Passing Yards Per Attempt And Teams That About-Faced

This is an update on 06/22/2019. The original calculation did not go out enough decimal places and teams were ranked sequentially that had equivalent yards per attempt. This update corrects that problem. The one major change was that the Texans surpassed the Bears in third most improved team. For teams that had a tied rank difference I then sorted by the difference in yards per attempt year to year.

Looking back at the 2018 season which teams were the most improved and most declined in various statistics. Today  I look at the passing game and specifically the Yards per Pass Attempt statistic. This one seems to best capture a team’s success in the passing game in just one stat. The other stats such as passing yards, completion percentage, yards per reception give just a part of the picture.

First we look at the top three teams that improved the most from 2017 to 2018 in passing yards per attempt. We look at what went well in 2018 and how they positioned themselves to improve more in 2019.  These are not the teams that lead in yards/attempt but rather the teams that improved the most from the previous year. We follow with the three teams that dropped the most in rankings for this statistic.

Three  Most Improved Teams in Passing Yards Per Attempt

1. Cleveland Browns

2017 – Rank: 31, Yds/Att: 5.6
2018 – Rank: 13, Yds/Att: 7.0

Mayfield was impressive his rookie year. Here are the all time quarterbacks that in their rookie year had 3,000+ passing yards, 60+% completion rate, 20+ passing touchdowns and a 90+ passer rating.

A good run game helps the passing game and fellow rookie running back Nick Chubb also had a good rookie year. Here are the 2018 running backs that had 100+ rushing attempts and averaged 5+ yards per attempt.

Third year receiver Rashad Higgins, who was a consensus All American in college  in 2014, has provided a reliable receiving option on limited targets. He may be turning into a good receiver after a slow start. Here we have receivers in 2018 that had a 70+% catch percentage and 500+ Receiving Yards sorted by descending Yards per Target.

The Browns added Odell Beckham in 2019 with a trade with the Giants.  Here we see since Beckham was drafted in 2014 the receivers that have had 2+ seasons of +7.3 yards/target, +1000 receiving yards, +13 yards per reception and a 59+% catch percent sorted in descending number of seasons.  Beckham was injured for one of those five seasons.

Query Results Table
Rk Player Draft From To Tm Count
1 Julio Jones 1-6 2014 2018 ATL 5
2 Odell Beckham 1-12 2014 2018 NYG 4
3 Antonio Brown 6-195 2014 2017 PIT 3
4 Brandin Cooks 1-20 2015 2018 NOR/LAR 3
5 Rob Gronkowski 2-42 2014 2017 NWE 3
6 Amari Cooper 1-4 2016 2018 OAK/ 2
7 A.J. Green 1-4 2014 2015 CIN 2
8 Tyreek Hill 5-165 2017 2018 KAN 2
9 T.Y. Hilton 3-92 2014 2018 IND 2
10 DeAndre Hopkins 1-27 2014 2018 HOU 2
11 Greg Olsen 1-31 2015 2016 CAR 2
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2019.

 

2. New York Giants

2017 – Rank: 29, Yds/Att: 5.7
2018 – Rank: 15, Yds/Att: 6.9

Eli Manning had one of the best years of his career in 2018. Here we have 2018 quarterbacks that had a 65+% completion percent, 4000+ passing yards, 7+ passing yards per attempt and less than 15 interceptions.

Manning also was aided by an improved run game featuring rookie Saquon Barkley. He is also listed in the Nick Chubb table above.

The receivers all had good catch percentage, yards per target and yards per game. The Giants did lack a standout receiver three. Here were the top Giant receivers in 2018.

