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News: Running the Numbers: Examining Jason Witten's 2012 Season

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by jobberone, Jan 29, 2013.

  1. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    Let’s start with the obvious: Jason Witten had one heck of a season for the Cowboys: 1,039 yards, the second-most of his career, and 110 catches, the most for any tight end ever. And he did it all after suffering a lacerated spleen in the preseason. In terms of Jason Garrett’s “right kind of guys,” Witten is the prototype.


    When we analyze players, though, we need to be careful about placing too much emphasis on bulk stats. Tony Romo threw for nearly 5,000 yards in 2012, beating his previous career-high by almost 500 yards. The Cowboys went 8-8 and Romo tossed 19 interceptions, however, so it’s easy see that the quarterback didn’t necessarily have the best year of his career, despite the massive output.


    In regards to tight ends, however, it’s much more difficult to determine to what degree a player’s bulk stats represent their true value. First of all, tight ends are leaned on heavily in the running game, and grading their blocking performance can be a challenge, even if you intensely monitor every play. There’s a reason we use statistics. You can watch every one of DeMarco Murray’s 2012 carries and have no idea whether he averaged 4.1 yards per carry (YPC) or 4.8, and there’s a massive difference between the two.


    http://www.dallascowboys.com/news/a...2-Season/32d186f6-81e7-4f2c-a96d-ca390315a4cf
  2. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    So what I gather from the article is, hard to say whether his blocking is on par with his usual because of other variables. His efficiency has dropped but so has the offense's overall efficiency. He did seem to have more across the middle sit down routes and not as many seams but that could be predicated on the defense. In conclusion this article is all speculation during a slow time of the year.
  3. dargonking999

    dargonking999 DKRandom

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    Thats a stupid idea... Yards per route?

    So lets see, teams decide hey lets triple team witten on every third down route he runs, double team him on every deep route he runs, and ensure that a LB is underneath him on every short route, and he gets penalized for it? That writer is a flipping moron..
  4. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    I paid more attn to his total. 1039 yds from 110 catches. The latter is the most all time. Ten yds a pop is not bad either. Esp for a TE like Witten.
  5. PoetTree

    PoetTree Active Member

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    What a weird article, and an unquestionably questionable premise...
  6. Lonestar94

    Lonestar94 Well-Known Member

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    This was a average season for Witten.. He was just being targeted way too much. Usually that doesn't lead to team success. Ex - Calvin Johnson.
  7. jrumann59

    jrumann59 Well-Known Member

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    I think teams said you can have witten because you really cannot beat us down the field with him only.
  8. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    The Lions didn't make the playoffs, either.


    It isn't as if Dallas used Witten only. Dez did finish 10th in receptions with 92 and Miles finished 30th in receptions with 66.

    Only 7 teams had at least two players finish in the top 30 in receptions. Only 3 teams had 3 players finish in the top 30 in receptions(Atlanta, New Orleans, Dallas). Dallas and Atlanta are the only teams to have two guys finish in the top ten in receptions.
  9. hipfake08

    hipfake08 Well-Known Member

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    This could be for multiple reasons. Early on the O line was quick to fold so Romo checked down real fast to the open target.

    I would like to see the WR totals vs the TE totals for targets and catches for the last 4 games when the O line actually played well.
  10. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Based on info on ESPN. They didn't have the number of times the RBs were targeted and some of the information may not be completely accurate. For example, they have Phillips listed as being targeted 10 total times, but when you add up the targets in each game it only comes to 9.

    [IMG]
  11. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    I think it had more to do with the fact that Austin was hobbled and our #3 WRs generally sucked last year. The dropoff from Laurent Robinson to Ogletree/Harris/Beasley is one of the more underrated narratives that no one talks about. One of the first stats I generally look at on any passing offense and/or QB is Net Yards/Pass Attempt. It's generally always a good barometer of how efficient a passing offense is. Romo has historically been among the elite QBs in the NFL in this category, and this year he suffered quite a dip (although he was better than average). I attribute that towards depending way too much on Witten in the passing game to pick up the slack from our WRs.

    God bless Jason Witten and what a warrior he is, and it still astounds me that a guy who probably runs a 4.8 at this point in his career can get open so efficiently. That kind of guy can have a role in any offense, it's just not always good thing when he's the featured target.
  12. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Everyone has talked about the dropoff from Robinson this year to Ogletree/Harris/Beasley this year. It has been brought up quite a bit. I agree that Witten received a few more targets because of it, but I don't really think he was featured any more this year than in years past. With Robinson's history, there is also no guarantee that if Dallas could have afforded to keep him that he would have been able to match his production from 2011. That season is the definite outlier in his career.

