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Thread: Real Reason for Slide in Interest for AB?

  1. #1
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    Real Reason for Slide in Interest for AB?

    If I am a GM, this information would at least make me raise one eyebrow, if not two:

    Brown vs. His Teammates

    From 2014-17, Brown had a 68.3% catch rate and 9.3 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) when targeted by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. This season, he has a 57.9% catch rate and 5.7 AY/A on Roethlisbergerís passes.
    In fact, of any Steelers pass-catcher targeted more than 25 times by Roethlisberger this year, Brown has been the least efficient with his targets (per the RotoViz AY/A app (http://rotoviz.com/aya-app/)).

    • TE Jesse James (32 targets): 11.7 AY/A
    • TE Vance McDonald (49 targets): 10.3 AY/A
    • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (109 targets): 9.4 AY/A
    • RB James Conner (64 targets): 7.4 AY/A
    • WR Ryan Switzer (33 targets): 7.1 AY/A
    • WR Antonio Brown (122 targets): 5.7 AY/A

    Whatís going on?
    Is This a Big Ben Problem?

    Is it possible that Roethlisberger is the one to blame for Brownís decline?
    Maybe.
    After all, JuJu has dropped from a 13.0 AY/A last year to a 9.4 this year. Of course, his 2017 mark also was totally unsustainable: Itís not surprising that heís seen some second-year regression. As it is, heís still been way more efficient than Brown on a significant number of targets.
    And what about the other pass-catchers?
    James has massively outperformed his 2017 mark of 6.8 AY/A. Similarly, McDonald has outperformed last yearís mark of 8.9. Switzer has been more efficient than wide receivers Eli Rogers (2.3) and Martavis Bryant (6.6) were last year. Even Conner has been more efficient than running back LeíVeon Bell was last year (6.1) and over the past four years (7.2).
    If we look at Pro Football Focusí passing data, we see that this year Roethlisberger is 24th among all quarterbacks in accuracy rate. Thatís not good. At the same time, itís actually right in line with (and slightly better than) what weíve seen out of Roethlisberger over the past couple of years.

    • 2018: 73.3%
    • 2017: 72.2%
    • 2016: 72.7%

    In general, it looks like Roethlisberger isnít worse as a passer than he has been in the recent past. Brownís decline might not be a Big Ben problem.

    Maybe Brown is just as good as he has been in previous seasons, and maybe Roethlisberger isnít any less of a passer. Maybe something is just off in their connection for some random reason.
    Using PFF data, Iíve tracked Brownís regular-season uncatchable target rates since 2014.

    • 2018: 45 uncatchable targets in 11 games (1st), 37.2% of targets
    • 2017: 42 uncatchable targets in 14 games (tie-2nd), 27.1% of targets
    • 2016: 43 uncatchable targets in 15 games (12th), 28.5% of targets
    • 2015: 50 uncatchable targets in 16 games (tie-8th), 26.3% of targets
    • 2014: 39 uncatchable targets in 16 games (tie-9th), 21.9% of targets

    While itís common for Brown to see a high number of uncatchable targets ó in part because heís targeted so frequently ó his uncatchable target rate has definitely jumped this year.
    But what does that mean?
    While itís easy to think that the fault for an uncatchable target lies with the quarterback ó and it might ó hereís what an uncatchable target literally means: Based on where the receiver was and where the ball landed, the receiver was not physically capable of catching it.
    Where the receiver is on the field impacts whether he can catch the ball. If the receiver isnít where the ball is thrown, it might mean the quarterback made a bad pass, but it also might mean he accurately threw it where he wanted to but the receiver didnít get there. An uncatchable target could be a matter of timing ó and it also might be a matter of receiver skill.
    Iíve combed through enough of the PFF data to see that in many instances subpar receivers have elevated uncatchable target rates.
    For instance, third-round rookie James Washington (56.5%). Itís not as if people are blaming Roethlisberger for the young wide receiverís first-year struggles. On the whole, Roethlisberger is just as accurate this year as he was last year and the year before that. Itís possible ó and maybe probable ó that Washingtonís struggles have more to do with Washington than with Big Ben.
    When a good quarterback throws a number of uncatchable targets to a receiver, some of the fault probably lies with the receiver. Roethlisberger is a good quarterback. His accuracy is intact. But something is off in the Roethlisberger-Brown connection.
    That something might be Brown himself.

    Almost no one is talking about Brownís newfound receiving inefficiency because heís compensated for it with enhanced touchdown production, but make no mistake: Brownís not having just a bad year for him. On a per-target basis, heís having a bad year for anyone.
    Itís possible that what weíve seen so far is merely a short-term anomaly. Brown could certainly progress to his career averages as the playoffs approach and the regular season ends.
    But itís also possible that, at the age of 30, heís starting to slow down. Not since his injury-impacted 2012 season has Brown had a receiving average as low as his 79.5 yards per game. From 2011-17, Brown had 120-plus yards receiving in 25 games, hitting that threshold at an obnoxiously high 23.6% rate.
    This year, in 11 games, heís failed to hit that mark once.
    In fact, itís possible that Brownís slowdown subtly started last year. Based on the RACR metric created by Josh Hermsmeyer (http://rotoviz.com/2016/08/using-air-yards-to-better-predict-receiving-yards/) of FiveThirtyEight and 4for4, Brownís inefficiency isnít just a one-year issue.

