Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Play Notes: 2011 Week 02 vs Baltimore-Pass Rush

Another post that's primarily a data dump, this aimed at judging the Titans' pass rush against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2 of the 2011 NFL season. Even less detail than last week's simple defense UFR. Read the Total Titans post for the analysis and takeaways [note to self: insert direct link to Total Titans post once it's done.]

As per normal course, full details after the jump.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Simple UFR: 2011 Week 01 at Jaguars-Defense

I gave you the offense a couple days ago, now it's time for the defense.

I haven't really done true UFR for the defense before outside of just play notes on preseason games. If I had to put things in a spectrum, these are much closer to play notes in terms of responsibility than "true" UFR, which I think of as much more hardcore into grading and analytic measures.

There are few personnel notes-I didn't record when the Titans were in nickel or other interesting formational bits unless particularly relevant to the play. As with the offensive breakdown, the only separator for drives is what's listed in the Gamebook, the team name and time. I've bolded those, and added two-spaces. I also didn't do drive recaps like I used to, but will probably include those if I have time to do this going forward.

Full details after the jump.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Simple UFR: 2011 Week 01 at Jaguars-Offense

Along the lines of the data dumps I've done recently, here's a simplified version of the Upon Further Review I used to do. Note this is only the offense.

One thing I've modified from the original UFR as I did it is personnel and formation. That's listed under "PERSONNEL". The first item is the formation, but I've changed and simplified nomenclature. I-formation is obvious, and I've used 2x1, 2x2, or 1x3, etc. to show how many receivers are to one side. This includes, for the most part, everybody not an in-line tight end or back. Left side of the formation is listed first, so 1x2 means one receiver to the left side and two to the right side. Then come personnel, first RBs/backfield people, then TEs, then WRs. WR are generally listed from left to right. For instance, "3x1, CJ, Cook, Williams/Washington/Britt" would indicate CJ is the lone setback, Williams was the wide receiver to the left side, Washington in the slot to the left, and Britt the right-most receiver. Cook's location isn't specified, but he lined up largely in the slot. One thing I plan to do for next time is include Cook or anybody else with the WRs whenever he's listed in the formation (3x1).

The only separator for drives is what's listed in the Gamebook, the team name and time. I've bolded those, and added two-spaces. I also didn't do drive recaps like I used to, but will probably include those if I have time to do this going forward.

As per normal practice, full details go after the jump.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Book Review: Swing Your Sword

Autobiographies, particularly autobiographies of famous people take several different forms. Normally there's a ghostwriter involved, and the celebrity may not have very much involvement in the book. Most famously, Charles Barkley claimed to have been misquoted in his autobiography. Sometimes the celebrity is very involved and actually even writes, or at least sets the tone of, much of the book.

Having never met or had personal contact with Mike Leach, it's difficult to say how precisely Swing Your Sword: Leading the Charge in Football and Life matches his personality and personal style. That said, I've read a decent amount of Leach-related material the last few years, and Swing sounded an awful lot like what I think Leach looks like. Some credit for this must go to his ghostwriter, Bruce Feldman, but Swing is a very engagingly and entertainingly written tour of Mike Leach's life up to and through his termination by Texas Tech and his relocation to Key West.

Beyond the degree of involvement to the celebrity, one of the things that helps dictate how interesting a celebrity autobiography is is just how ... revealing the celebrity is interested in being. Swing is a tour of Mike Leach's life, starring Mike Leach and Mike Leach's career and accomplishments. He's worked and come into contact with some people who are interesting and/or accomplished, like Hal Mumme, Bob Stoops, and Dana Holgorsen, but even people who give half-page or one page blurbs, like Leach's quarterback at Texas Tech Graham Harrell, don't come alive. They're mostly paper cutouts, not fellow stars in the firmament.

That relative lack of depth is a recurring theme in the book. You get a feel for Leach and the way he thinks, but I'm not sure it's hugely deeper than what I already knew. Swing is probably best viewed as an entertaining trip through an entertaining coach's career.

For a much more useful review, see that by Chris Brown of Smart Football, who has had both personal contact with Leach and more familiarity with the airraid offense and Leach's version thereof.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Book Review: NFL Record & Fact Book 2011

Another year, another edition of the NFL Record & Fact Book. See my review of the 2009 edition for a basic description of what the book is.

To release this year's edition at the normal time around the start of preseason, the NFL had to print the R&FB based on rosters as of the day before the lockout, plus the draft picks. Thus, all the free agency moves after the lockout that are in Football Outsiders Almanac 2011 are not included.

I've only skimmed the 2010 edition for changes, but these are the changes I've seen:
1. The rundown on overtime procedures seems to have been removed.
2. There's a list of the number of active players permitted in a game over time (going back to 1925), plus the numbers for player movement in the free agency era.
3. The cover in the past has featured the image of a Super Bowl-winning player. This year's cover instead as the 32 team shields.
4. Most game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime since 1970 has been added.

By now I'm in the habit of buying it every season. It's a useful reference to have nearby when I'm watching games and sometimes if I need to look up a particular item or two when writing something. On balance, though, if you're only looking for current information, you can find pretty much everything in the Record & Fact Book online, either on NFL.com or P-F-R.

UPDATE (9/05/11 1913 CT): Item #2 wasn't removed, just moved to a new section and with an entry added to the table of contents.
UPDATE #2 (9/07/11 2207 CT): Item #1 wasn't removed, just moved to a new section. Jon Zimmer (@NFLHistory on twitter) also noted most GW drives by QB has been added. Note, though, their numbers don't match those listed by P-F-R based on Scott Kacsmar's research (see parts one, two, and three), whose numbers are transparent enough I have some trust in them. For example, John Elway is listed as having 40 (p.310), while P-F-R has him with 35 fourth-quarter comebacks and 46 game-winning drives. Maybe there's a methodology issue involved.

Book Review: Football Outsiders Almanac 2011

So, yeah, Football Outsiders Almanac 2011. It's the latest edition of the annual from the people at Football Outsiders. For the second year in a row, that group includes yours truly, and you can find my name on the cover page.

I'm not even going to pretend to give you some sort of objective review of this book. I did the Tennessee Titans and Houston Texans chapters. Neither is perfect; subjective, my favorite chapter I've done is the Jaguars one last year.

We held the book this year until after the lockout, so we had a couple frantic weeks of writing and editing. There are probably more flaws than there have been in the past, but I'm pretty confident the book's not the disaster too many rush projects are.

I've reviewed previous editions of the annual, which was known as Pro Football Prospectus through 2008, on here. My review of PFP08 is probably the most useful.

FOA2011 is available in print from Amazon or Createspace, or in PDF download from the FO online store.

Disclosure: As a co-author, I got a free PDF copy of the book, though I did have to pay for my hard copy.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Titans-Saints data dump

As I did recently for the Vikings game, it's time for a play-by-play comments data dump for the Titans' most recent preseason games. Notes on each first-half play of the Saints game after the jump.