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Thread: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

  1. #31
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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Thanks to the few of you who at least tried to talk about the O-line.

    Sheesh...


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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    I am curious to see how PFF calculated these rankings. Are there actual statistics involved? Or are they eye-balling it? My guess is that, just like ESPN and their QBR rankings, they are holding to some "proprietary" formula that won't be released. And that's a bummer, because I would love to see the calculation that has the Rams O-line above 26 other NFL lines.
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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by emuen View Post
    All of their calculations are build on on the field performances (stats). The way they are put together form a picture that can describe a situation in just about every way one would want them to, if you just exclude all evidence of the opposite of your argument. This is the way the Bradford stats were laid out in the other thread, and it might have been the way they were put together on PFF. However PFF uses the same rules for all O-lines in the league, not just the ones they would like to make look good in a post, and they are, according to Nicks findings, a recognized source of information in the professional business.

    So, one could find the ways they put together their stats less subjective than yours, while maybe a little less transparent. Sure you just presented the stats as they were, but part of that is choosing which stats not to show (e.g. Bradford ranks 32nd in the league in yards per attempt).

    Also statistics is the collection and interpretation of data, so the PFF rankings are actually statistical.
    It's not terribly helpful to defend the criteria without sharing what they are. Go to NFLdotcom & look at the real "league rankings" for offensive line performance.You won't find any category- all of which are clearly defined- in which The Rams OL is ranked 6th in a good way. you see stuff like QB hits and sacks, negative run plays, +10yd runs, 1st downs by run, etc, all broken down by left, right, and center of the line.
    So what are these arcane numbers used by PFF that blast the Rams OL from their middle-of-the-pack ranking, at best, to top ten status ? I genuinely would like to know; I can see a lot of interpretive room in some of NFLdotcom's table, eg there is a lot of qualitative wiggle room between a negative run play and a 10+yd run that I'd like to see broken down. And who decides whether a sack or QB hit was because of failed pass pro or good coverage ( or is it poor WR route running,playcall,etc) or some other issue on a particular play, inc a QB holding the ball too long because he's risk-averse or indecisive. It's still all about the interpretation and context,imo.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    FAQ Page PFF

    3) How do you know exactly what a player’s job is on any given play and whether negatives were his fault?

    This question obviously changes depending on the position and the specific play. Much of our methodology can be found in our explanation of our grading, but we will go into a quick summary:

    • Pass Protection

    This is a measure of how much total pressure a player gives away during a game. It isn’t a simple formula like -1.5 for a sack, -1 for a hit, as time taken to get the pressure is also very important. This is then normalized by adding a small positive factor for every drop-back he played. It is usually simple enough to determine what a player’s assignment is in pass protection, as we have the benefit of being able to watch one player closely and specifically multiple times. It is possible that a blocker is directed by the quarterback to take a specific man, resulting in a pass rusher that appears to be his responsibility getting a pressure and us grading that blocker down. This is an inherent inaccuracy in the grading, but despite this potential inaccuracy we have had NFL sources, including Bengals OG Evan Mathis, confirm that our grades are accurate, and reflect closely what they receive as internal feedback. There may be an inherent margin of error in what we do, but it is still more accurate than anything outside of a team meeting room.

    • Run Blocking

    Again, it is rare not to be able to determine where a run was supposed to go, and what a blocker’s assignment was on a particular play. Players don’t make the kind of mental lapses often that would see them going to a totally different place than where they should have been. If they did they wouldn’t be in the league long. If a player attempts a block on somebody, whether they win the encounter or lose it, it was almost certainly their assignment on the play. This is obviously not easy to pick up live and in real time, but again we have the benefit of being able to go back retrospectively and watch multiple replays of a play developing to get the information.


    Not what I call an exact science. Do you know what the players assignment is on any given play? NO. Players do make mental errors, PPF assumes the player is blocking the right person on any given play. Yeah Av is spot on. Does anybody know if guys like Bernie get paid to quote them?
    Last edited by Rambos; -10-10-2013 at 02:11 PM.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by emuen View Post
    All of their calculations are build on on the field performances (stats).
    You clearly don't know what a stat is. If I watch a game and give someone a 4.5/5.0 in their performance, that is not a stat. That's a subjective opinion to which I've assigned a number.

    However PFF uses the same rules for all O-lines in the league, not just the ones they would like to make look good in a post
    No, they don't, becuase there are no statistical "rules" for O lines, apart from basic things like yards/carry, sacks/attempt, which are not the basis of PFF's rankings.

    a recognized source of information in the professional business.
    The professional businesses of internet sportswriting and fantasy football, maybe.

