Chicago Sun-Times

Bears backs not very "elusive," according to PFF

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The guys at Pro Football Focus came up with another interesting study, this time determining the "Elusive Rating" for running backs.

Per usual, they developed a formula, taking into yards after contact and forced missed tackles, which basically means that a defender blew a chance to make a routine play.

They note that Tennessee's Chris Johnson, who topped 2,000 rushing yards, also notched 1,071 of those rushing yards after contact. As remarkable as that is, Johnson isn't rated by PFF as the league's most elusive.

Justin Forsett of the Seattle Seahawks was No. 1 with a rating of 70.19. Carolina's Jonathan Stewart was second with a rating of 67.66, followed by Pierre Thomas (New Orleans Saints), Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills) and Ronnie Brown (Miami Dolphins).

Minnesota's Adrian Peterson was ninth.

How did the Bears backs do?

Matt Forte was 32nd, with a rating of 24.67. And Chester Taylor was rated dead last (or 63rd) of the qualifying players with a rating of 8.03.

Here is PFF's breakdown of the Vikings' duo of Peterson and Taylor in 2009.

"The load-sharing dynamic in the Vikings' backfield last season was an interesting one, with Peterson doing much of the dirty work, and Chester Taylor being responsible largely for the third-down duties, in part because of his ability as a pass receiver and his shifty nature after the catch," Sam Monson of PFF wrote. "It might surprise some (it certainly surprised us) to see Taylor rank dead last of all runners who qualified in Elusive Rating, with a score of just 8.03.

"By contrast, Peterson was able to fight his way to a score of 48.60, good enough for ninth overall. Perhaps the inability of Taylor to get any more than was available factored into Minnesota's decision to allow him to leave in free agency, and their aggressive trade up in the draft to secure Toby Gerhart, whose game tape is all about gaining more yards than should feasibly be there."

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Justin Forsett was a Seahawk, and then a Colt, and is now, again, a Seahawk. He's never been a Cowboy.

Why did I just waiste my time reading that crap! WHO CARES! These are not stats. This is the work of PPF having nothing else to do but make up some useless stats that dont mean JACK $hit. Come on Jensen, please for the love of the Bears post something that is worthy of reading.

I would call this more of a power back article not most elusive. But yeah, it was a waste of time reading this.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: stats are for geeks, nerds, wimps and losers. Stats tell you what happened in the past; they don't necessarily indicate what will happen in the future.

Elusiveness is what Gale Sayers had in spades. It is what we marvel at when we watch a Barry Sanders. It is what makes the running back position the most marvelous position on the field. There is nothing comparable in any other sport, though partisans of ice hockey and soccer might argue. Matt Forte is just the opposite. He hardly ever eludes the first tackler. I am sorry to learn, then, that Chester Taylor ranks even lower on this measure. Very thought-provoking article, Sean. Thank you.

Actually Timmer they are stats, you see statistics is a form of math, not just a way of keeping track of what players do in the nfl. Its funny Timmer cause nfl teams use PFF.

What Timmer wants is an article that says all the Bears are the bestest ever in the whole universe and Creighton is evil and got hit by a bus, twice, once when it backed over me.

We already knew Forte was not the most elusive guy in the nfl, and some of us who wanted Leon Washington over Taylor new about him as well, and said as much.

Sean make Timmer happy and write something like "Gilbert is so strong he can jump out of a pool and that makes him a great player."

I knew forsett would b high on this list before reading this article. Justin should be the starter for the crowded backfield of seattle.

BearsBacker - did you just intentionally call the entire Bears coaching staff and team "geeks, nerds, wimps and losers" or do you not understand the importance of stats in preparing for a game?


You don't know what you are talking about. When that happens, you should just shut up a listen. You may learn something.

If you don't think this stat is important, than you don't know anything about the game. You are just stuck in reverse along with Lovie and angelo.

And if you still believe that stats mean nothing...then why have a draft. Why is so important to draft any player? Why not skip the draft and pick up any player that is available and build you team on that....after all...all those stats that are built up by college players mean nothing to Timmer and Bearsbacker. Its the future that counts.

You guys make me laugh.

anonymous befor spouting off and saying something to the tune of college stats remember that players dont get drafted purley on stats! Yes all those stats for alot of players mean nothing to alot of teams. Tim Tewbo had on of the best careers in college football. His stats were crazy good. He won championships. Tell me Anonymous why did Bradford go first.... because of his stats??? Heck he had a shoulder problem and had very little stats this year.
What I was trying to say that this stat is USELESS period! Who gives a darn about how elusive a player is just as long as he is moving the chains and scoring TDs. Also this stat is junk. Its for the media and fans to use to sound stupid. Same go's for you too Creighton.

I have to agree with Timmer on this one. This is just another over reliance on stats. You'd learn far more watching the backs play and/or watching film on them than you will from a stat like this. Elusiveness does not lend itself to being statistically analyzed. You can't use stats for everything, and this is a perfect example.

Furthermore, all of you who think coaches use stats to any great degree are wrong. Everything I've ever read and every coach I've ever talked to said that while coaches look at some stats, they mainly watch the games and film to learn what they need.

Great coaches use stats a lot while developing their game plans. They watch film, track tendencies, build statistical models of what they believe teams will do based on past performance. They evaluate success of their own plays, determining in a statistical model how many times they gain a certain number of yards, or get a first down/TD, or how often they get sacks on a particular stunt or blitz.

Watching film is the raw data the coaches use, but they have to do something with it, and that is where the statistics come in. On every running play, the back has to make one guy miss if everything else goes perfectly, so knowing how well their back or receiver makes a guy miss increases or decreases the likelihood of that play's success. It is not absolute, nor is it infallible. But if you ignore the statistical results of the games you play, you are just guessing. Which could explain how poorly Lovie's game plans have been constructed for the last 3 years. Why they don't make significant adjustments at the half of any games. Why do you think play charts are generated in the coaches box, or why teams know which running plays or passing formations attack the defense the best? They analyze the results of film, and generate models to predict future results.

Agree with Timmer as this stat is far too subjective, yards rushing, passes completed, interceptions, fumbles, YAC, etc are viable stats but this elusive thing is kind of B.S. way too subjective for me.

Chester Taylor will do just fine.
The Bears have not had an offensive lineman who can push the defense back since Jimbo Covert.

If you're trying to compare people you should compare players in similar situations. A clutch third-down back everyone knows is going to get the ball compared to a guy on the field 70+% of the time in situations where it could go to anyone is like saying that QB who had 3 rushes for 90 yds and a TD is better than any RB because he's got a 30 ypc avg and scores once every 3 times he touches the ball.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on May 7, 2010 10:21 AM.

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