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Thread: Jets had it tough in 2011

  1. #1
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    Jets had it tough in 2011

    You would forgive Jets fans if they tried to pretend that the 2011 season was washed away by the lockout. It was a pretty rough time. Sure, an up-and-down first 15 weeks of the season is basically de rigueur for the Rex Ryan–era Jets, but Gang Green's magical ability to raise their game at the end of the season and parlay that momentum into a playoff run was somehow transferred to the Giants during that devastating Week 16 derby.
    The scariest part about the disappointing season for Jets fans, though, was how it came about. New York's offense played at exactly the same level in 2011 as it did in 2010, ranking 13th in the league in points scored in both seasons. The defense, though? It would be tough for them to say the same thing. After allowing the fewest points in football during Ryan's debut season in 2009 and finishing sixth in the league in 2010, the once-formidable Jets defense fell off to 20th last season. A team that allowed under 15 points per game during that 2009 campaign allowed 30 points or more on five different occasions last year, losing all five games.
    Regardless of what you think about the presence of Tim Tebow and the possibility of an improved offense, it's pretty clear that the Jets will need their defense to return to form in 2012 if they want to make a serious run in the AFC. The presence of Darrelle Revis should be enough to push any defense toward success, but Ryan stalwarts like Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard are either on the wane or off the roster. Are the Jets about to recover and return to the elite? Or does their slide down the points-allowed charts show no sign of stopping?

    To put the answer to this question in the starkest possible terms, just look at the table below, which has the Jets' rank in points allowed alongside their rank in DVOA during the Ryan era.

    Year PA Rank DVOA Rank
    2009 1 1
    2010 6 5
    2011 20 2


    Quick: Spot the outlier! Despite the dramatic rise in their points allowed — and with it, a decline in their record — the advanced statistics suggest that the Jets were actually every bit as good as they used to be. How on earth can that be true? And which of the two actually matters in predicting how the Jets will do in 2012?

    To start, I went and looked back at teams similar to the Jets, teams with great DVOA ratings and surprisingly high points-allowed totals. Since Ryan's defense finished second in DVOA and 20th in points allowed, a difference of 18 spots in the respective rankings, I looked back through the 19-year history of DVOA to try to find how teams with those sorts of differences do in the following season. In looking at teams whose points-allowed rank was 15 spots or more worse than their DVOA rank, the trend was pretty clear. The difference between those two statistics disappears the following year, as the average gap between PA and DVOA fell from 15 or more down to 2.4 spots. And, excitingly for Jets fans, the defense usually improves. The average team in this group improved their points-allowed ranking by an average of nearly nine spots. The 2007 Ravens, who were the last such team to have this sort of difference, could serve as a nice blueprint for the Jets' bounce-back. They were ranked fifth in DVOA on defense that year, but were 22nd in points allowed. A year later, they were second in DVOA … and third in points allowed.

    So, why did that gap exist last year? And if it's not going to stick around, as history suggests, are the aspects of the Jets' performance that caused the gap also going to disappear? It's impossible to say for sure, but I've identified a few things that drove the high points-allowed totals from last season, and I think most of them will either disappear or be less meaningful in 2012.

    The easiest one to note is the obvious difference that comes up whenever you compare a rate or per-play statistic (like DVOA) to a cumulative one (like points allowed): volume. New York's defense was great on a per-play basis last year, but it was on the field too frequently. The Jets defense faced 201 drives last year, tied with two other teams atop the NFL leaderboard. The league average was just over 183, so those 18 extra drives basically mean that the Jets defense played about an extra game and a half's worth of action. It's unlikely that the Jets will face so many drives during the upcoming season; they ranked fifth in that category in 2010 and 14th during 2009.

    New York's offense and special teams could also help make their defense's job easier, although there's no guarantee that they will. The Jets defense had received excellent average field position during Ryan's first two years with the club, ranking among the top 10 in the league in both those seasons. Last year, their rank fell to 21st, and the biggest reason why was the offense's remarkable propensity to go three-and-out. Mark Sanchez & Co. produced three-and-outs on 30.3 percent of their drives, the fourth-highest rate in football. If Jets fans are hoping that Tebow is going to solve that problem, though, they might be disappointed: Tebow's Broncos were one of the three teams who went three-and-out more frequently than the Jets last year.

