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Statistical Oddities (and More Stats) for the New York Giants.

Anyone who has been following the blog closely since I joined knows that I am a statistic’s junkie. I don’t think Stats are Tell-alls. I trust my eyes as well. I trust what I see and look for statistical data to back up what my eyes are telling me, sometimes all stats do is open up a way to see something different than I initially thought. That’s my goal here today, if you’re a big time Giants fan with concerns heading into the season take some time out of your day read the post and reflect on what the season might bring.

Also, if you like what you read leave a comment and let me know, my favorite part about writing anything here is connecting and with other die-hard Giants fans. Let me tell you there aren’t too many opportunities for that here in Rochester, NY.

One of my favorites sites is footballoutsiders.com. It’s chalk full of stats, information and analysis (especially if you purchase the “insider” option, which I have not, but I imagine there’s much more with that purchase)

 

Anyway, there is a free preview I found of Footballoutsiders analysis on the Giants and I wanted to share with you some of the interesting information I Found in it.

 

 

First up the Giants offense was better without Plaxico Buress than it was with Plaxico Burress.

Say Whaaaaat?? You read that correctly. The New York Giants were a more productive team when Plaxico Buress did not play in a game than when he did. The only thing you hear from pundits is that the G-men went 1-4 w/0 Plaxico Buress, what they won’t mention is that the New York Giants played a very difficult defensive schedule in those games playing against Philly twice, Dallas, Carolina, and Minnesota. All teams with top 10 defenses. In those games the Giants out-produced offensively, what many other teams did Against Those Teams.

If you include Seattle the numbers are even better.  The Giants run offense did step back slightly w/o Plax, but not enough to off-set the positive gain in passing efficiency.

 

Hixon outperformed Plax last season.

If you look just at standard numbers

 

Buress had 35 catches for 434 yards at 13 yards a catch and four touchdowns (9 games started)

Hixon had 43 catches 596 yards 13.9 yards per catch and two touchdowns.  (7 games started)

 

But going even further Hixon had a 6.5 DVOA (Defense just value over average) while Buress had a 4.9.  The more positive a number for the offensive player/unit the better. The more negative a number for a defensive player/unit the better.

 

Domenix Hixon caught passes more regularly than Burress, for more yardage, but is not the  Red Zone Threat that Burress can is/can be.

This much is for sure, and something I’ve been saying for two years now. The Giants lacked the ability to be wide-open. What I mean by this is watch a Cowboys game and look at the separation the WR’s created-Watch Terrell Owens by 7-10 yards away from everyone on the plays he catches passes-and watch a Giants game and watch how every pass that is caught someone is     within touching distance.

Plax and Toomer were good WR’s but they are not burners, they don’t create a lot of separation and they don’t compile the Y.A.C. yards. This year that might be different, I think we can see Eli’s completion percentage go up over the next few years.

 

Steve Spagnuolo’s blitz schemes were LESS Effective than Giants fans think.

 

Everyone is worried about Spag’s departure to the Rams because of his great schemes he devised, however, according to the football outsiders analysis, the New York Giants were Significantly WORSE than average when they ran “Zone Blitzes”, especially in which only three players rushed the passer.

 

The N.F.L. average success rate was 57 percent. 

The New York Giants success rate was 38 percent (Yikes!)

The Giants MOST Effective scheme was….rushing four and dropping seven back into coverage, or put another way by not being creative. They had a 60 percent success rate when doing this (NFL average was 55 percent).

 

The Giants were also a little effective rushing 5 and 6 pass rushers.

 

The Talk is Sherdian plans on using a few less schemes, especially Zone Bliztes. I think we’ll see more four linemen Rushing with either Sintim or Boley coming off the edge at times.

 

But Fear Not Giants fans, Spag’s loss may be more style than substance. I think the natural talent along the front seven should compensate for any good or bad coaching.

Steve Smith Slipped at the End of Last Year

The player who may have been most effected by Plaxico’s absence could be Steve Smith.  Steve Smith he had 14 of his 17 third down conversions by week 12 (11 games).

With only three third down conversions between weeks 13-17 (4 games), it may be Steve Smith who saw the increased attention on third down that hurt the offense, or like I was saying earlier between weeks 13-17 the Giants played a lot of good teams and Steve Smith didn’t perform as well in those games. Hopefully his continued maturity and growth will help him this year stay fresh and productive all year.

 

Eli Manning was the Most Blizted QB in the league.

