Chat with KC Joyner
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, ESPN Insider, KC Joyner, will be here to answer your NFL questions.
Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, uses game film to track, tabulate and analyze nearly every measurable statistic in an NFL game. He is a regular Insider contributor and has his own website at thefootballscientist.com.
Send your questions now and join KC to chat Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
KC Joyner (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon! The big news on the TFS front this week is that ESPN's Fantasy Football Magazine is now on newsstands. For those of you who are interested in the core passing metrics (YPA, success percentage, SYPA, route depth information), you will want to check out the "KC Joyner's Statosphere" section of the mag. It has 10 pages chock full of those metrics along with some sleepers and busts at the QB/WR/TE positions.
Angry Texans Fan (Houston, TX)
I understand getting cheap with Dunta Robinson, but Owen Daniels? Isn't he a top-flight TE? Do you think they subscribe to the Al Davis method for dealing with holdouts?
KC Joyner (4:02 PM)
I can't speak for the Houston front office approach in contract negotiations but I can agree with you on the Owens as top-flight tight end comment. He was 3rd among TEs in SYPA last year (SYPA being success percentage times YPA) and had the highest SYPA of any tight end with over 80 attempts.
Broad Street Brian (Philly)
Good Afternoon K.C.! Nice work with your 5th Down Blog. After breaking down the Eagles O-line and seeing that the major problems came from missed blocks by the FB?s and TE?s, Do you think that the Eagles should have drafted a more accomplished blocker than C. Ingram? He is a great athlete but has never been a strong inline blocker.
KC Joyner (4:04 PM)
Ingram was a bargain pick where the Eagles got him, so I think they figured it was worth it even if he can't improve their run blocking. A lot of the TE run blocking woes they had last year seemed to my scouting eye to be a result of a lack of effort and/or technique, so maybe they figure a correction on that front will resolve the issue.
Hi mr Joyner,Frank Gore still top 10 rb in the nfl?
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
Absolutely. When he was healthy last year, he was still a hammer of a RB. If he stays healthy this year and gets good blocking, he may end up a top five RB.
Hunter (Kansas City)
How many wins can the cheifs pull with Cassel at QB?
KC Joyner (4:07 PM)
My concern with Cassel is his vertical passing. His 8.1 vertical YPA was the same as Derek Anderson's (which is to say it was quite poor). The Chiefs don't have the WR corps Cassel had in NE, so he'll be hard pressed to improve on that front. Add that to KC's other team woes and the best I can see is 6 wins this year.
Mitch (Gainesville, FL)
Will the Seahawks passing game be strong with Housh and a healthy Hasselbeck and Branch? And is there any hope for their running game?
KC Joyner (4:08 PM)
As long as those three are healthy, Seattle's passing game should be in great shape. They also have one of the best tight ends in John Carlson. None of their linemen were over the 85% POA win mark, so I'm not so sold on their running attack.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
About which team do you receive the most questions?
KC Joyner (4:10 PM)
I probably get more Bills questions than anyone other than Tim Graham, but I also typically get a lot of Philadelphia and San Diego questions. Rivers is the reason for the latter and my weekly segment on The Mike Gill Show is the reason for the former.
Brandon Marshall (Denver)
They are going to pay me more money. I am really good, right?
KC Joyner (4:12 PM)
You are the most overrated WR in the NFL. Your 7.4 YPA last year was similar to what you have posted in previous seasons and is a clear indicator that you have to have a high volume of attempts to post good numbers. Denver is right in holding the line on you.
Do your metrics and scouts eye conflict in reagards to The Jets O-line vs the G-men O-line. The Jets grade out better but do you think they are better?
KC Joyner (4:14 PM)
I think they are the more consistent line and since I place a high value on consistency, I grade them out as being better. Having said that, I would like to say that the Giants O line is probably the best in the league at being effective on the highest volume of run types. They can run more play types (e.g. counter, sweep, etc.) with more linemen than any other team.
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh)
This cup is really heavy. Could you help me hold it, KC?
KC Joyner (4:16 PM)
Tell you what, I'll hold the Cup for you while you go shake the other team's hands. I realize you are a youngster but didn't you remember shaking the hands in every other Stanley Cup playoff series this year?
