Here's the thing about my friend Bernie - the dude is totally and completely unpredictable.
It's for that reason that one time when we were hanging out and the seminole "Men In Black" by Double You Eye Elle Elle Smith (that's Will Smith, guys) from the movie of the same name came on and he lost his mind... I didn't blink an eye.
The thing about the MIB title track is that it has the sickest intro of all time. Don't believe me? Give it a whirl.
"Men in black" performed by Will Smith Album: Big Willie Style (1997) About: "Men in Black" is a song by Will Smith (featuring singer Coko from double diamond selling group SWV) from the movie Men in Black, in which he also starred. The song plays during the movie's closing credits.
The other thing about the MIB song is that at one point Will Smith breaks into a full-out dance routine with an alien. I miss the 90s.
So back to my buddy Bernie. One day he tells me, "Let's learn the dance! We can break into it and it'll be ill!" (Sidebar: I fully support the usage of the word ill in a positive context. I also support "Sidebars", we should use them more often!). So what do I do? You know me, Inside The Star fam. I learned it. I still know it today. Don't challenge me on this. You'll lose. Just like those pesky aliens in Men In Black 1, 2, and 3 (it's pretty amazing what's allowed to be a trilogy these days).
It doesn't take a hypnotizer or a neuralizer to turn my vivid memories to fantasies, though. All it takes is Price Per Yard.
I debuted my methodology behind this metric with the 2013 Price Per Yard Analysis. I followed suit (the Men In Black wear suits, this whole things is tied together I tell ya!) with the 2014 Price Per Yard Analysis which proved that the Dallas Cowboys are financial wizards.
Jay, Will Smith's MIB character, protected Earth from aliens. RJ (that's me!) is serving this world up with running back financial cookies and I've got a fresh batch for you today. Welcome to the 2015 Price Per Yard Analysis.
How's that for the sickest intro of all time?
2015 NFC Price Per Yard
**Click the image to zoom in.
It's important to remember before we begin that the St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams don't have any data available to collect. They don't want to play with us and that's just fine. WE DON'T NEED THEM ANYWAY!
It doesn't take a genius to see that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the dominant team at Price Per Yard in the National Football Conference last season. The repetitive theme surrounding PPY is that if you can get elite production from a rookie or veteran on a cheap deal then you're going to be in business - good business.
Tampa Bay rode the Muscle Hamster (I will never understand why Doug Martin hates that nickname, it's awesome!) and Co. to a league-leading 1,949 yards in 2015 (For a refresher on the yardage calculation please visit the Price Per Yard Introduction).
The only team that paid less per yard than the Bucs in the NFC, and actually the entire NFL, was the Atlanta Falcons; however, the little Doug that could and his fellow RBs outgained their division rivals by more than 400 yards. Charles Sims and his low cap number are the icing on top of the Doug cake here.
Arizona saw a re-emergence from Chris Johnson in 2015, and we all saw it on Amazon Video's All or Nothing (which you can hear all about during my interview with Director Shannon Furman on the RJOShow). His veteran deal, and David Johnson's rookie one, helped make the 1,884 yards that they tallied look brilliant from a Price Per Yard perspective. Also just throwing this out there... doesn't Bruce Arians kind of remind you of Tommy Lee Jones' Kay from MIB? Yes? No? Oh well.
Last year's version of the Minnesota Vikings, having Adrian Peterson at their disposal for every game, encompassed what basic business is (ideally) all about - you get what you pay for. The Vikes paid more than anyone in the conference per yard, but they came in third in total yardage collected. I watched The Big Short on Netflix a few weeks ago so I'm basically a business expert now, and I can explain exactly what the Vikings are doing pretty simply.
Minnesota wants to run the ball well. They pay guys to do that. The guys do that. Hooray.
2015 AFC Price Per Yard
Sometimes when it's late at night I wonder if the Bills still laugh about the fact that they got Chip Kelly to trade them LeSean McCoy in exchange for Kiko Alonso.
Philly really did whip out a neuralizer on their coaching staff when they fired Chip Kelly and removed any and all things that he ever touched as an additional precaution... more like a sterilizer than a nerualizer, to be honest.
The Bills took their new toy and ran with it - literally. Buffalo led the AFC in rushing and did so at an insane bargain price. Shady McCoy and his many talents are well compensated, but we saw Buffalo prove a Price Per Yard rule of thumb to be totally true - have a good rookie. Karlos Williams, although now suspended for four games, helped the cause while doing so at a great rate.