Rushing & Receiving Table
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
No. Player Age Pos G GS Tgt Rec Yds
Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
13 Odell Beckham 26 WR 12 12 124 77 1052 13.7 6 51 6.4 87.7 62.1% 8.5
87 Sterling Shepard 25 WR 16 16 107 66 872 13.2 4 58 4.1 54.5 61.7% 8.1
26 Saquon Barkley* 21 RB 16 16 121 91 721 7.9 4 57 5.7 45.1 75.2% 6.0
88 Evan Engram 24 TE 11 8 64 45 577 12.8 3 54 4.1 52.5 70.3% 9.0
85 Rhett Ellison 30 TE 14 12 34 25 272 10.9 1 29 1.8 19.4 73.5% 8.0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/14/2019.

 

The Giants have lost Odell Beckham in free agency but have picked up Golden Tate. Here we see that Tate is one of only six receivers that have had 2+ seasons of 90+ receptions and 7.9+ yards per target over the last three years.

Query Results Table
Rk Player Draft From To Tm Count
1 Michael Thomas 2-47 2016 2018 NOR 3
2 Keenan Allen 3-76 2017 2018 LAC 2
3 Antonio Brown 6-195 2016 2017 PIT 2
4 DeAndre Hopkins 1-27 2017 2018 HOU 2
5 Golden Tate 2-60 2016 2017 DET 2
6 Adam Thielen 2017 2018 MIN 2
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2019.

 

The Giants draft receiver Darius Slayton of Auburn in round 5. Though not a prolific receiver in college Slayton did average 20.3 yards per reception over three years and was pretty consistent with the lowest year being 19.1. In 2018 he had four receptions of 50+ yards which was tie for eighth and among the top 21 receivers. Again being consistent he also had four receptions of 50+ yards in 2017 and tie for 15th and among the top 23 receivers. In 2018 almost half of his 35 receptions were for 15+ yards. That was 55% in 2017.  Again with consistency Slayton had 5 receiving touchdowns in each of 2017 and 2018. At the combine he was 6th among receivers in the forty and third in the vertical and broad jump.

I am intrigued by the Giants undrafted free agent signing of FCS receiver Alex Wesley.  In each of his last two seasons he had 1000+ receiving yards, an 18.4 yards per reception average, an average of 100+ yards per game and long receptions of 62 and 83 yards. In 2018 half of his 10 games were 100+ receiving yards with two others being 96 and 97 yards. He had one game of 184 receiving yards. His team market share receiving yards in 2018 was 37.1%.

3. Houston Texans

2017 – Rank: 19, Yds/Att: 6.24
2018 – Rank: 7, Yds/Att: 7.47

Deshaun Watson is one of eight quarterbacks in the query used for Eli Manning of 2018 quarterbacks that had a 65+% completion percent, 4000+ passing yards, 7+ passing yards per attempt and less than 15 interceptions,  Watson had the second most fourth quarter comebacks with five.  It helps the Texans overall change in that Watson was injured in 2017 and only played in seven games compared to his 16 regular season games in 2018. Nevertheless Watson improved in completion percentage and interception percentage though dropping in touchdown percentage. Watson made the 2017 NFL All-Rookie Team and the 2018 Pro Bowl.

Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins had his best career year. He made the Pro Bowl and was selected First team All-Pro for the second year in a row, His 1,572 receiving yards was  second in the league. His 70.6% catch percentage was the best of his career by over 10%.

4. Chicago Bears

2017 – Rank: 24, Yds/Att: 5.94
2018 – Rank: 14, Yds/Att: 6.96

Quarterback Mitch Trubisky improved in almost every quarterback statistic from his 2017 rookie season. If we expand the quarterback query we used for Eli Manning to include passing yards of 3200+ we get a couple more good quarterbacks. Most of those new ones did not play a full season which includes Trubisky.

Trubisky had a plethora of targets to throw to. Here we see that in 2018 the Bears were one of only two teams that had five players with an average 10+ yards per reception, a 58+% catch rate, 7+ yards per target and 30+ receptions. The other team, the Eagles, lost one of those targets (Golden Tate) in free agency this year.

