Photo by Rodney Chen – UltiPhotos.com
This week we take a brief travel in time.
Short Sips of Hot Bitter Blackness. A hint of far-off stone-fruit sweetness. A smoky thickness lingers from the roast.
What in the what was going on in New York last weekend?
In the course of playing a sloppy game while TUI (Throwing Under the Influence… of wind), the Rumble and Whitecaps combined for a host of unique feats. The one we’ll tackle here is that they managed to score a total of one point in the first quarter. New York was on offense for both of those points, while Boston was on defense. The first point was nearly six minutes long, while the second lasted just over four minutes.
The conundrum it placed the coaches in was an extreme case of an age-old ultimate question: Do I keep the same players on after that opening to the game?
For the offense, this is in part a question of trust. When primarily playing offense, players need to feel the trust of their team in particular just after failure. To take an offensive line out too early can erode the team’s confidence while taking them out too late can snap that confidence like a twig. New York, after eventually conceding the first break of the game, elected to keep Ben Faust, Michael Hennessy and Chris Mazur on the line.
For the defense, this is in large part a question of fitness. Generally, if your defenders are sufficiently fit, they are expected to play a couple of points in a row. However, if a point runs long or if some players are not up to the task, keeping players on the field for consecutive points can have deleterious effects. Another limiting factor is the constant question of defensive cohesion on offense after forcing a turn. If you solely rotate competent defenders through without a care for the construction of a reasonable facsimile of an offense, the results will suffer. With all of that, Boston trotted Alex Simmons back out for a second consecutive defensive point.
In this particular instance, nothing worked out for New York. They put three of their best players through 10 minutes of back-and-forth play before the first quarter was out and had no points to show for it.
For Boston, it worked out rather well as they were able to fend of the Rumble for the first two points and get one score of their own while only taxing one player with an outsize first-period burden.
Each of these players had played nearly half of their expected minutes per game before the first quarter was done while each of them has played less than 15 percent of their expected points per game.
Time, ladies and gentleman, is a factor. If we had just considered the number of points played, this meaningful first quarter could go unnoticed. By looking at the time each player spent on the field, we arrive at a fuller understanding.
Tastes good so far. Future health consequences are sticky.
Most teams have a similar subbing structure when it comes to points played:
|Team||>20 min||10-20 min||<10 min|
Before we address the two clear outliers in Vancouver and Seattle, there is this: Each team’s top bracket is a mix of offensive and defensive players with the balance being tilted in the favor of offensive players. However, of Seattle’s top three, two are on defense and, more notably, of Portland’s top six, all six are on defense. Even beyond that, the top eight players on a minute-per-game basis are primarily defenders.
Vancouver relies on nine players to play over half of the minutes of each game. Of those nine, only two play primarily defense: Morgan Hibbert and Dave Hochhalter. This is a rather standard way to run lines, as it helps the offense cohere as a unit and provides the defense a couple of players to rely on point-to-point as the rest of the defensive line shifts.
Seattle, on the other hand, seems quite content to rotate through a larger portion of their roster in order to put solid lines out every point whether on offense or defense. That they have a middle group of 21 players play over a quarter of the game and under a half illustrates this clearly, but they also have zero players in the top 30 for minutes per game. Every other team has multiple players in the top 20.
That the Rainmakers are using the whole of their roster is a good sign for the future as they build their team over the course of a season. They didn’t reap rewards early, as they started 0-2, but the season is for from over after two games. Ideally, the distribution of time on the Rainmakers should keep them fresher over the course of individual games as well as boost the confidence of all players in their ability to step up when called upon.
Ah, the core of the non-veganoid breakfast. Boiled. Scrambled. Poached. Fried. Loco Moco’d.
Gee, it looks like there is some interesting data out there. Can you show me some more?
Leaders in Minutes Per Game:
Leaders in Defensive Minutes Per Game:
Leaders in Offensive Minutes per Game:
What else is there?