    There's another way the offense can help out: tackling. We've been blaming the New York defense so far for every point scored against the Jets last season, but there was a shocking amount of scoring done while Revis's crew was sitting on the sideline. Opposing defenses scored seven touchdowns against the Jets on interception or fumble returns last season. That's 42 points even without the extra points! Three of those touchdowns came in one game against the Ravens. As tempting as it is to chalk that up to a disinterested group of veteran players and their poor chemistry, there's no "skill" (or lack thereof) related to allowing touchdowns on offense. It's a function of the number of turnovers you commit and total randomness. The Jets saw those seven touchdowns come in over 34 turnovers this season; a year ago, the Jets offense turned the ball over 21 times and had just one of those turnovers result in a touchdown for the opposition. The average team will give up about 2.5 defensive touchdowns per year, so if the Jets can get back to that league-average rate, it will potentially save them 32 points.

    Once you get rid of the points the defense didn't actually allow and account for the number of drives they faced, it's much clearer to see why the advanced metrics like what the Jets D did last year. They only allowed 1.55 points per drive, which was the sixth-best rate in football. Throw in the tough field position and a schedule that saw them stuck playing the Patriots twice and, well, you've got a defense that begins to resemble the second-best unit in football.

    Of course, there's more to it than the numbers. Changes in personnel will also play a key role in determining how the Jets do on defense this year. While the Jets weren't a particularly injury-prone team last year on that side of the ball, their injuries were concentrated up front, as they lost defensive linemen Kenrick Ellis and Mike DeVito for chunks of the season and saw stalwart linebacker Bryan Thomas miss the final 12 games of the year with a torn Achilles. Those injuries gave 2011 first-round pick Muhammad Wilkerson valuable reps on the defensive line, and encouraged the Jets to spend their first-round pick in this year's draft on UNC lineman Quinton Coples. Thomas's injury also created playing time for Bills castoff Aaron Maybin, who acquitted himself nicely in limited time with a team-high six sacks. If the Jets can get significant contributions from those young players, it will offset the aging of former stars like Scott, Thomas, and Calvin Pace.

    The other notable moves on the defense this year came at safety, where both of last year's starters have left town. Brodney Pool left for the Cowboys, but the more notable departure was that of Leonhard, who is currently out of football after suffering a fractured tibia in 2010 and a torn patellar tendon last season. Leonhard was seen in some circles as the heart and soul of the Jets defense, a former special teamer who frequently played center field as the last resort behind those diabolical Ryan blitzes. He missed eight games over the past two years with those major injuries, and as it turns out, the Jets have been much better off when he's been in the lineup. They've allowed an average of 19.1 points per game with Leonhard active and a full touchdown more, 26.1 points, with Leonhard on the sidelines. That stat probably overstates Leonhard's impact, but backup Jets safety Eric Smith isn't cut out to play Leonhard's role.

    That's why it's so interesting that the Jets will probably try to end up replacing Leonhard with former Redskins safety LaRon Landry. Landry, the sixth overall pick in the 2007 NFL draft, has struggled with Achilles issues for most of the past two seasons. Landry opted to avoid surgery, so it seems likely that the injury will recur at some point during the season, but he was a downright brilliant player for the Redskins in 2010. He's played some center field for the Redskins, but his athleticism and power probably makes him a better fit to play in the box as a safety in run support. That's also true, unfortunately, of Bell. And if either of them gets hurt, well, the Jets already know that Smith can't play that role. In the end, while they've denied interest in re-signing him, the Jets might have to turn to Leonhard after all.

    It's never quiet and boring with the Jets, and it'll be fascinating to see how all these statistical indicators and personnel changes play out during the 2012 season. Regardless of how they meld, a friendly schedule that sees the dismal offenses of the AFC South and NFC West come to town should produce a superficially superior defense. If the Jets can improve their field position and keep opposing defenses off the scoreboard, they should have a top-five defense in both points allowed and DVOA in 2012. And if they can pull that off, they should be good enough to make it back into the playoffs this season
    Pretty good article.

