McCarthy Shouldn’t Ignore Stats

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Mike McCarthy
McCarthy says some head-scratching things at times, like last week when he said “stats are for losers”.

This past week, Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy gave his season-ending press conference.  I detailed some of his responses here.  One comment that he made still resonates with me.  When asked if he was going to look at the team’s injury situation and look into why so many Packers players were lost due to injury, part of McCarthy’s answer was that “stats are for losers.”  Now, in fairness, that wasn’t the entire response.

McCarthy went on to add that when one looks too far into stats, it can build false confidences and negatives.  He said they need to look beyond just the numbers to really determine what is going on.

That’s great and all and I know he doesn’t particularly enjoy talking to the media and especially when answering questions about some of the negative things that are going on.  I get the whole “Pittsburgh macho” thing that he’s going for the “we have it under control and you don’t know what’s really going on here” mantra.  But perhaps McCarthy forgets that we all own televisions or are sitting in the stands?  The fact of the matter is that the numbers DO matter.

If you ask any good CEO to evaluate a company’s health and describe what is going on, they’ll likely use stats.  Numbers are important.  They don’t tell the entire story but they are one of the primary illustrators of what is happening.  Many times I’ll ask someone what happened in a game and they’ll say “the box score doesn’t tell the whole story”.  Sure, it doesn’t measure things like energy level, enthusiasm or my personal favorite: toughness.  But more often than not, something can be drawn from the numerical recap.

I’m talking about more than just the Packers injury situation, although that is certainly something that the Packers need to look into.  15 players ended up on season-ending injured reserve this season and they did use the IR-Designated for return option on receiver Randall Cobb.  I get that football is a physical sport and that not all injuries are preventable.  Still and far too often, the Packers are seeing their players drop in bunches.  Is it amplified by the lack of depth behind the key players getting hurt or are there simply too many of them?  As I have said before, I am not sure but if you ask any consultant for their opinion on the matter, the first thing they’re going to look is. . the stats.

Looking beyond injuries are more stats that offer some evidence as to what the Packers might want to consider and look into heading into this offseason.  McCarthy says stats are for losers and technically, the Packers have lost their last game in three of the past four seasons.  It’s unfair to call the Packers “losers” and I’m hardly implying that here.  No team wins a championship every year.  But we can all likely agree that the manner in which Green Bay has been ousted over the past few seasons is cause for concern as it pertains to moving forward.

Starting on the defensive side of the ball, it’s hard to ignore a few stats.  The simplest ones start with the team that has bounced the Packers the last two seasons in a row.  The San Francisco 49ers have won the last four consecutive meetings between the two teams and have baffled the Packers defense each time.  9ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has thrown for nearly 1,000 yards and run for close to 300 during those four games.  Did I mention that Kaepernick didn’t even play in one of them?  Those stats are a problem and no surprise, they led to Packers losses.

This season, the Packers finished 25th in total defense according to the single stat of yards per game surrendered.  The Packers gave up 372 this season.  If you look at yards per play, the Packers gave up the fifth-most at 5.9.  Look at points per game allowed, the Packers were eigth with 26.8.  None of the seven teams who gave up more points made the postseason.  Green Bay finished ranked 24th in both passing and rushing yards allowed per game.  More stats that might tell us why the Packers didn’t win more games.

Next, let’s take a look at special teams.  If we go by the McCarthy mentality, he will talk to us all day about the good seasons punter Tim Masthay and kicker Mason Crosby had.  He’ll tell us that Crosby fought adversity and returned to top form in 2013 after a wretched 2012.  What McCarthy won’t likely talk about is the fact that the Packers were bottom feeders when it came to covering kicks this past season.  Green Bay was better than only three teams in terms of average kick return yardage surrendered (25.9 yards).  As far as average punt return yards given up, the Packers were third-worst (13.1 yards) behind only the New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts.

If you put a challenged defense up against the high likelihood that the opposition is going to have better-than-average starting field position, you may see a reason why the Packers gave up lots of yardage and points.  Some will point back to the injuries and say “wait until they have a healthy Clay Matthews and Casey Hayward” or “the Packers were without Aaron Rodgers for half of the season” as a reason why.  It’s true, those were all big losses for this team.  It also magnifies the lack of play making ability behind some of those starters.  Still, the numbers do paint a picture worth looking at.

That’s where my concern lies.  How carefully will McCarthy and general manager Ted Thompson look at those numbers, a.k.a. stats?  Was McCarthy simply speaking out of emotion and the frustration of another disappointing playoff loss?  Or do the Packers really believe that they have all of the answers and just need to “stay healthy and execute”?

