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 Thursday at 4 p.m. ET!
KC Joyner (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon! Let's talk some football!
KC, I'm unfamiliar with anything other than the traditional NFL stats. In your opinion, what is the most accurate statistical measure of how a defense/offense performs? It has always bothered me that a defense/offense gets penalized/rewarded for giving up ST points, or that a TD drive of 10 yards is generally counted the same as a TD drive of 80 yards.
KC Joyner (4:02 PM)
Yards per attempt is a really good barometer of both offensive and defensive performance. It has its weaknesses (i.e. it may not emphasize consistency enough in some cases) but all in all it is a great benchmark to gauge productivity.
what the heck is the science of football?
KC Joyner (4:03 PM)
One definition of science is the pursuit of knowledge, and that's what the analytical side of football does - pursues new knowledge about football.
glenn warciski (houma, louisiana)
What is going on with the Giants defense? They are having trouble stopping the run and rushing the passer. What is your take?
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
Good to hear from you, Glenn! I've been meaning to get to the questionnaire you sent over but have been bogged down by work and a head cold. Regarding the G-Men's defense, the most concerning thing to me is actually their secondary. CC Brown is a huge coverage liability and Webster is not playing to his 2008 level (which rather comes as no surprise given that 2008 was a contract year for him). You put those kinds of holes in a secondary and it will hinder every part of their platoon.
pursuit of new knowledge of football....sounds a bit "scammy" KC? huh?
KC Joyner (4:07 PM)
Not to be rude, but pursuing knowledge is scammy? You obviously aren't a fan of science of any nature then.
Hi KC... Where do you see Tim Tebow in the draft and what position should he play considering many saying he is not a "NFL" type quarterback?
KC Joyner (4:08 PM)
I've not yet done my full tape breakdown of Tebow for the Draft Lab series (I am currently in the midst of a run of DT/NT breakdowns - lots of those in this year's draft) but from what I've seen of Tebow, he should be considered an NFL QB prospect. He has the size, the arm and the leadership skills. He'll have to be taught how to read NFL defenses, and that is certainly not an easy task, but given his physical skills, he has to be given a shot at that position.
Will Elvis Dumervil have a better game against the Steelers than he did against the Ravens? Denver seems to win big games when Dumervil gets sacks.
KC Joyner (4:10 PM)
With the way Ben holds onto the ball, Elvis should have a terrific chance to add to his sack total. Plus the Steelers OTs tend to get back on their heels at times and that weakness plays right into Elvis' bull rush abilities (he's got the best bull rush in the league).
What is the one statistic in football that you think no one will ever break...if any?
KC Joyner (4:12 PM)
I assume you mean the record no one will break? Off the top of my head, I'd say coaching tenure. George Halas put in 40 years as a head coach in large part because he owned the team.
whats it gonna take for the raiders to improve?
KC Joyner (4:13 PM)
It's hard to say in that every year they seem to make progress in one area and then regress in another. For example, in the last six games of the 2008 season, Russell posted a passer rating that was higher than both Ryan and Flacco, and yet he is probably the worst QB in the league right now. They need to find a way to improve multiple areas of their team concurrently.
Cosmo (Anytown, USA)
Tough one for the Pete Rose PJ's last night, I bet. Tell him to hang in there. The (near) future is bright for the Phightins.
KC Joyner (4:15 PM)
My son wore those old #14 pajamas a couple of nights ago and the Phillies won, but he didn't wear them last night. I'm not saying he cost them the series but it's bad karma not to keep the streak going, so next time I'll be sure to tell him to wear them every night of the series!
Hey KC, I am trying not to over load you here with the same question but I really need some good FF advice. I have Gore, rice, Bradshaw, and Pierre Thomas. My WR are Larry Fitz, Berrian, and Floyd. I have been offered Ochocinco for Gore or Rice (my choice). Should I do this deal? Which one should I trade? Thanks KC, hope Mrs Scientist is cooking something delicious.
KC Joyner (4:16 PM)
Tough call but I'd probably not go for it if only because Gore is an elite RB and you might be getting elite fantasy productivity from Berrian very soon (see today's CB Corner article for more details).
Samer (Austin, TX)
How does the Eagles defense match up with the cowboys offense this Sunday night?
KC Joyner (4:18 PM)
I like their chances of slowing down the Miles Austin express with Samuel and/or Brown. Those two are playing just as well as they did in 2008. Romo will have to look more to Patrick Crayton vs. Joselio Hanson for pass game productivity.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Would Jared Allen still be one of the best D-linemen in the league if the Vikings didn't get to play the Packers twice? The guy just went NUTS against that Swiss cheese line.
