Not to toot my own horn, but last week’s Talkin’ Analytics almost perfectly previewed what we saw on offense from the Giants this past Sunday. We talked about how conservative the passing offense has been and how it is a sign of inefficient play when the QB holds on to the ball for so long while only averaging 6.6 air yards per attempt. This past Sunday, Daniel Jones averaged 3.68 seconds before the release (second highest in the league behind Patrick Mahomes), while his average intended air yards was 6.7. These numbers and offensive tendencies give me agita. Since I already dissected it last week, I won’t waste my breath on it again. Instead, I’m going to take a microscope and look at the defense today and how opposing QB’s have been performing against the Giants defense. What have been some things the Giants are forcing QB’s to do to make things more difficult on an offense? These are the stats and numbers on my brain that best tell the story of where this football team is currently, so let’s Talk Analytics!
How Have Opposing QB’s Fared Against The Giants Defense?
|QB||Average Time Before the Release||Average Yards to the Sticks||CPOE||Aggressiveness %|
|Ben Roethlisberger||2.39 (7th quickest)||-2.7||+0.6||9.4|
|Mitchell Trubisky||2.95 (7th highest)||-2.1||+1.8||32.1|
|Nick Mullens||2.80 (13th highest)||-1.4||+5.9||16.7|
|Jared Goff||2.85 (13th highest)||-3||+2.6||9.4|
|Dak Prescott||2.91 (10th highest)||-1.1||-4.1||19|
This table culminates some of the major stats I look at for QB’s on NFL Next Gen Stats. The Giants have faced teams that love to run play action and take their QB’s out of the pocket, often on bootlegs. The only exception to this standard was Big Ben week one, where one would presume the Steelers gameplan was to get the ball out of his hands quickly to avoid taking hits in his first game back from being out for almost all of 2019. I would not interpret the Giants allowing opposing QB’s an above-average time to throw as them not creating pressure. In fact, according to Football Outsiders, the Giants have the 11th highest Adjusted Sack Rate at 7.4%. They have done a solid job creating pressure despite facing QB’s who utilize play action and have decent mobility.
The next stat is one that I have hated to follow for Daniel Jones, Average Air Yards to the Sticks: “shows the amount of Air Yards ahead or behind the first down marker on all attempts for a passer. The metric indicates if the passer is attempting his passes past the 1st down marker, or if he is relying on his skill position players to make yards after the catch.” I am very impressed by how the Giants defense has consistently limited QB’s they face by attempting passes short of the first down marker. After being a defense that was torched by the big play and long ball last year, Patrick Graham and company have really flipped the script in terms of giving their offense a chance to win the game. This defense still has its issues getting off the field on third down and allowing opposing offenses to stay on the field for an extended period of time, however, by not allowing the big play, they have vastly improved as a group. It is much harder for offenses to put together consistent drives of 8, 9, 10+ plays instead of big chunk plays where they obviously get you closer to the end zone in a quicker fashion. As long as the Giants continue not to allow the big play and keep QB’s throwing behind the sticks, their defense will keep them in games.
I tweet and talk about Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) for Daniel Jones every week, and what this metric measures is “a passer’s actual completion percentage compared to their Expected Completion Percentage.” I included this metric when evaluating the Giants defense to analyze if any QB’s had a particularly accurate and efficient game where their singular performance elevated the entire team. It is ironic that backup QB Nick Mullens, who has not been good since his game against the Giants, had the most accurate game above expectation against Big Blue this year. CPOE is not necessarily worth looking at when evaluating defensive performance, but it is worth looking at if QB’s have a very accurate and efficient game. Since this is a QB driven league, sometimes they can put up such tremendous performances where all you can do is shrug your shoulders and move on to next week. Nevertheless, the Giants have not allowed such a QB performance like that so far.
Aggressive Percentage is defined as: “tracks the amount of passing attempts a quarterback makes that are into tight coverage, where there is a defender within 1 yard or less of the receiver at the time of completion or incompletion. AGG is shown as a % of attempts into tight windows over all passing attempts.” QB’s, when throwing against the Giants this year, has thrown into tight windows approximately 17% of the time. That is a pretty impressive feat considering some of the receivers and offenses they have faced. The Giants secondary has not made it easy on opposing QB’s when it comes to targeting their skill position players.
I’m cutting you all a break this week in terms of not making this week’s Talkin’ Analytics like the novel it usually is. If you are craving for more defensive numbers, I am keeping track of pass rusher performance on a weekly basis from the numbers provided by Pro Football Reference. As Lorenzo Carter is now out for the season and Markus Golden is collecting more snaps, we are seeing different pass rushers emerge with this new rotation and it is exciting to see whose stock goes up and down as the weeks unfold. Be sure to check those numbers out and I will see you next week after our first win! Go Blue!