Why QB injuries won’t bury Saints, Steelers – NFL.com

These addons are clever!

NFL franchises use contextualized data to create competitive advantages. In order to realize an edge, teams need to employ the right data in the right way at the right time. This means distilling, interpreting and applying only the most influential data in a framework that accounts for their personnel, their opponents and their evolving game situations. My goal is to be your analytics department. Each week this season, I want to work for you by giving you a peek into which numbers flag in my models as the most impactful … or the most misunderstood.
As always, let me know if your eye test is picking up on something interesting, or if there’s a stat/trend you’d like me to take a deeper look at. You can hit me on Twitter @cfrelund. As with any great analytics department, the more collaborative this is, the more value we can create.
Now, let’s dig into the relevant data in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season:
IMPACTFUL DEVELOPMENT: The fallout from a string of QB changes

Just two weeks into the new season, five teams are in flux at the game’s most important position:
Jacksonville Jaguars: Starting rookie sixth-rounder Gardner Minshew due to Nick Foles’ broken collarbone.
New Orleans Saints: Starting Teddy Bridgewater (or Taysom Hill?) due to Drew Brees’ thumb injury.
New York Giants: Starting rookie first-round Daniel Jones with the benching of Eli Manning.
New York Jets: Starting Luke Falk due to Sam Darnold’s mononucleosis and Trevor Siemian’s season-ending ankle injury.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Starting Mason Rudolph due to Ben Roethlisberger’s season-ending elbow injury.
So, how do I code for quarterbacks with little-to-no NFL data — or very little recent NFL data, in the case of Bridgewater?
One of the things I spend a lot of time putting into my model: past tendencies of defensive play-callers (and systems) against rookie and backup quarterbacks. How likely is Daniel Jones (and Saquon Barkley) to face a five-man front on first down, based on Todd Bowles’ past tendencies and the Bucs’ current personnel? How often on third down should we expect 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to show one coverage pre-snap … only to flip the script in an attempt to trick Mason Rudolph? All of this is pertinent intel.

The idea is to model the defensive minds on the other end, and then find as many comparable situations for the quarterbacks as possible (ideally, circumstances that closely approximate the offensive pieces the QBs currently have surrounding them). Then I do it for each of the rest of the games this season and … BAM — I get a ton of shifts for the entire NFL playoff picture. (By the way, I update all of this every week and I’ll have to an OK sample size in a few weeks — likely right around the time when Drew Brees and Nick Foles return to action.)
Given that the Saints and Steelers were widely viewed as contenders entering this season, let’s take a closer look at how each of their QB injuries have shifted the playoff picture.
New Orleans Saints (currently 1-1, in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC South): Before Brees’ injury, the Saints were slated to win the d

These modules are quite unbelievable!!

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