We may be in the middle of the Perfect Storm here, folks – we are rapidly approaching the Deadzone and the NFL Lockout is now at a standstill worse than the parking lot after a Monster Truck Rally at Everbank. That’s the kind of sickening, synergistic nightmare normally reserved for the times where you drink tequila until you can’t see straight and then get duped into back-to-back Jaegerbombs…and I would know, because that’s how my Cinco De Mayo turned out. Cheers.
This affords us ample opportunity, however, to really “pop the hood”, so to speak, on the Jaguars team we will hopefully be watching make a playoff charge in what is hopefully the 2011 NFL season. There is much concern out there in the Black&Teal stratosphere over many perceived “holes” in the Jaguars’ roster. To allay your fears or perhaps, worsen them, your next several BOOK IT installments (catch ’em every Thursday) will be examining these positions with an attention to detail normally reserved for your grandmother combing over the coupons in the Sunday paper.
I will divulge my method, so you can trust in it’s legitimacy; using the premium stats at Pro Football Focus, I examine the seasonal and game-by-game statistical performances of our players to get “leads” on ideas. After these are formed, I go into the play-by-play breakdowns of relevant games on NFL.com and dig even deeper. In every play available, I watch the video because in the end, your eyes will always tell you more than a stat sheet. I am not regurgitating the thoughts of others and since they are my own scientific findings, you should probably hold them with as much credence as you’re giving the guy who thinks we’ll all be sucked into Rapture this Saturday. However, since I’ve spent considerable time on them and pretty much know as much about the Jaguars as this guy knows about World of Warcraft – you should probably listen. If you are unfamiliar with Pro Football Focus, check them out here and read this page that explains how they grade player performances.
- 1.) Rashean Mathis does not stink as much as you think. In fact, when he plays well, he’s still playing at a very high (though not very physical) level. All of you Madden-folk trying to scheme your way into 141-17 wins that think Rashean Mathis can play safety – well, you couldn’t be more wrong. I know the argument, already, so save your breath: he started his career back there, he still has great awareness, but has lost his elite speed…whatever. Save it. He’s a great athelete, but not physical enough for safety. Tackling is a last resort for him. However, Rashean is still covering receivers well, albeit with a few shortcomings, which will be discussed in point #2. Here is Rashean’s complete statline for the year:
"Rashean Mathis: Played 987 out of 1,008 defensive snaps Thrown at 66 times for 39 receptions, a 59.1% completion rate Allowed 589 yards for 15.1 yds/rec, 8.9 yds/att Allowed 177 yards after the catch, 30% of the yardage he surrendered, for 4.5 yac/rec 5 TD allowed, 1 INT, 6 PD 107.4 QB Rating against"
Let’s look at Mathis’ best games of 2010 – he was “in the green” according to PFF in Week 1 vs. the Broncos and Week 11 vs. the Browns. Against the Broncos, here were the passing statistics against Mathis.
"2/6, 27 yards, 4.5 yd/att, 25 long, 3 yac, 1 PD, 48.6 QB Rating"
Brandon Lloyd, who won the 2010 receiving crown and had 11 TD’s, was thrown at twice with Mathis in coverage and made one catch for 25 yards. You might remember it – he had roughly one step on Rashean and made a diving catch inches off the ground that was challenged and upheld. Jabbar Gaffney was 0-for-3 on passes his way with Mathis in coverage. Their FB also caught one pass for 2 yds before being tackled by Rashean. Take away that circus catch and he was perfect. Let’s see how he fared against Cleveland…
"4/6, 52 yards, 8.7 yd/att, 22 long, 14 yac, 1 PD, 93.8 QB Rating"
Chansi Stuckey was 2/2, one catch for 16 yds (8 of which were yac) and one catch for no gain. Mohammed Massaquoi was 1/3 with a 14 yard grab. 2nd string TE Evan Moore had a 22 yd catch (6 yac), but this was in the final drive and the Jaguars were in Prevent-D. Not too shabby either. So when Rashean’s good he’s good – big deal. Let’s see how he looks when it gets bad…