McCarthy also said, during the same press conference, that he’s not going into this offseason looking to make a lot of changes.  Perhaps in sheer number, many changes aren’t needed, but there are a few glaring ones that do need to be made.  So without stats and numbers, how do the Packers determine which changes are needed and what their goals will be in 2014?

I find it funny that when asked about a particular player’s performance in a past game, McCarthy has often said that he was going to look at the tape and grade each player out.  Wouldn’t that require some sort of numerical system and ranking?  I guess we can argue that those aren’t really “stats”, but that’s getting technical and arguing semantics.

It has already been said that this could be one of the most interesting off seasons for the Packers in recent memory.  Based on some of the needs that the team has had the last few seasons and that the Packers chose not to take a different course of action (safety position most namely), I guess I can’t say I’d be shocked if Thompson didn’t make any significant moves.  I would, however, be disappointed.  Would he really be that bold and ignorant of the need for obvious changes for this team to be more competitive?

The Packers can’t afford to ignore a useful resource in the numbers and trends, often referred to as stats, that have led to three straight disappointing playoff performances.  If they do, they may not even get there as the rest of the division and NFC continue to develop and evolve.  A failure to realize and address their constant shortcomings will lead to the Packers walking off the field as losers and on the bad end of the most important stat:  the scoreboard.

 

 

 

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Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on AllGreenBayPackers.com

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  • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

    All the stats point back to injuries. Special teams had to scramble every week just to field a unit due to injuries. There was not any cohesion week to week.

    As it pertains to the defense – in today’s game you can’t have a great defense and a great offense for very long. The salary cap makes it impossible.

    Dom’s D just didn’t have the players it needs to succeed. Is it possible to get them from year to year? Yes. But that’s where TT has failed. (Again, are injuries more to blame than anything? – Yes.

    Collins – done for career
    Bishop – Done for career
    CM3 – chronically injured
    Perry – Ditto

    And yet, with ALL the injuries, the defense was doing OK until ARod went down. The defense was never designed to be a shut down defense (the team can’t afford it). When the offense went in the crapper (because of injuries – notice a common trend here?), the defense couldn’t become the shut down unit it was designed to be.

    Are there things that need to be fixed? Certainly. TT gambled and lost at safety and got fooled by Brad Jones’ “progression” last year. Both defensive contracts he handed out last offseason might just become albatrosses. There needs to be better answers at FS and ILB than what we had this year. Shields has to be resigned and Raji needs to go at his current asking price.

    All that said – the common theme: Injuries! IF TT/MM can figure them out, we should compete every year.

    1. CM3/Perry really could be a deadly OLB combination.

    2. The offense with Rodgers/Lacy/Cobb/Nelson/Boykin and a good upcoming OL should keep the pressure off the defense to be a shutdown for years to come.

    3. There are young guys at DL who have promise in Jones and Boyd. Jolly may be back too. They need a NT – IF TT gets a brain and finds a veteran safety in FA, I’d look at NT in the draft first.

    Just my .02

    • Nostradamus

      I KNEW you were gonna say that (and I’m glad you did).

      Good article, Jason. Speaking of stats, does anyone know how to find wonderlic scores for everyone that played a snap on defense and special teams? I can seem to find those.

      • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

        Nostradamus, it truly is amazing how you can predict my thoughts ahead of time. It’s almost like you’re some kind of famous seer or something like that. ;)

    • palmda

      Nice to be able to rationalize the fact that the packers don’t have the talent to compete with the upper half of the league. Yes the poor play could improve but either these guys are holding back or they don’t have what it takes. I believe it is the latter. They can still look good in at least 6 games a year, the games they play in the division because the other teams are as bad if not worse. If you watched any of the play offs you know the packers with the exception of a few players are not on the same level with San Fran, or the Sea Chickens, or Denver. Not on defense , offense , or “Special Teams”. Certainly their coaching staff could not compete with any of the final four. So next year we get more of the same. If you like loosing you can keep loosing.

      • Bearmeat

        I completely disagree with you. GB on offense is as good as any team in the league. GB on defense is mediocre.

        Kind of like Denver is mediocre on D. Or NE. Or NO. Or… Or kind of like SEA is mediocre on O. Or SF. Or CAR. Or… You get the point? THERE ARE NO TEAMS THAT ARE DOMINANT ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BALL! Not in the hard salary cap era.

