Numbers don’t lie…

Over at Stampedeblue, Big Blue Shoe is stirring up controversy by declaring that he doesn’t want Edge James back in a Colts uniform.

Let me start by acknowledging a couple of things:
1.  Edge is still a member of the Arizona Cardinals, and they seem to be jerking him around about his release.
2.  He’s a long shot to come back to Indy anyway.
3.  Football season is a long way away, and since we aren’t signing any free agents of note, we have to talk about something.

I especially want to call attention to BBS statement midway through his article:
But the reality is Edgerrin does not give the Colts anything that they
don’t already have. A healthy Joseph Addai is better than Edge. A
healthy Dominic Rhodes is better than Edge. Hell, a healthy Lance Ball
is probably better than Edge.

I thought this was an interesting thing to say, so let’s look at the numbers.  I’m willing to grant him the point on Addai, who was banged up last year, and is thus hard to judge.  But let’s compare Edge vs Dom in 2008.  Both players played behind horrible run blocking lines, and with explosive pass offenses, so I think comparisons are valid.

James:   Rhodes Advantage
133 carries  152 Carries Dom
514 yards 538 yards Dom
3.9 YPA  3.5 YPA Edge
3 TDs 9 TDs Dom
12 catches 45 Catches Dom
85 Yards 302 Yards Dom
56 DYAR 31 DYAR Edge
 -.01% DVOA -5% DVOA Edge

So the stats come out basically even.  Dom got more work than Edge did in Arizona, so he put up more numbers, but Edge’s quality numbers (YPA, DVOA, DYAR) were better than Dom’s.  When it comes right down to it, they are basically the same player, with Edge maybe having just a little something extra.  Had he not been so hilariously misused in Arizona, he would probably have out paced Dom in the volume numbers as well.

It is fair to point out, that the biggest thing that BBS has wrong is that the Colts don’t HAVE Dominic Rhodes right now.  He’s a free agent.  If both players were to be available, the Colts would be wise to sign whichever one could be had for less money, although James might provide the slightest upgrade over Dom.  He favors younger RBs, and that’s a sound way to approach things, but with Mike Hart’s career very much in jeopardy, I’m not willing to go into 2009 with Addai, Ball, and Simpson.  There is no evidence that Ball and Simpson can block adequately enough to depend on them as the #2 back.   It’s true the Colts could draft a back (which will do nothing to fix the run game, by the way), but that will depend on who is available.

Ultimately, Colts fans can feel just fine about rooting for Edge to return to the Colts.  They won’t see any drop in production over Dom if they do.

Links:
How did I miss this story?  The Big O talks about Crispus Attucks in the 50s.  If you care about basketball or Indiana at all, you must read this.  This really deserves its own post, but the article says it all.

FO is on ESPN Insider and says that Edge is a reasonable back still.  He’s most similar to an aging Corey Dillon at this point.

Saturday talks to JMVVia Sports Radio Interviews.

Andrew sends us this link.  The NFL really does crush everything.  This PDF is seriously worth the read.

Tanier is a genius.  Or totally insane.  Either way, he’s one of the best weekly reads on the net.  If you plan on seeing the Watchmen…read this.

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