    So, one could find the ways they put together their stats less subjective than yours, while maybe a little less transparent.
    Again... they're not using stats. How are you not getting this?

    Also statistics is the collection and interpretation of data, so the PFF rankings are actually statistical.
    Wrong. Statistics are objective, mathematical and scientific. Interpretation is subjective.

    Example:

    Statistic: That batter has a .305 batting average.
    Interpretation: That batter is a good hitter.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Sorry, but the endorsement of a few lazy sportswriters and fantasy geeks doesn't carry any weight with me.

    My biggest problem with PFF though, is that it packages subjective opinions as objective data. That, in my book, is dishonest.

    Not really having a stake in this argument, as I originally just passed this blurb to start a discussion about our offensive line, I've still noticed you choosing to pass over a couple of points brought up regarding NFL organizations and players using the data and declaring it a fairly accurate measurement of performance.

    Specifically here:
    Additionally, at least two NFL organizations have used data from Pro Football Focus to help them make personnel decisions, based on articles written this offseason.

    and here:
    including Bengals OG Evan Mathis, confirm that our grades are accurate, and reflect closely what they receive as internal feedback. There may be an inherent margin of error in what we do, but it is still more accurate than anything outside of a team meeting room.

    I'm curious what you use to form your opinions, as well as what you would suggest using as an alternative to reports like this to garner discussion? As we're all well aware, stats don't tell the entire story so it's often nice to look at in depth reports of player performances.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by shower beers View Post
    Additionally, at least two NFL organizations have used data from Pro Football Focus to help them make personnel decisions, based on articles written this offseason.


    I've seen no verification of this claim (which sounds like something PFF uses for marketing), but wouldn't that mean that 30 teams don't use PFF?

    including Bengals OG Evan Mathis, confirm that our grades are accurate, and reflect closely what they receive as internal feedback. There may be an inherent margin of error in what we do, but it is still more accurate than anything outside of a team meeting room.


    That's clearly marketing. I know you're not that naive.

    I'm curious what you use to form your opinions, as well as what you would suggest using as an alternative to reports like this to garner discussion? As we're all well aware, stats don't tell the entire story so it's often nice to look at in depth reports of player performances.
    My general method is to look at objective data and question whether it is consistent with my subjective viewpoint. When in doubt, though, I go with the data:

    Here are some true stats that reflect on the Rams' OL play:

    Yards/Rushing Attempt: 3.0 (30th in NFL)
    Sacks Allowed: 13 (tied for 17th in the NFL)

    This suggests to me that the OL has done a poor job of run blocking, and a better job of pass blocking. In fact, though I did not have sacks/attempt stats handy (and didn't have time to run them for the whole league), the Rams are clearly in the top half of the league in that category, given that they are tied for 2nd in the league in pass attempts.

    Of course, if I had additional data, I might explore whether the pass blocking numbers are enhanced, to a degree, by the fact that the Rams throw mostly short passes, which require less time.

    Looking at all of this as a whole, I see no objective basis to rank the Rams' OL in the top 10 in football.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    I think it's safe to say that the Rams' OL being ranked 6th in the NFL is a bit of a stretch.
    Rambos, supachump and NJ Ramsfan1 like this.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    I've seen no verification of this claim (which sounds like something PFF uses for marketing), but wouldn't that mean that 30 teams don't use PFF?
    The claim came from me, and it was the result of a quick, ten minute internet search which resulted in two news articles that detailed how two NFL organizations are using Pro Football Focus to help them make decisions for their organization. I can refind them and provide links if you would like further verification.

    As to the second question, I would say no - the presence of articles about two organizations using PFF's analysis does not inherently mean the other 30 are not.

    Everyone can draw their own conclusions about PFF's analysis, and that's fine. But for me at least, clearly there are others out there who think their work is valuable and meaningful, and as that list includes people who both cover and work in the league, it suggests to me that they aren't worth completely dismissing.
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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Ultimately, though... a system that ranks a team with the 3rd worst rushing average as having the 6th best OL in the league needs to be adjusted. You simply can't reconcile that objective fact with their conclusion.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Ultimately, though... a system that ranks a team with the 3rd worst rushing average as having the 6th best OL in the league needs to be adjusted. You simply can't reconcile that objective fact with their conclusion.
    The objective fact is that the Rams rank 29th in rushing yards per game, but there can be a lot of variation in how that stat is interpreted and what it means for specific units.

