As fans continue to debate the impact analytics has had on the game of football, and whether that impact has been positive or negative, one thing analytics, and specifically the use of tracking data, has done is increase the amount of data available to fans. Wednesday Seth Walder of ESPN shared with fans the routes that the teams in the NFC West targeted most often, and to no one’s surprise, Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks were tops in the division when it comes to targeting deep routes.
How often do teams target certain route types relative to league average?— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) July 8, 2020
Rather than specific routes for this I'm using route groupings like vertical (includes post, go, corner, seam, deep fade) and outside-short (includes swing, flat, short fade, speed out). pic.twitter.com/iVGH8ivorZ
Also likely coming as absolutely zero surprise to Seattle fans is the fact that the Hawks were the team in the division least likely to target running backs on screen passes. It seems like the offense gets the hopes of fans up once or twice a year with a quality screen pass before either completely forgetting how to properly execute a screen pass or simply avoiding them all together. Seattle was also tops in the division in outside short routes and hook routes targeted, which is not surprising given the nature of those routes as staples of the variant of the Air Coryell offense the team runs under offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.
By request from a Seahawks fan, Walder also shared the data for all routes run by receivers in the division, and this is how those compared.
By request from @DeryckG_ here's the same teams, but all routes run rather than targets.— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) July 8, 2020
Differences are a little smaller.
Seattle verts are +4 compared to league avg. Arizona verts are -4 (interesting because Arizona vert targets didn't stand out). pic.twitter.com/gUaQLaZ7xw
Once again to the surprise of absolutely no one, the Seahawks led the NFC West in vertical routes, while the Los Angeles Rams ran the most crossing routes and the Arizona Cardinals ran the most screens. In any case, with rookies set to report to training camp in just twelve days, hopefully fans will be able to see players doing something on the field, even if it’s just non-contact practices, as any actual football related news is extremely welcome following an offseason that has been basically all but welcoming.