I think part of that has to do with the strength of the Giants offensive line-opponents feel they need to bring more than the line can block.

Part of that has to do with the strong running game (trying to get in the gaps before Jacobs picks up speed) and the third part of that has to do with that it was effective.  The Giants DVOA was THE best in the league when teams only rushed four.  24th when they rushed five and 22 when they rushed six or more. 

Expect to see a lot of blitzes again against the Giants until they figure out how to be more productive against the blitz.

 

I think putting Travis Beckum in the backfield as a pass catching H-Back could solve some of this problem.

 

The Defense Did not recover enough Fumbles.

Everyone knows the G-men tied a league record with fewest fumbles in a season, but what’s a True Oddity is that the Giants recovered 11 of 14 as offense, which was best in the league and recovered only 5 of 17 forced fumbles on defense THE worst in the league.

 

Fumble recoveries are part skill and part luck. I think this statistic is a True definition of an oddity and I think we’ll see the trends move closer to the average on both sides of the ball. 

What is NOT Luck is fumbling the ball and the Offense did not do that very often, which is great. Hopefully this year the Giants will continue to hold onto the ball, but also recover some more of the fumbles they force on defense.

 

The Giants Best Statistical DVOA Receivers last year were Sinorics Moss, Ahmahd Bradshaw, and Darcey Johnson

 

There is an easy explanation for this. These players did not have enough “data entries” in order for the data to be significantly relevant. 

 

Moss had a DVOA of 46.0% Darcey Johnson had a DVOA of 48.9% and Ahmad Bradshaw had an amazing 93.3%.

Of course Bradshaw had 5 receptions on the year (6 targeted plays).

 

In the same token Derrick Ward caught 75 percent of passes thrown to him last year and Mario Manningham caught 67 percent of passes.

Of the Regular WR’s Steve Smith caught 60 percent of passes targeted at him, Hixon 59 percent, and Plaxico 53 percent of passes targeted for him (another than Hixon did better than Plaxico Last year) and Toomer 55.

 

Like I said I expect to see Eli with more Truly Open options this year and a climbing completion percentage over the next few, especially if Jacobs learns how to catch a ball that hits his hands. (he caught 50 percent of passes thrown to him 6 for 12 and maybe 2 of those didn’t hit his hands)

 

The Giants rush much better to the Left side of the field than they do the right.

 

The Giants were also the best in the league rushing up the middle. This is no coincidence. The Giants are great at running to the Left side and middle for two reasons. Chris Snee and Chris Snee. 

Snee is perhaps the best guard in all of football. And the Giants kill when rushing to the Left and Snee pulls. They also do well in the middle because of you guessed it Chris Snee!! Shaun O’hara is also good at chipping and occupying space up the middle.

David Diehl has also improved each of the past three years (11 sacks in 2007, which is terrible.  5 last year which is improving still about average).

I’ve let it been known a few times already I think David Diehl will move to RT to accommodate, the third best LT from this draft, in my opinion: William Beatty.   The Line will be truly gifted then because Diehl is a bit above average as a LT in the NFL (his numbers are hurt a bit too by facing DeMarcus Ware) but would be a top RT. William Beatty has the freakish athleticism and  you want from your prototypical LT. Diehl is much more technically sound and hard worker. If Diehl instills his work ethic in Beatty, Beatty will be amazing.  I love Diehl but he’ll always struggle against athletic Defensive Ends and OLB (Trent Cole, DeMarcus Ware, Dwight Freeney players of that ilk), but fortunately for Diehl nearly all LT struggle against speed rushers.

I think Brandon Jacobs size plays a role in pounding it up the middle as well.

The Giants defense gave up only 2.4 yards per draw play! Nothing to really add to that, just an impressive note.

 

Lastly, the Defensive Line Really Did Tire Out Last Year!

Maybe Reese was onto something. Football outsiders makes it known clearly (and it doesn’t take a deep statistical analysis to see this) that the New York Giants DL tired out at the end of last year.

 

Fred Robbins was the most effected. He had 5.5 sacks by week 7 and none the rest of the year. Robbins is one of the best interior presences in all of football a seriously underrated player, I hope he is healthy this year.  Robbins leads all Defensive tackles in sacks the past three years (three way tie: my own research 16.5 for each. ) with Albert Haynseworth and Minnesota DT Kevin Williams.  I’m not comparing Robbins to either player though, both are superior players and were surrounded by lesser players on the DL with them and Haynesworth did so in 9 less games over those three years. But Robbins is good at getting at the rusher and an underrated football player.