Your boy Losman's going to end up in the UFL huh? Do you think the no-huddle playbook will increase Edwards' numbers and make him a better QB?
KC Joyner (4:18 PM)
I've said it before and I'll say it again - the Buffalo situation is going to come down to if Terrell Owens will accept the proper role in the Bills offense. He's better suited to fill the short/medium pass role since Buffalo has Evans for the deeper stuff. If he'll take a 45/75 split on the vertical passes with Evans, they'll improve and Edwards will have a really good year. If Owens wants a 75/45 vertical pass split in his favor, he will hurt this offense.
Ashley (Rapid City,SD) [via mobile]
Will the Saints be a strong contender this year? Or will they fall short like every year since their championship run?
KC Joyner (4:20 PM)
I think it will all come down to their secondary. They have a terrific collection of young talent on that front that can help them win the shootout games that Drew Brees prolific passing is sure to get them in. If the secondary gets banged up again like it did last year, I'm not so sold on their playoff chances.
Why does the vertical passes number add up to 120?
KC Joyner (4:22 PM)
It's based on the combined number of vertical passes I expect those two to see. I based it on the number of vertical throws the Bills threw last year, added a few in for their new offensive approach and then subtracted the vertical throws that are likely to go other WRs/TEs/RBs.
Jake Klipp (Milwaukee, WI)
I think I remember you saying that Miami has a potentially top 5 OLine this season... Do I look hard at Ronnie Brown in my fantasy drafts? No one mentions him in their top 5, but I think he's in mine.
KC Joyner (4:23 PM)
I'll put it this way - if Brown sneaks out of the top five in your draft, grab him immediately.
Zach (New York, NY)
Some friends and I argued recently about whether a Top Flight TE is a luxury or a necessity. I think that elite TE's are matchup busters who force opposing teams to pull their LB's off the field, and might be just as helpful as an elite WR.
KC Joyner (4:25 PM)
I tend to think of it more along the lines of how the pass catching TE would compare to another WR. If a TE can post a YPA of 8 or more yards, he's probably just as good as most 2nd/3rd string WRs. If his YPA is less than that, the team would be better suited to putting a WR out there.
Jake Klipp (Milwaukee, WI)
How does Jake Long compare to Joe Thomas? Are they now or will they be at the top or near the top 3 of the LT's in the league? Who are your top 3 as of today?
KC Joyner (4:26 PM)
I was hoping for a Joe Thomas question, as I am almost through with his metrics. I was surprised to find that, at this point (and I have a few games left, so this isn't the final number), Thomas is only at an 84% POA win mark on runs. What that tells me is Thomas may have suffered from the same malady that plagued this O last year, namely that he played below his talent level.
jeff (NY, NY)
I read your NYT blof about the Jet's and Giant's o-lines and was wondering how surprised you were by the results. Also, has anyone posted better metrics than Mangold at the POA?
KC Joyner (4:28 PM)
I was quite surprised in that my scouting eye said the Giants had a great O line and yet the metrics said that their POA win totals were only very good. Giants fans seemed to take this as an insult but that isn't how I intended the article to come across. And at this point, no one has better POA metrics than Mangold.
Chad Ochocinco (Cincinnati)
Hey KC, did you see how I predicted the Bengals to make the playoffs this year? I love playing you dumb media guys. You hang on my every word!
KC Joyner (4:28 PM)
I'm sorry, did you say something? I wasn't listening to you.
How much will the Vikings miss Birk this year? How does he grade out?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
Birk was good last year but he wasn't great. I did a piece on centers for ESPN The Mag a couple of issues ago that broke his totals down and I believe he graded out in the mid 80s POA-wise. Not bad by any stretch but not irreplaceable either.
Zach (New York, NY)
Back to the TE Point - the combination of a blocker and a passer is something that even the strongest WR's just can't offer. No WR is ever going to be covered by a LB.
KC Joyner (4:32 PM)
Absolutely true with the possible exception of a Hines Ward type. The only limitation in that is that a TE can't run the entire WR passing tree when he is lined up as a blocker. He has to be flexed to do that and the flexing limits the blocking value.