    Again I point to the fact that Dez finished 10th in receptions and Miles finished 30th. The top two receivers were still a big part of the passing game. They would have been featured even more had it not been for some nagging injuries.

    I also think the running backs factored into the equation. If both Murray and Jones could stay healthy for longer stretches of time, they would get incorporated more in the passing game.

    I look at yards per completion. Romo averages 12.27 yards per completion for his career and this year averaged 11.54 yards per completion. A very down year. He just didn't have the time to let plays develop and get the ball down field as much this year as he has in years past. I think this falls more on the offensive lines deficiencies than anything lacking in the wide receiving corp although that plays a part. The beneficiary becomes Witten. This doesn't mean he is featured, but rather the easiest resort in a tough situation as most good tight ends would be.
  13. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    I think this very misleading. Given that Romo threw for 648 attempts (!!!), of course the WRs were given many attempts to rack up accumuative stats. The question is how efficent were they given their opportunities.

    PFF keeps a stat called Yards Per Route Run, which basically a self explanatory stat that I think is a pretty good measurement of who was producing the most given their opportunities todo so. When that's taken into account, I think you see how poor and inefficient our WRs were last season outside of Dez. Miles was 58th in the NFL in yards per route run. Ogletree was 109th. Harris 124th. There's a reason why Romo focused like a laser on Witten on any 3rd down situation .. he's the only one he trusted to be where he was supposed to be and make a tough catch in a critical situation.
  14. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    Also, as far as Romo not being able to throw as much to WRs because there was no time, PFF also measures the time in the pocket for each pass attempt and Romo was pretty much dead center in the road among NFL QBs as far as average time given in the pocket (16th in the NFL, 2.77 seconds per throw).
  15. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Romo also finished 4th in completion percentage, which is somewhat efficient. I agree that #3 WR position was lacking. Part of that is that Ogletree is not good enough and Harris and Beasley are just too young and inexperienced.

    I think the O-line also factors into this as well. If you don't have time to get the ball down field, then you have to run shorter routes or utilize the tight end a bit more. That is going to bring down the yards per route of everyone.

    I agree Romo relies on Witten in critical situations. No doubts about that. I don't agree with the premise that some have that Dallas relies only on Witten. The offense still depended on Dez and Miles as well. Perhaps they were not as efficient when going to Miles, but he was still targeted 113 times. That ranked 29th in the league.
  16. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    I tacked this on to another comment while you were probably writing your response out....

    PFF measures the time in the pocket for each pass attempt and Romo was pretty much dead center in the road among NFL QBs as far as average time given in the pocket (16th in the NFL, 2.77 seconds per throw).

    I don't see a lot of evidence that our yards per attempt were driven down because Romo had to dump it off an inordinate amount. However, I see a lot of evidence that points toward the fact that the yards per attempt went down because Romo was throwing an inordinate amount of targets to a guy who runs a 4.8 (and has very little run after the catch ability) because he was his most dependable target. We need to start acquiring/developing some guys who run 4.4-4.5 who are dependable targets. Thank God the 4 year Kevin Ogletree experiment is seemingly at an end (and I wouldn't be surprised if that's one of the factors as to why John Garrett was shown the door).
  17. joseephuss

    joseephuss Well-Known Member

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    Middle the road isn't great. Plus Romo is good at buying more time to throw. That also isn't optimum because he is then throwing under pressure on the run. That needs to be improved, but everyone knows the line needs to improve.

    I agree the Cowboys need better from the #3 spot. Not necessarily more total numbers, but better efficiency. Miles also needs to remain healthy. I think he is dependable when healthy.
  18. InmanRoshi

    InmanRoshi Zone Scribe

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    Middle of the road isn't great but it's also not horrible ... which is what our #3 WR production was given the amount of opportunities.

    I know no one makes axioms or cliches about how you win championships with secondary receivers, so we're not going to get fifteen bajillion threads about them like we are with other units this offseason, but when your QB is throwing for 648 pass attempts in a season they're kinda important.
  19. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    the best thing would be not having your QB throw 40 times a game
  20. Vintage

    Vintage The Cult of Jib

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    Last year, Romo had a great year.

    Robinson leaves and he "struggles."

    Romo had two receiving options last year that he trusted when he needed to make a play. Its why Robinson had the stats he did. Romo knew where he would be , particularly even a play broke down.

    The problem is we acquired WRs with immense physical talent, some of which lack the mental talent.

    Get a veteran WR who understands how to run routes and make correct reads, and I bet Romo has another year like 2011.

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