        Now, can GB be better on D – even with their high priced O? Yes. And they should be. And we as fans should grouse about it until the people responsible either fix it or are canned. But don’t expect a shut-down defense. It ain’t happening.

        • Barutan Seijin

          I think the Packers are bad on defense. Not mediocre, but bad.

          • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

            You’re right. That’s what is keeping the team from being a super bowl contender and that’s what HAS to be fixed. TT’s draft picks HAVE to pick it up. Dom HAS to get the communication in the secondary cleared up. If they don’t they need to be fired.

            This is do-able. Perhaps even with upgrades at only a couple positions.

  • JimR_in_DC

    I thought MM liked stats and was into using them for improving the performance of the team. You know, back in the early days of his head coaching gig with the Packers. At least that’s what I’m pulling out from the deep recesses of my feeble memory.

  • Nopainnogain

    I think you have to remember that most answers coaches give to media do not have much substance and tend to be vanilla and cliche because they know the media will skewer them for all sorts of reasons or if they seem to be giving “excuses” (aka. reasons). Of course MM uses stats just like any other coach. In fact I’m sure they have many more detailed and situational stats than the simpleton stuff most fans have access to like total yards. I wouldn’t take most press conference statements that literally for accurate indicators of what exactly goes on behind the scenes.

  • Archie

    MM has enough trouble with one syllable words and now you want him to understand the number line too? Packer defense will remain at bottom of the league next two years, finally getting this regime canned. And that will be a good thing because it is the Pack’s only chance to rise again before AROD’s career is over.

    • Bubbaloo

      WOW!! C’mon Jersey Al! Simply speaking one’s mind gets your comment hidden for “low rating”? What kind of “Stats” is that?

      • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

        Actually it’s not Al. It’s a feature that is built into the site and that’s why you see “hot debate” and “well loved” as well. It hides a comment after so many thumbs down are awarded to the poster by none other than his own peers who read this site every day. The people have spoken. I’m sure Archie is glad to have a friend, though, considering his typical content.

        Carry on.

  • FireMMNow

    I really hope that MM looks at the injury situation and takes a long look at the training and medical staffs. Way too many soft tissue injuries. Hamstrings, groins, abdominal pulls etc. If a guy like Cobb breaks his leg on an awful hit that cannot be prevented. But I remember looking at an injury report at one point during the season and there were over ten players listed with soft tissue injuries. They have to look at not only what the training staff is doing to prevent muscle pulls and tears, but also what the medical staff is doing to heal them. One bad year is bad luck, two bad years may just be a coincidence, but three+ bad years of injuries is a trend and needs to be fixed.

    • JimR_in_DC

      ^^^this! :)

  • Tarynfor12

    The stat sheet may say the Packers finished 25th vs the run,31st per attempt,27th vs the pass etc,etc.These numbers are derived from a total based on simple addition and division of those numbers.

    These stats need to be looked at with a more demographic lens…
    vs teams
    vs specific players
    scheme match ups
    player match ups
    position injuries on both teams
    etc,etc,etc.

    We all see certain players look like Gods vs one and yet look like a dead fish vs a less superior player than the former.We make Stafford inferior and make Curtis Painter seem like Manning.

    The use of stats is viable if used to find singular answers. A food company has a recipe they know is tasty but something is amiss..do they toss the whole recipe or dissect each part first for the flaw.

    The totals for the defense may suggest tossing it all(Capers) in a fit of rage but first make sure of the ingredients like smart CEOs do on any level in any field of endeavor.

  • http://grizzlymitch@bresnan.net grizzlymitch

    I stated the other day, name one game in three years that the Packers D was dominant. That’s 48 regular season games. You may have an argument for maybe a few. Our safeties did not intercept one pass this season. How can you justify that. We need a change of D coordinators and we are at least one year late on making that change. Your column yesterday said that the defense maybe too complicated. That is pretty funny because it sure isn’t complicated for the offenses that we have to play. Please do not let me get going on our Special Teams coach. How he still has a job is a mystery.

    • Bubbaloo

      While contemplating why certain people still have jobs, don’t forget the OL coach, James Campen. Finally had a (one) decent year, after how many years of trying?

  • GBPDAN

    MM gave a bad answer ,to the media , out of frustration on a topic that could be debated for hours. Of course MM is well aware of the stats, or more specifically, the teams probems. MM is working with the talent that TT has given him on D. Now whether to fire Capers and fix the confusion problem in the secondary is a topic of discussion. It’s debatable whether or not MM can do something to fux the injury problem that has crippled this team. The hamstring and muscle injuries are troubling and seem avoidable. Broken bones and ligament tears are probably just bad luck.

