It may just be that I've been staring at the same Eagles-related material for so long I'm starting to go cross-eyed, but now that things have really slowed down, I thought it might be interesting to look around the division a bit.
In an ideal world, the other guys would do all this work and I'd just link to it -- but good luck getting a Giants fan to be objective about anything. And remember how the Cowboys blogs and message boards last year were all inflamed when I only gave Dallas an 18-11 edge in a head-to-head match-up of starters?
If you want something done right ...
The first question I wanted to know the answer to is: How good is Albert Haynesworth? I know he's really good. Everyone knows he's really good. But can we quantify how much of an impact he might have this year based on his history in Tennessee?
It turns out I think we can. Haynesworth is a great player, but he's had some issues in his career staying on the field. In seven years, he's only played a full 16 games once (his rookie season). The last three years he's missed a total of 10 regular season games, some due to injury and others due to unrelated unpleasantness.
So while it's not a perfect comparison -- given some variation in opponents -- it's at least instructive to look at how the Tennessee defense performed from 2006 through 2008, with and without Haynesworth on the field.
That's a comparison of all the major defensive stats with and without Haynesworth on the field. I've called out in red the (very few) places where the numbers were better when he was out. Also, the 2007 numbers are a little screwy due to a game against the immortal Quinn Gray that makes Tennessee's "without" numbers look a lot better.
Collapsing all that per season data into one big-picture chart:
Remember, that's 28 games with Haynesworth and 10 without, so we're starting to get some decent sample sizes there. And the results are striking. Half a yard better against the run; far better against the pass in terms of INTs, sacks and YPA; and almost 50 yards better per game with Haynesworth in the game.
I'll be honest, this is not the lack of impact I was hoping to see. Good thing we re-built that offensive line.