Lane Johnson: ‘I’m Trying To Be a Dominant Player’

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For Lane Johnson, the low point came in Week 3 against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The No. 4 overall pick in 2013 got beat for a pair of sacks and missed his assignment on the Eagles’ swinging gate two-point conversion attempt.




"Kansas City was a rough game," Johnson said Monday after practice. "It was really early in the year. The thing was just to learn from it and continue to grow from it. So that’s what I did."

Indeed.

Johnson showed steady improvement in the second half of the year as the Eagles won seven of their last eight games. There was never a question about his ability as a run blocker. Aside from the mental mistakes that plague most rookies, Johnson's elite athleticism translated to the field right away. He is a natrural fit at right tackle in Chip Kelly's spread-to-run offense.

Where Johnson showed improvement (and the area he'll need to continue to work on) is his pass blocking.

"Just over-setting most of the time," he said. "It just comes down to knowing your assignment. Sometimes when I wasn’t sure of things, you kind of put yourself out there on a limb and you have to deal with some of that stuff. So the main thing was learning the offense. I think now I know a lot more. I feel a lot more confident this year than I did last year."

As a rookie, Johnson didn't want to get beat off the edge by speed rushers. That led to over-setting, which means he got too far outside/upfield, allowing opposing rushers to come back inside and get to the quarterback.

Take this example from the Chiefs game mentioned above. Johnson is tasked with blocking OLB Justin Houston one-on-one.

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Todd Herremans is going to double-team the nose tackle, leaving Johnson essentially on an island.

Johnson initially does a good job on Houston, but look at the huge inside rush lane that gets exposed.

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That allows Houston a path to sack Vick.

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In addition to footwork, Johnson said he really improved his hand usage later in the season. That's something the coaches pointed out after his Week 9 performance against the Raiders.

"Raiders was probably my best game," he said. "I just felt like every play I did was really good. I just feel like I extended my game there and knew I had the ability and just tried to carry it on through the rest of the season.

"[The coaches] said: 'You’re progressing really well. Just keep on working on it.' Just my hand usage I think was on another level that game. So they just wanted to see that more the rest of the season."

Added Johnson's teammate Jason Kelce: "Lane really came on strong, especially the second half of the season, especially in his pass pro. We're really excited. He's put on some weight and he looks like he is going to be a dominating run force as well this year - not that he wasn't last year. It's just that he's a big, athletic guy, you want that all the time. He's going to be a great player. We truly lucked out in that draft and got one of the really good young players. I think we got the best tackle in that draft, so we're excited to have him back."

With his rookie season in the rear-view mirror, it's time to for Johnson to focus on what's next. As the No. 4 overall pick, there are going to be lofty expectations. During Johnson's exit interview in January, coaches told him to first rest up. Last year, he went from the college football season to the Senior Bowl to the combine to private workouts to the draft to mini-camps and OTAs. There was never a time to recover.

Johnson has also added weight. He played last year at 310, but is currently between 315 and 320. His lower body, specifically, was a focus. After working out in Texas and Oklahoma, Johnson spent some time in Arizona, training at LeCharles Bentley's facility for offensive linemen.

Going into Year 2, Johnson believes he has the tools and confidence necessary to make a significant leap.

"Just getting comfortable in the offense," he said. "Coming from college where you’ve been playing in a certain scheme for four years, you’ve got it down pat. You feel confident. The main thing was just kind of getting used to the offense and getting my confidence up to where you know you can do certain things. So confidence was a big boost.

"I’m trying to be a dominant player. I know I have the ability. It’s just a matter of being consistent with it because there’s times where I showed flashes of being a really good player, and then there’s other times where I didn’t. So I’m just trying to be more consistent this year."

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  • Travis

    I still can’t believe we got this guy with the fourth pick. Much better than Fisher and Joeckel

    • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

      and personally, I’m happy with him over Dion Jordan, having a dominant OL is way more important to this offense and team, even if Dion were to become the player he’s hyped by our fans to be

      • Daniel Norman Richwine

        Would any Eagle fan trade straight up LJ for DJ?

        • knighn

          Most of us wouldn’t but I’m sure there’s someone who would!

        • Reasonableeaglefan

          No

        • eaglefansocal

          NO, Brandon Graham and 2nd rounder, YES.

      • knighn

        I believe the order of importance is:
        QB
        LT
        4-3 DE / 3-4 OLB
        RT
        etc, etc.

        Lane Johnson should eventually be a pro-bowl LT. Still not sure what Dion Jordan will be.

        • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

          I’d say that’s a fair hierarchy for most teams and fans. But for Chip?
          1- QB
          2a- LT
          2b- RT
          2c- C
          2d- LG
          2e- RG
          3- TE
          4- WR
          5- RB
          6- Jack OLB
          7- Predator OLB
          8- ILB
          9a, b, c- the entire DL (athletic big guys who can 2gap)
          10- CB
          11- S
          12- P

          53- K

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            I like that K is ranked below several players who won’t actually dress on Sundays. Somehow, it feels right.

          • psuphilly

            I think you’re skewing that to the strengths of our team, but it’s still in its building phase. For example, while S is a weak point on our team, we know Chip values it a lot because his S QBs the secondary (hence why he got Jenkins). And ILB I’d say is much higher (right after O-line maybe?) – every defender talks about how DeMeco is the centerpiece of the defense. He makes all the reads/calls on the field and our D would be much, much worse without him (a la Cowboys sans Sean Lee).

          • http://www.corcommunity.com/ theycallmerob

            I agree in premise with your defensive analysis; I’m (mostly) being tongue-in-cheek about listing all the offensive positions first. I was tempted to put QB2 and RB2 before the defense as well.

          • cliff henny

            I agree…MORE WEAPONS!!! I’m hoping for the day when Kelly doesn’t even carry K,P, or LS. going for all 4ths, onside kicks and going for 2 every time.

          • Andy124

            I’ll bet Kinne would be great at onside kicks.

          • psuphilly

            hahahaha didn’t even notice that…boy do I really believe in the “In Chip We Trust” sentiment :p

          • psuphilly

            (although I do agree with the vast majority of this list!)

          • Eagles1018

            Ha. Good assessment. I’d put RB higher on that list. Maybe at 7

          • CTAZPA

            What a hilarious list with some great inside-Eagles humor.

          • DirtyWaters

            Actually ST should rank above D.

      • Travis

        Never really liked Jordan as much as others did. Tackle, to me, seems to be that one position where you don’t really find a ton of top-flight guys later in the draft. Jordan looks lost in Miami. Maybe he’d do better in a 3-4. But he made little impact last year.

    • knighn

      That was one of the questions about LJ in the draft last year. Due to his inexperience: he had a lower floor. Due to his athleticism: he has a higher ceiling. If he stays healthy and keeps improving he’ll be a perennial pro bowler. We’ll have to see how everyone pans out!

      • Travis

        I think Jeff Stoutland deserves a ton of credit. Probably the most underrated coach we have. And JP is a fantastic mentor, I’m sure. Lane is a one of a kind athlete at tackle

        • knighn

          Good points, but I think these even these guys have limits… don’t make me specify the OG who is long gone.

          • Travis

            my least favorite eagles player ever. Worthless.

        • UKEagle99

          I agree. Billy Davis should start looking over his shoulder. What? Phew, those days are gone…

    • Brandon Boykin, LOL

      You’re positive about something concerning the Iggles? Egads!! Great job Lane Johnson!!!

      • Andy124

        Did you misread his screen name?

        • Brandon Boykin, LOL

          Hm? Token and I have gone back and forth about his being pessimistic and me perhaps being overly optimistic. Not sure what you mean…

          • Andy124

            Exactly. Look at who you replied to.

          • Travis

            My name is Travis. I think I have a posted a total of 3 times to this website. haha.

          • cliff henny

            well, the 1st 2 were obviously memorable to BB, LOL…so, got that going for you

          • Travis

            Seriously. I think my last post was after the season asking about if teams actually played a free and strong safeties anymore. Not sure how that’s spun as negative lol

          • cliff henny

            all he read was the ‘T’, and saw Token, who has taken negadelphian to a historic level.

          • Richard Colton

            quit being so negative Token

          • Brandon Boykin, LOL

            Wowzers. Where’s Brian Dawkins’ visor? I need to hide my face for awhile.

    • JofreyRice

      yeah, kinda upside down. Johnson was supposed to be the raw physically gifted specimen that might be a better player in the long run, and Fisher was supposed to be the plug & play franchise LT that might have a lower ceiling. Fisher was pretty bad. Hard to judge Joeckel, but considering the strength of both of those guys was supposed to be immediate consistent NFL-caliber tackle play, I have to give the edge to the T that played all 16 games for his team–mistakes and all–in Johnson.

  • EaglefaninAZ

    I’m thrilled we got him. Hope we can get another one next year. Ok… two more next year.

