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Penalties and the offensive line

An excellent article over at Football Outsiders does all the leg work on behalf of yours truly by collecting data on Holds and False Starts from the 2006 season. But, typical of those crazy stat nerds, they go the extra mile to ensure that their stats are accurate and indicative of something meaningful on the field.

Rather than just gathering all the False Starts and Holds from last season and drawing hasty conclusions, they recognize that not all ref crews call plays consistently. They accumulate all the stats of every NFL ref crew and then correct for that. The data from each individual player's penalty is then weighted against that adjustment (for instance; Bill Carollo's crew called the fewest holds, thus if you were called for holding by that crew it weights more than if you were flagged by Walt Anderson's crew, who called the least). The data for holding and false starts are available on the link above, though here is how your redskins managed:

Casey Rabach WAS had 4 actual holds, 4.14 adjusted hold rate based on who called the holds, 1.04 adjusted penalty rate based on how many plays he participated in, which ranked him 7th worst among all penalized holders.
Jon Jansen WAS had 5 actual holds, 4.10 adjusted hol rate, 0.82 adjusted penalty rate, good for 18th worst. The rankings only went through 20 players. Having two players on this list is disappointing.

False Starts:
To the surprise of no one...
Derrick Dockery WAS had 6 actual false starts, 5.95 adjusted FS rate, and a 0.99 adjusted penalty rate good for 10th worst.

Rankings only address offensive linemen. The good news here is that we were a disciplined team when it came to false starts, with the biggest perp now playing for somebody else. The bad news was that Jon Jansen and Casey Rabach need to work on the holds in the upcoming season. I really had no idea that they were unusually disposed to holding, but the data probably doesn't lie.

Post your comments, thoughts, or criticisms with the FO methodology below.

Update [2007-8-8 11:24:1 by Skin Patrol]: Speaking of Football Outsiders (hat tip: Bleeding Green Nation), Outsider Mike Tanier ranked the NFL's coaching staffs at Fox Sports and gave us a very respectable ranking:
7. Redskins (Last Year: 1)

Yep, these guys ranked No. 1 last season. Can you blame us? Joe Gibbs, Al Saunders, Gregg Williams, Joe Bugel ... the Redskins staff is a Who's Who of successful coaches.

So what went wrong? Too many cooks really do spoil the broth. Quick: name the Redskins offensive coordinator. Saunders? Incorrect. Bugel? Wrong again. It's Don Breaux. Saunders and Bugel were assistant head coaches. What was Breaux's job? Who knows? The administrative bloat could have been contained if Gibbs clearly defined his expectations and delegated roles properly. But confusion reigned inside the Beltway last year. Saunders wanted to use all of the passes in his 900-page playbook. Gibbs and Bugel wanted to grind opponents down on the ground. The coaches and scouts didn't see eye to eye, so the Redskins acquired players they didn't need (T.J. Duckett and Brandon Lloyd) or didn't fit the system/systems the coaches thought they were running (Adam Archuleta).

This crew merits a high ranking because Gibbs won three Super Bowls, Williams is a great defensive coach, Saunders an innovator, Bugel a stalwart and the other 174 coaches on the Redskins staff have impressive resumes. It's up to Gibbs to ensure that the whole adds up to at least the sum of the parts.