    • 2018: 0.67
    • 2017: 0.70
    • 2016: 0.80
    • 2015: 0.86
    • 2014: 0.91

    RACR is an efficiency metric that measures how effective a receiver is at transforming his targets and air yards into receptions, yards after the catch and ultimately receiving yards.
    In 2014, Brown was wonderfully efficient given his massive volume, turning every air yard into 0.91 receiving yards. Since then, though, his yardage-based efficiency has steadily declined. Now, heís literally the least efficient RACR receiver on the Steelers with more than 25 targets.

    • RB James Conner (64 targets): 16.6
    • TE Vance McDonald (49 targets): 1.73
    • TE Jesse James (32 targets): 1.5
    • WR Ryan Switzer (33 targets): 1.5
    • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster (109 targets): 1.1
    • WR Antonio Brown (122 targets): 0.67

    Itís possible that Brownís slowing down.
    But itís also possible that he isnít.
    He might already be retired.
    https://www.actionnetwork.com/nfl/an...tthew-freedman

  2. #2
    Pro Bowler

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    He is also double and triple covered so there is less margin for error throwing him the ball and less chance for RAC yards.

  3. #3
    Legend

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    Big Ben completed 67% of all his passes for over 5,000 yards. I don't think he is the problem. The problem is he tried to keep AB happy and forced throws to him, especially early in the season

    If we can get a 2nd round pick for AB we should grab it. A 1st round pick is out of the question. Realistically, I see a 3rd and maybe one or two other picks. AB has done nothing to make himself a "hot commodity"

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Big Ben completed 67% of all his passes for over 5,000 yards. I don't think he is the problem. The problem is he tried to keep AB happy and forced throws to him, especially early in the season

    If we can get a 2nd round pick for AB we should grab it. A 1st round pick is out of the question. Realistically, I see a 3rd and maybe one or two other picks. AB has done nothing to make himself a "hot commodity"
    agreed....

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo View Post
    Big Ben completed 67% of all his passes for over 5,000 yards. I don't think he is the problem. The problem is he tried to keep AB happy and forced throws to him, especially early in the season

    If we can get a 2nd round pick for AB we should grab it. A 1st round pick is out of the question. Realistically, I see a 3rd and maybe one or two other picks. AB has done nothing to make himself a "hot commodity"
    I think that his completion percentage is high because we ran so many shorter throws.

    This is from the 2017-2018 season:
    https://www.footballoutsiders.com/st...p-ball-project


    Ben Roethlisberger (https://brickwallblitz.com/2018/03/28/the-2017-18-deep-ball-project/#BenRoethlisberger) was the least accurate passer under pressure and into tight windows. In comparison to previous years when he was a downfield passing master, Roethlisberger's decision-making was awful last year, constantly making questionable throws to the point where he looked like he was chucking the ball up regardless if the receiver was open or not.

    I wonder if our staff saw the same thing in 2017-2018 and that drove the decision to throw more short passes?

  6. #6
    Legend

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    Those are really interesting numbers. There were definitely games where it seemed like Ben forced the ball to AB, which would certainly account for some of those stats. And there were a few missed connections, based on either missed throws or missed communications - I imagine that a few long completions would alter those stats at some level, too.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by phillyesq View Post
    Those are really interesting numbers. There were definitely games where it seemed like Ben forced the ball to AB, which would certainly account for some of those stats. And there were a few missed connections, based on either missed throws or missed communications - I imagine that a few long completions would alter those stats at some level, too.
    In fairness, AB had worked so many miracles on catches that he had no business making that I think Ben threw the ball his way at times when he wouldn't have done it for other WR's. At least, that's the way it appeared to me.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sugar View Post
    In fairness, AB had worked so many miracles on catches that he had no business making that I think Ben threw the ball his way at times when he wouldn't have done it for other WR's. At least, that's the way it appeared to me.
    I think this is true too.

  9. #9
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    AB was free-lancing more and more ... not running routes the way he was supposed to. In his own eyes, he got to be bigger than the team. Before his trade value plummets any further, get the best pick you can for him (which may be a 3rd rounder or lower at this point) and don't look back.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzz View Post
    AB was free-lancing more and more ... not running routes the way he was supposed to. In his own eyes, he got to be bigger than the team. Before his trade value plummets any further, get the best pick you can for him (which may be a 3rd rounder or lower at this point) and don't look back.
    I don't think we can tade him until the new league year.

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