    I don’t know what the answers are when it comes to injuries, but if the Packers can dodge the injury bullet next year, they are closer to the next level. However, are healthy team with our current roster isn’t going to be enough to unseat the niners (or probably Seattle and maybe even the panthers if they get more weapons on offense) because our D needs more pieces, especially a stud safety, ILB and D lineman. Can all this be had in this year’s draft? With our cap , can, or will, TT land some help in FA? Probably not

  • Bedroske

    MM’s statement that stats are for losers resonates with the idea of “moral victories”. He’s not into looking at Lacy’s yardage totals and handing a game ball to him. MM is simply stating that he’s not going to use stats to look at a loss and say, “Well, at least we did this better than them” or “We only lost by 3.”

    I have no doubt that MM uses statistics. His tape-analysis of a player, “How he graded out” is most definitely a statistic.

    This is just MM saying he doesn’t believe in moral victories. Nothing more.

  • mark

    Regarding the points allowed, lets remember that there were 3 pick 6s thrown and one fumble ran in for a TD by the opposing defense. Also, Jeremy Ross and Matt Flynn fumbled around the 10 leading to gimme TDs for the opposition.

    • Barutan Seijin

      Other teams had that, too. How many pick sixes did Houston give up this year?

  • John

    Nice article Jason, Thank you. We have not done well in the playoffs, because, statistically speaking, the quality of players on defense stinks.

    Here are the PFF grades for a few of our defensive playrs. Raji 3rd worse, D. Jones 6th worse, Jolly 15th worse, Boyd 18th worse, Wilson 21st worse, Hawk 8th worse, B. Jones 31st worse, Pickett 32nd worse, Neal 3rd worse, Mulumba 8th worse, Palmer 9th worse, House 58th worse, McMillan 10th worse, Jennings 21st worse, Burnett 28th worse, Banjo 50th worse. In a previous analysis I tried to prove that the Packers has failed in there philosophy of “Draft and Develop”. Going back to 2008 I could find no significant consistent improvement of young players. The Philosophy is really “Draft and Play”, which seems to work alright on offense with Rogers running the show, but is a complete and utter disaster on defense. There is a reason why no past or present team has wanted to play only the most supremely talented young, experience players on defense. They leave too many holes that are exploited by NFL QB’s and Offensive Coordinators. Like taking candy away from a baby. Stubborn Ted needs to admit his horrific defensive mistakes and plug the starting and backup holes with judicious lower cost free agent signings, or waste one more year of a finite Roger’s career. After Rogers we may be back to the 30 year no QB Abyss that we are all to much familiar with. Even more so now, the NFL is a QB driven league. Don’t waste even 1 year of the best QB in the leagues career. We will be sorry. If Thompson doesn’t change his ways and sign some or many defensive free agents this year, I believe he should be fired. Schneider from Seattle is an incredible GM, both at drafting and free agents. He cedes power to Carrol at Seattle and might love a chance to come to GB and have complete control.

    • Bedroske

      worst

    • Nopainnogain

      Seems a tad premature to declare Schneider a superior gm. How do we even know he can sustain success? Seattle’s been good for what, 2 years now? No trophies yet. The nfl penalizes success and is built to drag all teams towards the middle over time. You ignore all TT’s strengths and focus on his shortcomings and do the opposite for Schneider. Schneider’s offenses have been just as bad as TT’s defenses. And just wait until he has to pay Wilson and Sherman. They’ll start hemorrhaging guys. won’t be able to keep everyone, let alone sign more free agents. What exactly has he got out of he moves for Sidney Rice and Harvin? nothing so far. TT’s had plenty of successes too. Tons of good receiver picks, Sitton, Lacy, Matthews, Collins, Woodson. Plenty of other solid players like Shields, Starks, Lang, Wells, EDS.

      The whole “wasting Aaron Rodgers” thing is ridiculous. You act like anything less than a Superbowl will be a waste. What a ridiculous spoiled standard to set. of the 5 times they’ve been knocked out of the playoffs, 3 were by 3 points or less. 3 of those teams went on to play in or win the Superbowl and the Niners could make it 4 this year. If TT is so terrible, why does the rest of the league keep stealing his assistant coaches and front office guys?

      • Stroh

        Truer words were never spoken! GREAT Comment! Every damn bit of it.

      • Barutan Seijin

        “You want another championship? What are you? An entitled, spoiled brat?”

        Tell that to Lombardi or Packer fans in the ’60s. Or Yankee fans, or Montreal Canadiens fans….