Rushing & Receiving Table
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
No. Player Age Pos G GS Tgt Rec Yds
Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
12 Allen Robinson 25 WR 13 12 94 55 754 13.7 4 43 4.2 58.0 58.5% 8.0
29 Tarik Cohen*+ 23 rb/wr 16 7 91 71 725 10.2 5 70 4.4 45.3 78.0% 8.0
18 Taylor Gabriel 27 WR 16 11 93 67 688 10.3 2 54 4.2 43.0 72.0% 7.4
80 Trey Burton 27 TE 16 16 76 54 569 10.5 6 47 3.4 35.6 71.1% 7.5
17 Anthony Miller 24 wr 15 4 54 33 423 12.8 7 55 2.2 28.2 61.1% 7.8
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2019.

 

The Bears offensive line was eighth in the league in fewest sacks allowed (33) and second in fewest quarterback hits (64). They signed undrafted free agent offensive tackle Joe Lowery of Ohio University. Lowery made 2018 Mac All Conference First Team and 2017 All Conference second team. He was selected by Pro Football Focus as their MAC player of the year and All American Second Team. He was their third highest graded offensive tackle in the nation. Lowery led the nation’s tackles in PFF run-blocking grade and in pass protection he allowed just nine total QB pressures on 334 snaps.

The Bears have kept their top five receiving targets shown above going into the 2019 season.

I am intrigued by their undrafted free agent signing of tight end Dax Raymond. Though not a lot of 3rd down receptions (19), Raymond has made 1st down on 90% of his 3rd down receptions over his three year college career. In 2018 nineteen of his 27 receptions resulted in a first down. He is a big physical receiver with good hands.

The Bears drafted receiver Riley Ridley from Georgia in the fourth round. Ridley is a tough receiver who made my list in 2019 NFL Draft And Which Teams Became Tougher . While he did not put up huge receiving numbers at Georgia he did have a career average 14.7 yards per reception and had 9 receiving touchdowns in 2018. In 2018 he converted on eight of his nine 3rd down receptions and all of his six red zone receptions were touchdowns. His brother, Calvin Ridley, plays in the NFL for the Atlanta Falcons.

Three  Most Declined Teams in Passing Yards Per Attempt

Now we look at the bottom three teams that dropped the most in the rankings for Passing Yards Per Attempt from 2017 to 2018. Again these are not necessarily the worst teams in this statistic but are rather those that dropped most between the 2017 and 2018 seasons. Again we look at how the team addressed the problem going into 2019.

30. Washington Redskins

2017 – Rank: 11, Yds/Att: 6.9
2018 – Rank: 29, Yds/Att: 5.9

The Redskins lost quarterback Alex Smith for the season after he suffered a broken leg during a game of week 11. They finished the remaining six games with a combination of Colt McCoy, Mark Sanchez and Josh Johnson at quarterback. Their record in those last six weeks was 1-5 to finish the season at 7-9.

For the receivers no one stood out as the highest receiving yards by anyone was 558 yards by their tight end Jordan Reed. The catch percentages for the wide receivers were all under 60% with the exception of Chris Thompson. However Thompson’s yards per reception was only 6.5. Of the 71 receivers that started 8 or more games the Redskins had only one, Josh Doctson, and he was 58th on the list in yards/target (6.82).

Rushing & Receiving Table
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
No. Player Age Pos G GS Tgt Rec Yds
Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
86 Jordan Reed 28 te/wr 13 8 84 54 558 10.3 2 34 4.2 42.9 64.3% 6.6
18 Josh Doctson 26 WR 15 12 78 44 532 12.1 2 32 2.9 35.5 56.4% 6.8
80 Jamison Crowder 25 wr 9 7 49 29 388 13.4 2 79 3.2 43.1 59.2% 7.9
85 Vernon Davis 34 te/wr 14 8 36 25 367 14.7 2 53 1.8 26.2 69.4% 10.2
13 Maurice Harris 26 wr 12 7 47 28 304 10.9 0 42 2.3 25.3 59.6% 6.5
25 Chris Thompson 28 10 0 55 41 268 6.5 1 23 4.1 26.8 74.5% 4.9
10 Paul Richardson 26 wr 7 4 35 20 262 13.1 2 46 2.9 37.4 57.1% 7.5
26 Adrian Peterson 33 RB 16 16 26 20 208 10.4 1 52 1.3 13.0 76.9% 8.0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2019.

 

With it looking doubtful that Alex Smith would return in 2019 the team signed free agent Case Keenum from the Broncos. They then drafted Dwayne Haskins with the number 15 pick in the draft. They will have an open quarterback competition thru training camp to decide on a starter.

Colt McCoy career numbers are not that good. However his best years have been his last four at Washington and he knows the system the best.

Colt McCoy Passing Table
Year Age Tm Pos No. G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A AY/A Y/C Y/G Rate QBR Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% 4QC GWD AV
Career 38 27 7-20-0 542 896 60.5 5958 29 3.2 26 2.9 71 6.6 6.0 11.0 156.8 78.9 83 496 5.58 4.98 8.5 2 5 14
4 yrs WAS 10 6 1-5-0 132 193 68.4 1557 8 4.1 6 3.1 71 8.1 7.5 11.8 155.7 93.6 24 166 6.41 5.90 11.1 1 2 4
3 yrs CLE 24 21 6-15-0 409 702 58.3 4388 21 3.0 20 2.8 56 6.3 5.6 10.7 182.8 74.8 59 330 5.33 4.70 7.8 1 3 10
1 yr SFO 4 0 1 1 100.0 13 0 0.0 0 0.0 13 13.0 13.0 13.0 3.3 118.7 0 0 13.00 13.00 0.0 0
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2019.

 

Keenum had a very good year in Minnesota. The Denver year was not as good. Before those years he had six years of poor play.

Passing Table
Year Age Tm G GS QBrec Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD TD% Int Int% Lng Y/A AY/A Y/C Y/G Rate Sk Yds NY/A ANY/A Sk% 4QC GWD AV
Care Care 57 54 26-28-0 1144 1844 62.0 12661 64 3.5 42 2.3 66 6.9 6.5 11.1 222.1 84.5 105 755 6.11 5.80 5.4 6 10 33
3 yr 3 yr HOU 10 10 2-8-0 182 330 55.2 2195 11 3.3 8 2.4 66 6.7 6.2 12.1 219.5 76.8 22 216 5.62 5.22 6.3 1 1 5
3 yr 3 yr STL-LAR 16 14 7-7-0 272 447 60.9 3029 13 2.9 12 2.7 65 6.8 6.1 11.1 189.3 79.5 27 168 6.04 5.45 5.7 1 2 5
1 yr 1 yr DEN 16 16 6-10-0 365 586 62.3 3890 18 3.1 15 2.6 64 6.6 6.1 10.7 243.1 81.2 34 235 5.90 5.39 5.5 3 4 9
1 yr 1 yr MIN 15 14 11-3-0 325 481 67.6 3547 22 4.6 7 1.5 65 7.4 7.6 10.9 236.5 98.3 22 136 6.78 7.03 4.4 1 3 14
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2019.

 

Draft pick Dwayne Haskins has only one year as a starter in college. However he performed very well in that one year. He was first in passing yards, 10+ yard passing plays and passing touchdowns. Here is a table to show how his stats compared to other drafted quarterbacks. Haskins is in bold. In addition the the standard stats there are ones for 3rd down conversion percent, red zone touchdown percent and big play percent. Averages for the drafted quarterbacks are shown at the bottom for most stats and players above the average are highlighted in yellow. AT the end is a sum of stats the player was above the average.

Rookie Draft Picks Quarterback Table
ROUND Pick Team First name Last Name School Ht Wt 2018 games Pct Pass Yds pass yds/game Pass yds/Att Tds tds/game Int TD/Int Rate Rush Yds Rush yds/game Rush Avg Rush Tds pass att 3rd rush att 3rd pass made 3rd rush made 3rd pass 3rd rush 3rd 3rd down % dev 3rd down RZ Pass Att RZ Rush Att RZ Pass TD RZ rush TD pass td rush td RZ TD % dev RZ TD All Pass All Rush Big Pass Big Rush pass BP rush BP Big Play % BP dev sum above Avg Sum Std Dev
1 1 ARI Kyler Murray Oklahoma 5.10 195 14 69.0 4361 312 11.6 42 3.00 7 6.00 199.2 1001 71.5 7.2 12 80 18 43 6 53.75% 33.33% 50.0% 1.208 51 28 20 8 39.216% 28.57% 35.4% 0.731 377 140 102 42 27.06% 30.00% 27.9% 2.059 12 4.00
1 6 NYG Daniel Jones Duke 6.05 229 11 60.5 2674 243 6.8 22 2.00 9 2.44 131.7 319 29.0 3.1 3 88 38 31 14 35.23% 36.84% 35.7% -0.747 33 19 10 2 30.303% 10.53% 23.1% -1.373 392 104 53 17 13.52% 16.35% 14.1% -1.169 2 -3.29
1 15 WAS Dwayne Haskins Ohio State 6.03 220 14 70.0 4831 345 9.1 50 3.57 8 6.25 174.1 108 7.7 1.4 4 119 18 55 3 46.22% 16.67% 42.3% 0.159 65 12 21 4 32.308% 33.33% 32.5% 0.224 496 73 104 4 20.97% 5.48% 19.0% -0.026 8 0.36
2 42 DEN Drew Lock Missouri 6.04 225 13 62.9 3498 269 8.0 28 2.15 8 3.50 147.7 175 13.5 3.2 6 117 13 50 3 42.74% 23.08% 40.8% -0.055 50 16 12 6 24.000% 37.50% 27.3% -0.659 399 49 65 10 16.29% 20.41% 16.7% -0.552 2 -1.27
3 100 CAR Will Grier West Virginia 6.02 223 11 67.0 3864 351 9.7 37 3.36 8 4.63 175.5 -90 -8.2 -1.9 3 89 13 41 2 46.07% 15.38% 42.2% 0.135 52 8 18 3 34.615% 37.50% 35.0% 0.655 397 48 78 3 19.65% 6.25% 18.2% -0.208 8 0.58
4 104 CIN Ryan Finley NC State 6.04 212 13 67.4 3928 302 8.1 25 1.92 11 2.27 148.0 21 1.6 0.5 1 124 14 57 10 45.97% 71.43% 48.6% 1.009 64 6 17 1 26.563% 16.67% 25.7% -0.924 452 36 95 0 21.02% 0.00% 19.5% 0.089 4 0.17
6 197 BAL Trace McSorley Penn State 6.00 201 13 53.2 2530 195 7.0 18 1.38 7 2.57 124.6 798 61.4 4.7 12 80 49 21 16 26.25% 32.65% 28.7% -1.709 35 29 14 11 40.000% 37.93% 39.1% 1.346 361 170 65 32 18.01% 18.82% 18.3% -0.193 4 -0.56
Average 64.3 288.1 8.6 2.49 3.95 157.3 25.2 2.6 5.9 41.2% 31.1% 19.1%

Provided by NFCBeast.com
Generated 5/15/2019.

 

With the receivers the Redskins lost Jamison Crowder in free agency. They drafted Terry McLaurin of Ohio State in the third round and Kelvin Harmon of NC State in the sixth round. Harmon made my list of the top five toughest receivers available in the 2019 draft. He had 1000+ receiving yards, 14+ yards per reception and 4+ receiving touchdowns in each of his last two seasons at NC State.  McLaurin was fifth among receivers in the forty (4.35 s) at the combine. An intriguing undrafted free agent signing is receiver Steven Sims of Kansas. Sims had a 29.8% team market share of receiving yards in 2016. That same year his 7 receiving touchdowns was 44% of the team’s receiving touchdowns. He was a four year starter at Kansas where he started in 30 games.

