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 (4:01 PM)
Good afternoon! Let's talk some football!
KC, In 2007 you wrote that then Eagles CB Lito Shepard's high YPA would be a reason the Eagles would be held back in the playoffs. You were vilified in Philly as a know nothing stat guy. But, you were right, by March 2008 Assante Samuels was signed to take Lito's place, and Lito was long gone. No one here ever circled back to say, "Hey that Joyner guy was onto something". Your work regarding the effectiveness of coaches after ten years on the job,has been jumped on by the Philly Media as proof that Andy Reid must go. No one ever says that in was your piece in Blindsided that started the whole discussion, and every sports talk radio person here repeats your piece like they were the ones who wrote it. To go from a know nothing in 2007, to the (and unnamed) Patron Saint of the Fire Andy Reid Camp is shocking. Do you feel good that your work has gained such acceptance in a short period of time? Does it matter to you anyway? Please keep up the great work, the offseason isn't the same without your analysis.
KC Joyner (4:03 PM)
I'll give a quick answer to a long question. In a nutshell, I'm just happy as heck to have been a sportswriter for 7+ years now. Getting acceptance is great but to do this for a living is the real joy.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
I know NFL coaches try to make things very complex but sometimes I think they get too carried away. For example, why did the Falcons throw the ball instead of kicking a field goal at the end of the first half? The Williams pick-six was a 10 point swing right before halftime. Instead of attempting a long field goal, Matt Ryan threw a pick-six that basically gave the game to the Packers. Why not just kick the field goal instead of calling another offensive play?
KC Joyner (4:04 PM)
They had to figure that Ryan would protect the ball in that situation and that the additional yards would make up for the small percentage chance that the ball would be picked off.
Well so much for questioning Cutler in his first playoff appearance, 4 tds, 100+ QB rating....no big deal. What are you going to do when Cutler outperforms Rodgers and the Bears move on to the Superbowl after a year long of negative Chicago articles? Are you going to admit you were wrong or go under a rock and hide behind metrics on how the Bears are going to get killed in the superbowl?
KC Joyner (4:05 PM)
Brandon, I don't run when an article turns out to be wrong. You can come to this chat next week and point out how wrong I was and I will post it (just keep it clean - this is a G/PG rated production).
Ryan (San Diego)
Just read the article on Cutler. Great stuff...seems his luck continued again Sunday against Seattle with them dropping a few gimme picks. I dont think the Packers will be as kind
KC Joyner (4:06 PM)
He can't afford to throw the kind of goal line pass Babineaux dropped in that contest. The Packers are terrific ballhawks and would turn that kind of a throw into a pick-six.
Damon (Butler, NJ)
My man KC! How are ya? My Jets are one game away, so gotta ask you the big question...Revis on Wallace? Or Revis on Ward?
KC Joyner (4:07 PM)
Great to hear from you, Damon! Am planning on writing an ESPNNY.com blog post on that very subject this evening. In a nutshell, moving Revis on Wallace makes the most sense.
How come you hate Revis, how come you hate Cutler, how come you hate Favre, how come you like 16 bean soup? Keep up the great work, I prefer someone who questions and is not afraid to put his opinion out there.
KC Joyner (4:09 PM)
16-bean soup is impossible to dislike (well, unless one is as particular as our six-year old). Not sure why so many fans get upset over a strongly expressed opinion - you'd think they would be happy ESPN.com had an avenue for a variety of points of view.
After a year of doing film study of college players, are you comfortable talking about potential players in the upcoming draft?
KC Joyner (4:10 PM)
In a general way, yes. Having said that, the Draft Lab series will be starting shortly, so the talk will be more metric-centric when that happens.
Mr. Scientist, can we put out an Amber alert for all the people saying how great Tom Brady is now that he lost every playoff game since Spy Gate came out?
KC Joyner (4:11 PM)
Hard to knock Brady too much after his great regular season, but his reputation is taking a hit with all of these playoff losses.
OK KC man up and give us your score predictions...
KC Joyner (4:11 PM)
Getting a number of questions of this nature so here goes - Steelers 24, Jets 13 and Packers 31, Bears 20.
Zach (Bronx, Ny)
Living in NY, I keep hearing people tell me that Revis is the best CB hands down and that only Nnamdi is close. I disagree on both counts: I'm not sure how much better Revis is than the field and I'm not sure Nnamdi's second. Revis is great, but let's not forget Aquib Talib, Rogers-Cromartie, Flowers, Tramon.
KC Joyner (4:13 PM)
The second half of the season version of Revis is back to being the best CB in the league (4.9 YPA in that stretch). The others for the most part played close to that level all year long, so for the whole of 2010, Revis was not hands down better but merely just as good as the others.
KC, are we ever going to see a pro-Bears article on them beating the Packers? Just askin'.
