SumerSports’ Eager and Seth Publish Paper on Linebacker Analysis

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At SumerSports we believe it is important to improve the ways we evaluate players and teams as our understanding of the game evolves. Our own Eric Eager and Tej Seth derived a set of linebacker metrics, Ground Covered Over Expected (GCOE) and Bite Distance Under Expected (BDUE), that highlight a trade-off between flowing fast to the run and biting on play action.

While BDUE was introduced in this paper as part of the 2022 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, GCOE and its interplay with BDUE are completely new. Both should be part of a large collection of metrics derived from tracking data.

You can find the paper here:

Investigating trade-offs made by American football linebackers using tracking data

Abstract:

In recent years, the game of football has made a shift towards being more quantitative. With the advent of charting and tracking data, player evaluation is able to be studied from several different angles. In this paper, we build and refine two novel metrics: Bite Distance Under Expected (BDUE) and Ground Covered Over Expected (GCOE) for the evaluation of linebackers in the National Football League (NFL). Here, we show that these metrics are heavily correlated with each other, which demonstrates the trade-off linebackers have to make between being aggressive against the run and being effective when the opposing offense is using play-action. We also show that these metrics are more stable than those in the public space. Finally, we show how these metrics measure deception by opposing offenses.

Should you have any access issues, email Eric at Eric.Eager@SumerSports.com.

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