Football Outsiders has their first DVOA calculations for the 2009 NFL season. (For those of you new to the site or new to DVOA, it's Defense-adjusted Value Over Average, a number that gauges success on a play-by-play basis. The full definition is here). One thing to keep in mind is that negative numbers for offense are bad, correlating to less likelihood of plays being successful. Vice versa for defense.
The numbers of the Rams are, well, they're not good, which is what you would have expected after last week's game.
The Rams overall DVOA ought to be enough to put a final nail in the coffin of ridiculous weekly power rankings. It won't, but it does confirm that, statistically speaking anyway, the Rams are not the worst team in the league in the wake of National Jump to Conclusions Week. Combining the total team performance, offense, defense and special teams, the Rams have an overall DVOA of -60.5%. That's not good, but is better than the overall DVOA for the Detroit Lions (-100.2%) and the Carolina Panthers (-116.4%). Let's dig into the individual units.
|2009||-43.6% (29)||-31.1% (26)||-6.8% (17)|
|2008||-24.0% (32)||-26.1% (32)||-10.4% (29)|
Those number confirm what we saw on the field this weekend. What sticks out is the (relative) success of the run, and the decision to abandon it. You can expect the overall DVOA to rise in the coming weeks...at least I hope.
|2009||17.3% (24)||34% (22)||1.4% (21)|
|2008||23.4% (25)||23.7% (27)||23% (32)|
The pass defense suffered the most because of the damage done in the middle. Hasselbeck and TE John Carlson had a thread between them. He caught six of eight passes thrown to him. Laurinaitis played a helluva game, but he struggled with coverage, as did David Vobora. Those are the guys that have to keep a read on the TE, lock him out of the play or keep him restrained to short dump off stuff. We'll see how much film review and practice has beefed them up in coverage since they face another tough TE matchup against Washington's Chris Cooley. You wonder if the run defense might have better had Adeyanju not been inactive.
Can't make too many judgements on just one game, but this already looks like a much improved unit over what we've seen from the Rams defense in recent years. There's still lots of work to do.
This is something that can bounce from week to week. Other than a botched field goal and an inability to count players and fumble to start the game, coverage was good and returners got some solid yardage numbers.
Hopefully, this time next week, the numbers will look a little better. At least there's a silver lininig or two here.