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Just The Sports: A Dose of Reality

Just The Sports

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Dose of Reality

Before you demand a trade to another team make sure there is a team out there who would actually want your services. That is the kind of sage advice Chris Brown and his agent, Wynn Silbermann, would have been wise to follow before they demanded a trade from the Tennessee Titans. For the life of me, I cannot think of any other NFL team that would be kind enough to put Brown atop their depth chart the way the Titans were.

The problem with Chris Brown is the same problem most athletes have when they suddenly overvalue their talents. He has switched agents from Bralyn Bennett to Silberman and Silberman has been filled Brown's head with lies and fantasies and pipe dreams while Brown has been eating it up because every athlete loves to be told how good he is. Also, the new agent has to pull off a transaction as soon as possible in order to build a bond with his new client and ensure that he will not be unceremoniously fired like the previous agent. In addition, the agent wants to hammer out a new deal as soon as possible so he can collect commission because he will not see a dime of the old contract. Because of the agent's greed, the truth is not told to the player.

Well, here is the truth. Chris Brown has had two years as a starter in the NFL and both of them have one thing in common. Brown was a below-average running back in both years. Even in 2004, the better of the two years, when he rushed for 1,067 yards and a 4.9 yards per carry average was just a ho-hum year when compared to the other running backs. In fact, his defense-adjusted points above replacement (DPAR), a Football Outsiders statistic ranked him 34th out of the 52 qualifying running backs, those with a minimum of 75 rushes. His defense-adjusted value over average (DVOA) of -6.4% paints a beautiful portrait of his below-averageness. He was also unsuccessful with his runs, despite his high yards per carry average, as evidenced by his 43% success rate, which is a player's successful running plays (ex. getting 4 yards on 3rd and 2) by his total running plays.

If you guessed that Brown's 2005 season was no better, then you were right. His yards went down by 200 at the same time his attempts went up by 4. Along with his decrease in yards, his DPAR also decreased to -1.4 points, meaning the Titans could have gotten more production out of a scout running back. His -15.4% DVOA is also nothing a player demanding a trade will want to write home about. Brown even managed to have a lower success rate (41%) in 2005 just to put an exclamation mark on his declining skills.

On the plus side, he did show significant value as a receiver out of the backfield so if any team is looking for a running back who is a below-average runner who can catch out of the backfield, Chris Brown is your guy.


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