Bill Barnwell over on Grantland recently came out with a piece that analyzes some key statistics from the previous season in trying to project win totals for the following season. Barnwell did a good job last year predicting some of the improvements made by the Colts, Redskins, and Vikings. Of the factors he’s highlighted the last two years, the following are particularly relevant to the Jaguars:
- Replacing the Head Coach
- Replacing the quarterback
- Games decided by one touchdown or less
- the Pythagorean Theorem
The first point is self explanatory – new head coach Gus Bradley has already established himself as a player’s coach that has the personality to lead a franchise. Barnwell argues that the corollary between replacing your head coach and making a leap is not as direct as it seems. Not every new coach is Jim Harbaugh. Before training camp we don’t have too much of a basis to evaluate Gus Bradley, but early returns are promising.
The second point is another variable for the Jaguars – who is going to be the starting quarterback? An educated guess is Blaine Gabbert, which would trend the Jaguars towards not improving. Unfortunately there’s little to believe the other options at quarterback will change the Jaguars’ prospects. There are no Cam Newtons or Matt Ryans on the roster.
Matt Scott may start sometime this season, but likely won’t have the impact of previous rookie QBs.
The Jaguars made an appearance in Barnwell’s article with the third point. The Jaguars were among the worst in the league in games decided by one score, going 2-5 overall in 2012. For me, this statistic illustrated something more disturbing about the team in 2012 – both wins came in games decided by less than one score. The Jaguars were incapable of scoring enough points to establish a big lead in any game, the largest blame being directed towards the quarterback play.
The Pythagorean Theorem is a formula derived from sports’ analytics that can estimate what a team’s record should be based on point differential. A more thorough explanation is available in the second Barnwell article linked above. Using this formula on the 2012 Jaguars yields an expected win percentage of 0.211, or between 3 and 4 wins. The Jaguars underperformed while being outscored by almost 200 points in 2012. In the end, finishing 3-13 over 2-14 doesn’t matter too much but it may come into play this year if the Jaguars end up in the Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89