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Ooh ho, I'm Missing You

My apologies to Dan Fogelberg.

Tom Szczerbowski

Hey, did you know that Tom Brady lost most of his 2012 targets this year?  I know, weird right?

  • Wes Welker and his 175 targets went west to play with PeyPey.
  • Deion Branch and his 90 targets took the year off until he decided to play for the Colts against us.
  • Danny Woodhead and his 55 targets decided he was better off with Rivers at QB.
  • Brandon Lloyd and his 74 targets decided to become the victim in a murderous zombie rampage.
  • Aaron Hernandez and his 83 targets decided to go on a murderous rampage of his own.

All at once (or a little at a time), 75% of Tom's targets, nearly all of his go-to weapons in the arsenal were gone.  Tell me if you've heard this one before.  That was then, and this is now.

Tom Brady, by his standards, had a down year.  His completion percentage dropped by 2.5 down to 60.5%.  His QB rating dropped by 11.4.  He had 484 less yards, and 0.7 less yards per attempt.  He fumbled 7 more times (lost 3 more) and threw three more picks than last year.  In addition he threw 9 less TDs, a drop in production of over 26%.  That's 50% less than the storied season of 2007.

To be fair, Tom didn't lose ALL of his targets from 2012.  He still had Gronk for almost 7 games.  Edelman, Vereen, Ridley, Bolden, and Hooman were all part of the 2012 offense, and Develin was right there on the practice squad.  That's got to count for something, right?

In fact, it accounts for 23% of all of Tom's 2012 targets.  Gronk alone was 13% of that 23%, and he played 4 less games this year than last.

Obviously, Tom was missing some guys, so where exactly did those misses go?  Here are his pass catchers and missers from 2013:

  • 0 misses to Develin (100% catch rate on 4 targets)
  • 1 miss to Mulligan (67% catch rate)
  • 2 misses to Ridley (83% catch rate)
  • 3 misses to Blount (40% catch rate)
  • 5 misses to Collie (55% catch rate)
  • 7 misses to Bolden (72% catch rate)
  • 7 misses to Hooman (63% catch rate)
  • 10 misses to Boyce (47% catch rate)
  • 16 balls were simply thrown away
  • 22 misses to Vereen (68% catch rate)
  • 27 misses to Gronk (59% catch rate)
  • 29 misses to Amendola (65% catch rate)
  • 35 misses to Dobson (51% catch rate)
  • 38 misses to Thompkins (46% catch rate)
  • 46 misses to Edelman (70% catch rate)

Here is the breakdown of missed connections:

  • 36% to rookies (Boyce, Dobson, Thompkins)
  • 16% to new players to the team (Mulligan, Blount, Collie, Amendola)
  • 48% to targets from last year (Develin, Ridley, Bolden, Hooman, Vereen, Gronk, Edelman)

Here's how they were targeted:

  • 26% to rookies (Boyce, Dobson, Thompkins)
  • 16% to new players to the team (Mulligan, Blount, Collie, Amendola)
  • 56% to targets from last year (Develin, Ridley, Bolden, Hooman, Vereen, Gronk, Edelman)
  • 2% thrown away

Another way to view it:

52% of the miscues were to players Tom had no previous experience with, and they were only targeted 42% of the time.  They made more mistakes per target.

Of these new players, the rookies had 36% of the mistakes on 26% of the targets.  Boys will be boys; they make mistakes.  The FA acquisitions made 16% of the mistakes on 16% of the targets.  Perfectly on par with targets; men will be men.

36% of the goofs were to players Tom had minimal experience with the year before (10% of the targets combined from last year), and they were targeted 45% of the time.  They made less mistakes per target; supermen will be supermen.

12% of the misses were to key players from the offense of the year before - aka Gronk, and he was targeted 11% of the time.  Mistakes on par with targets; a man among boys.

This year's offense was made possible because of last year's role players stepping up into bigger and better roles.  They had more targets and made less mistakes.

The largest weakness was the rookies who made more than their share of mistakes and in addition had difficulty staying on the field.  Here's hoping they have a big second year.