    • Dominik

      You mean O-Liners, I hope. We don’t need two Tackles next year, since Lane has one spot locked down. We just re-signed Peters, so I think his replacement could be a later round coach up kind of player. Give Stoutland an athlete who works hard and he’ll deliver you a solid RT in two years. ;)

      • Andy124

        Bamiro

        • Dominik

          Thought about him, too. We have to see him in preseason. There will probably at least 8, at a maximum 9 roster spots for the O-Line on the 53. The starters + Barbre are locks, of course, we need a back-up center, so there are 7 spots locked. Bamiro and the other young guns will have to fight for one or two spots. And if you won that battle, you have to fight to get to the 46 active – and that’s an uphill battle, imho. With Barbre being able to play 4 spots, I think we’ll go with 7 active, since your OT or OG won’t contribute on ST.

          • Andy124

            Yes.

          • Richard Colton

            think we can just about cut bait with Kelly. I am really intrigued to see what Bamiro can do at OG/OT during the preseason, since I don’t want Peters or Mathis to play more than 2 quarters in any game.

            If Bamiro doesn’t show us anything, its time for fire alarm estate planning next year.

          • Andy124

            Agreed. Sucks for Kelly (if we’re right). He showed some promise as a rookie. Maybe he can catch on somewhere else, like KC or NYJ.

            I think Chip just likes being the only Kelly on the team. That’s why he won’t go back to the old jersey color.

        • Johnny Domino

          Over Kelly

          • Andy124

            At this point, yes.

          • Johnny Domino

            Concur

      • EaglefaninAZ

        Yeah… I meant O-line.

  • jabostick

    I have got sky high hopes for our O-line. I REALLY hope we stay healthy

    • PaoliBulldog

      I have high hopes this season but OL is gonna need an overhaul soon.

      • jabostick

        It needs to be added to, yes, but if they have potential All-Pro’s at RT (or LT when Lane moves) and C, that’s a pretty good anchor. Peters and Mathis should give you two years to transition too.

  • Andy124

    Off topic, from Les Bowen:

    PFF is useful tallying up things like how many times a receiver was targeted, less useful at more sophisticated parsings; they basically have fans volunteer to watch games at home and deliver verdicts on whether this guy should have been covering that guy, and so on, without talking to any coaches or necessarily understanding the nuances of individual schemes. It’s notable that PFF actually graded Ryans far worse against the run than the pass, which is the opposite of what most people watching the Eagles perceived.

    As #5 once tweeted, Your thoughts?

    • Reasonableeaglefan

      It’s probably easier for an outsider to grade running plays. Passing not only requires a wide shot of the action, but also an understanding of the coverage and assignment. I’ve heard they don’t use all-22, so I don’t know how you could grade passing very well. Running plays will have better visualization, and a missed tackle is pretty clear, and Meco had his share of those last year.

    • ohitsdom

      Kempski did a good job highlighting terrible analysis by PFF’s Hornsby here: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/red_zone/Eagles-OTA-practice-notes-June-2-2014.html

      They are OK for stats, but some of their ratings are way off. I can’t remember specific examples from last year of some of their egregious ratings, but I know I felt they didn’t properly evaluate our line. 2-gapping isn’t flashy…

    • Dominik

      Upvote for content, but especially for the Donovan reference. Can’t post that thing enough. His smiling kills me.

      http://media.washtimes.com/media/image/2013/06/27/screen-shot-2013-06-27-at-33734-pm_s640x203.png?41eb2cee6f40c853b92e397ad4c600b360ec5e3f

      • Richard Colton

        call me crazy, I think Donovan has a point.

        • Dominik

          I know, I know. He leaned himself out of the window, but in the end, he was right. That’s what great analysts do.

    • JofreyRice

      my thoughts are that it’s blowback from guys that are “professional” sportstwriters paid for their opinions and analysis, against an entity that takes a lot of the “opinion” out of the conversation. Who exactly is Jimmy Kempski, if not a fan blogger? PFF correctly predicted the breakout ability of several players, including Cameron Wake, Geoff Schwartz, who cashed in in FA with the Giants, and our own resident All-Pro, Evan Mathis, when the small amount of snaps they had played ensured they weren’t on anyone’s radar. They also hated the moves bringing us James Casey, Isaac Sopoaga, and Pat Chung.

      I think Les has a bit of an “elitist” thing going on, honestly.

      • Andy124

        I think you’re right about Les, but I also don’t trust PFF very much. I guess I’m a fence sitter on this one. I’ll keep trying to make mental notes on PFF and keep an open mind.

        • JofreyRice

          Do you have some specific reasons for not trusting them? Bad review of a Nittany Lion or something? (j/k). Just a general skepticism towards an “authority” for something as subjective as performance during a football game? I could understand that.