31 Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 – Rank: 12, Yards/Att: 6.8
2018 – Rank: 30, Yards/Att: 5.8

Quarterback Blake Bortles had a bad year in 2018 on the Jaguars. He was benched in week 13  to give Cody Kessler a shot. Bortles came back to start in the season finale.  Bortles 79.8 passer rating in 2018 was 31st among the 34 quarterbacks that started at least 7 games. The three quarterbacks with a lower rating were 3 of the 4 rookie quarterbacks. Lamar Jackson was the sole rookie with the higher rating.

The Jaguars offensive line was 30th in sacks allowed (53) and also in quarterbacks hits allowed (111).  Their line was hurt by injuries. Only one week one starter on the line finished the season.

Jacksonville had 3 receivers that started 8 or more games. On the list of starting receivers (8 or more games) of the 71 receivers the Jacksonville receivers were 46, 53 and 54th on the list  in receiving yards per target. Two of there top three receivers have catch percentages under 55% and their round two draft pick in 2018, DJ Chark, has a catch percentage of 44%.

Rushing & Receiving Table
Game Game Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece Rece
No. Player Age Pos G GS Tgt Rec Yds
Y/R TD Lng R/G Y/G Ctch% Y/Tgt
12 Dede Westbrook 25 WR 16 9 101 66 717 10.9 5 61 4.1 44.8 65.3% 7.1
10 Donte Moncrief 25 WR 16 14 89 48 668 13.9 3 80 3.0 41.8 53.9% 7.5
84 Keelan Cole 25 WR 16 11 70 38 491 12.9 1 35 2.4 30.7 54.3% 7.0
24 T.J. Yeldon 25 rb 14 5 78 55 487 8.9 4 37 3.9 34.8 70.5% 6.2
80 James O’Shaughnessy 26 TE 14 9 38 24 214 8.9 0 17 1.7 15.3 63.2% 5.6
27 Leonard Fournette 23 RB 8 8 26 22 185 8.4 1 31 2.8 23.1 84.6% 7.1
17 DJ Chark 22 11 0 32 14 174 12.4 0 38 1.3 15.8 43.8% 5.4
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/16/2019.

 

Looking to improve in 2019 the Jaguars signed Eagles backup quarterback Nick Foles and released Blake Bortles.  Foles is entering his eighth season after being selected in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft.  Foles had a Pro Bowl season in 2013, was extremely efficient in his post season 2017 Super Bowl run and had a good five regular season games in 2018.  In regular season games over the last 2-5 seasons Foles has ranked in the bottom 10-29% of starting quarterbacks in yards per pass attempts. It will be interesting to see how he does in a full season.

In the draft the Jaguars selected OT Jawaan Taylor of Florida in the second round. He was projected by nfl.com to be a round one selection. He excels as a run blocker.  Pro Football Focus reports that he only gave up one sack last year and ten pressures.

They picked up undrafted free agent guard Bunchy Stallings. Stallings was SEC All Conference First Team in 2018. He was selected as an All American by the Associate Press and by the Athletic. Stallings was responsible for only one-half quarterback sack all year. He totaled 170 blocks at the point of attack and had 55 knockdown blocks. Stallings is said to be a mauler in the run game and helped contribute to running back Benny Snell breaking 1,000 yards rushing each of the last three seasons. Stallings was selected to the ESPN 2018 mid-season All-America team and they had this to say – “He has been a road-grader for the Wildcats. ”

For receiver weapons they picked tight end Josh Oliver in the second round. Oliver had 56 receptions last year which was second most among tight ends. He had a 22.6% receiving yards team market share where a 15% or better is considered good for a tight end. He had 81% of his 3rd down receptions result in a first down.  Of his total 56 receptions 67.9% went for first down. While not the best percents in this strong tight end class they are still pretty good.

