FanPost

A Ninja Goro Analysis of Shane Lechler's 2011 Season


Piggy-backing on the front-page article on Shane Lechler as an excuse to post on here on a blog post I made earlier on Shane Lechler's fantastic year punting the ball. Though the Raiders finished 8-8, there were not easy, blow-out wins with many of our wins (and losses) coming down to final possessions. Throughout the game, field position played a critical role and Shane Lechler was a major factor in setting our defense up with more turf behind them than in front of them. With the chunks of yardage that the defense surrendered, they needed as much help as they could get.

And Shane delivered.

80. Yard. Punt. You just don't see that. Check that. If you see a stat sheet that shows an 80 yard punt, you pretty much know that it was a 45-50 yard punt with 30+ yards of roll. While Shane did get a bit of a bounce, this was a 78 yard foot-to-ground, booming punt. Here's the vid [ninjagoro link] and here's John Madden's reaction to it [ninjagoro link].

Can we distill Lechler's year to a single punt? It's probably as fair to do that as to define it by his 18 yard shank against Green Bay. No, instead we should do a full analysis of his year. Statistically. My background is in mathematics, with a degree in combinatorics and graph theory that also found me in a number of graduate-level statistics courses (mostly b/c of my relationships with grad students and professors in the stat dept). And while those years are far enough away so that much of those skills and knowledge have shriveled up and died, there is enough residual training within me so that I find myself questioning the typical statistics and wanting to understand more about the results that are being portrayed.

There's a saying, "Statistics always answers a question; it just may not be the question you are asking." Which is similar, though more specific, than the more common aphorism of "Lies, damn lies, and statistics." So I'm not going to try to "lie" using statistics, but rather to see if I can align question to statistic and give a reasonable insight into how good Lechler's year was.

The raw stats that will show up if you Google "Shane. Lechler. 2011. Stats." are :

78 punts, 50.8 avg, 40.3 Net, 80 long, 27 inside 20

That tells you something, but the problem is that not all punts are equal nor are all punting situations equal. What can you really tell about this? There are too many punts that are combined so that situations are lost and meaning is diluted. But that's really all you can find. There are no real answers here.

So what I wanted to do is to clarify the context of the punts. To that end, I looked up each one of Lechler's punts from the year to aggregate my own set of statistics and here are some of my results (full set of results here [ninjagoro link])

General Totals by Punt Location:

This is the yard range from which Lechler punted, how many punts, and how far (gross, net). Obviously at a certain point, Lechler is not able to punt deep because he is too close to the end zone.

  • 1 - 10 yard line : 2 punts, 63 avg, 52 Net
  • 11-20 : 13, 57.8 avg, 45.9 net
  • 21 - 30 : 24, 54 avg, 39.8 net
  • 31 - 40 : 12, 53.3 avg, 39.1 net
  • 41 - 50 : 14, 47.1 avg, 39.9 net
  • 51 - 60 (opp. 40) : 12, 37.8 avg, 35.2 net
  • 61 - 70 (opp. 30) : 1, 34, 34 net

Touchback Totals by Punt Location:

Listing the touchbacks Lechler had from yard range he was punting from. This puts the touchback totals into context.

  • 1 - 10 : 0 touchbacks
  • 11 - 20 : 1
  • 21 - 30 : 2
  • 31 - 40 : 1
  • 41 - 50 : 5
  • 51 - 60 : 1
  • 61 - 70 : 0

Pinning inside the 20 by Punt Location:

How Shane Lechler did in kicking inside the 20/11/6 and having the opponent start inside the 20/11/6 (exclusive, so "inside 20" means "19yds or closer").

Kicking To : (Gross)

  • 1 - 10 : 0
  • 11-20 : 0
  • 21 - 30 : 24 punts, 11 inside 20 (46%), 3 inside 11 (13%), 1 inside 6 (4%)
  • 31 - 40 : 12 punts, 10 inside 20 (83%), 4 inside 11 (33%)
  • 41 - 50 : 14 punts, 8 inside 20 (57%), 5 inside 11 (36%)
  • 51 - 60 : 12 punts, 11 inside 20 (92%), 7 inside 11 (58%), 3 inside 6 (25%)
  • 61 - 70 : 1 punt, 1 inside 11 (100%)

Starting : (Net)

  • 1 - 10 : 0
  • 11-20 : 0
  • 21 - 30 : 2 inside 20 (8%), 2 inside 11 (8%), 1 inside 6 (4%)
  • 31 - 40 : 6 inside 20 (50%)
  • 41 - 50 : 8 inside 20 (57%), 4 inside 11 (29%)
  • 51 - 60 : 10 inside 20 (83%), 7 inside 11 (58%), 3 inside 6 (25%)
  • 61 - 70 : 1 inside 11 (100%)

Field position by Punt Location:

Where Lechler kicked to and where the opponent started by yard range from where Lechler punted.

Kicking To : (Gross)

  • 1 - 10 : 28 yard line
  • 11-20 : 24
  • 21 - 30 : 19
  • 31 - 40 : 12
  • 41 - 50 : 8
  • 51 - 60 : 7
  • 61 - 70 : 5

Starting : (Net)

  • 1 - 10 : 39 yard line
  • 11-20 : 37
  • 21 - 30 : 33
  • 31 - 40 : 26
  • 41 - 50 : 15
  • 51 - 60 : 10
  • 61 - 70 : 5

Gross "Deep" punting :

Counting 50+ yard punts by distance range.

  • 80+ : 1
  • 70-79 : 3
  • 60-69 : 10
  • 50-59 : 26
  • Total 50+ : 44

These stats are even more impressive than the raw "base" stats and hopefully gives more of an insight into what Lechler was doing and how he was performing. Unfortunately, it's not a full"answer." To properly state how good he was, I would have to perform the above analysis on each and every punter for 2011 (and perhaps for the many previous years as well, which is beyond my effort-range).
Suffice it to say, though, that Lechler's year was fantastic. What the Raiders needed from him was to kick with touch when he's close and to boom kicks when he's far away. He did that and he set the Raiders defense up with generally very good field position.


One last note: I did a comparison between Lechler and Andy Lee here [ninjagoro link], the results were rather surprising, actually. I did not realize how good a year Andy Lee had and (likely) how much it contributed to SF's success.


X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Silver And Black Pride

You must be a member of Silver And Black Pride to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Silver And Black Pride. You should read them.

Join Silver And Black Pride

You must be a member of Silver And Black Pride to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Silver And Black Pride. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker