Applying average depth to Patriots pass catchers


Applying average depth to Patriots pass catchers

Mike Clay has outdone himself.

Clay, one of the brains behind, introduced a new football statistic Tuesday he says should make all old pass catching stats "obsolete."

It's called Average Depth of Target.

Why is aDOT a better study than yards-per-reception, yards-per-target, and yards-after-catch? It includes a sample size larger than receptions, better compensates for outliers, and is predictive.

But the best part? There was no regular NFL stat that told us where a guy was on the field when targeted. Now there is.

So what can depth-of-target tell us about the Patriots?

Three New England players show up on Clay's list of top and bottom 10 wide receivers and tight ends: Brandon Lloyd, Aaron Hernandez, Wes Welker.

"For some perspective, the NFL average aDOT is 0.4 for a running back, 12.0 for a wide receiver, and 8.0 for a tight end," Clay explains.

Lloyd sits pretty in the number three spot with an aDOT of 16.6. This confirms his explosive downfield ability and points to where the Patriots can use him. The second thing to glean is how his depth is averaged over such a large number of receptions (144). Lloyd is the only guy in the top 10 who caught over 140 balls; Mike Wallace is next best with 122.

The other two Patriots pass catchers are ranked in Clay's bottom 10, at 109 (Hernandez) and 113 (Welker). Keep in mind that on this chart, being a cellar-dweller is not necessarily a bad thing.

Hernandez, a hybrid tight end-receiver, has a normalized aDOT of 7.8 on 134 catches. Makes sense, as he's a guy who works both downfield and out of the backfield.

Welker is lowest since 2008 among wide receivers with 50 targets in 2011. His number is low even for a slot guy, but that's just how the Patriots use him: underneath as a possession player.

Chad Ochocinco is an interesting one. Based on his 2,694 yards on 207 catches in the last four years, you'd assume he sits in the top half. Indeed, Ochocinco is right around 22nd highest out of 91 receiver samples.

But the truly telling thing is, in an isolation of 2011 when he had just 15 catches, Ochocinco was at 20.2. That number blows Clay's 12.0 receiver average to smithereens. It also seems to say the guy has just one, two routes in his repertoire: go or out.

Is that what the Patriots brought Ocho in for? Sure, he's got a great depth score, but it comes via a limited repertoire and he doesn't always get open.

Check out for more interesting number play.

Giardi's stopwatch: Brady quick vs. Steelers


Giardi's stopwatch: Brady quick vs. Steelers

How quick was Tom Brady's release in the New England Patriots win over the The Pittsburgh Steelers? Glad you asked. 

On average, Brady took 2.11 seconds to release the ball. That’s not as quick as he was against Cleveland, when averaged 1.86 seconds, but still pretty flippin' quick.

2.05 - Gun. Edelman crosser 9 yards
0.80 - WR screen to Edelman - 2 yards
5.34 - Gun. Flushed. 13 yards to White
2.04 - Gun. Edelman crosser. 6 yards
1.59 - Gun. Screen to White. 19 yards. TD
1.65 - Gun. Edelman at the hash. 9 yards
1.72 - Gun. Edelman crosser. 11 yards
3.17 - Gun. Hogan outside the numbers. 13 yards
2.25 - Play action. Incomplete short left to White
1.24 - Edelman right flat. 6 yards
2.37 - Gun. Deep in to Gronkowski. 13 yards
2.20 - play action. Happy feet, Incomplete to Bennett
2.90 - Gun. Bolden drop
1.53 - Gun. Incomplete to White at the numbers
1.79 — Gun. Edelman crosser. 7 yards
1.36 - Gun. Short right to Blount. 7 yards
1.66 - Gun. Edelman drop 
3rd Quarter
3.44 - Gun. Awful backhanded flip throw. Incomplete to White
2.25 - Gun. Crosser to Bennett. 5 yards
1.39 - Gun. Short right to Edelman. 3 yards
2.18 - Gun. Ground seam. 36 yards. TD
1.59 - Gun. Short middle to Edelman. 11 yards
1.33 - Gronkowski. short right. 7 yards
3.16 - Play action. 37 yards to Gronkowski
3.89 - Gun. Pressure. Incomplete deep left to Mitchell

Brady on NFL handling of Brown case: 'They claim to take tough stances'


Brady on NFL handling of Brown case: 'They claim to take tough stances'

Since more information came out last week about Giants kicker Josh Brown's history of abusing women, the prevailing feeling for many Patriots fans has been this: How can Brown be suspended one game for doing something so heinous when Tom Brady was suspended four games for allegedly removing air from footballs.

The acts can't be compared, obviously. But the league's attitude in its pursuit of the each situation has served as an indicator of the NFL's priorities for many. 

On WEEI's Kirk and Callahan Show on Monday, Brady was asked if, in light of recent events, he's been angered any further by how the league handled his situation versus how it handled Brown's.

"I think it's the league's issue," Brady said. "Obviously a lot of controversy with that. I'm trying to stay out of all that. I'll let them handle it. I think that's their responsibility. But I certainly don't condone any part of domestic violence. It's a terrible, terrible thing, but I think the league, they've got to handle those type of things."

But, co-host Kirk Minihane asked, has Brady been satisfied with how the league has handled Brown's case and others like it? Brady laughed.

"I'm just gonna stay in my lane, Kirk," he said. "It's up to them to decide whatever they want to do, and I'm just gonna stay out of any . . . my opinions. I certainly have opinions. I just don't really care to share them."

Why not, co-host Gerry Callahan asked?

"Why not? Gerry, why not?" Brady asked. "C'mon, man."

But what was there to tip-toe around? The consensus on Brown, and the league's handling of Brown's situation, has been relatively unanimous, Brady was reminded.

Brady then offered more.

"I grew up with three sisters and I was very fortunate to learn from a loving father and a loving mother how to treat and respect women," Brady said. "And I have a daughter of my own, and I have no . . . Domestic violence is a horrible issue. It's a tragedy when it happens. Any type of abuse or bullying of people who can't defend themselves or fight for themselves, I have no respect for that.

"The NFL, they claim to take tough stances, and this is their situation. This is their situation to deal with so I'll let them deal with it. Like I said, I'm very fortunate to grow up with sisters and a mother and I condone no part of that. That is absolutely something I would never be a part of or do. It's just a terrible tragedy."