Earlier in Friday’s mailbag post, Jeremy and Erik answered a question about a Pro Football Focus segment that downplayed Jared Goff’s performance this season. In it, PFF’s Steve Palazzolo and Sam Monson argued that their company’s proprietary grades appropriately separated out Goff’s performance from the offense as a whole. Their primary evidence was PFF reviewers flagging a high rate of his plays as being turnover-worthy relative to the number of his passes actually intercepted. A secondary point Monson made was that Goff had few passes classified as big-time throws by PFF reviewers.
As Erik pointed out in our mailbag post, this is inherently subjective but naturally PFF will stand by their product. That’s why it’s interesting a different source of analytics comes to the opposite conclusion about Jared Goff: the NFL’s NextGenStats group. The official Lions team site posted video featuring NFL Research’s Edward Egros going through the top 10 quarterback performers from the 2022 season evaluated with their NGS passing score. Nearly every quarterback on the NGS top 10 played for a playoff team. Only Jacoby Brissett (seventh) of the Browns and one other quarterback on the list missed the postseason: Jared Goff (3rd) of the Lions.
The source of Goff’s success, according to Egros? Play-action passing. Way back in the summer of 2022, offensive coordinator Ben Johnson acknowledged how good his starting quarterback was at throwing off a play fake setup:
That process involved sitting down with Goff one-on-one earlier this spring for several days, picking out things Goff did well and working to incorporate it into the team’s new offensive scheme. One aspect of his game that will be leaned on heavily is play-action.
“I know play-action is something he’s really good at, and we’re going to look at doing that,” Johnson said. “It’s really a strength of our offense as well. We’re going to be a really good running team, so that’s going to show up on Sundays is the play-action and the movement game.”
Should Jared Goff be docked because he avoided throwing into tight coverage like PFF’s big throws seem to want, or does it make more sense to appreciate how well he executed the offense Ben Johnson designed around Goff’s skills? NextGenStats took the latter route, so even when it comes to trying to use “numbers” or “analytics” to evaluate performance it really depends on whose approach or philosophy is identifying which numbers matter. You can watch Egros’ NGS Top 10 video on the Detroit Lions’ official website in their video section.
Now, on to the rest of your weekend Notes:
- Speaking of advanced stats, Football Outsiders’ Mike Tanier was asked who he thought the best team to miss the playoffs was. Using DVOA, he zeroed in on the Lions and wrote the following in his mailbag article: “Switch the Jaguars’ and Lions’ divisions, for example, and the Lions cruise to the playoffs, probably with a better record than the Jaguars.”
- Nice to see hard work paying off (literally) for Kalif Raymond, who was the only player in the NFC to return a punt for a touchdown in the regular season. From his agents:
So proud of #kalifraymond earning ALL PRO HONORS! #hardworkpaysoff— EnterSports Management (@EnterSportsMgmt) January 27, 2023
All the hard work earned him over $1 MILLION in incentives/escalators!
Keep doing ur thing! #TeamESM @Lions @GACFootball @DLFPtweets @PrideOfDetroit @NFLPA @NFL @HCrossFB
……more to come!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/exA1yBHECC
- MLive’s Ben Raven wrote about 10 pending free agents in NFL conference title games that may be worth paying attention to this weekend.
- The Lions media team posted a Taylor Decker player highlights video clip for the 2022 season:
Take a look at @__taylordecker's highlights from the 2022 season!— Detroit Lions (@Lions) January 28, 2023
Visit https://t.co/2dJ93li0RM for more pic.twitter.com/mu3PjdrLoA
- Tim Twentyman posted a 2022 season position summary for the tight ends on the official team site.
- Looks like the Lions were about league average in letting Decker and Sewell go to work one-on-one (between the Browns and Broncos right above the x-axis label “Offenses”):
The Eagles have left their offensive tackles on islands (no double team or help from guards or tight ends) at the highest rate of any offense in the NFL this year. Curious to see if they continue to do so at this rate against the fearsome 49ers defensive line pic.twitter.com/AnpG4wN74r— Arjun Menon (@arjunmenon100) January 27, 2023
- Former Lions wide receiver Nate Burleson is being inducted into the East-West Shrine Bowl Hall of Fame next week.
This is awesome. @aidanhutch97 https://t.co/Ak5DLLrWkb— Pride of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) January 27, 2023