While I can't really dispute this all that much based on the Hawks' situation at QB and the fact that they had a near league-worst defense last year, it still goes to show that the Hawks get no love despite the fact that they beat the defending champion Saints in the playoffs and challenged Chicago enough to ignite a glimmer of hope they'd be playing in the NFC Championship game. Oh well, being an underdog is not necessarily a bad thing.
This quasi-arbitrary (once past the top 10 or so) ranking system aside, Cold Hard Football Facts does have some great metrics to take a look at and I did so in relation to the Hawks. First off, their Bendability Index is a system of trying to measure the effectiveness of the "bend but don't break" concept on defense - this is exactly what Pete Carroll's defensive philosophy is all about - and offers some insight into the direction the Hawks are going:
Is a team-wide measurement of ability to keep opponents off the scoreboard. It takes into account a variety of factors (including proficiency of offense and special teams, red zone defense, and turnover differential) and then spits it all out in an easy-to-understand number.
Yards Allowed/Total Points Allowed = Yards Per Point Allowed (YPPA). The higher the number, the more difficult a team makes it for opponents to score points.Not surprisingly, the Green Bay Packers (20.61), Pittsburgh Steelers (19.09), and Baltimore Ravens (18.87) took the top three spots on the list. How did the Hawks do? Well, not as bad as you might guess, coming in 18th overall with a Bendability Index of 14.49, which takes into account the Hawks gave up 5,897 yards but
Obviously though, the Hawks' 'Bend But Don't Break' Tampa-2 defense will need to yield less points while they concede the yielding of yardage if they want to have more success. Yes, fans, write that down: The Hawks Need To Give Up Less Points To Win More. You heard it here first. But seriously, since this is the Hawks' defensive system in a nutshell, defenders will need to force more turnovers and force more fieldgoals in key spots in order to win, plain and simple.
I next took a look at C.H.F.F.'s Scoreability Index, which:
Is a team-wide measurement of ability to turn yards into points. It takes into account a variety of factors (including proficiency of defense and special teams, red zone offense, and turnover differential) and then spits it all out in an easy-to-understand number.
Scoreability is obtained this way: Offensive Yards/Total Points Scored = Yards Per Point Scored (YPPS). The lower the number, the more efficiently a team scores points.The Hawks actually did moderately decent in this metric as well, ending up 17th overall in a New York sandwich, right behind the Jets and just ahead of Giants. The Hawks scored 310 points on 4763 yards, for an efficiency index of 15.36. This was an improvement on 2009's number, where the Hawks scored 280 points on 5069 yards for an index of 18.10 (26th in the league).
While I'm not stoked about their relatively low point and yardage total, at least they were moderately efficient at scoring when they did decide to move the football. Also, I prefer this effort over that of 2009 where they could move the ball between the 20's but apparently couldn't punch it in.
Now, obviously you could look at these stats and explain them away in any way you please (and you probably wouldn't be wrong), but I just like to look at the positives, being in this case that the Hawks improved from a league-wide ranking standpoint on these two metrics covering their team defense and offensive scoring efficiency. We all know the Hawks had glaring deficiencies on both sides of the ball and these statistics don't prove that wrong - we only won 3 more games than the 2009 campaign and probably shouldn't have won a few of those either. But the fact is, the landscape of the NFC West was bad enough for us to go to the playoffs and make a splash. It gave us a pretty wild December and January, and in my book the wins over St Louis and New Orleans alone give you reason to rejoice that Pete Carroll is at the helm.
Coming up I'll take a look at a few more of Cold Hard Football Facts' metrics and how they relate to the Hawks. Stay tuned...