On the latest episode of the Off the Charts Football Podcast, Matt Manocherian and James Weaver dove into the SIS Data Hub ($) and uncovered some of the most surprising stats from the previous season.

The question they asked themselves was: Does this stat pass the sniff test?

They wanted to figure out if if these stats provide a signal going into the future or if they are just a noisy occurrence.

Here’s a look at the stats they went through. See if they pass your version of the sniff test.

Jared Goff was 3rd in Passing Wins Above Replacement (WAR) with 3

Pass the Sniff Test? – Yes

Given Goff’s track record of taking an offense to the Super Bowl and how the Lions finished in 2023, James bought into this stat and believed it had staying power.

“I kind of believe it,” said Matt, who noted Goff was worth only 1.2 WAR in 2021. “It does pass the sniff test for me. But in order for that to repeat this year, a lot of the ancillary items like having a low sack number and having interception luck will have to happen again this year.”

Sam Darnold was 2nd in the league in IQR from Week 12 onward with 108.1

Pass the Sniff Test? – Split

Matt was taken aback when he heard this and does not think this passes the sniff test. He believes that the simplification of the Panthers offense made Darnold’s efficiency look good.

James responded with some other metrics that support that Darnold might have found something at the end of last season.

Darnold ranked:

– 3rd in On-Target Percentage

– 7th in Average Throw Depth

– 2nd in Yards per Attempt

– 4th in Boom Percentage.

“The sample size was small and he was playing for an interim coach at the end of the season, but he very well might have played the best football of his career,” James said.

Jawaan Taylor lead all Offensive Tackles in Total Points with 42.8

Pass the Sniff Test? – No

“I couldn’t believe he was the leader among all tackles. I thought it would be someone like Tristian Wirfs,” Matt said. “Every year, he has shown out as somebody who is better than we thought he was and if Total Points is right, then him fitting in with Mahomes can be something really good.”

Matt also discussed the state of the Chiefs offensive line, as they brought Taylor and Donovan Smith in to protect Mahomes on the bookends after the departure of Orlando Brown Jr.

He doesn’t think Taylor passed the sniff test to be the leader among all tackles but believes that he can be a cornerstone for the Chiefs moving forward.

The Texans were 4th in Pressure Rate at 37.8%

Pass the Sniff Test? – Undetermined

This was another stunner for Matt and it was left for James to counter.

He pointed out that Christian Kirksey ranked 11th overall in pressure rate, and players like Ogbonnia Okoronkwo and Jerry Hughes contributed positively to that number. The Texans ranked 13th in sack percentage and 26th in Pass Rush Points Saved.

“So they were generating pressure, but couldn’t bring down the quarterback when they got to him,” James said.

Matt brought up that the roster has a lot of good young players, including Will Anderson who can absolutely make an impact this season.

In terms of deciding if this sticks, James thought that it will be hard to find a signal in this stat due to the turnover in Houston, as the team looks very different compared to a year ago.

Josh Uche led all players in Pressure Rate at 20% among players with 100 Pass Rushes

Pass the Sniff Test? – Yes

“Interestingly, even with the limit set at 100, he had 256 rushes. I definitely would not have expected that,” Matt said.

James thought that this might be due to having a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Matt Judon on one end and that Uche might be a beneficiary of that. However, he does believe that Uche is a solid player.

Matt thinks this has a big signal and has a big upwards arrow heading into 2023.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were 7th in Blocking Total Points

Pass the Sniff Test? – Yes

Overall, the Steelers were 4th in Blown Block Percentage and 9th in Wins Above Replacement,

“Not a lot of people thought that this was a Top 10 offensive line last year.” James said.

The Steelers were a super-heavy zone running team and had a positive EPA when doing so. The system credits the o-line for all the yards before contact that the RB’s accrue in this scheme.

Matt noted that they protected better than expected, but he wasn’t blown out of the water by that No. 7 ranking.

On an individual basis, James Daniels (14th in Total Points), Mason Cole (40th in Total Points), and Kevin Dotson (18th in Total Points) were a solid trio on the interior of the line that helped the Steelers achieve that ranking.

The Philadelphia Eagles allowed 0.07 EPA/A against the Run and -0.16 EPA/A against the Pass

Pass the Sniff Test? – Maybe

Both James and Matt were blown away that there was such a great discrepancy between the two. James pointed out that after the Commanders game, the Eagles brought in Ndamukong Suh to fill in on the D-line and that they don’t pay linebackers.

Matt said “They really want you to rush against them so that you can’t pass efficiently against them. The only way you can keep up with their offense is to be really effective passing against them, so they will defend that more than the run. You can’t beat us at our game, you can’t out run us.”

The Baltimore Ravens were 30th in Receiving Total Points

Pass the Sniff Test? – Undetermined

There was no receiver over 1.5 Yards Per Route Run on Baltimore, with Demarcus Robinson coming the closest at 1.4, 25th in Yards Per Target, the 6th-highest Drop Percentage, and 18th in On-Target Catch Percentage.

“The receivers did the quarterbacks no favors in helping them out,” James said

Matt pointed out that this won’t tell us anything going forward, as Zay Flowers and Odell Beckham Jr. should erase what happened the year before.

Saquon Barkley led the NFL in using the Designed Gap

Pass the Sniff Test? – Yes

Matt brought up how Barkley would never hit his gap in college or in the early years of his career, so it was interesting to see him doing so regularly in the NFL.

“It is good to see that from a player who is that powerful and that strong that can hit the gap as quick as he can,” James said.

Matt provided more context behind Saquon’s changes. Barkley was hit at the line 41% of the time, which he gauged to be a little high

“He is still not high on the Yards Before Contact per Attempt leaders. He’s still responsible for a whole lot of what he’s earning out there. But he got his Stuff Percentage down to 17% which is good to see.”

Matt believes that a part of the Giants success can come down to Saquon hitting the gap in his contract year for this upcoming season.

To listen to the episode and hear more of Matt and James’ thoughts, check out the podcast link below.