Stats don't lie.
But when writers use them incorrectly, they might as well.
Today's article of the day is an ESPN Insider piece by Ben Alamar arguing that Robert Griffin is further along in his development than Andrew Luck. Now, that may or may not be true, but if it is an accurate claim, it is almost certainly not for the reasons Alamar lists.
Take his first claim that:
Only 26 percent of Griffin's passes are 10 yards or longer in the air while 40 percent of Luck's are that long (league average is 30 percent), but that might be because Griffin is reading the defense and picking his spots more effectively than Luck.
While that's an interesting argument, he's making it based on no actual observation of the players or their offenses. Part of the reason Luck has fared so well in advanced metrics is that, in fact, Griffin has done a lot of stat padding.
Additionally, Luck's offense contains remarkably few short routes. It's not that he's failing to check down. The problem is that there isn't anyone to check down to.
Further he argues that Luck isn't making his reads quickly enough based on the percentage of long sacks he takes. He argues that both quarterbacks have been sacked 13 times, but Griffin has better pocket awareness.
It's a ridiculous argument to make as Luck has thrown the ball 50 more times. Griffin's sack rate is measurably worse than Luck's.
As for the percentage of long sacks, Alamar builds his case on the back on a difference of one sack.
It may sound like the gap between 69 percent and 77 percent is a lot, but on a 13-sack sample it's created by just one single sack.
In other words, Luck has taken one more "long sack" than Griffin in 50 more attempts, so Alamar claims he's not as good at checking down under pressure.
Griffin has been wonderful and may well be much further along. Alamar fails to make that case, however, and in fact clearly distorts the numbers to suit his case.
Stats are powerful and can be trusted, but they have to be used in equal measure with solid film and research work and should be used responsibly.
Alamar fails to meet those requirements in his piece.
Ryan Riddle of Bleacher Report explains how a player feels physically at this stage of the season.
Michael Schottey of Bleacher Report breaks down the play of J.J. Watt.
Melissa Isaacson of ESPN.com says Bradie James has had breast cancer hit home.
Dale Robertson of the Houston Chronicle reports that Johnathan Joseph missed practice.
Tania Ganguli of the Houston Chronicle says Arian Foster and Ray Rice like to stay on the field.
Scott Kacsmar of Colts Authority tracks Luck's play.
Ben Savage of Colts Authority looks at the Colts' defense on All-22 film.
Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star says the Indy pass rush depends on Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.
Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean says Jake Locker is back to practice.
John Glennon of the Tennessean writes that Colin McCarthy may be worth a touchdown a game.
Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union says Chris Prosinki will start at safety.
Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union says Jeremy Mincey has started slowly.
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