KC Joyner (4:19 PM)
You are right on the state of the Packers O line, but Allen really is that good. He uses just about every pass rush move their is and goes all out on every play. The Pack just show the league how dominant he can be when he plays a below average line.
I loved your insight on Tebow's draft qualifications. How high do you see him going? Teams?
KC Joyner (4:21 PM)
That's a tough call because there is some level of disagreement in the scouting community as to how high he should go. I personally think the Jaguars would do well to reach for him both from a personnel perspective (Garrard was never as good as his one top-line season indicated) and a PR perspective. Tebow is so popular in Florida that he would pretty much assure a couple of seasons worth of sellouts that could potentially save the Jags future in Jacksonville.
Zach (Mpls, MN)
KC, the Daniels injury has hit my WR/TE?s hard after trading away Colston the week prior. Got Jennings and Ward starting, pick one more please ? Collie, Hakeem Nicks or Malcolm Floyd. I?m leaning toward Collie, this week and long term. Thanks!
KC Joyner (4:22 PM)
I'd go Collie as well. As long as Gonzalez is out, Collie has tremendous value.
Jason J (Altamonte Springs FL)
What's up KC!!! Too bad the little guy wasn't wearing his lucky PJs...maybe you can shed some light on Steve Slaton and what the heck should the (or are the) Texans going to do with him!
KC Joyner (4:24 PM)
Uncle Jason, I'll pass that along to him! I lost some fantasy games last week because of Slaton's inability to stay in the game. I think Houston will give him another chance but if he fumbles the ball again, he'll be riding the pine for a while. Maybe they can show him the Tiki Barber story and get him to carry the ball in some odd looking way that allows him to not lose the thing.
hey KC,so do you think that the injury to eli manning's foot has something to do with the way he's played the past few weeks?i was watching NFL Live where they put a orthopedic surgeon who was a former NFL player and he said that was probably it.just wanted to know what you think.
KC Joyner (4:26 PM)
All I can say is that my scouting eye says Eli is just a bit off. He's never been the most accurate passer but his throws of late are off more than usual. I give the guy huge points for gutting it out but I don't think this issue is going to improve until he has an offseason to rest.
How has Crabtree looked after 2 games?
KC Joyner (4:27 PM)
Terrific. He has a 70% reception rate and a YPA of just over nine yards. He was the lead in my Pass Plays waiver pickup article because of that, as I expect he'll have a dominant second half of the season.
You mentioned Dumerville earlier, but I noticed you didn't mention that Gaither dominated him; might that be because your metrics say he is below average, yet he's allowed the 3rd fewest sacks of all LTs over the last two seasons.
KC Joyner (4:28 PM)
I didn't mention the matchup against Gaither because the question revolved around Dumervil's abilities and whether he would showcase them against Pitt. I'm on record as saying that Gaither was good last year but that he had room for improvement. He is a terrific pass blocker.
Jason J (Altamonte Springs FL)
Follow up: So should Slaton start over Moreno this week in fantasy?
KC Joyner (4:29 PM)
Moreno is the safer pick, so it might depend on your matchup. If you need to play for upside, put Slaton in there and hope he's found the secret to holding onto the ball. If you can afford to stick with a 10 point game, Moreno is your choice.
Matt (Los Angeles)
If Oakland or San Diego were to move to los angeles which would be more successful?
KC Joyner (4:30 PM)
Matt, if the Jags don't get Tebow, I think they would be the most likely candidate for LA. They aren't catching on in North Florida.
Angry Mike (SF, CA)
Come on Scientist, you know what the people want to read about! Write about Tony Romo's spectacular season thus far !(excluding those early stinkers, of course)
KC Joyner (4:32 PM)
I'll be more impressed with the Cowboys and Romo if they do this in December. They always play well around this time of year (or, more specifically, Wade Phillips teams always play well this time of year) but they fall apart during the last month of the season. Color me relatively unimpressed at this point.
Matt (Liberty U)
Ok Ok...I know more people are interested in D1A or NFl but who do you see winning the FCS 1AA national championship this year?
KC Joyner (4:33 PM)
FCS? Matt, I'm afraid I only have so many hours in the day to devote to tape breakdowns and the FCS doesn't hit my radar screen. I will say that Florida looks like the best college team thus far and I see them beating Texas in the title game.
Is Alex Smith for real?
KC Joyner (4:35 PM)
Here's the skinny on Smith. His best trait is his intelligence. He operates best in an offense that will allow him to take advantage of that. I think that the 49ers didn't go with him initially because Mike Singletary personally favors a fiery attitude as his trait of choice in QBs, but once he saw that wasn't working, he decided to give brains a chance. If they stick with Smith and give him time to grow in this offense, he'll be a top 15 QB in two years time.