KC Joyner (4:13 PM)
Watch out tomorrow morning. I'm doing an article about what the Bears defense can do to stop Aaron Rodgers.
Here's a contrarian thought: Manning nor Brady will ever win another Super Bowl. QB's have to be able to get out of the pocket and both of them are not able to do so and still make plays on the run. Statues don't work in the playoffs. They have both struggled in the playoffs against great defenses the last few years. How far off am I?
KC Joyner (4:15 PM)
The biggest issue that will likely keep them from additional titles is age. Both are in their mid 30s and physiologists say the human body breaks down more from the ages of 35-40 than it does at any other time in its lifespan.
Hey KC, seems as if Cutler is doing great in the playoffs. Will Cutler become a great quarterback with the Bears or will he need to be traded to become one?
KC Joyner (4:16 PM)
Not to knock Cutler's terrific game last week, but it came against a very poor Seahawks secondary. As today's TFS article on Cutler points out, his passer rating when facing a team that ended the season ranked in the top 10 in passer rating is 69.2. Let him beat a good defense in the playoffs and then he'll be thought of as elite.
KC Joyner (4:17 PM)
On a related note, the article also says that Chicago fans could turn on him like they did on Grossman when he lost a big game. That may be an impetus for Chicago to make a change if they lose this game.
Is Patrick Peterson one of the better CB prospects in years to come out as some have depicted him?
KC Joyner (4:17 PM)
He graded out very good but not great in an article I wrote about him a few weeks back.
Just one win over a good defense in the playoffs to get Cutler elite status? You're easy, KC.
KC Joyner (4:19 PM)
If he has a good game and leads the Bears to one of the biggest wins in team history against a dominant Green Bay pass defense, it would be enough to vault him close to the top. That's not a low bar, J.B.!
Jimmy N (Arlington, VA)
KCJ my brother! BSB said it perfectly earlier, I really have nothing to add- keep up the yeoman work scientist. K Sidge what surprised you the most about the Pats/Jets game (besides the obvious lack of SAAAAAAAAGE)
KC Joyner (4:19 PM)
Great to hear from you, Jimmy! Most surprising part of the Jets/Pats game was that NE didn't run the ball more. NY was giving them every opportunity to do so and they didn't take them up on it.
Fact: Chicago turned on Rex for his INT's in 2006, 2007, etc. The Bears defense was the sole purpose of Chicago losing to Indianapolis.
KC Joyner (4:21 PM)
Chicago turned on Rex after the 2006 Miami game. Nothing short of a Super Bowl win would have turned them back around on him. If Cutler throws three picks against the Packers and Chicago loses in large part because of it, the Bears fan base will turn on him in the exact same way.
How about Prince Amukumara?
KC Joyner (4:22 PM)
Very similar, had very good but not great metrics. I may have to lead off the Draft Lab with a cornerback-centric article. Should know more about when that series will start soon, will announce it on Twitter @kcjoynertfs.
Q (San Jose)
I thought the ESPN article with Gale Sayers was quite interesting, especially how he orders the great Bears MLBs - Butkus on top, then Singletary, then Urlacher. I've been fortunate to watch both Singletary and Urlacher play, and while both are exceptional LBs, I'd give Singletary the edge, only because he was the QB for the '46' defense, which was unprecedented and has to rank as one of the greatest D's of all time. How would you compare the two, and where would you rank Butkus?Bring back the Super Bowl Shuffle!
KC Joyner (4:23 PM)
Have only seen one tape of Butkus, that being a preseason game, but he was running around the field at full speed and was simply phenomenal. Would like to see more tape of his and Singletary's before weighing in on who was better.
Was it that they didn't run more or that Danny Woodhead seemed to be the feature back and not The Law Firm? That made me scratch my head.
KC Joyner (4:24 PM)
Great point on Law Firm. He would have been the way to go to get NY out of their pass defense mindset.
Is Shannon Sharpe a HOF in your opinion? Terrell Davis?
KC Joyner (4:25 PM)
Sharpe yes, Davis no. Having said that, Sharpe may not make it this year because it is a crowded field.
Scientist, any early thoughts on Jake Locker and Cam Newton? A few of your ESPN cohorts have the Redskins taking one of them at 10 overall...
KC Joyner (4:27 PM)
Haven't seen much tape on Locker, will hold off on commenting on him. Regarding Newton, he looks like Tim Tebow 2.0, only with more moves in the running game. He ran a run-heavy offense at Auburn and therefore probably won't be able to start in a pro-style offense from day one.
Rob Ryan(Dallas TX) [via mobile]
KC what metrics to you see with Mike Jenkins with the Boys? I think a lot of his problems came from lack of pass rush n bad safety play. I think he has the metrics to bounce back so I'd rather go elsewhere in the first round.Agree?
