The Daily Lard 12-2-11

Happy Friday, Broncos fans! You may recall that the other day I applauded the "spirit of what (Kerry) Byrne and CHFF are trying to do" with their "Real QB Rating" before going on to criticize Byrne's interpretation of the numbers CHFF's new metric had spit out. Well, I guess I should have looked deeper into this Real QB Rating, because as Mike Tanier explains in great detail, it has extreme flaws. Relax, Tebowmaniacs - none of this is a criticism of Tim, but rather of CHFF's methods as they relate to Real QB Rating.

So, here's the problem with it: Real QB Rating relies upon the old-school QB Rating as a framework, and it overcredits completion percentage in a big way - and as my friend Ted Bartlett has written many times already, completion percentage is completely overrated (although I wouldn't go as far as to say it's worthless). As Tanier shows, a slight improvement in completion % without adding even a yard of production has a significant positive impact on a QB rating, and that's just not going to help us evaluate a quarterback.

The issue with Total QB Rating is that it not only adds rushing yards to passing yards (a very good thing), it treats every rushing attempt as equal to a pass completion, which of course Woody Paige thinks is a great idea since it makes Tebow sound like Tom Brady. (Trust me, when Chase Stuart suggested treating them as such, he didn't mean that it would make sense to subsequently throw the data back into the old QB Rating formula.)

So, a formula that overcredits completion percentage to begin with is, in Tebow's case, now overcrediting his rushes, too. As Tanier writes,

This system is not awarding points for rushing well. It is awarding points for rushing, period...But those extra carries can also lower interception rates, causing [Real QB Rating] to slide off of the old efficiency rating for reasons that have nothing to do with anything. It’s an incredible source of statistical noise that makes a bad situation worse when using an already out-of-date metric.

In my column on Wednesday I wrote,

It's pretty bad, quite frankly - virtually a page out of the playbook for how to misinterpret and overstate stats and their meaning...the manner in which Byrne is presenting the data for Tebow's 2011 starts is completely self-serving and ignores some crucial context...Sure seems like a bit of thinly-veiled self-promotion, Worldwide Leader-style...did you notice how it comes at the end of the article after multiple proclamations that Tebow is doing things on the football field better than many of the greatest players in NFL history ever did and are doing? The damage has already been done, because if you're buying into the ludicrous assertions Byrne makes throughout his column, no two-liner thrown in at the close is going to bring you back to reality.

Similarly, Tanier writes,

But there is a major problem with taking a strange, anomalous result, ignoring all warning signs, and trumpeting it as some hidden truth in the name of making money on an article because it happens to say what you want it to say about a currently popular player...They could have realized the obvious flaw in their method, or at least said something to the effect that "Tebow is blowing up our system." Instead, they spun this critical conceptual error into "Only our stats can see how well Tebow is doing, but yours can’t." That was lazy, irresponsible, dishonest, and frankly embarrassing to my entire profession...Grabbing stats off the back of a football card and twiddling with them is not amateurish, because amateurism implies effort and love. It’s just weak and juvenile. And I am guessing this Super Duper Rating will disappear once it starts spitting out results its designers don’t like or cannot profit from.

What it comes down to is this: when folks set out to prove something via stats (rather than coming up with sound metrics and then seeing what comes out), they make fools of themselves, and they drag the rest of us down with them with their haphazardness.

Broncos


In his weekly column, Albert Breer writes that Von Miller at times this season "rubbed some veteran defensive players the wrong way, in having the air about him that he had it all figured out as a rookie."

Arnie StapletonJeff Legwold and Andrew Mason on the injury status of Miller, who may be out for Sunday's game. Plus, notes from Legwold and practice photos via Mason.

Mike Klis on the test of patience that is playing WR with Tim Tebow at QB, plus Arnie on Eric Decker's emergence. Meanwhile, Legwold points out that Demaryius Thomas has become the forgotten man since Tebow took over, seeing a paltry 13 targets over the past five games.

Arnie focuses on the stellar job turned in by Dennis Allen.

Legwold says that if ADP doesn't play this week, then the Denver defense's next big RB test will arrive in the form of Matt Forte next week.

As Mason points out, it's been a while since the Broncos have entered a game with a far better record than their opponent.

Woody Paige checks in on the Colquitt punting family.

Video of John Fox, Dennis Allen and Mike McCoy speaking after practice, notes and photos from Gray Caldwell, and more on the defense from Kenny Legan.

Brandon Lloyd says all the Broncos had to do this year was really, really commit to a quarterback.

Add some geeks at Harvard to the list of folks saying Tebow has to play better if the Broncos are to keep winning.

Vikings


Jason Cole and Mike Freeman react to the latest dumping of Donovan McNabb, plus Leslie Fraziers comments.

RB Adrian Peterson and LB E.J. Henderson haven't practiced but both hope to play Sunday.

Toby Gerhart's been getting the practice snaps in ADP's absence.

Trimmings


The Seahawks mauled the Eagles 31-14 thanks to 148 yards and two TDs from Marshawn Lynch, who celebrated his scores by munching on some Skittles on the Seattle bench. On the other sideline, DeSean Jackson was apparently giving his teammates the silent treatment. Matt Bowen theorizes on the Eagles' poor effort.

Shares of the Packers are being offered for $250 a pop.

Scott Kacsmar explains why the notion of Philip Rivers being more clutch in December than Tony Romo is pretty much just a myth, just like any claims of clutchness tend to be.

Ben Muth breaks down the excellent guard play of the Saints, while Matt Bowen considers how their D will match up with Megatron.

Stefan Fatsis offers his take on what's been going with Shanny in Washington and how it affects his legacy. Meanwhile, Bill Barnwell on the annual ritual of the G-Men quitting on Tom Coughlin.

Pat Kirwan and Bucky Brooks preview the week; Kirwan thinks the Broncos keep the streak alive.

Over at ANS, the Broncos are all the way up to a 36% chance of making the playoffs.

Tanier is taking the Broncos among his weekly picks, although he's doing so under the assumption Von Miller is playing.

Scrapple


Khaled Elsayed lists the most dominant single-game pass-rushing performances of the season thus far. Von Miller's not in the top 10 but makes two appearances in the top 25.

Josh Katzowitz includes both Eric Decker and Tim Tebow among his list of the best second-year players in the league.

Drew Magary previews the week's games, plus KSK's latest Sex/FF Mailbag.

Some prospect risers and fallers according to Wes Bunting.

Mike Leach has been hired to coach Washington State, and nobody is happier than Chris Brown.

The newest entrants to Grantland's YT HOF: terrible '80s toys.

Doug is IAOFM’s resident newsman and spelling czar. Follow him on Twitter @IAOFM

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