Eight games into the season, with each of our quarterbacks having played three full games apiece and splitting time in two, I decided it would be interesting to take a statistical look at the differences in our offensive production. One area of this venture intrigued me specifically: the run game.
More after the jump...
It’s commonly opined that Vick opens up the running game, not only by using his legs but also forcing defenders to respect him and play conservatively. Kolb, who is mobile within the pocket but incapable of producing big yards with his legs, doesn’t require a spying linebacker/safety every play, and defenses therefore can play more aggressive football. While this is the standard viewpoint, a statistical analysis of the run game’s production is still merited because, well, there are often standard viewpoints about football that are demonstrably wrong. (I.E. Trent Cole is an undersized DE [He’s not]).
Anyways, I chose to analyze only LeSean McCoy’s stats because he’s received the vast majority of the carries and it means I don’t have to take each individual back’s skill set into account. Here are the results:
Kevin Kolb handing off to McCoy - 3 full games (SF, ATL, TEN) + 5 quarters (GB/WAS):
70 carries for 267 yards (3.81 YPC) 1 TD, 25 receptions for 190 yards (7.6 YPR)
Michael Vick handing off to McCoy – 3 full games (DET, JAX, IND) + 3 quarters (GB/WAS):
51 carries for 305 yards (5.98 YPC) 4 TD, 15 receptions for 96 yards (6.4 YPR)
So what do these stats tell us?
First off, as one would expect, McCoy has indeed been a more productive rusher with Vick handing him the ball. The notable part of this is how much more. Vick’s handoffs have been 57% more effective than Kolb’s, not to mention the touchdown differential (3). It must be noted that Detroit, Jacksonville, and Indy are giving up an average of 129.3 yards per game between the three, while Atlanta, San Fran, and Tennessee are only giving up an average of 101.1.
Interestingly, McCoy’s receiving numbers favor Kolb. This might be because the Marty likes to dial up more screens and swing passes for Kolb while Vick’s throws to McCoy are more often checkdowns. Then again, given that Vick has thrown to McCoy less than Kolb has, it might just take one long screen pass to give Vick the advantage in yards per reception.
Unfortunately, we can’t yet predict with any accuracy how McCoy will do when he’s teamed with Vick against a tough defense like the Giants, because Vick hasn’t played a full game against a good defense yet this year. Kolb definitely drew the short stick when it came to matchups during the first half of the season. Still, it stands that McCoy is far above average when he’s taking the ball from Vick and subpar when running behind Kolb.