KC Joyner (4:29 PM)
Jenkins was battling injuries much of the year, so his 2010 metrics aren't indicative of his talent level. Unless his physical woes are of a long-term nature (and that doesn't look to be the case), Dallas should not be considering replacing him.
SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)
Oh come on KC, that's hog wash on Cutler's QB rating vs good NFL D's. Game one vs the Pack it was a respectable 82.5, 146 vs the Eagles when they were beating everyone and Vick was MVP and a very meaningful game vs the Jets it was 104.2. He had a bad game vs the Pats in a blizzard and a bad game in a meaningless week 17 when it was obvious the Bears play call was held back on offense most of the game. He's been good when it mattered most. What was Rodgers rating vs the Jets and Eagles?
KC Joyner (4:31 PM)
Steve, Cutler had a solid game against GB the 2nd time around but had a bad one the first time around. The Eagles D was so bad they fired their D coordinator and D line coach, so that doesn't count as a good D. The blizzard didn't keep Brady from having a great game and the Bears were going all out to try to keep GB out of the playoffs in that other contest. The majority of his games against very good defenses have been poor on his part and that trend has only gotten worse since his arrival in Chicago.
KC, there will be lots of extra room next week when all these Bears fans disappear! I have no faith in Cutler...sorry
KC Joyner (4:32 PM)
A Denver fan weighs in on Cutler.
Luke (St. Paul, MN)
Do you like fantasy football. Do you think it ruins the fans ?(say im a jets fan the mendenhall gets a TD and i dont care because i win my fantasy game)
KC Joyner (4:33 PM)
Fantasy football is great for fans overall because it gives them a reason to enjoy games they might not otherwise care about. That's more than enough of a trade off to offset the occasional "I might have to root against my team" woe.
Notice how KC dismisses Cutler shredding the Jets.
KC Joyner (4:36 PM)
You know what's funny about all of this? I wrote an article after Cutler's great early season start saying how he was playing so much better and that if he can do this against the tough competition coming up that week, he'd be on his way to elite status. These Cutler backers seem to dismiss that. I'll get on his bandwagon when he proves he can consistently beat good teams and not show up one week and disappear the next.
If I may weigh in on Fantasy Football. I think it has made me a better overall fan of the game. I learn about more players and have an interest in more games every week because I play Fantasy Football. Heck, I may never have known who Ben Obomanu was without Fantasy!
KC Joyner (4:36 PM)
Too true, J.B.!
What do the Steelers have to do to get Mike Wallace more involved versus the Jets? He was pretty quiet last week.
KC Joyner (4:38 PM)
If the Jets move Revis to follow him around (as they very well might), it will be tough. The key to remember is that even when NY sends Revis to follow a WR, they usually do it only 70 percent of the time. Sending passes Wallace's way when Revis isn't on him will be the main key. Key number two will be running inside routes against Revis (see this week's TFS Insider article for more details on that).
Josh (Knoxville, TN)
KC, I heard you talking with Brian Kenny the other day and you mentioned something about how maybe the QB rating could be adjusted to account for the differences in pass distance. Have you done any work toward that or is it just an idea? Thanks.
KC Joyner (4:40 PM)
It's both an idea and something I've been working on. I tend to lean on YPA pretty heavily because it does a good job of measuring the performance level of both dink and dunk and vertical passers.
Mike (San Diego)
It amazes me how defensive Chicago fans are. Why do they need everyone's support?
KC Joyner (4:41 PM)
Pittsburgh fans were the same way until they won their first Super Bowl of this generation. If Chicago wins it this year, this sensitivity will go away in a hurry.
All the guys touting Cutler must have been busy when he single handedly gave the game to the Redskins! 4 picks to Deangelo Hall who- (correct me if I am wrong scientist) did not have great metrics!!!
KC Joyner (4:42 PM)
Hall had horrible metrics all year long. Cutler was right in that Hall was someone he should target for passes - he just needed to make better passes.
Imre (Missoula, MT)
The Bears went all out trying to keep GB out of the playoffs? Are you freaking kidding me!?!?!?!?!?! Do you actually watch football? Seriously, I respect you're metrics and whatnot and agree that Cutler makes some mind-bogglingly bad decisions, but COME ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111111
KC Joyner (4:44 PM)
Look, why in the world would they keep their starters in the entire game if not to try to eliminate the Packers? I know some are thinking they reigned in their playcalling, but do you really think Lovie Smith would say "Hey, let's give our guys a gameplan that can't win and risk injury by keeping them out there all game long." That's a level of cynicism that is hard to buy into.
Joseph (Ft Worth)
Have you ever done a study looking at coordinator/play-calling effectiveness or are there too many variables to figure it out? This is coming from a Dolphins fan confused why they would hire an OC that guided an offense worse than the Dolphins offense the last 2 years.