Angry Mike (SF, CA)
Wait a sec, we all know the Boys stink in December, but that doesn't meant we can't credit them for playing well now. Let's criticize the 2009 December meltdown when (note, I didn't say "if") it happens. Will you be colored "impressed" if they beat the Eagles in Philly Sunday night?
KC Joyner (4:37 PM)
You're right, I should give them some credit for playing well now. I just feel like I've seen this movie before and the ending is going to be a letdown. Having said that, if they beat Philly, it will be an Oscar worthy performance if they were to give midseason NFL Oscar awards.
Jeff (Macon, GA)
Why are so many people down on the Dolphins? They were lackluster in Atlanta, sure, but lost in San Diego after they lost their starting quarterback. They played the Colts down to the wire, almost beat the Saints, and beat everyone's darling Jets twice.
KC Joyner (4:39 PM)
I'm with you on that the Fins have played better than expected against some really good teams, but the negativity stems from what should have been. If Ginn catches that pass against the Colts, Miami wins that game. And they were up big against the Saints and should have been able to slow the game down on offense enough to carry them to a win. Add the other WR woes and their terrible secondary play (although their CBs are doing much better of late) and it equals a "what could have been" mindset for many.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
KCJ: We need a MVU award in the NFL (Most Valuable Unit) awarded to the best unit in football since the offensive skill positions (QB, RB, WR) dominate the MVP talk. I would group them in Secondary (Safeties, CBs), Linebackers, O-Line, D-Line, and Special Teams. Thoughts and which unit do you think deserves an MVU award at this point in the season? My vote is for the Saints' O-Line.
KC Joyner (4:40 PM)
Excellent idea, Shane! And my initial reaction would be to back your idea of the Saints O line as the MVU of the season. I might change my mind after thinking about it a bit but they are certainly near the top if they aren't at the top.
Gary (Charlotte )
KC, can you tell me about the Panthers pass defense? How good are they? They did one heck of a job against Warner last week. Peppers seems to be wrecking havoc, which really helps that back 7.
KC Joyner (4:41 PM)
Chris Gamble is having some struggles, but other than that, the Panthers pass D has played well. They are covering well and forcing a fairly good amount of bad decisions.
Squall (Balamb Garden)
Two of my favorite NFL QBs - Romo and Flacco (who went to my alma mater!) - came out of small football programs. Conversely, high-drafted quarterbacks from football megaplexes are often totally hit-or-miss. Why does this happen?
KC Joyner (4:43 PM)
Let's look at it this way. The NFL scouts did find Romo and Flacco and Flacco even ended up being drafted fairly high. That these two didn't end up in the top college programs may reflect more poorly on those organizations' abilities to accurately grade high school talent.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
I like Shane's idea too. I'll vote Vikings O-Line for keeping Favre upright and rarely hit thus far.
KC Joyner (4:43 PM)
One vote for the Vikes O line in MVU.
Imre ( Missoula, MT)
I berated you earlier this year about your assessment and projections on Jay Cutler...and I was quite wrong. He is Rex 2.0 with stronger arm, more mobility, etc. I formally bow to your scientific prowess and knowledge of the pigskin, but genuinely hope he proves you wrong some time soon. Sincerely, pessimistic Bears Fan in Montana :(
KC Joyner (4:44 PM)
Don't bow to science just yet. Cutler may very well get this team to a playoff berth this year. He's actually been playing better of late but that O line is killing this team's chances.
Would you consider this trade--LT and Garrard for Ronnie Brown?
KC Joyner (4:45 PM)
Not with Nick Hardwick coming back. I just did a post for this for Rumor Central, so check it out if you get a moment.
Ryan (San Diego)
Are the Chargers going to win the Rivers Eli bowl? Chargers seem to be getting better and they should really light up the Giants secondary.
KC Joyner (4:47 PM)
The Giants are certainly going to be tested. Vincent Jackson has an 11-yard YPA thus far and Malcom Floyd (now starting for the departed Chris Chambers) has top line vertical skills as well. CC Brown better get on his horse as soon as he gets in the stadium, because Rivers and those two are going to go after him all game long.
Hey KC, love your stuff! I'm targeting Schaub in a 2-QB league right now b/c of the bad game last week and the bye ahead. With his indoor/warm weather schedule down the stretch, is this wise? Or will the Daniels injury hurt his value for the year?
KC Joyner (4:48 PM)
I'm still on the Houston bandwagon. They didn't miss a beat when they benched Slaton, and that was despite having the injury to Daniels and a banged up Andre Johnson. Daniels injury will hurt but they'll playcall around that weakness and that makes Schaub a good pickup.