  2. #2
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    Good article thanks. Who wrote it?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by CraigFL View Post
    Good article thanks. Who wrote it?
    DWC

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatsFanTX View Post
    DWC
    This made me chuckle.

    It is always refreshing to see a mainstream article about the Jets that is positive. They're few and far between.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Austin View Post
    This made me chuckle.

    It is always refreshing to see a mainstream article about the Jets that is positive. They're few and far between.
    Here's the URL

    http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...-anomaly-trend

    It's a grantland article of course, like most good sports articles turn out to be. Hardly mainstream because the mouth breathing masses prefer shallow articles about holdouts and religious fundamentalists; this article would never have made the espn.com main directory.

  6. #6
    Usually homerism/optimism is unsubstantiated late in July, but this article really helps prove that the Jets had just an awful run of luck in 2011. Now, we did have great luck in 09 and 10 so perhaps it evens out. But these parts, in particular, are stunning:

    There's another way the offense can help out: tackling. We've been blaming the New York defense so far for every point scored against the Jets last season, but there was a shocking amount of scoring done while Revis's crew was sitting on the sideline. Opposing defenses scored seven touchdowns against the Jets on interception or fumble returns last season. That's 42 points even without the extra points! Three of those touchdowns came in one game against the Ravens. As tempting as it is to chalk that up to a disinterested group of veteran players and their poor chemistry, there's no "skill" (or lack thereof) related to allowing touchdowns on offense. It's a function of the number of turnovers you commit and total randomness. The Jets saw those seven touchdowns come in over 34 turnovers this season; a year ago, the Jets offense turned the ball over 21 times and had just one of those turnovers result in a touchdown for the opposition. The average team will give up about 2.5 defensive touchdowns per year, so if the Jets can get back to that league-average rate, it will potentially save them 32 points.
    New York's defense was great on a per-play basis last year, but it was on the field too frequently. The Jets defense faced 201 drives last year, tied with two other teams atop the NFL leaderboard. The league average was just over 183, so those 18 extra drives basically mean that the Jets defense played about an extra game and a half's worth of action. It's unlikely that the Jets will face so many drives during the upcoming season; they ranked fifth in that category in 2010 and 14th during 2009.
    With Schitty's whimsical house of botched cutesy plays off to Stl, these turnover and 3 and out numbers WILL improve. There's wins to be had in simple regression to the mean...Jets are going to surprise a lot of people this year if they can get out of the tough early stretch at least at .500.

  7. #7
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    how dare there be a legitimate article remotely positive about the Jets!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Astoria View Post
    Usually homerism/optimism is unsubstantiated late in July, but this article really helps prove that the Jets had just an awful run of luck in 2011. Now, we did have great luck in 09 and 10 so perhaps it evens out. But these parts, in particular, are stunning:
    It should also be noted that opponents kicked FGs at a 97% clip last year and we were 28th in the league in fumble recovery %. Both stats should expect a significant regression.

  9. #9
    Good article. Also deserving of mention is the ridiculous number of special teams turnovers we had as well as the fact that opponents converted something like 31 of 32 FG attempts (the league average is around 80%). Like another poster said a regression to the mean, even if it just equates to 1-2 extra wins, will put us right back in mix. All the negativity surrounding this team is crazy, I fully expect a return to 2010 form.. And the defense has the potential to be even better.

  10. #10
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    it was written by Bill Barnwell, formally with football outsiders. if you've ever heard him on the BS Report or read his midseason blogs/articles, he's never this positive towards the Jets. He's not a Pats homer like Simmons or Aaron Shatz, his fper boss at FO, but he's never really been a fan of the Jets or anything either. This was a shockingly positive article from him. And even more shockingly, Schatz tweeted the link singing it's praises.

  11. #11
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    That article states very well all the things that I think about. Amazing how everyone can actually believe:

    - How the D got blamed for Schitty's '3-and-out-or-turnover-for-TD-parade' and the D will be worse than ever despite being on the field so much and the O will be equally inept or worse now that the laughable Schitty offense is gone.

    - How injuries will always happen for some players and teams and never happen for other players and teams.

    - How none of our draft picks and free agents will make an impact at all and or they will be teh suck, while draft picks and free agents for other teams will have positive impact and will all doubtlessly be great.