They did not draft a receiver but did pick up two intriguing undrafted free agents. Papi White of Ohio  had a 36.5% receiving yards team market share. White is one of only two players that had 15+ Receiving Yards Per Reception, 3+ Receiving Touchdowns and 600+ Receiving Yards in each of the last three seasons.

The other undrafted free agent is Tyree Brady of Marshall. He is sixth in FBS career receptions per game among active players (5.54 receptions). Brady has achieved over a 30% team market share receiving yards each of the last two years. Brady is one of only eleven receivers that over the last two seasons had 1900+ receiving yards and 17+ receiving touchdowns.

32 Detroit Lions

2017 – Rank: 8, Yds/Att: 7.3
2018 – Rank: 26, Yds/Att: 6.2

You have to go back to 2012 for an equivalent or lower yards per attempt by quarterback Mathew Stafford. That is how far back you also have to go to get a worse record than their 2018 record of 6-10. Detroit on this list is a kind of enigma. Stafford had the second best completion percentage (66.1%) of his career. The offensive line of Detroit was 18th in sacks allowed and 13th in QB hits allowed. The Lions did trade receiver Golden Tate to the Eagles in week 8.  Tate was on track to be the lead receiver (517 yards) and he wound up with the best catch % of the top three receivers (63.8%). However on a list of the 71 receivers that started 8 or more games in 2018 sorted by decreasing receiving yards per target, the Lions have two in the list- Kenny Golladay at 22 and Marvin Jones at 33. Only 8 other teams had two receivers higher than 33.  Why the Lions wound up with the worst drop in ranking of passing yards per attempt is hard to understand.

Looking into 2019 the Lions should bounce back just based on 2018 being an anomaly. However in addition to that they added some nice players to see a big jump.

Danny Amendola  (WR free agent, MIA)   – Over the last 4 seasons in each season he has had a 70+% catch rate and 7.3 to 8.4 yards/target.

Jesse James (TE free agent, PIT) – In 2018 had 423 yards, 76.9% catch rate, 10.8 yards/target  and 14.1 yards/rec.

TJ Hockenson (TE Round 1 draft) – One of my 5 toughest tight ends in the draft. Hockenson participated in all seven combine events and scored within tight end target goals on six of the seven. Only one other tight end had that achievement (Foster Moreau). Hockenson had the most 30+ yard receptions (8) among all tight ends. Hockenson won the 2018 John Mackey Award given to college football’s most outstanding tight end.

Travis Fulgham (WR Round 6 draft) – One of only four draft prospects that had 1000+ yards receiving and averaged 17+ yards per reception in 2018.  He had a whopping 76% of his receptions go for a first down. He also had a receiving touchdown in each of his nine last games.

Isaac Nauta (TE Round 7 draft) – Another one of my 5 toughest tight ends.

Donald Parham (TE UDFA) – had staggering market share numbers that would be great for a wide receiver and are unheard of for a tight end. In 2018 he had 85 receptions (36%), 1,319 yards (41%) and 13 touchdowns (46%). Parham has a 36″ vertical jump which would have been tied for third among tight ends at last year’s combine. That jump combined with a 6’8″ height and being a former basketball player makes for a nice red zone target.

Beau Benzschawel (OL UDFA) – One of only seven offensive line draft prospects to make all conference first team the last two seasons. On rushing plays the Badgers averaged 7.5 yards per attempt when running to Beau’s gap. Beau has played in 49 games and made 49 consecutive starts on what is regarded as one of the top offensive lines in the nation (Wisconsin).

In Conclusion

There you have the three most improved and three most declined teams in 2018 for yards per passing attempt. It is quite a coincidence that the top three wound up ranking consecutively in the middle of the pack. The yards per attempt data was obtained from teamrankings.com. The yards per attempt are for the team and it subtracts yards lost to sacks from the total yardage.

You can download the rankings for all teams here – Passing Yds Per Att Update. The table is sorted by change form 2017 to 2018.

 

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