Justin Tuck battled injuries and was still effective towards the end of the year, but no as effective. Kiwianuka did not have many sacks at the end of last season only 2.5 from week 10 on. 

 

Hakeem Nicks was more “more explosive” than Mario Manningham in College.  

Nicks averaged more yards per catch than Manningham did throughout college, especially their finals years.  Hicks averaged 18.0 yards per catch and Manningham averaged 16.3 yards per catch.

I just bring that up because everyone talks about how explosive Manningham was in college and how “good of a route runner” Nicks is.  So when you hear that keep something in perspective, statistically Nicks was more explosive than Manningham.

Manningham has better straight line speed, but Nicks has good football speed, and is another player I think you’ll see Boost Eli Manning’s completion percentage. 

 

Tom Coughlin has Changed as New York Giants Coach

Everyone talks about Coughlin’s change as a New York Giants coach. How his personality has changed and yadda yadda yadda, but what is hardly mentioned is that Tom Couhglin has become even MORE conservative as the New York Giants head coach. He goes for it on fourth down less now (according to footballoutsiders) the league average for their “aggressive index” is 1 and Coughlin is much below that, but throughout his career it was above 1.  Just an interesting note.

Coughlin also has a 115 and 93 career record as a head coach which is a .553 winning percentage (despite being the first coach ever for the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars and for taking over for a 4-12 New York Giants team with a rookie QB and a fumbling Kurt Warner).

He’s finished only 3 times in his career below third place in the division, has won 5 division championships, and 1 Super Bowl.

 

Welp, that’s it everyone.  If you want to read anymore of my stuff feel free to click on the “Bartolis” tag under the tag section. 

 

You can also check out my other blog at www.sportingnews.com/blog/bartolis  Up there now is The “Real” American League All-Star Rosters, at least according to me.

 

 

Have a good day, everyone.

 

As always, if you can take the time to comment I can take the time to respond.


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15 Responses to “Statistical Oddities (and More Stats) for the New York Giants.”

  1. […] Statistical Oddities (and More Stats) for the New York Giants (Giants Gab) […]

  2. Shane says:

    Good read,

    I really appreciate the work you put in here and I think this is starting to become my favorite Giants blog.

  3. Gary says:

    Very good read,

    Good work

  4. Mark M says:

    I agree that the Gmen are not in as bad shape as the media has acted. Plaxico is not the type of loss the GMEN can’t recover from. I find it funny that he was out performed statistically by Hixon. We all know that Hixon is not the kind of WR that physically demands Defensive Coordinators to game plan for his abilities. I am sure the minute plax went out, so did the tight coverage packages, concentrating more defenders in the box to stop the Gmen’s hardy rushing attack. It is funny how that stat oddity occured but, I really can’t say that Hixon out performed or played Plax, because that is just not possible. How many doubles over the top did Hixon have to fight thru? How many teams jammed hixon at the line and spelled a safety over the top on hixon…none! I am not a Plaxico Burress fan, but I can admit he is when he is not lazy one of the best WR in the game. Hixon just is not. Giants fans have a lot to look forward to this season, enough so they don’t need to delude themselves into thinking that Hixon is better than Burress!

    • TAINT says:

      Do you mean the same media that has them coming in first (sometimes second to the iggles)in the division and being Superbowl contenders? please…

      good observations about the hixon/ burress stats… i was thinking the same thing… actually, i was wondering why there was not some clarification in the blog since the blogger claims to use his eyes and not just stats

  5. rupert says:

    very good job, i think the receivers we have are very capabile, and brandon will inprove on his, catching the ball out of the back field, he is a froce when he as a head of speed, Hexon will be a big treat also, what about special teams, and depth at conrne backs.

  6. Shane

    Thank you, I appreciate that sentiment. I work hard on these posts when I blog and I’m glad it’s being appreciated.

    Gary

    Thank you as well.Glad you enjoyed it.

  7. Rupert-

    I hope you’re right about Brandon imporving his catching out of the backfield. Hard work can make up for some of his inability to do so well, but part of me thinks he just has stone hands, which is O.K. not everyone can do everything well, so that’s Jacbos’ weakness on a fiel the G-men will live with it.

    Mark M.

    I agree with you in part, however, I do not believe Plaxico Burress was the same player even last year he was two years prior. Plaxico is not a young man (over 30), 13.0 yards per reception was the fewest yards per reception he averaged since his rookie year in 2000.