Last season's Tennessee Titans are sort of the opposite of the Vikings. They didn't invest a ton financially in the run game and as a result didn't get a good one.
It's honestly pretty hard to be as bad at this as the 2015 Jaguars were. Hey, at least they're good at something! Jacksonville dropped a bigger chunk of change in the run game than most teams and produced a sub-par product. Hey Will Smith, how do you say "This was atrocious" in cool alien jargon?
2015 Price Per Yard: Applying The Base Value
The Base Value (BV) helps bring light to exactly how good these teams are at Price Per Yard relative to the Top 10 rushing teams in the NFL. (For a refresher on the Base Value calculation please visit the Price Per Yard Introduction).
The light shed here indicates that the Buccaneers, Cardinals, Bills, and Broncos all had great returns on their investments. They didn't pay a lot relative to the Top 10 teams, but they still had serious success in the yardage department. Bravo!
Price Per Yard: The 2015 Dallas Cowboys
I've evaluated three full seasons of teams and their respective Price Per Yard calculations. I believe that the 2014 Dallas Cowboys were one of the best to ever do this, or anything similar, in the history of professional football.
Any time you do something absolutely incredible, it's hard to top it immediately afterward. That lesson rang true for last season's version of America's Team.
Saying that the Dallas Cowboys have the best Offensive Line in the game is both a luxury for us and a cold, hard fact. Even though that elite production is coming off of a minimal investment, it still wasn't enough to carry last year's stable of running backs to another historic Price Per Yard performance.
The 2015 Cowboys indicated, via their financial investments, that they didn't need a high-quality running back to yield great results in terms of yardage. They were unequivocally right in that regard, I'm not disputing that.
Unfortunately, relative to the Base Value, the Cowboys didn't yield enough of a great result to totally justify their low-level investment. They paid 7.11% less than the BV in the run game, which is cool, but in turn yielded 30.20% less yardage than the BV. We saw this team just a season before have one of the greatest returns on investment in NFL History, and remember that in the world of business you ideally get what you pay for.
The Cowboys responded by paying for Zeke.
The 2015 season may be the last one with data calculation that we have at our disposal, but the Price Per Yard series lives on!
Next Monday (July 25th) I'll be debuting a Price Per Yard summation for seasons 2013, 2014, and 2015 combined. Three seasons is a strong enough sample size for us to be able to see trends that teams are taking. I'll have all of that broken down for you here at Inside The Star.
Additionally on August 1st I'll be putting out a projection regarding Price Per Yard for the 2016 season and including yardage markers that each team will have to hit in order for them to get a legitimate return on the investments that they're making this season.
If you have any comments or questions about Price Per Yard, the philosophy behind it, the formula that went into it, or just simply want to talk and/or debate it… you can comment below, email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa.
Is Kavon Frazier Fighting a Losing Battle With the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys Safety Kavon Frazier has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but may not see the end of it with the same team who drafted him. In fact, it really looks as if he is already fighting a losing battle in Dallas.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Free Agent George Iloka and drafted Donavan Wilson out of Texas A&M in the sixth-round of the 2019 NFL Draft in the hopes of upgrading the safety position. That doesn't bode well for Kavon Frazier, especially after seeing his defensive snaps take hit in 2018.
After the arrival of Defensive Backs Coach and Passing Game Coordinator Kris Richard, Frazier saw his playing time on defense go from 21.24% in 2017 to 18.07% in 2018. It's not a huge difference, but it's pretty obvious the Cowboys value his special-teams ability, not his defensive play.
The way I see things, Kavon Frazier is a longshot to make the Cowboys final 53-man roster this year. At best, I have him fifth or sixth on the depth chart right now. Since Dallas typically only carries four safeties on the roster, it's looking as if Frazier could inevitably be the odd man out.
I personally have Xavier Woods, Jeff Heath, and George Iloka ahead of Kavon Frazier right now on the depth chart. That means he's competing with Darian Thompson, who is also playing on a one-year deal, and rookie Donovan Wilson for that fourth and final roster spot at the safety position. Unfortunately for Frazier, it looks as if the odds are against him.
Donovan Wilson has already had to step into Frazier's shoes while he was out in OTA's after having his knee scoped, and has been pretty impressive doing so. He has supposedly picked up the defensive scheme pretty quickly and is becoming a vocal leader on the backend. Being a younger, cheaper option, Wilson has a better chance of sticking around on the final 53-man roster over Frazier.