          • Andy124

            *General skepticism for something new to me (only heard of them a couple years ago).
            *There’ve been some PFF ratings that didn’t pass the sniff test.
            *Lack of faith in the people doing the grading in terms of skill and resources. This includes but is not limited to lack of faith in anybody’s ability, other than the coaches, to accurately determine what a player’s responsibility on a given play was in order to determine how succesfully they performed that job. Reliance of tv camera angles is another significant handicap.
            *Lack of availability. They sit behind a paywall, so I can’t exactly peruse all their content and form a fully informed opinion.

            I don’t mean to overstate the case. Like I said, I’m keeping an open mind and do not claim that ‘they are teh sux’, I’m just not ready to give them the benefit of the doubt. When they say Ryans was the second to worst MLB in the NFL last year and was better against the pass than the run, I’m not taking their word for it.

          • JofreyRice

            very fair take.

          • Andy124

            At the risk of beating a dead horse, based on this conversation, I just went a took a quick look at their site. They have a post up about quarterback effectiveness per formation (shotgun, under center, pistol). They offer an explanation as to why their rating will be different from the traditional quarterback rating. It’s a logical explanation, but insufficient.

            As we all know from endless debates over Foles vs. Vick, I believe that quarterback rating is a decent stat. Reality may differ from it, but only by so much. If your eye test says the rating is WAY off, then imo, there’s something wrong with your eye test. You are simply not going to convince me that a player with a rating 36 points lower than another actually played better than the higher rated quarterback, which is exactly the kind of thing they are asserting.

            They ask us to place more faith in their evaluation of what should have happened than in what actually did happen. If we’re looking for advanced metrics, I’ll take DVOA any day.

          • JofreyRice

            see, it’s funny, I have a dislike for DVOA for almost the same reason. I think the one year they rated Joselio Hanson as one of the top cornerbacks in the entire league based on one of their metrics. Just didn’t seem right, he was never that good. An OK nickel, but IMO they were vastly overrating him.

          • ICDogg

            An issue with me is that regardless of the situation, all plays are considered equal. You get your grade on every play and they add them all together, whether it was the most important play in the game or the most meaningless.

          • OldDocRoss

            I think PFF do a lot of outstanding work and they should be applauded for trying to bring NFL stats analysis into the 21st century but they’re also terrible schills for themselves and a lot of what they do should be viewed as a work in progress.

            Take their stuff on Vinny Curry from the other day. What they said about him, whilst possessing an element of truth, was largely about getting PFF’s name out there and ignored fairly obvious shortcomings in their ‘pass rush productivity’ metric. For example it’s considerably easier to be an ‘efficient’ pass rusher if you’re only asked to step on the field when there’s a 0.0000001% chance of the other team running*.

            I suspect they are well aware of such shortcomings in their methodologies and hopefully are working to evolve. They (perfectly reasonably) don’t mention this in press releases though because they want to promote themselves as an authority on football, and the public at large prefer grandoise statements made with certainty rather than well balanced, qualified offerings.

            And then this in turn leads to eejits taking PFF rankings as gospel which is deeply frustrating.

          • JofreyRice

            eh, I don’t necessarily see things that way. Curry’s pass rush productivity definitely passes the eye-test for me. Plenty of guys get in there to rush the passer, and plenty of guys don’t get it done. Curry looks like he’s shot out of a cannon at the snap, and his first step is way too much for most interior linemen. In the opportunities he gets, he is dominant.

            As far as self-promotion, to me, nothing they do is egregious or sensational, in hopes of pushing their brand. From the Curry article the other day, they’re essentially doing what Sheil and Tim are doing here, finding content in a lean football news cycle, and presenting it for consumption–in this case, their “Secret Superstar” series, which has featured some guys that have gone on to break out. Evan Mathis was a “secret superstar” PFF darling for Cincinatti, before signing here, to start. Further, Sheil went and got their quote, they didn’t come to him. I don’t find them nearly as obnoxious in their self-promotion as a place like Bleacher Report.

          • OldDocRoss

            Pretty sure the Curry stuff on this site was taken straight from a release by PFF rather than being them offering a quote. Tim linked to the original story:

            https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/05/28/secret-superstars-2014-eagles/

            Anyway, I was just using Curry as an example because it was fresh in my mind. I agree he’s a good pass rusher, but one of the best (or at least, “most efficient”) in the last few years of the NFL? Not so much.

            Any objective review of PFF’s methodology would quickly lead you to conclude that it isn’t reasonable to grade every down the same. Somebody who is predominantly rushing on 3rd and long *should* be much more ‘efficient’ than somebody who is out there on 1st and 10 or 2nd and short.