KC Joyner (4:45 PM)
I've done some studies but never quite to the extent that I'd like to. Having said that, a lot of Miami's problem wasn't playcalling related last year. They didn't have a vertical receiving threat and the lack of that hurt them all year long.
Mike (San Diego)
What kind of reception do you get for your line of work? I feel like it might be tougher to get people into a "sabermetric" mindset in football because the game isn't so stat driven in the eyes of most people.
KC Joyner (4:47 PM)
Just look at the reaction of Bears fans - that is par for the course when someone is introduced to a metric-based way of looking at the game.
Are teh Falcons still a team on the rise?
KC Joyner (4:48 PM)
Absolutely. They need to improve their pass D but other than that there is little reason to think they won't be a playoff contender for the next few years.
What's the true effect of inclement weather from what you've seen? It always comes up in the (tiresome) Manning-Brady debates.
KC Joyner (4:49 PM)
It's hard to say because the biggest impact is made not by temperature (which is easy to measure) but rather by wind speed (which changes all of the time).
Mike (San Diego)
Well I think it's irresponsible when people like you come along and remove bias and emotion from your analysis and replace it with logic, evidence, and statistics to back your reasoning up. It's shameful, really.
KC Joyner (4:51 PM)
You know what's funny? I was breaking down some of Cutler's games last night and he had a stretch where he had something like 50+ passes without a bad decision. I started thinking that the article may end up going in a direction that says he has turned the corner here and then he went and made three bad decisions in the next 10 plays. When he plays well, I'll say so, but right now the evidence points to his being the same old Cutler.
Todd Haley (close to Mcdaniels new digs)
I'm not shaking your hand, KC!!
KC Joyner (4:52 PM)
As long as he isn't giving me the third degree like he did McDaniels, no handshake is fine!
Brandon Marshall (MIA)
That hurt, KC, but it's not like Chad has a big arm.
KC Joyner (4:53 PM)
Too true, but Brandon Marshall wasn't a vertical threat even when he had Cutler throwing passes his way. Marshall is a terrific possession receiver but Miami has to find someone who can hit the long passes.
Do you know what shade of brown they are using to paint the playing surface in Chicago Sunday, KC?
KC Joyner (4:53 PM)
The Bears playing surface takes another hit!
SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)
Yeah Mike in SD, like when KC acknowledged that Jay Cutler shredded a Jet D that had just beat a Steeler team in Pitt the week before with facts and evidence or that Rodgers got shredded by that same Jet team? Yeah, facts.
KC Joyner (4:55 PM)
SteveFitz, no one denies Cutler can be very good at times. The issue is that he's on one week and off the next. The evidence is clear about that.
Ryan has a low YPA. I say its a product of the super conservative, run first offense. Will that stat improve as he matures and weapons are added?
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
Part of it was the offensive approach, but part of it also comes from having only one good WR. Having a lead RB who isn't much of pass catcher doesn't help either.
Hey KC. I think (obviously) the type of team that should sign Nmadi is one that is close to being a SB contender, and has a hole at corner. Which teams fit this bill?
KC Joyner (4:56 PM)
Philadelphia but they may not be the kind of team to break the bank to sign Asomugha.
Can you believe we had an entire chat prior to conference title weekend and not one mention of Mark Sanchez? Has he come that far that we don't pick on him or is Cutler just that polarizing?
KC Joyner (4:57 PM)
It's Cutler. Sanchez is playing within himself but isn't quite yet an elite QB. A lot like Bradshaw in his first Super Bowl years with the Steelers.
I don't think that playing surface can handle another hit, KC. Is there an army base close by using it for bazooka target practice or something?
KC Joyner (4:58 PM)
It's never a good sign when a bazooka reference is an apt description of the state of the field!
Im a Giant fan. And it seems kind of weird to say this - since they didn't make the playoffs this year - but I really would have no problems with them bringing back essentially the same team/coaching staff and taking another run at it next year. Agree?
KC Joyner (5:00 PM)
Coughlin made a great point in that they won 10 games despite having a ton of bad things happen to them (both self-inflicted and luck of the draw type). It won't take much improvement in a couple of key areas to get this team to play even better, and they were already playing at a Super Bowl level for a time. No need for big changes, just improve a few things and this team is back to having an inside track to the Super Bowl.
"Sanchez is playing within himself but isn't quite yet an elite QB. A lot like Bradshaw in his first Super Bowl years with the Steelers." or Like Brady in his SB Patriots years?
KC Joyner (5:01 PM)
Good comparison, although Bradshaw in his first Super Bowl season wasn't counted on to win games as much as Brady in his first Super Bowl year. Well, it's been fun but Mrs. Scientist has dinner just about ready, so got to run. You can keep up with all of the TFS material on Twitter @kcjoynertfs. Hope you enjoy Sunday's games and hope to see you all next week!