I know there have been several questions already about it, but on the Giants and Jets O-line thing. Your method for comparison was flawed. Comparing the players at their respective positions and figuring that the Jets "win" three of those comparisons to the Giants two does not mean that they have a better line. The same thing is done to compare baseball teams (usually before a playoff series starts) and it is just as wrong there. You need to either figure metrics on the lines as a group or take some average of their individual metrics if you want to know which line is better (as opposed to which players are better than another player).
KC Joyner (4:34 PM)
I understand where you are coming from with this but I still stand by the findings. Maybe the better way to put it would be that, in a head-to-head, position by position comparison, the Jets won three of five. That the Giants are better at certain parts of the game and were almost equal to the Jets in the position by position comparison does say something in their favor as well.
KC, do you have any metrics on Greg Ellis? And are those metrics as an OLB or DE? Will he be better than Burgess?
KC Joyner (4:35 PM)
Ellis won only 16.7% of his POA blocks, which is not a great number (20 is good, 25 really good, 30 great). He's still got some pass rusher in him so look at his value from that perspective.
So how does Burress compare to Marshall?
KC Joyner (4:36 PM)
Last year he wasn't even as good. Marshall's YPA _ 7.4. Burress' YPA - 7.0.
Can you please explain the logic of giving up a pick for Rosenfels when they could have signed other QBs like Leftwich and Garcia without giving up anything? And now that Favre?s in the mix, it?s like they just threw away that pick.
KC Joyner (4:38 PM)
I'll give one piece of logic - vertical YPA. Rosenfels was 2nd in the league in that category last year. Simply put, the one thing holding back the Vikes offense the past couple of seasons has been a lack of downfield passing and Rosenfels might give that to them.
hey KC, as a Jets fan I had faith in Pennington for years, Last year I had faith in Favre, This year all my faith is in Sanchez. Should I be ready for more dissapointment? Or can I be proud this year?
KC Joyner (4:39 PM)
You'll be able to be proud long-term but it might be an 8-8 mark this year if Sanchez catches on quickly. The AFC East is one of the toughest divisions in the NFL and it will be tough for a rook to carry the crown in his first go around.
What would you give up in a trade for Marshall?
KC Joyner (4:40 PM)
I'd consider him a potentially solid #2 WR, so maybe a 2nd or a 3rd round pick at best.
Then why are they going after Favre? Is he that much of an upgrade over Sage?
KC Joyner (4:41 PM)
My guess - marketing. It's not a good long-term solution by any stretch and, given the way Favre got along with the last two organizations he was with, I'm not even sure it's a good short-term approach.
Rick (Huntersville, NC)
Who is the better TE? Dallas Clark or Jason Witten?
KC Joyner (4:42 PM)
Their SYPA rankings were nearly identical (Clark was .1 of yard higher) and Witten is the better blocker, so I'd take Witten in that one.
Adam (Los Angeles, CA)
KC, I continually hear you say Ronnie Brown's success was helped by his team's line play last year, but I don't get it. While Long and Carey were very good, after Smiley went down the middle of that line was awful. Their lack of success opening holes on running plays was the reason the Wildcat was implemented in the first place.
KC Joyner (4:44 PM)
It's true the line did fall apart after Smiley went down (Alleman graded out horribly) but before that happened, their O line was grading out tremendously. Satele had overall poor numbers but a lot of that was due to his handling of the Jets and Patriots NTs (they overpowered him). With Smiley back this year and with the addition of Jake Grove (a center with a POA win mark 10 points better than Satele's), Miami should be even better this year.
I don't know if you watched Joe Buck's show but I think Favre claiming he doesn't like all the attention is B.S. He has time and again showed he's just looking to grab attention. I for one, hope he stays retired and if that means his shoulder doesn't heal so be it.
KC Joyner (4:46 PM)
I've been on record as saying Favre is a total glory hound and nothing I've seen the past few years changes that. Since he's in the news, I ought to re-run a couple of the articles I wrote about him in the Scientific Football series. He's had signs of being a self-promoting, anti-organization guy for a few years now.
Mitch (Gainesville, FL)
Could you quickly summarize why you think J.P. Losman is a better QB than Trent Edwards?
KC Joyner (4:47 PM)
Absolutely - vertical passing. Losman's vertical numbers are almost always better than Edwards. He's also more willing to take the shot downfield. The better way to put it might be that Losman is the QB you want if you are running a vertical offense, while Edwards is who you want if you are running a high percentage scheme.
