YPAL: Objective Vs. Subjective

In this version of Why Do You Only Post After Losses You Horrible Person, I'll be examining my views of subjective analysis on Football, as well as other things that irk me make me a pleasant and wonderful fan to be around.

First Up Theme Music: From the Ashes by Gamma Ray

Objective Analysis vs Subjective Analysis

Let me preface what I'm sure will be a very controversial section. The reason I write these articles is because I'm a football fan. Being a football fan I absolutely do many of the things that I'm about to criticize. I'm not attacking fans I'm questioning fan perception as a source of knowledge about a football team. Please send all hate mail words of adulation my way.

I've touched on this before but I am very worried about intangibles and the eye test as sources of realistic football analysis. Why might that be? Well the problem is merely that you can't even correlate these things into wins. How much does Player X not exhibiting leadership affect the game perversely.  Can you quantify it? It'd be nice, but it's simply not possible.

Another iffy factor is biased views of Football games that come from being a fan of a particular team. Here's something I've noticed myself doing while watching games. When our team makes a play on offense, who is responsible? Well of course our offensive player. When there's a pass breakup for our defense, who makes the play? Why the defense of course. Now perhaps there are quite a number of you out there who can easily proportion responsibility between an opposing team and our own, I wish I was you.

What am I getting at? Subjective analysis can and often is correct but is a flawed metric and has little correlative value in actual wins. It's my opinion that many subjective things, like intangibles and "how well a person plays", can actually be represented well with objective statistics.  Now, objective statistics seem very flawed and even when teams play very well by those numbers they lose, but the goal then shouldn't be to revoke stats altogether, but to improve our metrics until we can accurately discern how well a team is doing

My frustration is that I still think we have the ability to put blame on the same people, but can actually  make substantial claims that are also productive to seeing this team get better. I don't think telling Player Z to be more clutch is going to make this team any better but I do think telling Romo to be better in decision making, or realizing that certain O-Linemen are giving up too much pressure and need to be replaced will make this team better in the long run. And that's what we want, right?

Moral Victories:

Not all games are moral victories. Nor do I see moral victories, or merely taking positives out of a game as a bad thing. We just need to recognize that there are some games where that isn't possible. This was one of those.

Linebacker Play:

This absolutely fascinates me. How can a linebacker, Sean Lee, have so big an effect in the passing game? Well... actually he didn't. Granted, take Lee out of the game and the defense looks absolutely porous in the second quarter. But for the second half the team actually played better than the first half, and this was without Lee. Borrowing FiTaT's stat metric before Lee was injured The Eagles Net YPA was 9.29. For the next quarter it was a horrible 11 Net YPA before the defense finally settled down to a Net 7.0 YPA in the second half. 

A couple of thoughts for analysis. First, we can probably credit Ryan for defensive adjustments in the second half that brought down the Net YPA, even though that number is still high. Secondly the Eagles could have taken their foot off the gas pedal in the second half. However it is worth noting that the Net YPA for the rest of the game actually went down with Lee out of the game.

(Disclaimer: As always the stats I use seem to have very small sample sizes. There were only 8 passing snaps in the first quarter, 10 in the second quarter, and 12 for the rest of the game after that.)

Offensive Line:

Can we call this experiment a failure please? I have faith that Arkin and Smith will get better, but no hope for anyone else. That contract we gave to Free is starting to bother me, and I'm starting to think we should take advantage of playing Smith at LT while we're paying him RT money to offset playing Free at RT for LT money. 

Free has allowed 3 sacks this season, to put that in perspective he allowed 5 all of last season. We aren't even halfway through the season, and this is not even counting QB Hits allowed and Pressures allowed. He's also holding a lot more than last season as well.

The Eagles:

Tough loss, but we need to realize that the Eagles may be the only team in the league in the league engineered specifically to beat us. Hat tips to I Am Ironman and Foyesboys who took advantage of my laziness inability to put out a post fast enough and to express this point a lot more eloquently than I could have. You guys are this weeks winners of Which Way the Wind Blows.

Failed Analysis:

Have you ever had that one great idea that you thought would rock the way the world works, and were about to express it when someone beat you to it? Well this is nothing like that. 

This is the section where I express ideas that I've had over the week that were categorically wrong. The First I've mentioned above is the positive effect that Sean Lee has on the Passing Game. At least for the Eagles game it wasn't there. 

Second: Tony Romo's rib injury and subsequent decrease in statistics can be correlated to Michael Vick's rib injury and decrease in stats. Yeah, that's not going anywhere. Some of Vick's best games last year came after his injury.

Well that's it for this week. As always feel free to leave comments at the bottom, I enjoy hearing counter-arguments.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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