WMQB: It's a wrap

season wrap up

Net Pass YPA

The table below summarizes Dallas’s net pass YPA for the period from 2007-2010.

Offensive net pass YPA Offensive net pass YPA Rank Defensive net pass YPA Defensive net pass YPA Rank Win %
2007 7.4 2nd 5.4 6th 81.30%
2008 6.6 11th 5.3 5th 56.30%
2009 7.3 6th 5.9 11th 68.80%
2010 6.7 7th 6.8 28th 37.50%
2011 6.9 11th 6.6 23rd 50.00%

As a basis for comparison, summarized in the table below are the maximum, median, average, and minimum net pass YPA for the NFL 2010 season

Net Pass YPA – NFL All Teams 2010 Season
Offense Defense
Maximum 7.8 7.5
Median 6.1 6.1
Average 6.2 6.2
Minimum 4.3 5.3

The Cowboys season results are summarized in the table below.

Dallas Cowboys
Week Offensive net pass YPA Offensive net pass YPA Rank Defensive net pass YPA Defensive net pass YPA Rank
NYJ 8.2 6.2
SF 9.7 4.4
WAS 6.8 5.8
DET 6.7 5.6
NEP 7 6.1
STL 5.8 5.7
PHI 4.7 8
SEA 9 7.1
BUF 10.4 4.3
WAS 6.4 6.7
MIA 6.2 7.4
ARI 5.6 7.5
NYG 9 8.5
TB 7.5 4.4
PHI 3.7 8.3
NYG 5.8 9.5
Season 6.9 11th 6.7 23rd

The Darkos season results are summarized in the table below.

Darko Cowboys
Week Offensive net pass YPA Offensive net pass YPA Rank Defensive net pass YPA Defensive net pass YPA Rank
IND 8.7 5.1
MIA 6.5 4.8
NO 8.9 7.7
PIT 6.6 5.1
OAK 7.5 5.6
BAL 4.9 8.3
TEN 12.9 2.9
JAX 6.3 2.7
CLE 5.2 4.9
TB 14.3 3.6
JAX 4.5 3.2
ATL 6.3 5.7
CIN 5.5 6.3
CAR 6.5 5.8
IND 5.6 5.1
TEN 6.7 7.2
Season 7 9th 5.2 2nd

The offense produced a below average net pass YPA of 5.8 y/a. The offense finished the season with a net pass YPA of 6.9 y/a, 11th in the NFL.

The defense saved the worst for last and allowed a net pass YPA of 9.5 y/a. The defense finished the season with a net pass YPA allowed of 6.6 y/a, 23rd in the NFL.

Below is a chart of the defensive performance for the season. You can see how the defense got worse as the season went along.



BTW, if you're wondering how the Dallas D was 23rd in net pass YPA but 14th in yards allowed and 16th in points allowed, read this ANS article.

The big kahuna is offensive turnovers. Turnovers, on average, swing field position around 40 yards and as a result, they are the largest contributing factor to opponent field position

It's the offense doing a good job of not turning the ball over (Dallas's O had the 7th fewest giveaways). Less giveaways, less possessions for opponents, less yards, less points.

Vs. Forecast

Before the season I wrote

I’m not predicting a catastrophe. I suspect that Dallas will experience some mean reversion, the defensive pass efficiency will improve to modestly below average: in the 18th-23rd range. If the offense is back to being top 5, say #4 and the defense is below average, say 20th, the most likely outcome is that Dallas muddles along to an 8-8 record (with +/- 2 wins, depending on unpredictable bounces that gives a range of 10-6 to 6-10).

The biggest surprise is that in spite of Romo for a full year, #77, #81, and #29, the offense net pass YPA rank got worse. The defense finished the season at the low end of the expected range.

Darkos comparison

Before the season I wrote:

the Darkos provide a test of some of the key assumptions Cowboys fans hold:

-That the talent level on the Dallas defense is satisfactory,

-That Wade Phillips was a bad coach and that’s why the defense struggled, and

-The highest return could be achieved by investing draft picks on offensive players (specifically OL).

Discuss your conclusions.

Draft Strategy

Before the season I wrote:

In terms of the actual pick my issue is that JJ Watt was still available. There were 4 defensive players that I was very high on: Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, JJ Watt, and to a lesser extent Robert Quinn. I’m not sure that people appreciate just how rare JJ Watt is. I focus on vertical jump and short shuttle as athletic markers. This is just a fact, JJ Watt had the best combination of vertical jump (37") and short shuttle (4.21) in the last 5 years for a DL that size. The last guy that was comparable was Mario Williams with a 40.5" VJ and 4.37 short shuttle, and Williams wasn’t as good in the short shuttle. There have been some prospects that were close like Chris Long (34", 4.21) but none that were actually better. Last year for example, there was one elite DL, Ndamakong Suh. If you weren’t picking Suh then you had guys like Brandon Graham, Derrick Morgan, JPP, ugghh….

I think that at the end of the year most fans are going to find that very disappointing for a afew reasons. First, it will be a little more obvious that the defense is in decline and it’s unknown if the 2012 draft will have the elite defensive players we saw in 2011. 2012’s draft may be like 2011 with 3 or 4 elite players or it may be like 2010 where Suh was the only guy. Second, the age of the defense will be more undeniable. In 2012 Newman will be 34, Ratliff will be 31, and Ware will be 30. That’s old. Not only is that old, those 3 players also occupy the 3 most important positions on the defense. CB #1, pass-rushing NT, and OLB. One factor that I didn’t see brought up in the whole draft discussion is how much harder it’s going to be to replace Newman, Ratliff, and Ware than it is to replace Marc Colombo. Colombo was a below average RT. Dallas could get Joe Schmoe and improve the position. Newman is Dallas’s #1 CB, Ratliff is a pass rushing NT, and Ware is the defensive MVP. It’s going to be a lot harder to replace those players without a decline in performance.


NFL Net pass YPA difference ranks

What to watch for. Net pass YPA doesn't like SF. Do the SB participants come from the top 4 PIT, NO, NYG, GB? (bad luck for the Darkos ... they looked really strong).

PIT 7 4.9 2.1
HOU 7 5.2 1.8
NO 7.8 6.3 1.5
NYG 7.7 6.4 1.3
GB 8.3 7.2 1.1
DET 6.9 5.9 1
PHI 7 6 1
OAK 7.2 6.3 0.9
NE 7.9 7.1 0.8
TEN 6.5 5.9 0.6
BAL 5.9 5.4 0.5
ATL 6.8 6.4 0.4
CIN 6 5.8 0.2
DAL 6.9 6.7 0.2
SD 7.2 7 0.2
SF 5.9 5.9 0
ARI 5.9 6 -0.1
CHI 5.8 6.1 -0.3
NYJ 5.6 5.9 -0.3
MIA 5.9 6.3 -0.4
SEA 5.6 6.1 -0.5
WAS 6 6.5 -0.5
CAR 6.9 7.6 -0.7
BUF 6.2 6.9 -0.7
CLE 5.1 5.9 -0.8
KC 5.8 6.7 -0.9
DEN 5.2 6.4 -1.2
MIN 5.3 6.8 -1.5
STL 4.8 6.3 -1.5
TB 5.9 7.6 -1.7
IND 5.3 7 -1.7
JAC 4.2 6.1 -1.9

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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