- Posted by Derek -
Feels like the season officially started today, doesn't it? Everything else was fake football, now we have our first real consequence.
I've got the "oh this sucks" thread already going below. Time to crunch some numbers.
I'm assuming for the moment that Omar Gaither is going to be our new middle linebacker. Mays may give him a run for his money, but when you have a guy who's already started at a position going up against an untested, second-year, sixth-round draft pick, you put your money on the "veteran."
Here are the numbers (Football Outsiders stats are courtesy of 2008 PFP and 2009 FOA):
The traditional stats are awfully similar. Maybe you see Bradley's half-step in the plays where he's credited with the tackle, rather than the assist.
But here's what's weird. The Football Outsiders' numbers give a clear edge ... to Omar Gaither. He was better against the pass (which I expected) and the run (which I definitely did not).
I've always been a fan of Omar's. I wasn't wild about him coming off the field last year, although the numbers validated the move. He may just be a guy who's not quite quick enough to play on the weakside, but does just fine in the middle.
With that said, I saw what you saw last year when it comes to Bradley. Maybe there's a progression issue here? As in Omar was about the same level all of 2007 but Bradley got better over the course of 2008? So while the average output was the same, that masked the improvement that made Bradley "the guy" by the end of the year?
I don't know. If the numbers aren't lying, though, we may just be okay.
Incidentally, my guess for who feels the biggest individual long-term impact from this? Chris Gocong. You're going to need one of those big-rig tow trucks to drag Gaither off the field now that he's getting his second chance. When Bradley comes back, he's going to have to be on the field somewhere, though, and that "somewhere" is probably the SAM position for which he was originally drafted.