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Targeting Breakdown: Week 15 Edition

For the second week in a row, we are seeing a different Cleo Lemon in terms of who he is throwing to.  You'll remember Cleo got the nickname "Captain Checkdown" by one of the users on this site (I can't remember who first coined that phrase).  But we are seeing a change in Lemon.  Why?  It could be a different gameplan by Cam Cameron and the coaching staff.  Or it could simply be Cleo slowly growing more comfortable in the offense and maturing as a quarterback.  But for whatever the reason, Lemon is throwing the ball down the field more often than he used to and is targeting the wide receivers with greater consistency.  And that's a welcomed site to this offense, though I hope for more throws in Ted Ginn's direction in the future (only had 3 targets this week).

In this past game, 62% of Cleo's passes were thrown at a wide receiver.  And that doesn't even include Lorenzo Booker, who is basically a slot receiver coming out of the backfield.  Of Lorenzo's 8 targets this week, a conservative assumption of the number of passes thrown his way that were not dump offs (and are plays in which Booker could be considered a WR rather than a RB) would be 4.  That means Cleo targeted a WR on 72% of his throws, which is a huge improvement from the past.  On the other hand, Cleo only targeted a tight end on 10% of his throws.  Compare that to his previous 6 games where he targeted a tight end 20% of the time.  That, to me, is a great improvement, as our tight ends are not playmakers at all and a high percentage of throws to them means the QB is checking down too often.  I'd much rather see Cleo take some chances down the field to the potential playmakers.

Of course, I don't want to sing Cleo's praises too much because, despite the win, he didn't play that good.  He missed numerous open receivers with throws that were either wide or too high.  He could have had a 40+ yard touchdown pass to Ginn if he had gotten the ball just a tad more out in front of Ginn.  Instead, the ball hit the defending player in the back.  He also was inaccurate on a pass to Lorenzo Booker late in the game that, despite still being caught by Booker, was a missed opportunity for a touchdown.   Lorenzo had to slow down and catch the ball behind him.  If Cleo gets that ball out in front of the receiver, then Booker would have likely taken it the extra 10 to 15 yards for the touchdown.  I suppose I'm nitpicking, however, and I'll stop now and just wait and see how Cleo performs against a healthy defense that is one of the league's best.

Total Targets
Here's how the full season targeting breaks down through 14 games:

Marty Booker: 93 targets (20%)
Chris Chambers: 66 targets (14%)
Ted Ginn: 53 targets (11%)
Derek Hagan: 50 targets (11%)
Ronnie Brown: 46 targets (10%)
David Martin: 40 targets (9%)
Justin Peelle: 37 targets (8%)
Jesse Chatman: 33 targets (7%)
Lorenzo Booker: 23 targets (5%)
Greg Camarillo: 5 targets (1%)
Patrick Cobbs: 5 targets (1%)
Samkon Gado: 5 targets (1%)
Aaron Halterman: 3 targets (<1%)
Reagan Mauia: 3 targets (<1%)

Lemon's Targets
Here's how Cleo's targeting breaks down:

Marty Booker: 49 targets (20%)
Derek Hagan: 36 targets (15%)
Ted Ginn: 29 targets (12%)
Justin Peelle: 23 targets (9%)
Ronnie Brown: 22 targets (9%)
Chris Chambers: 22 targets (9%)
David Martin: 20 targets (8%)
Lorenzo Booker: 16 targets (7%)
Jesse Chatman: 12 targets (5%)
Greg Camarillo: 4 targets (2%)
Samkon Gado: 4 targets (2%)
Patrick Cobbs: 3 targets (1%)
Reagan Mauia: 1 target
Aaron Halterman: 1 target

Receiver Success
And here are the updated catch percentages for those receivers with at least 10 receptions for the entire 2007 season:

Lorenzo Booker: 78%
Jesse Chatman: 70%
David Martin: 70%
Justin Peelle: 68%
Derek Hagan: 54%
Marty Booker: 49%
Ted Ginn: 43%

Chris Chambers SD Update
As I will continue to do this season, here's Chambers' San Diego catch percentage:

Targeted: 21%
Catch percentage: 56%

It's amazing how a better QB makes Chambers look that much better.  And it also helps that Chris has players around him to help.  This season in Miami, Chanbers had a catch percentage of 47%.  So a 9% increase is nothing to sneeze at.  People wanted to bash him the past 2 years, but stats don't lie.  He never deserved the beating he took by some fans while in Miami and he's proving it now.

12/23/07: YOU GOTTA BELIEVE!!!