February 17, 2013 on Thoughts from the Dark Side:
There are a few different ways to grade football players.  One is by looking at tape and grading what your eye sees.  That can be highly subjective, however, with the viewer’s own prejudices coming out.  Another very common way to look at a team’s success and failure is through statistical analysis.  Statistics are objective – although the application and interpretation of them may not be – but it also lacks the nuance of taking into account the circumstances. For example, as with the Raiders some time ago, a team can be ranked very high in their pass coverage because their run defense is so bad, opposing teams don’t need to pass against them.  That nuance isn’t taken into account in the ranking of the pass defense. So, take the following statistics with a grain of salt.  Some of these may be interesting and applicable and some may not. There are two “specialized” statistical football websites that focus on non-regular statistics for football teams: ProFootballFocus and Football outsiders. Below are some of the Raiders-specific statistics from both sites. First, we’ll start with some PFF Signature Stats: -At CB, two Raiders were in the top 15 worst in yards allowed per snap in pass coverage - Ron Bartell at 1.65 & Joselio Hanson at 1.69 yards allowed per snap in coverage. -Neither of them were the worst, however. Per PFF, the qualifying CB that allowed the most yards per snap in pass coverage?  Former Raider & Chief defensive back Stanford Routt at 2.22 -WR Darrius Heyward-Bey was in the bottom 15 in PFF's yards per route run - He averaged only 1.19 yards for every route he ran.  Even worse was former Raiders WR Louis Murphy who averaged only .86 yards for every route ran. -Rookie LB Miles Burris slumped as the season progressed and ended up 2nd worst starting LB in the NFL at allowing 1st downs & TDs.  In fact, he allowed offensive players he was to assigned to defend, allowing a TD of 1st down on 7% of his snaps. -Also allowing a much higher amount of 1st downs & TDs than his peers, per PFF, was slot CB Joselio Hanson, who allowed one or the other on 8.13% of his snaps, 4th worst for CBs -First year Raiders starter at TE & upcoming free agent Brandon Myers was 10th best in the league for TE for yards per route ran with 1.68 yards on average for every route he ran.  In fact, Myers, a 6th round pick, earned almost a half yard more PER ROUTE RAN than top 10 pick DHB. DHB is due $10.6M in 13 if not cut. -WRs Rod Streater & Denarius Moore both ended in the top 5 WRs with the worst drop rate. Streater dropped 15.2% & Moore 15% of the catchable balls thrown their way. At RB, both Reece and Goodson did very well in PFF's Elusive rating. Reece ended in eight in the NFL in final standings, meaning only 7 running backs were more elusive than he in 2012 (able to make defenders miss). -Mike Goodson didn't get enough touches (a running back needed to have more than 100) to qualify for the official list (he had only 51) but on the touches he had, he scored higher than any other running back in the NFL in 2012, which is quite a testament to how explosive and elusive he was when the ball was in his hand. -On the flip side, of the running backs that qualified (again, 100+ touches) DMC was the 7th worst RB in PFF's elusive ratings.   Next we’ll look at some stats compiled by Football Outsiders: -Per FBO, the Raiders offensive line was the 28th worst at run blocking in 2012 with 21% of the carries stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage. - On a rare positive note, the Raiders OL scored very well in pass protection in 2012, earning the 4th best overall ranking in FBO's “adjusted sack rate” metric which calculates the percentage of the number of sacks against the number of pass plays after taking out plays like spikes to stop the clock, etc. -Probably in part due to Zone Blocking struggles, the Raiders OL scored terribly on stretch plays that called for the Runningback to go outside the tackles.  They were particularly bad when the play tried to go around a blocking tight-end.   This is likely in part because the Raiders tight ends struggled in run blocking as a unit this year. -However on Left Tackle runs, where Veldheer was the primary blocker at the point of attack, the Raiders actually did well, finishing 10th best in the league on those types of runs. - Unfortunately, runs to Left Tackle where the only ones that the Raiders did better, statistically, than other teams. Every other type of run (i.e. runs to middle, L or R guard, or either end) was poor in '12. -The Raiders DL was the 8th best run stuffing team in 2012. On 22% of the plays, the D stopped the RB at or behind the Line of scrimmage. -On the flip side, the defensive line ranked only 30th in adjusted pass rush metrics, which illustrates just how much they struggled to create pressure on the opposing Quarterback most of the year.   I hope you enjoyed the look at some of the non-traditional stats.  I will be focusing more on stats throughout this next year here at TFDS and will try to highlight stats that are interesting and perhaps provide different looks at the 2013 Raiders’ strengths and weaknesses.

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