Unclear: Metrics Don’t Tell Raiders Story

Oakland Raiders
Nov 5, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) throws a pass against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Raiders did not tackle well against the Dolphins last Sunday. The Raiders defense is as porous as a screen door in the middle of a hurricane. But, according to PFF, the Raiders have one of the best defenses when it comes to missed tackles in the NFL. This is where stats can be misleading. On one hand stats are one of the most useful tools to dictate the account of single players attributes during the course of a game, on the other they can be used to skew storylines to the views of the writer, whether its truthful or not.

Statistics have to be viewed thru multiple prisms when looking for the information you are trying to find. For example, Raiders cornerback Sean Smith graded out as the 18th best corner in 2016 according to PFF with an average grade of 83.4, but when you actually watch the games your eyes tell a different story. Smith gets beat quite a bit, many for touchdowns on very long passes where he simply gets beat off the line and can’t catch up to his man. The Raiders grade out as one of the best tackling teams in the NFL according to PFF. Again, stats don’t tell the whole truth, especially on Sunday against the Dolphins where Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams made the Raiders defense look plain silly.

Skewing statistics is something that happens on a regular basis, here’s a quick example; let’s say I created a poll to see the average income for a city. I want to poll 1000 people to get a good range of incomes and get a fair assessment of the population. But, I poll 750 people from a particular part of the city where incomes are well above average and only 250 from lower income neighborhoods. The data I collected will skew towards the higher-income and not show the true facts. This can happen either way. This is why taking statistics at face value is so misleading.

The best way to get true facts from a statistical basis is to look at different aspects and different statistical data gathering sources. To see if the Raiders are really tackling well, look at the statistics for the opposing offense and see how many after the catch yards their receivers are getting, what the elusive rating is for their running backs are in that particular game and if they are getting more breakaway runs than average against the Raiders. These are just a few examples as to why statistics can be misleading, and cannot always be taken at face value.


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