I will not let this one go. I won’t let it go because I don’t think you watched football last year if you have a different opinion. Today was just such a great day! Once and for all we can (hopefully) put this dumb argument to rest. Nick Chubb is better than Saquon Barkley. This new stat that Next Gen just discovered is amazing.
Yards per carry has always been a good metric but a bit of an unfair one at the same time. How do you separate running back success from offensive line success? This next stat does a pretty good job at that. Introducing expected yards per carry which is designed to indicate just how good a running back is independent from his offensive line.
Nick Shook of NFL.com detailed how this stat works:
“This offseason, the most unusual of all offseasons, produced a new metric.
That’s right, folks. From the quarantine emerged a new statistic that might finally separate offensive line play from running back: expected yards per carry.
Like expected completion percentage and expected catch rate, expected yards per carry will help isolate the individual performance of an offensive player — in this case, the ball-carrier — from the circumstances around him, including the effectiveness of his blockers. For those of us who have spent any amount of time lined up over or alongside the football, this is joyful news. Taking into account defensive alignment, the number of defenders in the box versus number of blockers and other key factors, we now have a metric that will help provide quantitative proof of an offensive line’s effectiveness separate from rushing-yardage totals.
Sure, it still sounds as if the running back is tied to the metric, but it also reflects the performance of the run-blockers on an individual play, because it tells you how many yards the ball-carrier should have gained based on the situation around him on the field, including the positioning of the linemen in relation to defenders. Whether the ball-carrier reaches, exceeds or falls short of the xYPC mark helps reveal how effectively he plays his role in the symbiotic relationship between offensive linemen and running backs, while the mark itself tells us about the effectiveness of his supporting cast.
For example: Adrian Peterson’s expected-yards-per-carry mark was 4, meaning, in part, Washington’s offensive line blocked well enough for Peterson to pick up 4 yards per attempt. Peterson averaged 4.3 yards per carry in actual yardage, which is 0.3 more yards per carry than expectation, meaning he achieved slightly more than he was expected to. Of his 898 rushing yards (on 211 carries), 64 were gained by his achievement above expectation (rushing yards over expectation, or RYOE).”
Hey, maybe it’s not perfect. Play calling on both sides of the ball isn’t factored in. Neither is coaching, down and distance, or game scripts. We can’t have everything. In terms of a stat, this sounds LEGIT. Forever we have wondered how we separate offensive line play from a running back. Now we finally have that. Who’s complaining about what appears to be a great piece of information?
Derrick Henry was recognized as the best running back in the NFL. I have no complaints there. He carried the Titans to the AFC title game and led the league in rushing. He is the NFL’s most unstoppable force and maybe the toughest player to tackle in the league. Henry basically got a yard more than he should have on every single carry. That passes the eye test. No complaints.
Well, well, well…. looks who’s number two on the list? NICK CHUBB. That’s right. Next Gen Stats basically says that two running backs were head and shoulders better than the rest of the league. Chubb was a top two back last year anyway you slice it.
According to Next Gen stats, Chubb should have rushed for 4.1 yards per carry and ended up with a 5 piece nugget. That’s not to say Barkley is a bad back but the article details how he’s not in the same ballpark. Give it up, Barkley fans. Your guy is a good back. He’s just not Chubb. Sucks to suck.