Kind of a random post here, but we were talking in Slack and Jeff dropped this statistic:
Nick Foles: 16-18 for 301 yards targeting Alshon Jeffery in the last three games.
It got me thinking; why does Alshon play so well when Nick is throwing him the ball? Is he throwing him more passes? It doesn’t feel that way, and the math supports the hunch.
Here’s Alshon’s game log this season. He played 10 games with Carson and three with Nick, beginning the season late due to his offseason recovery:
Carson had that stretch in the middle of the season where he didn’t connect with Alshon too often, but he targeted him frequently right when he came back from the ACL rehab.
- 18 targets from Foles to Jeffery over 3 games = 6 targets per game
- 74 targets from Wentz to Jeffery over 10 games = 7.4 targets per game
No, the sample sizes aren’t huge, but I’m still surprised at the outcome. I thought for sure Nick was throwing to Alshon with more frequency, but that’s not the case.
The math, part 2:
- Foles to Jeffery: 16 receptions on 18 targets over 3 games = 88.8 catch percentage
- Wentz to Jeffery: 49 receptions on 74 targets over 10 games = 66.2 catch percentage
Huge difference there.
I can’t really dig into a bazillion video clips, and I’ve done enough of that over the past two days, but I think it’s pretty obvious that Nick Foles trusts Alshon to go up and make contested catches. You’re probably seeing the same things I’m seeing, which are tough, tight-window back shoulder and sideline type of targets.
On the flip side, it feels like most of what Carson throws Alshon is standard fare – some hooks, a slant or two, shorter and higher percentage stuff. I don’t think he’s putting balls into 50/50 areas for Jeffery to go up and grab, not nearly at the same rate Foles is.
As an example, look at how Nick targeted him in the Rams game just one week after the Dallas loss, which was Carson’s last game:
More downfield targets. More sideline throws.
Sometimes you have to trust your guy to go up and get it, and for whatever reason Foles and Jeffery seem to have a better understanding of that.