    Consider all of the parts that have to come together for a successful running game - a play call that properly attacks an opponent's weak areas, the threat of a passing game to back defenders away from the LOS, a line that is properly executing their blocking assignments, tight ends and lead blockers that are reading and blocking the right man, runners that see the hole and hit it when they're supposed to.

    Let's refocus the lens on just what the Rams themselves are doing and saying. Going back to my first post in this response, I think it's worth noting (though not worth overemphasizing) that Bradford's reaction to questions about why he's been able to achieve some individual success statistically this year was to praise his line. I wouldn't expect him to throw them under the bus, so take it with a grain of salt for sure. But he could have found other things to say or compliment if the line was playing poorly.

    Also, in an effort to fix the running game heading into the Jags game, the team shuffled the personnel at running back by starting Stacy, increased the playing time for TE Harkey as a more traditional lead blocker, decreased the snaps for TE Jared Cook who gave some exceptionally poor effort in blocking on national TV against the *****, but haven't really touched the offensive line's line-up even though you could argue they have alternate options in Shelley Smith, Barrett Jones, and Brandon Washington along the interior.

    Like I said in my first response, I'm not sure that I would have rated the Rams' line as the sixth best in the league, but I'm also not able to watch every Rams game nor every game around the league with a critical eye towards offensive line play. So it's hard for me to completely refute their analysis when I have nothing of my own to offer besides very limited subjective personal observations. And again, maybe you and others disagree, but I do think it speaks to the reputation of the site that it's being utilized by multiple sports writers, national sports websites in ESPN and NBC, and organizations in the league itself.

    Ultimately, I think the more information and analysis we have as fans to sift through, the better. It improves my enjoyment of and discussions about the game, even if it doesn't always match up with my opinions or thoughts on the game or team.
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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    If that was true, our rushing stats would not be so abysmal.
    We have a 7th round pick, who has outplayed a 2nd round pick for the starting job. Still, he's a 7th round pick, and a very late one at that.

    Maybe, just maybe you might want to look there first.

    Or perhaps you might want to give creedance to the fact that we have played catch up for most of the season. And we all know that does not bode well for any running game.

    Just two other legitimate reasons why our rushing stats have been so abysmal.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post
    Wrong. Statistics are objective, mathematical and scientific. Interpretation is subjective.

    Example:

    Statistic: That batter has a .305 batting average.
    Interpretation: That batter is a good hitter.
    Okay, so even though we can't agree on what statistics are, your last point still solidifies my original post.

    "There is hope for Bradford", is the interpretation you made from the ranks that you listed in the other thread, concluding

    Quote Originally Posted by AvengerRam View Post

    But don't tell me there's no hope.

    The numbers and I disagree with that notion.
    That is your clear interpretation of the stats, just as PFF uses their interpretation of the stats they are in possession of (which is a much larger data set, than your four rankings). So even though you don't think it is statistical (which it is, by the way) it doesn't really matter for my original point, in that it is still the same thing that is being done in both threads. Just now you and others are not okay with it.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    Quote Originally Posted by emuen View Post
    Okay, so even though we can't agree on what statistics are, your last point still solidifies my original post.

    "There is hope for Bradford", is the interpretation you made from the ranks that you listed in the other thread, concluding



    That is your clear interpretation of the stats, just as PFF uses their interpretation of the stats they are in possession of (which is a much larger data set, than your four rankings). So even though you don't think it is statistical (which it is, by the way) it doesn't really matter for my original point, in that it is still the same thing that is being done in both threads. Just now you and others are not okay with it.
    I take stats and use them to form opinions.

    PFF takes opinions and use them to create ”stats.”

    If you don't understand that distinction, that's your problem.

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    Re: Rams line comes in at number 6 in Pro Football Focus league rankings

    I think this topic is being made more difficult and analytical than it needs to be. Maybe if we knew everyone's assignment on any given play with certainty and dissected EVERY single play by EVERY single offensive lineman and knew EVERY single play that is run and what the RB must do we could determine with 100% certainty who is at fault and what percentage of blame should be assigned to each guy. I prefer a simpler method, and that is trusting my eyes. It doesn't take a genius to see one thing: Our running game is putrid.

    Having watched the Rams this season, I see a sharing of blame. The linemen are not consistently driving the defense back and opening sufficient lanes for the backs. That said, I also see running backs who are hesitant, dance around, and don't hit the holes that DO open with any kind of conviction or authority. And they are not talented nor savvy enough to change direction successfully once they've seen a hole is closing.

    Both units have to do better. The bigger question is are they capable??

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