Anyone who has been following the blog closely since I joined knows that I am a statistic’s junkie. I don’t think Stats are Tell-alls. I trust my eyes as well. I trust what I see and look for statistical data to back up what my eyes are telling me, sometimes all stats do is open up a way to see something different than I initially thought. That’s my goal here today, if you’re a big time Giants fan with concerns heading into the season take some time out of your day read the post and reflect on what the season might bring.
Also, if you like what you read leave a comment and let me know, my favorite part about writing anything here is connecting and with other die-hard Giants fans. Let me tell you there aren’t too many opportunities for that here in Rochester, NY.
One of my favorites sites is footballoutsiders.com. It’s chalk full of stats, information and analysis (especially if you purchase the “insider” option, which I have not, but I imagine there’s much more with that purchase)
Anyway, there is a free preview I found of Footballoutsiders analysis on the Giants and I wanted to share with you some of the interesting information I Found in it.
First up the Giants offense was better without Plaxico Buress than it was with Plaxico Burress.
Say Whaaaaat?? You read that correctly. The New York Giants were a more productive team when Plaxico Buress did not play in a game than when he did. The only thing you hear from pundits is that the G-men went 1-4 w/0 Plaxico Buress, what they won’t mention is that the New York Giants played a very difficult defensive schedule in those games playing against Philly twice, Dallas, Carolina, and Minnesota. All teams with top 10 defenses. In those games the Giants out-produced offensively, what many other teams did Against Those Teams.
If you include Seattle the numbers are even better. The Giants run offense did step back slightly w/o Plax, but not enough to off-set the positive gain in passing efficiency.
Hixon outperformed Plax last season.
If you look just at standard numbers
Buress had 35 catches for 434 yards at 13 yards a catch and four touchdowns (9 games started)
Hixon had 43 catches 596 yards 13.9 yards per catch and two touchdowns. (7 games started)
But going even further Hixon had a 6.5 DVOA (Defense just value over average) while Buress had a 4.9. The more positive a number for the offensive player/unit the better. The more negative a number for a defensive player/unit the better.
Domenix Hixon caught passes more regularly than Burress, for more yardage, but is not the Red Zone Threat that Burress can is/can be.
This much is for sure, and something I’ve been saying for two years now. The Giants lacked the ability to be wide-open. What I mean by this is watch a Cowboys game and look at the separation the WR’s created-Watch Terrell Owens by 7-10 yards away from everyone on the plays he catches passes-and watch a Giants game and watch how every pass that is caught someone is within touching distance.
Plax and Toomer were good WR’s but they are not burners, they don’t create a lot of separation and they don’t compile the Y.A.C. yards. This year that might be different, I think we can see Eli’s completion percentage go up over the next few years.
Steve Spagnuolo’s blitz schemes were LESS Effective than Giants fans think.
Everyone is worried about Spag’s departure to the Rams because of his great schemes he devised, however, according to the football outsiders analysis, the New York Giants were Significantly WORSE than average when they ran “Zone Blitzes”, especially in which only three players rushed the passer.
The N.F.L. average success rate was 57 percent.
The New York Giants success rate was 38 percent (Yikes!)
The Giants MOST Effective scheme was….rushing four and dropping seven back into coverage, or put another way by not being creative. They had a 60 percent success rate when doing this (NFL average was 55 percent).
The Giants were also a little effective rushing 5 and 6 pass rushers.
The Talk is Sherdian plans on using a few less schemes, especially Zone Bliztes. I think we’ll see more four linemen Rushing with either Sintim or Boley coming off the edge at times.
But Fear Not Giants fans, Spag’s loss may be more style than substance. I think the natural talent along the front seven should compensate for any good or bad coaching.
Steve Smith Slipped at the End of Last Year
The player who may have been most effected by Plaxico’s absence could be Steve Smith. Steve Smith he had 14 of his 17 third down conversions by week 12 (11 games).
With only three third down conversions between weeks 13-17 (4 games), it may be Steve Smith who saw the increased attention on third down that hurt the offense, or like I was saying earlier between weeks 13-17 the Giants played a lot of good teams and Steve Smith didn’t perform as well in those games. Hopefully his continued maturity and growth will help him this year stay fresh and productive all year.
Eli Manning was the Most Blizted QB in the league.
I think part of that has to do with the strength of the Giants offensive line-opponents feel they need to bring more than the line can block.
Part of that has to do with the strong running game (trying to get in the gaps before Jacobs picks up speed) and the third part of that has to do with that it was effective. The Giants DVOA was THE best in the league when teams only rushed four. 24th when they rushed five and 22 when they rushed six or more.
Expect to see a lot of blitzes again against the Giants until they figure out how to be more productive against the blitz.
I think putting Travis Beckum in the backfield as a pass catching H-Back could solve some of this problem.
The Defense Did not recover enough Fumbles.
Everyone knows the G-men tied a league record with fewest fumbles in a season, but what’s a True Oddity is that the Giants recovered 11 of 14 as offense, which was best in the league and recovered only 5 of 17 forced fumbles on defense THE worst in the league.
Fumble recoveries are part skill and part luck. I think this statistic is a True definition of an oddity and I think we’ll see the trends move closer to the average on both sides of the ball.
What is NOT Luck is fumbling the ball and the Offense did not do that very often, which is great. Hopefully this year the Giants will continue to hold onto the ball, but also recover some more of the fumbles they force on defense.
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