    I have serious doubts as well about how motivated Plaxico was last season after the Superbowl the year before. I think a majority of players have a natural let down, amazingly most Giants players avoided this, but there were exceptions.

    Burress seemed uninterested to me, Pierce looked heavy and there were a few others.

    Hixon will Never be the Presence of Plaxico, but he is 6-2 and does have speed to burn and can certainley be a better team mate and such. Hixon was not the WR that Plaxico has been in the past, but I think isolated just last year, Hixon played better.

    We’ll have to see.

    Thanks for the comment.

    • John S says:

      Jesse –
      Very interesting reading. I can’t get enough of the Giants and will be surprised if they don’t have another excellent year.
      One thing I would like to comment on that wasnt really a focus in your articel. Last year’s playoff loss to Philly…..is it just me or do you think the Giants would have prevailed in that contest had they handed the ball to Jacobs another dozen times…instead of trying pass plays every time they got into scoring position. I was at the game and I saw clearly that neither QB had any success completing a pass over 10 yards until the end of the 3rd period, when coincidentally the wind diminished. I cant help bu think we called a terrible offensive game plan, and had we just continued to hand it off to Jacobs, who racked up abouit 5 yards every carry, we would have hosted the championship game the next weekend. your thoughts?
      John

      • John S-

        I couldn’t agree more with the play calling in the Eagles game-that it was absymal.

        The one thing that sticks out most in my mind is the end of the first half where the Giants tried to run that crazy screen pass to Derrick Ward instead of handing it off to Jacobs to try to pick up the first down, or at the very least get much closer to field goal range=especially anyone watching the first half of the game saw that passes were harder to come by.

        I think the Giants missed a few opportunities in teh beginning of the game and a few catches by Hixon and Toomer that were difficult, but had they been made would have led to an entirely different results.

        I think there also was no way the Cardinals would have beat us in Giants stadium the next week.

        Thanks for the comment.

  8. Taint (if that’s your real name lol) you’re not reading clearly enough my friend. There is a lot of clarification in this post.

    I was speaking in generalities in that statement about trusting my eyes, even so that statement was clarified in the next sentence.

    “I trust what I see and look for statistical data to back up what my eyes are telling me, sometimes all stats do is open up a way to see something different than I initially thought. That’s my goal here today, if you’re a big time Giants fan with concerns heading into the season take some time out of your day read the post and reflect on what the season might bring.”

    That’s My Goal here today (presenting different ways of seeing things through stats)

    “open eyes” “might bring” are ways of presenting information but not saying things are definitive.

    You can also read my respond to Mark M. Which adds more clarification to the Buress situation.

    Hixon outperformed Plax last season

    This was also bolded. Note it says “last season” as an isolated instance and not for his career or is better than Plaxico as well.

    I think you misinterprted somethings.

    I implore you to re-watch some film from last year and trust your own eyes about how good Plaxico Burress was last year.

    Or how “open” he’s ever been in his career and imagine the perception of Hixon if he catces that ball against Philly and takes it 70 yards to the house.

    Hixon at this point of his career is more explosive than Plaxico was LAST YEAR and I think Plaxico was content after the Superbowl Win and was not as focused as he could have been, and last year was not the same WR the Giants had 2-3 years ago, which is not only true of what I saw, but also of what any statistical measure indicates.

    I also think a lot of pundits have the Giants finishing 2nd or third (with the Cowboys finishing first) from what I’ve seen.

    I don’t think the WR problems are all that bad, really.

    Thanks for you comments

    P.S.

    I’ve read and re-read this and it sounds condescending or combative, and that’s not my intent I meant for it to be more explanatory than anything, so sorry about that.

    I truly do appreciate anyone who takes the time to read what I’ve written and re-act in anyway.

    Thanks,

    Bartolis

  9. Mike says:

    The Plax/Hixon comparison is misleading. The reason Hixon’s numbers are better is that he wasn’t double teamed as Plax was. A lot of Plax’s value was in opening up things for the rest of the offense. This is probably why Smith’s numbers fell off towards the end of the season.

  10. Jason says:

    I was hyped for the season before I read this article. I’m even more excited after reading it. Nice job Jesse. I do think this might be a slow September for us on the offensive side of the ball, but by Oct-Nov we should see the new guys making the necessary contributions. We have to get better as the season goes on, it’s all about how you finish!

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