            The thing is PFF know this themselves. It irks me a little that they hold themselves up as bastions of objectivity but aren’t always up front about their own shortcomings. I’m genuinely not hating on them or anything. They’ve got a brand to promote and if they did what *I* wanted and were more moderate in their statements they wouldn’t be nearly as successful as they are.

            Put it this way. I see PFF stats as an interesting and useful part of an informed discussion about individual players. But when I see people LOL-ing because Team X just cut the 16th best OLB and replaced him with the 42nd best I want to bang my head off of hard things.

          • JofreyRice

            i mean, they’re a football blog, they put out blog posts. I don’t see that as fundamentally different than anyone else. At least they don’t have you click through 40 page slide shows like Bleacher report, with ads on every page. Sheil & Tim seem to regard their opinions pretty highly.

            Disagree that someone who is being used in passrush situations should necessarily be more productive. I guess I just don’t see the difficulty of the task being greatly reduced just because you’re in their rushing. Third down & long are converted frequently enough every Sunday in the fall that I don’t see it as a slam dunk for passrushers to actually succeed just because they know the offense is passing.

            Like I said, check out what they said about Geno Atkins in 2011. He had less than 400 snaps on his NFL resume, and they made the “outlandish” comparison to Ndamukong Suh back then. And that’s not a one-off. They make those kind of predictions every season. Rare to see many other sources do that.

            Ultimately, I think whatever flaws they have are greatly overshadowed by what they bring to the discussion.

          • OldDocRoss

            Well, on 2nd & 1 a DL is gonna have to be pretty worried about responsibilities against the run. If you’re out there on 3rd and 14 you can pretty much pin your ears back and make a beeline for the QB.

            I do hold them in pretty high regard though. Clearly they’re a kazillion times better the Bleacher Report but for me they’re part of the discussion and there are far too many people who treat them as the be all and end all.

            They’re wrong as often as they’re right on “Secret Superstars”:

            https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2014/05/08/secret-superstars-2012-in-review/

            https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/06/22/2011-secret-superstars-how-did-they-fare/

            I mean, I’d argue their hit rate is pretty decent considering they’re mostly dealing with pretty small sample sizes when they make these projections – and kudos to them for putting this self-assessment out there (something many draftniks neglect to do) – but it does show them to be far from flawless.

          • JofreyRice

            I’d argue their hit rate is more than decent, even with the misses. The fact that they’re right at all, considering all the factors that you and others have correctly pointed out that make their job hard, is pretty amazing. I mean, if they can identify a roleplayer level guy that has the ability to go on All-Pro status, such as Cameron Wake, Geno Atkins, Greg Hardy, TJ Ward, or Evan Mathis, as they have, that really is quite impressive to me–and it all comes out of the data, not draft status, or high regard for a player’s athletic ability, etc.

            You just don’t see other people doing that on the national level. And there are some really good individual analysts out there. I think the aggregation really gives them an edge. So perfect? No. But I do think the quantity of data they collect cross referenced multiple times gives you a better single source than just about anything else, outside of team’s internal grades on players.

          • OldDocRoss

            Ward was never really a role player. He had 100-and-silly tackles as a rookie, then got injured in his second year. You or I could’ve picked him as the Browns most likely ‘Secret Superstar’ by spending 20 minutes on ESPN’s player finder thingy.

            TBH I don’t think we’re a million miles apart in our assessment of PFF though. I think a lot of what they do already is awesome. I just think/hope that in 20 years time they’ll be even better and we’ll all chuckle at some of their methodologies from days of yore.

          • JofreyRice

            You are probably right that they’ll refine and perfect things in the future, but I don’t know that I can say I could predict Ward as a Secret Superstar as confidently as you can. A guy that has a very similar profile to Ward graded out pretty horribly for them, Patrick Chung, and we saw the effects of that. I mean, that was a guy that a defensive mastermind Bill Belichick hand-picked, and PFF told us he was a pile of garbage before he ever played a snap for the Birds.

          • Reasonableeaglefan

            I agree with the concept that a pass rush specialist has certain advantages. Not only does Curry not even have to pretend to care about the run like a guy trying to get to the QB on 1st down, and he’s fresh. Both of these things can help give him that shot out of a cannon first step. That said, I like what Curry does and I’ll be following his career when he leaves to see how he transitions back to a 4-3 end. Calling him a secret superstar would imply he’ll get enough snaps to be an impact player, I hope he does, but I have my doubts.

