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Non Stats

The NY Times had a great article on basketball and statistics; while not directly related to football, some of the concepts travel.  This is a money ball type story, but for basketball.  The non-stats all star is the guy who makes the other members of his team better.  For those who haven't heard the term before; basically rather than compete for the guys making obvious stats in terms of sacks, yards per catch and so on; you look for the players who make big contributions in ways that aren't necessarily captured by statistics.  To my mind Quentin Jammer is one of those players; he never has the big interception numbers or lots of PDs; but he is huge in the Charger secondary.  Not only for his pass defense, but the way he comes up in run defense and really lays hits on people.  Despite Jeff Garcia's gutsy play after Jammer came up and whacked him; there was little doubt in my mind that he was not playing at the same level after that.

Similarly in the game against the Colts; Madden pointed out how effectively the defense was forcing Manning to roll out of the pocket making him less effective.  That pressure might not show up as a sack or even a hurry; but there is no question that they helped make Manning less likely to make throws.  The other instance I'm remembering is the sack of Manning near the games end.  The guy getting the credit on that play was Tim Dobbins; less noticed was Shaun Phillips locking up Dallas Clark at the line to keep him from getting out on his route where Manning could have hooked up with him.  If the Colts convert that play they can likely run the clock out enough to keep the Chargers from tying the game.

The other interesting concept in the article is that of what I'm going to call 'Stats whores'.  Those are players that are selling out some aspect of the game to collect a certain type of stat.  For instance an outside linebacker who is so intent on getting the sack that he runs past a running back; or simply so eager to get in on a tackle that he blows containment and allows a running play to reverse field.  The player might pad his personal stats that way; but he is selling out his team and the win.  In my own experience you get what you measure; in running a small support department we once based performance on call times.  The reasoning is that the best techs are diagnosing the problem and getting folks off the line and moving on.  What tended to happen was that techs would do anything to get customers off the line; sometimes not resolving their problem, some of the best techs had much longer call times because they didn't give up on tough problems.