FanPost

Numbers Can't Lie: Judging Our Community Projections (Offense Edition)

This column is the second half of my look back at the community projections that were compiled here before this season began.  Last week, I looked at the defensive projections.  This week, I'll be taking a look at the three offensive players that were chosen to perform projections on (Ted Ginn was also done, but I've already discussed him in a previous column.)

In general, the community's projections for the defensive players were all overly optimistic.  It will be interesting to see if that is the case with the offensive players as well.

In addition to the Phinsider projections and the actual performances, I'll be including the KUBIAK projections from Pro Football Prospectus 2008.

Let's jump right into it.  First up is Chad Pennington:

 

G

Comp

Att

C%

Yds

TD

Int

YPA

Rt

DVOA

Community

14

213

328

64.6

2510

17

10

7.65

92.4

-

KUBIAK

16

278

445

62.6

2876

21

16

6.46

81.8

-15.6%

Actual

16

321

476

67.4

3653

19

7

7.67

97.4

25.6%

First off, it must be noted that the KUBIAK projections were published while Pennington was still a New York Jet.  Since this projection system is based on a model that takes into account the experience of the player's projected offensive line, the weapons around him, and the strength of schedule that he will be facing, it makes sense to just toss those numbers out from the get-go.  Of course, had Pennington been with Miami before the numbers went to press, they likely would have been even a little bit lower.  The bottom line is that KUBIAK saw Pennington declining this season.

Looking at the community's numbers, it's obvious that no one saw this type of season coming from Pennington.  This was undoubtedly the best season in his career.  The community certainly didn't envision this team passing as much as it did (it projected almost the same number of attempted passes as those actually completed), and that's probably due to an unrealistic expectation for how much of a workload Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams could shoulder (see below).  The community did however nail the yards per attempt figure and came pretty close on the QB rating.

Pennington's season offers a good example of something that I think will be a significant challenge next year.  Think of how many players had career years in 2008.  For young players like Ted Ginn, Greg Camarillo, and Matt Roth that is great because it is expected that young players will consistently trend upward in their first few years.  Good young prospects should generally stack career years on top of one another until they reach their peak.  But what happens when an older player suddenly has a career year?  I'm thinking of guys like Pennington, Andre' Goodman, and Joey Porter.

The years that those players had were so out of the ordinary with their prior performances that it is simply misguided to expect anything similar in 2009.  I'm not saying that players can't have late-career reawakenings, but is that slim hope where we want to place our aspirations for the future?  I certainly don't.  And while I expect Pennington to play at a high level again next year, I'm not predicting that he'll come anywhere close to what he did this season.

A lot of people are going to be upset if they go into 2009 expecting guys like Goodman and Porter to build on career years achieved in age 30+ seasons.

But that's enough about that for now.  Up next is Ronnie Brown:

G

Runs

Yds

Yd/R

TD

Run DVOA

Rec

Yds

Yd/C

TD

Rec DVOA

Fum

Community

14

248

999

       4.0

9

-

31

390

12.6

2

-

2

KUBIAK

16

256

1150

4.5

6

1.0%

47

358

7.6

0

6.4%

-

Actual

16

214

916

4.3

10

4.8%

33

254

7.7

0

11.5%

1

The funny thing about the KUBIAK projection is that it actually took Brown's ACL injury into account quite heavily, and still managed to overshoot his carry and yardage totals by quite a bit.  When it came to DVOA, however, it was pretty spot-on.  And while it also overestimated how many receptions Brown would make, it correctly called how many yards per catch he would average, along with being shut out of the end zone in the passing game.

When looking at the community projections, keep in mind that the participants anticipated Brown playing in two fewer games than he actually did, so the lower counting stats would actually be even farther apart had they actually predicted him to play an entire season.  The community saw Brown getting 18 carries a game.  In my estimation, that was a pipedream.  But some people can't get past the idea that simply because a player is back on the field after a terrible injury and appears to be doing fine that he actually is still rehabbing and won't be 100% until much later down the road.  I guarantee you, Ronnie was not 100% this year.  And no one should have expected him to be.

Finally, we have Ricky Williams:

 

G

Runs

Yds

Yd/R

TD

Run DVOA

Rec

Yds

Yd/C

TD

Rec DVOA

Fum

Community

15

248

1065

4.3

6

-

34

299

8.8

2

-

3

KUBIAK

16

100

411

4.1

2

-6.6%

14

104

7.3

0

-4.4%

-

Actual

16

160

659

4.1

4

-4.0%

29

219

7.6

1

-9.7%

5

Wow.  Talk about two extremes.  The KUBIAK projections were definitely sour on Ricky Williams, but they still came very close to predicting all of his rate states.  They clearly just didn't anticipate him getting the ball so much.

The community projections on the other hand overshot his actual production in every single category - most noticeably in his carries and rushing yards.  The community projected Ricky and Ronnie to both run 248 times, for a combined total of 496 carries solely between the top two backs.  The entire team only had 448 carries, and that's including QB kneel downs.  So there was an obvious overestimation here of both Ricky's role in the offense and his abilities.  In fact, Ricky was projected to produce more on the ground than Ronnie.

I think that doing theses look-backs at the community projections are a good lesson for heading into the offseason and next year.  As fans, most of the time we far overvalue our own players and end up expecting impractical amounts of production from them.  Try to keep that in mind for when we do these projections again this summer.

As always, let me know if you have any suggestions for column ideas you'd like me to look into in the future.

 

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Phinsider's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of The Phinsider writers or editors.

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