    I understand we are all (well, most of us) are long-suffering Jets fans, but to believe the above pessimistic statements without question is being a loser (by admitting defeat just because we don't have Brady or Rogers or something), and - as the above article displays - statistically improbable.

    We have one of the most talented core football teams in the NFL. It's just about staying healthy, playing smart, protecting the football, keeping the D fresh, executing plays, and getting hot at the right time to win. All those things won't go bad again like they ALL did last year. Nor will all the things that went right for other teams will happen again. Calling it again -- Pats will be worse this year then last. Statistically speaking, the odds are they will be down and they are due for a significant injury or unforseen circumstances with a D that blows that bad, it spells disaster.
    Last edited by ChrisChrusher#40; 07-26-2012 at 12:07 AM.

  12. #12
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    Nothing in that article should be a shock to anyone.

    We all said last year that the defensive struggles were a result of an offense that left them on the field to long or forced them into defending a short field because of turnovers.

    So despite the premise of the article that the defense should play better this year....it's all going to come down to how our offense does.

  13. #13
    One stat I haven't seen is our slow starts last year. Seemed like the O never woke up until at least the 2nd quarter. Maybe a 9pm curfew the day before games to reduce hang overs is the answer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalomaniac View Post
    it was written by Bill Barnwell, formally with football outsiders. if you've ever heard him on the BS Report or read his midseason blogs/articles, he's never this positive towards the Jets. He's not a Pats homer like Simmons or Aaron Shatz, his fper boss at FO, but he's never really been a fan of the Jets or anything either. This was a shockingly positive article from him. And even more shockingly, Schatz tweeted the link singing it's praises.
    Barnwell is a Giants fan and Schatz is a Pats fan. But yeah, everything you said.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Megalomaniac View Post
    it was written by Bill Barnwell, formally with football outsiders. if you've ever heard him on the BS Report or read his midseason blogs/articles, he's never this positive towards the Jets. He's not a Pats homer like Simmons or Aaron Shatz, his fper boss at FO, but he's never really been a fan of the Jets or anything either. This was a shockingly positive article from him. And even more shockingly, Schatz tweeted the link singing it's praises.
    Formerly.

    (Sorry, that just drives me crazy)

  16. #16
    you mean since they hired Sh!tforbrains

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by doggin94it View Post
    Formerly.

    (Sorry, that just drives me crazy)
    I think he could care less.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by RaoulDuke View Post
    I think he could care less.
    for all intensive purposes

  19. #19
    Thing about this article... I don't need a stats guy who clearly did not watch all our team's games last year to tell me in July 2012 how awesome my fave team's D was in 2011 after he crunched some numbers. Our D blew it plenty of times in big moments. They didn't force a lot of turnovers. They didn't have a dominant pass rusher. It was in my opinion by far the worst D Rex has fielded in his 3 seasons.

    Just look at our performances against the Pats. They shredded us both games last year. In the previous 2 years, our D had shut them down bigtime in certain games. The D was a FAIL by Rex's standards last season. Let's hope it improves. If not, I guess Barnwell can tell us how awesome we were again in July 2013

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by SlickBri481 View Post
    Thing about this article... I don't need a stats guy who clearly did not watch all our team's games last year to tell me in July 2012 how awesome my fave team's D was in 2011 after he crunched some numbers. Our D blew it plenty of times in big moments. They didn't force a lot of turnovers. They didn't have a dominant pass rusher. It was in my opinion by far the worst D Rex has fielded in his 3 seasons.

    Just look at our performances against the Pats. They shredded us both games last year. In the previous 2 years, our D had shut them down bigtime in certain games. The D was a FAIL by Rex's standards last season. Let's hope it improves. If not, I guess Barnwell can tell us how awesome we were again in July 2013
    So you prefer your evidence to be anecdotal instead of empirical?

    "They didn't force a lot of turnovers."

    We finished tied for 5th in takeaways.

    You could do with looking at some more numbers, numbers like DVOA, which can't be calculated from examining a box score. FO goes through every play of every game, assigning a value to each based on the outcome. DVOA is how far above or below the average a team is on a per play basis, with an adjustment made for the strength of the opponent.

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