          • Token

            A business cant promote their product? WTF?

          • OldDocRoss

            Of for the love of….

            Of course they can. I applaud them for it. For the hard of reading:

            they are well aware of such shortcomings and are working to evolve. They (PERFECTLY REASONABLY) don’t mention this in press releases…..

            My point was that frequently people mistake PFF press releases as being infallible and objective reviews of players. They’re anything but.

          • Maggie

            That’s what Bowen said, in the article quoted by Andy124.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            C’mon Doc, .00000001%?? Did you actually statistically analyze that to come up with a true %? ;-)

          • OldDocRoss

            Of course! It’s the precise probability, based on 14 years’ worth of data, of Andy Reid calling a simple run up the middle on 3rd and less than 2.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            The problem with PFF is that it ultimately measures results driven data and doesn’t always take surrounding circumstantial information into account.

          • JofreyRice

            yeah, it’s a problem, but not a fatal flaw. In other words, they get you into the ballpark, and maybe even up to home plate but you probably wouldn’t bet your life on every single rating. Often times, they do give you a pretty accurate snapshot of who a player is. For instance, look at how they rate the coverage for players like Lavonte David & Thomas Davis. They grade out as easily the best coverage 4-3 OLBs in the league, and when you watch them play the games, that’s reflected on the field.

            And I’d put their analysis ahead of any single beat writer or blogger out there. Now, I’m sure the team’s coaching staffs, that track and grade this kind of thing internally, have better and more accurate grading systems based on assignments & responsibilities, but for fan reference, I don’t think there is a better single source for objective measurement of performance out there.

            Here’s another one of their “Secret Superstars” from 2011, Geno Atkins, who was a relatively unheralded 4th round rookie with 356 snaps on his NFL resume.

            https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2011/03/11/secret-superstar-geno-atkins-cincinnati-bengals/

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I shouldn’t say problem. But data should always be used as a tool and not as the only source for analysis & defined judgement. It can point you in the right direction and give you a piece of the whole picture, but not the whole picture.

          • JofreyRice

            Yeah, but my argument that you’re getting a better picture from what PFF is giving you than just about anyone else. I mean, I guess what I’m saying is, when Les Bowen or Tommy Lawlor criticize PFF’s methods or whatever, they’re usually doing so from the perspective that their opinion should hold more weight–stated either explicitly or implied–but who are they? Literally one SINGLE person, with some degree of training and experience, almost totally blind to their own biases and prejudices for players. So in my opinion, not all tools are equal, and PFF is better than most.

          • OldDocRoss

            The only thing I’d say to that is, if you were looking to get an idea of the abilities of every player in the NFL, or even just every player at a given position, then PFF would be way better than any single person.

            If I was looking to get an opinion of any one individual player I might be better to go to one of the good local beat writers, if for no other reason than they’ll probably have info that might not show up on game tape.

          • JofreyRice

            fair enough. I’d still go with PFF. Most of these writers are more trained in the craft of writing than they are at football analysis, and are also susceptible to the team’s opinions on players.

          • OldDocRoss

            Yeah, I trust the opinions of a handful of the Philly guys because I’ve been reading them for years and they’ve shown themselves to know what they’re talking about. I assume there’s similarly smart guys in other cities but for obvious reasons I wouldn’t really know who they are.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Oh here we go with my posts being put on hold for approval. My god, I used zero profanity nor have I ever been personally vindictive towards anyone.

          • JofreyRice

            hey, “tookus” is a terrible word and shouldn’t be viewed by anyone under 35. Whoops!

          • Andy124

            Such a notorious, foul mouthed troll, all your posts should be moderated.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            For the record, I’m not against PFF at all. I personally just choose to hold judgement until I have more than just statistical data. As Andy pretty much stated, if it doesn’t pass the smell test… Then I personally will look at the tape to form an opinion based on both results data and the eye test.

          • JofreyRice

            I read your comment awaiting moderation, don’t know why the censors hit you, looked fine to me.

            Anyway, yeah, data is a tool, and of course you have to trust your own two eyes and all that. But it’s a powerful tool, IMO. PFF has season-on-season data for some of these guys going back to 2007. It’s more than a snapshot in time.

            I mean, even in the case of someone like Barwin, his PFF grades in 2012 SUCKED, because he was being used in a role he wasn’t suited for. So when they brought him in, it seemed like a bad move. The thing is, they didn’t have any intention of using him in the way Houston did, as a pure rush linebacker. They looked at his measurables, his athleticism, and all that, and envisioned him as the drop linebacker “Jack” role that Davis needed for his scheme.

