For many folks (myself included), we can never get enough information about football, about the NFL and about the 49ers. Information is power and the more information I have, the more I feel that I can provide quality analysis. Up until recently two of the more frequented sites I've found are Football Outsiders and Advanced NFL Stats. Both are solid sites with some intriguing breakdowns. When you combine that with information you can find at NFL.com or any major sports site, you can get a decent handle on stats.
Well, today that may be changing. In a recent email exchange, our football sites were pointed to an intriguing new site called Pro Football Focus. What does PFF do? Well, according to them:
For every game we analyze and grade every player on every play to provide you with the most in-depth statistics you can find anywhere outside the team's film room. If you want to know how your RG performed as a run blocker or how your MLB did in coverage use the By Team or By Week tabs as a starting point to locate your games.
For every game we log which players are on the field on every offensive and defensive play AND what they do. Want to know how much your rookie WR played, how much help your LT got in pass protection from the TE or how your defense line up on 3-1? Once you've found your game, click on the Player Participation link at the bottom of each 'game box'.
I've been asking around and their participation information (when players were on the field and in what position) appear to be accurate (at least in looking at a small sample of it). They offer an email option to be informed when your favorite team's game log/analysis is posted. I'm curious how quickly they get a given game up, but I think it's safe to say I'd like to start incorporating some of this information into posts.
They have an About section that breaks down their grading, among other things that I recommend checking out:
We want to understand not just how many yards a player gained or how many sacks they conceded but also how well they blocked, how effectively they rushed the passer or how they played in coverage. So, to this end, we measure not only a lot of additional information about the play such as Yards after Catch, Missed Tackles, Dropped Passes etc., we also analyze every player to determine if an Offensive Linemen made a key block, a Defensive Tackle stopped a Guard getting to the second level or if a linebacker kept outside contain on a run. We are not so much interested in how many tackles a Safety made but where he made them, when he made them and what obstacles he overcame to make them.
I definitely have to read more about the grading system, but it seems to be on the right track for now. Of course, if you check out Alex Smith's page, you might disagree with their rating of Alex Smith last week (just a shade over average).
Even if you disagree with the ratings (which is entirely reasonable), the participation information is still especially useful. If you want to skim through the various 49ers' participation reports, head to this link.