  • http://www.aol.com MARK

    this article is right on target. All you have to do is look at the first game (forgetting about stats) when SF piled up 500 yards of offense and controlled the ball the last few minutes of the game. THIS WAS WITH NO INJURIES AND OUR BEST PERSONELL PLAYING!! Also look at the last SF game in the playoffs. The defense played well for 3 quarters. In the 4th quarter with the game on the line they fell apart like a cheap suit.SF controlled the ball the last 5 minutes of the game and walked down the field to win. This defense is terrible!

    • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

      Ahem.. That was Capers being outcoached, not the players being outclassed. If I took ANYTHING positive from losing AGAIN to those punks (tempted to use a few choice words here) in the wild card round, it’s that the GB coaches FINALLY pulled their weight against Harblow, Fangio and Roman.

      Plus, in hindsight, a starting safety duo of McMuffin and the Dr in ANY NFL game is laughable – especially when covering someone like Boldin and Davis.

      • Ed Schoenfeld

        Lets see — McMuffin and the MD were at safety in that game, meaning Burnett was out with an injury.

        How is that supposed to be “with our best players all playing?’

        Please tell me, better I’d really like to know how Burnett was not our best safety in week One.

  • Since ’61

    Statistics are nothing more than leading indicators, just like they are for company CEOs. You need to look at the underlying reasons for the statistics. In the case of the Packers defense and Special teams the stats are indicative of poor execution, just like the positive offense stats are the results of good execution. Our special teams suffered from the injury revolving door the Packers faced this season and the resulting poor field position. Plus I don’t believe that Slocum has done a good job with STs for at least 2 seasons now and I would be happy if we made a change there. The defense is another matter as this is the 3rd consecutive season with a subpar defensive performance (I’m being kind with that description). Yes, there were injuries but our secondary was relatively healthy (minus Heyward) and this was probably the worst of the last 3 seasons for the secondary. We can’t blame it on inexperience as Williams, Shields, Burnett, Bush, Jennings all have multiple NFL seasons and they were a 3 ring circus on too many plays. We had poor coverage and lousy tackling at every level of the defense. The question is, poor execution due to the talent of our players or poor coaching or both? I believe that after 3 seasons it’s probably some of both. Therefore, to begin to correct this issue we need to start with the DC. Let a new DC make the required changes to the defensive staff and then improve the talent on the field. After so many seasons it’s only natural that Capers has loyalties and biases about how to improve. We are past that. We need better results, therefore we need better people. That is where the statistics lead me. Thanks, Since ’61

    • JimR_in_DC

      You nailed it, Since ’61!

      • Since ’61

        Thanks Jim! It’s time to move on from Capers. Since ’61

        • http://www.lyrictrumpet.com Bearmeat

          I’d agree with you 61 – except for this fact: What 34 potential DC is out there (that would take the GB job) who is better than Dom?

          Maybe Ray Horton? Mayyybe…. And that’s about it. Anyone else who interviews would be a first time pro DC. I don’t know about you – but I’m not willing to make that jump quite yet.

          I think (first and foremost) the team needs to stay healthy. Secondly(not far behind #1) is that TT needs to not miss anymore at S/ILB/OLB and DL. His drafting history on D is NOT good as GBs GM.

          Shields – UFA
          Tramon – UFA
          Raji – meh
          Harell – Bwahaha
          Jolly – special case
          Daniels – Great
          Hawk – meh
          CM3 – great (when healthy)
          Jones – meh at best
          Bush – lol
          Burnett – meh at best
          Collins – was great
          Bishop – would have been great. Injured.

          By my count, that’s 3 great players. In 8 years.

          Not good enough.

          IMO – it’s more on TT (and injuries) than Dom. If you’re going to make a move from Dom, you need to have a home run hitter ready to step to the plate.

          • Bedroske

            Ron Wolf said 50% is pretty good for a draft. The jury is still out with Sherrod and Jones. That certainly may bend the stats above 50%.