As you can see, Kavon Frazier is fighting an uphill battle with the Dallas Cowboys. It of course is nothing new for him. He's had to fight his way onto the roster ever since he joined the Cowboys, but this year just seems a little different in my opinion. It just looks as if the odds are more against him this time around.
I have no doubts Frazier will continue to fight with every ounce of his being, but if I'm being completely honest I think he's fighting a losing battle. It's going to be really interesting to see how this roster battle at the safety position plays out in training camp and preseason.
Do you think Kavon Frazier is fighting a losing battle with the Dallas Cowboys?
Dallas Cowboys: The Case For Regression In 2019
It's been a few years since things around the Dallas Cowboys felt this good prior to a season. Coming off a 10-6 year in which Dallas won both the NFC East and a home playoff game before losing a one possession road game to the future NFC champions, Cowboys Nation is expecting some big things in 2019.
After all, the Cowboys went out and improved their roster in multiple ways this offseason and brought in some new blood on their offensive coaching staff. Spirits are high among Cowboys Nation, and just about everyone is anticipating a two team race for the NFC East.
But some numbers indicate we should be thinking "not so fast."
The details of the 2018 season are not as pretty as the total picture. Rarely are they ever, of course, but these particular details point towards possible regression for the Cowboys in 2019.
Basically, their point differential a year ago spells out impending doom. (That was dramatic, but let's discuss).
The Cowboys were +15 in 2018, and by pythagorean wins expectation, they were about as strong as an 8-8 team (8.53 wins to be exact). This means they won nearly 2 more games (1.47) than would be expected, fourth most in the entire NFL.
This point is furthered when looking at their record in one possession games. Dallas went 8-2 when the game was decided by 7 points or less, winning close games at a rate that is simply not sustainable year to year.
These numbers make the Cowboys a prime candidate for regression in 2019, as they were in 2017.
Back in 2016, the Cowboys outperformed their pythagorean expectation by a whole 2 wins. The following season? Dallas finished the year 9-7. The model also indicated that the 7-9 Eagles performed 2 wins under expectations in 2016, meaning they would get back on track in 2017. As we know, they ended up winning 13 games and the Super Bowl the following season.
Of course, this isn't set-in-stone, and the Cowboys very well could outperform these expectations and avoid regression. This would mainly hinge on their coaching staff and quarterback performing at an elite level, carrying them through close games and winning more games by greater than one possession.
Newly Acquired DE Robert Quinn Brings High Expectations
Winning games in the NFL typically comes down to accomplishing two goals. One, being successful when passing on offense. And, two, stopping the opposing team's passing game.
The Cowboys set out to accomplish that second goal this offseason, re-signing defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, and trading for veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn. Quinn, who tallied 6.5 sacks last season for the Miami Dolphins, is one of the leagues more feared rushers when at his best. The former All Pro has multiple 10+ sack seasons under his belt, including a whopping 19 in 2013.
And, as expected, the Cowboys coaching staff is ecstatic to have such a respected pass rushing specialist on their roster.
“He’s got that first step. He’s an established pass rusher in this league, so he’s going to bring some good stuff for us.” - Cowboys defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
The Cowboys acquired Robert Quinn for a 2020 6th round pick, which could end up being the steal of the offseason. Quinn has played with some top-notch pass rushers in the past, and each time they have brought out the best in his own game.
Back with the Rams in 2017, when Aaron Donald was on the same defensive line, Quinn got to the quarterback 8.5 times. And, last season, he remained consistent in his sack totals playing alongside Cameron Wake. Now he joins a DeMarcus Lawrence who has 25 sacks over the last 2 seasons.
"I think it was kind of one of those where I get to have fun, pin my ears back and just disrupt the backfield, which is what they want us to do." - Robert Quinn told NFL.com.
Quinn and the always dominant Lawrence will form an impressive defensive end duo on passing downs, with the potential to be one of the best in all of football. Dallas is also hoping to add Randy Gregory into this mix, a piece which could prove vital late in football games if he is able to return from his current indefinite suspension.
Whether or not Gregory finds his way back onto the field, though, this defensive front will be in good hands. The edge combo of Quinn and Lawrence, combined with a plethora of skilled interior rushers such as Maliek Collins, gives the Cowboys a fearsome defensive line which should keep quarterbacks uncomfortable every Sunday.
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