Posted: Wednesday June 22, 2005 1:49PM; Updated: Wednesday June 22, 2005 1:50PM
Instead I asked the Flaming Redhead what she thought of it.
"Looks like yours," she said, with no trace of a smile. That's right. Looks like mine. Not so much my Big Book but my charts, except that his go into a lot more depth in the passing game. I've got to divide mine between passing and running, featuring linemen who block well and who don't, defenders who can and can't play the run, and stuff like that. Plus, my access is limited because I only see eight games a weekend. Joyner sees all 16, or 14 when the bye is in effect.
A few years ago he decided he wanted to present to the public the most in-depth analysis the passing game has ever undergone. So he quit his $50,000 a year job in telecom to see if he could actually, within the framework of time allotted, break down NFL passing the way he wanted to.
Well, I've never seen such a complete look at this phase of the game. Each passer is evaluated on the basis of every type of pass he delivers, and at every range (short, medium, deep), and from every kind of drop (three step, five, seven, seven moving up to three, scrambling, scrambling and pulling up and throwing, passing off a half roll or a sprint out, and so on). Receivers get the same treatment. So do defenders. Then they get rated and graded. So do the teams themselves, the different units, the sackers and pass blockers, etc.
If there are 500 of you out there who simply must have this book, even though it bears a $49.95 price tag, then the money KC spent to publish it himself will be covered. You can get it by e-mailing him at KC@thefootballscientist.com, or writing to him at Box 161605 Altamonte Springs, Fla., 32716-1605. But I must warn you. You must attack the statistics section, the charts, with a clear head and a good night's sleep. If you doze for a few seconds, if you let your attention wander, you'll have a hard time catching up. The abbreviations will drive you nuts, too. Study the keys in front of each section very, very carefully.
If it were just a collection of numbers, I wouldn't be spending this much time on it, but here's the thing that caught my eye: the quality of the observations. We are constantly being deluged by crap, by cliches, whether in the newspapers or on TV. The same old blah blah, how much fun Brett Favre is having out there ... after he has thrown his third interception. What a great team guy Terrell Owens has turned into ... after Donovan McNabb walks almost the entire length of the bench to get away from him. RayLewis' great leadership ... because he's got the old fist-in-the-air routine down pat. And so forth.
But the observation Joyner affords on every team, while I didn't agree with all of them, are striking because they are based on non-emotional, non-promotional facts. His facts.
Some random observations ... on the Broncos' wideout Ashley Lelie, for instance: "It isn't a stretch to say that Lelie was possibly the most dangerous deep threat in the NFL last season. He had the second most deep passes thrown to him, and ranked 20th in deep pass completion percentage (42 percent). He only faced tight/good coverage 24 percent of the time on deep passes, ranking him 11th in the league, and was open by two or more steps on deep passes 11 percent of the time. His success on deep routes made his overall yards per attempt the seventh highest in the league.
"It's a damn good thing Lelie was good at deep passes because he frankly stunk at the other depth levels."
Or on consensus All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey: "Bailey was 79th in deep yards (first being the fewest), tied for 73rd in deep completion percentage, tied for 16th most in deep attempts, tied for 69th in deep TDs ... Bailey wasn't just beaten deep; he was targeted for deep passes quite frequently."
Or how about the Vikings' little-known TE, Jermaine Wiggins? "The most amazing stat ... Wiggins was thrown 102 passes but only one of them was deep ... He ranked second in the league in medium completion percentage and first in short completion percentage ... Wiggins is not the best receiving tight end in the league (he is not even close), but he's the best short-receiving tight end. He will have a role in this offense regardless of how vertical the Vikings decide to be this year. He is a perfect fit in his role and could threaten for the Pro Bowl."