Can I interest you in Points (G+A) Per Minute, Points Per Game, Throws/Minute, and Minute/Points Played?
I thought so:
Leaders in Points Per Minute (Minimum 30 minutes):
(Two players over .3, 23 players over .2, 86 players over .1, 153 players under .1)
Leaders in Points Per Game:
(7 players over 5, 59 players over 2, 180 players under 2)
Leaders in Throws Per Minute (Minimum 30 minutes)
(12 players over 1.5, 47 players over 1, 192 players under 1)
Leaders in Minutes Per Point Played (Minumum 30 minutes):
(37 players over 1.3, 103 players over 1.0, 36 players under 1.o)
Stake with your eggs?
This is the weekend that Philly needs to win in order to put a lock on the top spot and confirm that New York is the bottom-feeder in the East. Again.
And look now because we can learn whether the Stags can fend of the Rainmakers at the top of the West now that the Dogfish drew first Stag-blood.
Waffles or Pancakes?
Choose… but choose wisely.
Philadelphia Handles New York 24-16
I have little confidence in the ability of the Rumble to keep scoring pace with the efficient Philadelphia offense. Philly leads the league in completion percentage at 93.65; NY is last at 87.12. The Spinners lead the league in holds (offensive goals) per game at 14.60; the Rumble are last at 10.40. The Spinners lead the league in defensive points per game (22.00); the Rumble are last (16.60). To cap it off, the Rumble also lead the league in drops per game (6.40) and score the fewest breaks per game (4.4). To put it simply, Philly is in first and NY is in last.
Portland holds back the Rainmakers 22-20.
This is shaping up to be a good test for both teams as the Stags finally dropped a game and the Rainmakers come in riding a three-game win streak. The last time these teams met, it was the opening-week undressing of Seattle by Portland. There is a near-zero chance that it turns into that kind of blowout this time around. Seattle has found a better definition of who they are while the Stags will now be sneaking up on exactly no one.
Beverage of Choice
Players or matchups to watch.
Sickles, Rainwater, Glazer vs. NY Defense
While we frequently fill this space with words on the ability of the Philadelphia handler corps to maintain possession, what really makes the offense spin is the ability of these three cutters to manufacture short yardage gains at higher stalls as well as eat up big chunks of real estate and catch goals. If the handler play is off, none of this matters and Philadelphia will be in for a long night. However, if the handlers are sufficient, the key to the game shifts downfield to the cutters. If NY can find the right matchups and tactics to limit the damage caused by two of these cutters, thereby forcing one to carry a heavier weight, the Rumble could pull out a victory.
Seattle’s Offensive Efficiency vs. Portland’s Defensive Efficiency
Seattle’s offense, while they are looking stronger as the season goes on, still gives the disc away on over 55 percent of their first possessions. Against many teams, this would still leave the Rainmakers enough room for error to win the game. However, the Stags convert the highest percentage of their first possession breaks at 56.52 percent and lead the league in such breaks at 39 while no other team has more than 26. Seattle can take one of two tacks to combat this: Make fewer errors on offense or play better defense after the turn. The first seems obvious, but the second may be more beneficial. Change your offensive gameplan too much, and the defense will have already won. However, if Seattle can weather first turnovers and regain the disc, they will be rewarded with a much improved likelihood of scoring the ensuing point as the Stags drop to a conversion rate of 35.71 percent on their second defensive possession.
Seattle must control this game on the offensive side in order to tag the Stags with their second consecutive loss.
The Place to Be
My first visit to Villanova since I was in seventh grade! I hear rumors swirling about how rowdy the crowd is going to be in support of the first-place Spinners this week… and I have dreams of seeing more stadiums with a home-field advantage like the magic in D.C. in 2014. Could this be the weekend that Philly steps up and roots for a bankable frontrunner rather than spurring on a lovable underdog? With a later start time of 7 p.m., the fans should have a fantastic opportunity to get behind the Spinners!