Liam (Pleasanton, California)
With your opinion of Alex Smith's intellingentce, do you think the niners should move towards a more complicated offense like Peyton Manning's? Could Smith's football IQ be in the same leage as Peyton's?
KC Joyner (4:49 PM)
I'm not sure Singletary wants to run that kind of offense unless someone could convince him it could be a run-first scheme when necessary (which is one of the secrets of Peyton's success).
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
KC, How about a player's record you think won't be broken? The coaching tenure record is kinda boring. Rice's TDs, perhaps?
KC Joyner (4:50 PM)
That's a good one. I'd also throw in George Blanda's 26 seasons in the NFL. To put that into perspective, Favre would need to play six more seasons to catch up with that mark.
Greg (Austin, TX)
Is it just me or is CB Jabari Greer an All-Pro this year?
KC Joyner (4:52 PM)
He'd be one of my All-Pro picks if I were voting today. I don't have my stats right in front of me but if memory serves me well, his YPA is under four yards (or at least it was until that big completion in the MNF game). He was really good in Buffalo but NO has found a way to tap into the best parts of his game.
Carlos (Niceville, FL)
KC, what do you think of CB Aqib Talib?
KC Joyner (4:53 PM)
Very hot and cold. His YPA has bounced around the double-digit level and yet he can truly shut down receivers for long stretches. He needs to learn consistency but once he does that, he'll be a Pro Bowl candidate.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
Consecutive games played sounds like a tough one to beat. You don't find guys like Favre around any more.
KC Joyner (4:54 PM)
JB, to borrow an old Bill James line, you didn't find too many guys like Favre back in the old days, either. His mark will be very hard to break.
Have you done any research to see what type of hire (offensive coor., defensive coor., college coach, ex-player, etc.) makes for the best NFL coach?
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
Not specifically, but I have written in the Scientific Football series about how defensive line coaches such as Rod Marinelli tend to do poorly as head coaches. Bill Walsh had some things to say about that as well, namely that DL coaches tend to focus too much on the micro (techniques, plugging gaps, etc.) and would lose focus on the macro because of it.
Greg (Austin, TX)
By comparison, how is Tracy Porter stacking up to Greer?
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
Horribly. I wrote about this in last week's CB Corner article. He is allowing more than double Greer's YPA and it is why he is being targeted left and right.
Greer as a pro bowler cb? Winfield as a pro-bowler cb last year? As a Bills fan, it pains me to watch these guys leave and then waste draft pick finding their replacement.
KC Joyner (4:57 PM)
Yeah, it is painful to think of what could be for the Buffalo secondary. If Greer and Winfield both were playing in Buffalo and were playing at their recent dominant levels (Winfield's 2008, Greer's 2009), they would capable of shutting down the NE offense singlehandedly.
Carlos (Los Angeles)
Any chance Russell can turn his career around like A Smith?
KC Joyner (4:58 PM)
It will take a stable environment for that to happen. It's hard to see that happening in Oakland, or at least hard to see it in the short term, but I wouldn't put it out of the realm of possibility.
Angry Mike (SF, CA)
I know, I know, too many questions from Angry Mike, but who or what is a Joselio Hanson?
KC Joyner (4:59 PM)
He is a nickel CB for Philadelphia, and a pretty darn good one most of the time.
Alex (Brooklyn Center, MN)
George Blanda threw 42 picks in a season, didn't he? I think that would be hard to break considering if you're on pace to do that you would get benched I would guess.
KC Joyner (5:00 PM)
True. It also should be pointed out that Blanda kicked in addition to playing QB, and that's part of why his career extended as long as it did. Still, 26 years is impressive no matter how one gets there.
Who will be better in 3 years, Stafford, Sanchez or Freeman?
KC Joyner (5:02 PM)
It is really, really early to make a call like this but if I had to guess, I'd say Sanchez. Stafford has the Lions behind him and that could be a hindrance, and Freeman doesn't even have enough on tape for me to feel comfortable making any kind of call on him.
If you were running the Bills, after getting rid of Jauron, what type of coach would you try to bring to Buffalo? Aside from the obvious (Gruden, Shanahan, Holmgren... etc) ones who will never come to Buffalo.
KC Joyner (5:04 PM)
I'd make sure the coach and GM were of the same philosophical mindset. It doesn't do any good to have a personnel/athletic coach if the GM is going out and getting personnel/hitter types (see Blindside for more specifics on these coaching alignments). Well, hate to do it but the kids are back in the house and it's time to get moving on dinner. Don't forget you can follow my material on Twitter at kcjoynertfs. Hope to see you all next week!