Here the statistical loose ends I’ve been pondering for the last couple of days:
1. Is there anyone out there who still blames Addai for the run game? Through four weeks, you couldn’t get two backs more similar than Addai and Brown:
Addai has been a little better than Brown, but the difference is negligible. Brown had the one long catch and run against Arizona, but it was such a blown coverage, it’s hard to argue that Addai wouldn’t have done the same thing had he been in the game.
2. The line has been markedly better according to FO. The pass pro is 2nd in the league (yawn), but the run blocking is up to 12th. The Colts are 13th in power running, but still getting stuffed 24% of the time (27th in the league). The Colts are more effective up the middle than running around either end. The stretch play hasn’t been working well in terms of generating yards, but the play action has been devastating.
3. The Colts still aren’t getting off the field on third down. They are 31st in the league in third down defense. I’ve been scrambling to find out if they average yards to go on third down has increased over last year, but I can’t find that stat anywhere. My perception is that the Colts are giving up more third and mediums/third and longs than last year. I attribute that directly to injuries to the secondary. Sanders, Hayden, and Brackett should help that third down conversion rate. Jennings, Bullitt, and Keiaho have played solid in their absence, but I would expect this team to start getting off the field more when they add three elite coverage players.
4. A note on Tom Brady: This is who is he is folks. More to the point, this is who he’s always been. I marvel that people act like there is something wrong with him. He’s not the guy who played out of his mind against weak teams for 10 weeks in 2007. He’s this guy. His accuracy? Totally normal for him. He’s completing 62.1% of his passes, that’s the same or better than he did during the 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006 seasons. His YPA is a smidge down (6.5), but considering that apart from 2007, his career YPA is only 7.0, it’s not that out of line. His TD and INT % are a little down, but it’s early. His DVOA numbers are about where they were in 2005, and much better than 2003 or earlier. The Pats are 3-1. Brady isn’t putting up numbers. Isn’t that who he always was? 2007 was an utter mirage. It was never realistic to expect him to throw for 4500 yards and 36 TDs. He’s not that guy.
Tom Brady is back. Or doesn’t anyone remember?
5. The Colts schedule looks very manageable. Right, right, I know all games are tough in the NFL, but let’s face it, some games are tougher than others. Indy has 6 road games left. The teams they play are a combined 8-15, with only Baltimore having a winning record. They play two winless teams on the road. The home slate? A little tougher: 15-9.
6. The AFC South has been a trainwreck. Apart from the Colts, the division has a total of ONE win against other divisions (Houston beat mighty Oakland). The other three teams are 1-4 against non-South teams.
7. Pierre Garcon has been great. He also has an astounding 6 penalties (true count) in 4 games. He has at least one penalty in every game this year. He still has a ways to go. If he were an offensive line man, everyone would be crucifying him. I love that both he and Collie have improved their catch rate though, and both have good DVOA numbers. That’s a big improvement.
Finally, I don’t understand the Bob Sanders angst out there in certain quarters. 2006 was not that long ago. I’d think people would chill out and realize that as long as he’s back in January, we can make due in the short run. Sanders is not a terribly expensive player. His absence isn’t hurting the team (though his presence will help). I’m not sure why everyone gets all whiny about him missing practice time and games early in the season.