What a difference a week makes.
New coach, new quarterback, new team.
I’ve got to tell you that I will never, ever forget what I witnessed last Sunday nor the faces of the 20,000 Packers fan who were there all around me at Arrowhead when it suddenly dawned on them that this was one game that their team definitely would not win this season. Google the image “Stunned Disbelieving Disappointment” and you might see one of those faces. Google the image “Stunned Disbelieving Exhilaration” and you might see what my face looked like at that same moment.
Now if you were to guess, would you say the passing game or the running game was the biggest factor on offense that contributed to the Chiefs win? What about on defense? Pass rush or run defense? Who had the better game, Thos Jones or Jackie Battle? Who was most efficient when catching the ball, Steve Breaston, Dwayne Bowe, or someone else? Is it possible that the Chiefs just caught the Pack on an off day and got lucky?
Click on the Continue link below to find out if Football Outsiders DVOA Analysis offers any statistical evidence to help answer these types of questions.
Okay let’s take a look at this closely. First off, the Green Bay game didn’t really show us much in the way of significant progress on the offensive side of the ball when considered as a whole unit. I say multiple missed opportunities inside the 10 will do that to you. Coming away with no points inside the 10 almost certainly will do that to you.
Second, look at how the running backs faired and then compare that with how our ball catchers did. With Jones, he’s still more of a liability with the ball than an asset. Should we really be giving this guy so many carries each game? Is it worth the gamble to give him any carries? Nearly two seasons worth of statistical evidence has consistently stated that the answer to that question is “Absolutely Not, Hell No, Please God Just Make It Stop!” Last Sunday’s effort merely re-affirms this long-standing assessment. Bottom line, Battle helps his team win when he totes the rock. Jones, just the opposite.
With reference to our ball catchers, it was none other than big Leonard Pope who made the big impact in this game. Not all that surprising in retrospect really.
I just wish I had some meaningful numbers on Orton to work with because I felt he really made that offense run the way it did. He spread the ball around to 10 different receivers, executed near flawlessly on running plays and in the play action, and maintained a great game tempo.
Now I want you to consider something for a second. We know that Matt Cassel has the potential to win 10 or ll games if given the right pieces and the right plays. I can also show you that Orton, statistically speaking, is a little better than Cassel. If Cassel can get you into double digit win territory, doesn’t it stand to reason that Orton can probably get you home field advantage along with a bye, all things being equal?
Play Orton, keep Cassel, and draft a good QB. Long term QB depth and development situation solved. Might that be a tad expensive? Maybe, maybe not. Doesn’t really matter because it’s a quarterback’s league so the smart thing to do is to always put your money where it is most likely going to do the greatest good. Scott Pioli and Clark Hunt, looking at you fellas.
This chart is also kind of interesting. Note in particular that the Weighted DVOA percentage for defense improved (for defense, recall that the more negative the number, the better) but that the ranking dropped slightly. All this really means is that our defense showed improvement against the Packers, but not as much relative improvement as some other defenses did in the wake of Week 15.
This week, our offense finally showed some signs of life. The next two weeks should tell us whether this is the beginning of a positive trend or some statistical noise.
Note again Battle vs Jones. Arrow goes to Battle. Initial assessment on Pope reaffirmed and perhaps even fair to say he’s a TE who’s moved into the realm of semi-respectability. Personally I kind of see him as an entertaining mix of look out now with a bit of slapstick.
The week leading up to the Packers game, the game outcome, some individual player performances, the game day experience, and a little bit of renewed hope all combined to make this season worthwhile for me. Finally.
That’s my Double Take! What’s your take, Addicts?