Advanced statistics from the Green Bay Packers Game: Kyle Williams

Thearon W. Henderson

We kick off a new, weekly installment of reviewing the last game through a statistical lens.

In talking with our esteemed overlord, Fooch, I decided that a fun weekly piece to write up this year would be an advanced statistical review of games. By examining the previous game by means of advanced stats, we can hopefully reconcile what we saw on Sunday (the "scouting" method of evaluation) with what the statistics say (which is, of course, the "statistical" method of evaluation). If there are any discrepancies, then the evaluative process would be great for figuring out why.

Of course, we already have a great writer who does work with advanced stats in Andrew Carroll (or liberty_JAC). Anything he posts is always excellent, and you should check it out. So, I would caution against thinking that these posts are in direct competition with his. In fact, when Fooch and I were emailing, Fooch made the excellent suggestion that I think of specific, statistical ways in which I can review games.

In thinking over what form that would take, I thought it might be fruitful to write up reviews that examine some of the "behind the scenes" players or positional groups (i.e. "pass rushers" or "running backs") every week. Pretty much any major sports website is going to have something about Boldin's exceptional performance this week. But what about Kyle Williams?

So, without further ado, let's take a look at Kyle Williams.

His basic statistical line says that he had three receptions for 36 yards with the longest reception going for 16 yards. He had no touchdowns. Football Outsiders, using their DVOA method of analysis, has assigned him a rating of -11.0%, which is not that inspiring. Likewise, Pro Football Focus graded Williams out to a -1.2 overall with a -0.8 pass rating, a -0.6 run block rating, and a 0.2 penalty rating. These numbers aren't that inspiring for Williams - likely due, I think, to his 50% reception rating. While he did catch three passes, he was targeted a total of six times.

Anybody who likes statistical analysis, however, will always caution against a one game sample size. These stats simply shouldn't be treated as predictive. We also should remember that Williams is coming off an injury. But, as descriptive tools, these stats do help us a lot. They confirm that fact that, on a day during which a porous Green Bay secondary was giving up over 400 yards, Kyle Williams couldn't do much to help.

As I say, though, this game is not necessarily predictive. Nor should it be for both Vance McDonald (PFF: -1.6) and Marlon Moore (-0.4), both of whom had lackluster receiving games as secondary options for Colin Kaepernick. I don't think these players are below average receivers - at least, not Kyle Williams. He has proven that he has above average speed with some problems getting open occasionally. That's a very helpful player. And, the 49ers are going to need him going forward. In all likelihood, the pass-a-palooza to Mr. Boldin is going to be stopped. Teams will not let him float around in between zones. The double coverage will happen to him and to Vernon Davis.

So, onto better weeks for Mr. Williams! And for us, as we delve more closely into advanced statistical reviews in the future.[1]



[1]
Nota Bene: Posts of this nature should be longer in the future. In fact, they will be. I plan on reviewing more players than one each week. But, my computer crashed and I lost a much longer draft of this article; in consideration of time and frustration, I elected to write up a shorter draft. I know this is the 21st century equivalent of "my dog ate my homework," but sometimes a blind squirrel chews on a stray cable. Or something like that.

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