          • Since ’61

            Bearmeat – I agree that TT doesn’t have the best track record for drafting defensive players and bears some of the responsibility for the current defensive problems, however, he is overall a fine GM and he won’t be going anywhere. He also drafted D.Jones and Perry and the it’s too soon to judge those picks. I am not sure if any current DCs are available and if they would want to come to GB. Therefore we would need to do a thorough search for a new DC. But I believe the time has come for a change. Note, I have been a Capers supported in the past, but I am tired of having little to no confidence in our defense and I don’t want to be here a year from now lamenting a first or second round elimination after a 12-4 or 11-5 season because our defense cannot stop a quality opponent in a playoff game. Something has to change, it’s not going to be TT and it’s not going to be most of the players, therefore Dom is left. Thanks, Since ’61

    • http://allgbp.com Thegreatreynoldo

      I posted on this experience thing a couple of days ago. Williams and Bush (8 yrs); Burnett & Shields (4), Jennings (3), House (3), Hayward (2 but injured), Hyde (Rookie). Hawk (8), CM3 (5), Lattimore (3), B. Jones (5 but 4 at OLB) Neal (4 but 3 at DE), Perry (2 but injured), Francois (5), Mulumba & Palmer (rookies), Pickett (8 w GB), Raji (5), Jolly (4 sort of), Wilson (4), Daniels (2), Worthy (2 injured), Datone Jone and Boyd (rookies).

      There was as much experience last year on D, especially in the secondary, as is likely to ever occur given TT’s attitude towards draft and develop.

      In the Salary Cap NFL, players need to contribute in their 1st or 2nd yr (depending on position and round drafted) and play/start in their 3rd, 4th, and 5th years, or the cap will eat the team up.

      In my mind, given the above, Sherrod is a bust, because he won’t play until his 4th yr at the earliest. If he blossoms next year, then he had talent and it’s not TT’s fault due to the injury, but he is still a bust. If he doesn’t blossom next year, then GB won’t exercise the expensive club option for 2015 ($5 to 6.3 million), and GB will get nothing from a 1st round pick.

    • Stroh

      ” Packers defense and Special teams the stats are indicative of poor execution”

      Well I’ll agree w/ that but your still not going deep enough into the cause of the poor execution. That is due to Capers very complex schemes that require experience and the Fact the Packers have ALOT of young players logging significant playing time.

      I think most of those players start coming of age this year and the D improves significantly. On ST you need to consider the number of different players the Packers were forced to use on ST. IIRC the number was an absurd 58 players used on ST, due to the numberous injuries suffered.

      Try going a little deeper!

  • Wagszilla

    Statistics would have you believe Hawk and Jones are good ILBs and not just always late to the ball and there to pile on.

    Statistics would have you believe Tramon Williams was a good cover corner in 2011-2012.

    Statistics would have you believe the Saints had the 4th best defense in 2013.

    Statistics…

    Lies, damned lies, and statistics.

    #THETAPEDONTLIE

    • http://allgbp.com/category/authors/jason-perone/ Jason Perone

      I’m a huge believer in the eyeball test or “the tape don’t lie”. Very true statement there.

      HOWEVER, to say that stats lie means that whoever is reading them got lazy. The numbers CAN tell us something if you understand where they come from and do a little digging to make them relevant. For example, total yards tends to be how NFL defenses are ranked. That, to me, is garbage. If you’re a team that is often ahead, other teams are going to throw more. Teams who throw more have a better chance of racking up more total yardage and it makes a defense look horrid. In 2011, the Packers gave up too many yards, yes. They also took the ball away a ton. Those should both cancel each other out a bit and meet in the middle.

      Stats are helpful. While, yes, they can be manipulated, it’s up to us to ask “why and where?” as far as where the numbers came from and what they mean. Make them matter!

  • palmda

    Stats don’t tell the whole story. Like the sack numbers that keep coming up as the only positive on the defense. Whats more important is the week after week of poor tackles, lousy secondary coverage, long down field passes without a rush on the opposing qb. Poor field position on every exchange. The tentative play as of late of Rodgers in which he is holding the ball too long. How about the 5 million dollars there paying MM that is one stat that should end soon.

  • Big T

    Potatoe, Patotoe, tomatoe, tomotoe…

  • Shavager

    The MOST IMPORTANT STATS OF ALL: Packers offense has DROPPED in scoring from 35 points PER game in ’11 to 27 points PER game in ’12 to 25.7 points PER game in 2013. How bad was defense? They allowed 26 POINTS PER GAME this season, MORE points per game than Packers’ offense was scoring. That’s LOSING football no matter what level of competition you play. This ain’t Arena Football, just run offense back of field and outscore opponents, it means playing DEFENSE and that’s something Packers have gotten worse at since 2010 SB season, dropping from 2nd best to 25th best or SEVENTH WORST if you wanna look at a different point of view. Even the Jacksonville Jaguars have a better defense, shame on Dom Capers for his inconsistent defense-they actually played better with 5 STARTERS OUT than they had at any time this season, still couldn’t save a win for GB.