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AlNFL19

Mark Walton and John Ross

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Hi - disclaimer: I'm not a Bengals fan, I just wanted to see some opinions on this from people who are. I've recently been working on a WAR model for skill players (i.e. on plays when they touch the ball, for example Cincy's WAR was +0.33 on plays when Andy Dalton threw the ball - that's what I'd refer to as being Dalton's WAR - it doesn't separate the players themselves, just finds WAR for the plays they had the ball). I ran some of the numbers for the Cincinnati Bengals and some of them I found pretty interesting, so I'd like to see if they're well-founded or just statistical anomalies. 

First of all, running back Mark Walton. I thought very highly of Walton coming out of Miami, but from the box scores it looks like he had a pretty garbage year. He finished with -0.23 WAR (-0.18 rushing, -0.05 receiving - remember, that's just WAR on plays he had the ball, not all himself) and averaged 2.4 YPC. Do you think he'll get better and maybe be something eventually, or does he just suck?

Secondly, John Ross, another player I was a fan of as a draft prospect. As a first round pick who got 58 targets and caught 7 touchdowns, the Bengals clearly want to involve him, but I don't know if the offense they had in place is really going to let him do much of anything. He finished, according to my model, with -0.79 WAR, a figure that seems harsh until you consider he caught a laughable 36.2% of his targets and was the target of 5 interceptions (8.6% INT rate - 258% worse than average). How much of that do you think is scheme, and how much is Ross? How would you fix the "issue," if you agree that there seems to be one? Would you move on from Dalton to a quarterback who can help Ross out more? Is it just the coaching? Is it Ross?

Thanks for any input :) and here's to hoping they go 4-0 against Baltimore and Pittsburgh next year.

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Walton got some carries early on due to injuries and struggled behind our offensive line. I think he’ll have a better year, he made a few really nice plays. 

Ross is still learning. He was struggling with drops, route running, and sometimes Andy/Driskel just flat out threw him a terrible ball. 

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Walton was playing behind a revolving o-line when he actually got a few carries.  He was also coming off the injury from his last year at Miami.  Most of his carries came when either Bernard or Mixon missed a few games each, and their injuries overlapped.   I'm not sure if he was fully recovered at the time, as we signed a street free agent at the time too.

 

Ross is... an enigma.  Most of us feel he wasn't utilized properly in the offense, and now Lazor is gone.  he definitely can't be a #1 and put the offense on his shoulders, like Green does.  It didn't help that Dalton missed the last 6 or 7 games.  As for the targets, I don't know if you can find a "catchable target" stat.  A ,lot of overthrows, underthrows, and balls where he was flat out in the wrong place.  He didn't have many drops.  But neither Dalton nor Driskel could throw him open deep.  To compound that, I don't think Ross is adept at adapting to the ball in the air.

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AJ Green is also the only guy that Dalton had chemistry with from day one.  Everyone else, it has taken a few years before they look successful.

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