How did Denver pile so many yards and points given that Cutler and Marshall ( the two main cogs) did not grade out with elite performances? Is simply a quantity of attempts?
KC Joyner (4:49 PM)
You got it. Cutler had 234 vertical passes last year, easily the tops in the league and 31 passes more than 2nd place Drew Brees threw. Marshall's 180 total attempts were also tops in the league by a good margin (15 more than second place).
To follow up on my prior criticism, take this hypothetical O-line comparison. Team A has lineman that grade out at 90% POA win mark on both run and pass blocking for all 5 guys. Team B has lineman that grade out at 91%, 91%, 91%, 65%, 65%. Team B would win a position by position comparison like the one you did, but do you really think they would have the better line? Note that I know the Giants vs Jets comparison wasn't like this, just pointing out the flaws in the method you used.
KC Joyner (4:50 PM)
Good point J.P. Had the individual metrics fared really strongly in one direction or the other, I might have been inclined to change my bottom line finding.
James (Atlanta, GA)
Do you think Marvin Harrison will play this year? and why or why not?
KC Joyner (4:51 PM)
I'd lean towards no. He doesn't have the vertical burst he used. He can run short routes very well, and there is a value in that, but I'm not sure a team will want to pay him the kind of money he is looking for to do that.
Steve (Rochester, NY)
Your comment about Jake Grove having a POA win mark higher than Satele's got me thinking. While I can't disagree with the numbers it doesn't take into account the fact that Grove has missed a lot of time due to injuries whereas Satele has been consistently on the field. Any way to take durability and dependability into account?
KC Joyner (4:53 PM)
Great point. It's rather like a situation where a team has a great RB who can't stay on the field. He's still a great RB but you can't put him into the upper crust until he shows that durability. Miami knew that Satele couldn't handle the AFC East NTs, so they had to make a move, but if Grove gets hurt, they might be in an even worse way than they would have with Satele.
I know it's not quite the same, but why doesn't the media come down hard on Favre like they do with Owens?
KC Joyner (4:54 PM)
Because Favre is a master at handling the media. I also think that Owens likes to stir the pot with the media itself, whereas Favre's stirrings only come towards team management.
Ryan (San Diego)
Okay, I missed last week's chat but I caught the transcript. How are you comparing Rivers playing in the AFC Title game on the road with a torn ACL, to Brady playing with a bum ankle on a neutral field?
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
I just knew we couldn't go another chat without a Rivers question! Ryan, my point there is that Rivers backers give him the injury excuse that they don't give other QBs. The fact remains that he didn't pilot the Chargers to that AFC Divisional win (Volek was behind center on the clinching score) and he didn't win the AFC Title tilt. Yes, he was hurt but he still didn't win it.
How does Greg Olson rate against other TEs and do you see how much improvement do you see now that Cutler is at the helm?
KC Joyner (4:58 PM)
Olsen has already been showing improvement but I think this year could be his best ever because of the Tony Scheffler example. Scheffler and Cutler were terrific together (10.4 YPA for Scheffler last year) and Olsen has simliar talents to Scheffler.
Owen Daniels and Kellen Winslow (NFL)
Hey Rick, We think we're both better than Clark and Whitten!
KC Joyner (4:59 PM)
I'd agree on Daniels but, come on, Winslow? He had the 2nd lowest SYPA in the league and his YPA was an abysmal 5.3. No way he's better than Clark, Witten or Daniels.
Ryan (San Diego)
I'd say take dislocate Plaxico's toe, like Gates had and see how well he plays. Wait, nevermind, he probably wouldn't have tried to play with it. They were in the red zone 4 times that game, but when 70% of your red zone tds for the year is gimped our out, you will struggle to punch it in
KC Joyner (5:01 PM)
Plaxico is not a good example in that sense because he played most of the Super Bowl season with a severly injured foot (I believe it was his ankle).
KC Joyner (5:02 PM)
Well, it's been fun but Mrs. Scientist has dinner almost ready so I've got to run. Just an FYI, the most recent Lab Notes posting for Scientific Football 2009 customers contained the AFC East, NFC West and NFC East O line metrics. I should be done with the AFC North O line metrics sometime in the next week or so. Hope to see you all here next week!