            In that case, the cumulative grade for PFF was irrelevant. Even though their snapshot of who he was as a passrusher was pretty accurate (not much of one, unless unblocked), but that’s not what Davis & Co. wanted to do with him, anyway. So that piece of the puzzle–what their plan was–was hidden from any outside observers just going by PFF’s ratings of him. I mean he dropped about 9% of the time in 2012, as compared to what around 50% of the time, this year. The Eagles are playing him at a totally different position.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            I agree it’s a powerful tool, but you kind of made my exact point with the Barwin analogy. It just doesn’t always tell the whole story is what I’m getting at.

          • JofreyRice

            Yeah, that was the point I was trying to make, I agree with you. My main point of contention in all of this is the reaction to what Bowen wrote, which was basically that PFF’s analysts were unqualified and that their process for collecting data was not rigorous. He said it in so many words.

            I trust them much more than I trust Les Bowen.

          • Andy124

            I trust them much more than I trust Les Bowen.

            Hello Low Bar Alert!
            … you know I had to. lol

          • Maggie

            That’s exactly what Les said.

          • 76mustang

            Here’s PFF grades on Shady for the Detroit game, followed by the Vikings game:

            Detroit grade +2.1
            29 carries 217 yds. 2TDs
            1 reception 4 yds

            Minnesota grade +2.2
            8 carries 38 yd. 0 TDs
            5 receptions 68 yds.

            Where’s the correlation?

          • JofreyRice

            I guess you’re saying that because the rushing numbers were so much better in the Detroit game, it should have a really super high grade, and the Minnesota game should be really low, because he didn’t have many yards?

            So the Detroit game, he actually graded out at a 3.5 overall for “Rush”. He also gave up some pass protection pressures, and a hurry, producing a -0.7 in pass protection. He also came out with a -0.4 for his receiving work in the game, which brought the cumulativerating downwards. Why not a higher grade in rushing, though? I dunno. I seem to remember a bunch of negative runs in the beginning of the game before he really found his footing, maybe that affected it. He also got a lot of help from downfield blocks from Avant in that game for the really big runs, IIRC, so he doesn’t get graded quite as highly.

            For the Minny game, he had a rush grade of 0.0 overall, but added a better pass and run block grade (0.6 and 0.5, respectively) along with a 1.4 receiving grade; he had 68 yards total, but actually produced 81 YAC, meaning he was catching the ball behind the line and making something happen where it probably shouldn’t have.

            So the cumulative grades were similar, even though McCoy did different good things to earn them in the two games. I guess for me, the bigger picture is that McCoy graded as their #1 rusher in the league, by A LOT, so whatever objections one may have to individual plays or games seems to come out in the wash, in the end.

          • 76mustang

            Thanks for the breakout JR – the other piece that’s missing in the Detroit game is 2 TDs – seems like a TD run/reception should grade higher. Plus, game context/outcome should play a part in the grade – did his contribution directly result in the team winning/losing? I’m certainly not as schooled in the PFF grading system as yourself, so maybe there are explanations for why/how they measure individual play – just seems odd that a player would have an historic performance (franchise record for rushing in a game, most rushing yds (148) in the 4th qtr in any game the past 20 seasons), and get down graded so much for pass protection pressures and 1 hurry, and for fellow teammates doing their job and blocking down field for him.

            Anyway, like you said, the bigger picture is he graded #1 by a wide margin.

          • Andy124

            It’s good they at least break it out. Because just rolling it up in to the overall, I think those breakouts ought to be weighted a bit.

          • JofreyRice

            Yeah, I do think they underrate certain aspects of the game that really affect the overall tone and complexion of the contest. Turnovers, kick returns, etc. Figuring out how to fix that is tricky, but there are definitely ways for them to improve.

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Didn’t he change from a metal (grass) cleat to a shorter plastic (turf) cleat & then went off on the tear.

          • JofreyRice

            I don’t remember the details of that. I meant to go rewatch that game, but I haven’t gotten a chance yet.

          • Andy124

            If they gave a bad review of a nittany lion, I wouldn’t be keeping an open mind. I’d verbally eviscerate them at every turn. :)

          • Jerry Pomroy

            Man I was at the PSU game versus Michigan State MANY moons ago when Ki-Jana went off for like 4-5 TDs. I loved that guy, I loved that team. Wish they could’ve stayed at PSU forever.

          • Andy124

            Awesome. I was there when they won #300 for Joe. Whole damn stadium got choked up afterwards. Nobody wanted to leave. At least, I like to think is was the whole damn stadium and not just me and Joe.

      • Token

        Its data. Its supposed to be a piece of the puzzle when looking at the overall picture. I think they do a pretty good job. I dunno, I think many Philly writers just hate work. Seems easier for Les to just write down what he thinks he saw then have to look into numbers at more depth.

        If you ever see Les tweeting about possible FA signings etc…. he always says he doesnt know much about this player or that player. Much easier than looking into data, going back and watching footage etc.. to come up with an actual opinion.

        • JofreyRice

          yeah, i guess what I’m saying is that guys like Les that dis them really don’t seem to have a good sense of their process or track record–even based on such a short time that they’ve been relevant.

          I got into PFF back in maybe…2009, whenever we got Ernie Sims? They were pretty small back then, and a lot of their core guys who have gone on to bigger things now, were doing the analysis. Sam Monson, Khaled Elsayed, Hornsby, himself. I think Sims was their worst rated OLB in the NFL. His grades against the run were awful, missed a ton of tackles, and his “billing” was that he was so fantastic against the run; a headbuster, etc. PFF was right. The people (including a professional Defensive Coordinator cough cough “shark in the water”) championing Sims were wrong. He was a liability in exactly the way his grades had suggested. That’s reality.

        • Maggie

          Regardless of PFF, Mr. Bowen is technically supposed to be neutral about which team wins or loses. He has also been doing sports reporting for a long time. Les is undoubtedly just as bored by the same old process every single day, or year, as anyone working on an assembly line. After 20 or 30 years do you seriously think he CARES about whether some 300 pound lineman makes the PS or not? The only interesting things anymore are the perks; i.e. free lunches, passes to interesting events, etc.

    • Kev_H

      Less useful compared to what?

      • OldDocRoss

        He (Les) is saying their figures on targets etc are of use, their more subjective figures where the ‘grader’ has to make a call on elements of scheme are not so useful.

        • Kev_H

          I understand that, but I don’t get Bowen’s point. Does he do a better job of that? It’s just football and analysis, which I love to read, but you have to take it all worth a grain of salt and PFF analysis is useful and interesting and probably a lot more solid than what goes on around the draft. Outside of (recent) former GMs, personnel men, coaches, and players speaking within their areas of experience, everything else regarding football analysis, is entertaining noise- including what we write here where I come as much for the comments as anything else.

          • OldDocRoss

            I think all he was saying was that Ryans had an up and down year, and he was trying to head off anyone whose argument was “He’s the 2nd worst LB in the league because PFF!”.

      • Andy124

        Analysis by analysts?

        • anon

          so you’re saying you trust what you hear on ESPN more?

          • Andy124

            No, I’m saying Les does.
            EDIT: I trust what I read from Sheil, McManus, Lawlor, Growton, Kempski, etc. and my own eyes more.

        • Andy124

          This is actually not a correct answer to the question that was asked. See Joseph of ODR for a relevant answer. My bad.

      • JosephR2225

        The raw data. Snap counts, snaps in coverage versus pass rush snaps, catch rates, yac counts, etc.

    • Tom Kazansky

      Nevermind…missed that reasonableeaglefan mentioned PFF not using All 22.

    • Maggie

      As hit-or-miss as the old Neilson ratings.

      • JofreyRice

        Baloney. You don’t have the kind of predictive success they can boast without good data.

        • Maggie

          ” have fans volunteer to watch games at home and deliver verdicts”

          • JofreyRice

            right, a complete oversimplification and mischaracterization by Bowen that feeds right into your confirmation bias, therefore: MUST BE TRUE. “What do I really know about their methods?”, ask yourself that.

          • Maggie

            Calm down. If you really like PFF that’s fine. Other folks are just as entitled to dislike the site. Or distrust. Or are just plain indifferent.

          • JofreyRice

            I’m perfectly calm. dude. Calmer than you are. Calmer than you are.

            You can have whatever opinion you want, and I can disagree with you in text form. That’s how this thing works.

          • ICDogg

  • Andy

    I would like to see what the lunch buffet at LeCharles Bentley’s clinic looks like.

    • Warhound

      I want to see the lunch buffer at the Charles Barkley clinic.

      • Andy124

        I want to see a lunch buffet from a Bentley.

        • A_T_G

          Well, you’d be eating with Nnamdi. Still interested?

      • Maggie

        Probably much the same, as he has lost quite a bit of weight.

  • Salwc2k

    I don’t know but to me he was pretty dominant with the exception of one ir two games especially in the run game…with some improvement in pass protection And this guy is a total beast for many years to come. Best 1st rd draft choice by the eagles in some time (maybe all time).