Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LaRon Landry

Small update here.

One of the things with which I have received the most disagreement is my evaluation of strong safety LaRon Landry. In this "what have you done for me lately" league, I always choose to remind that Landry was the favorite to win DPOTY through the first half of 2010, prior to his season-ending injury, and even in his injury-riddled  and -slowed 2011, he was still the Redskins best defensive back.

That said, another, more in-depth analysis can be quite enlightening, and I would highly recommend the following article on Landry's value by Advanced NFL Statistics' Brian Burke on behalf of the Washington Post's Redskins Insider blog:

Burke analyzes Landry's contributions in terms of EPA (Expected Points Added) and WPA (Win Percentage Added) compared to a hypothetical league-average player. While I would highly recommend reading the article, the following is one excerpt:

A first-round pick in 2007, Landry has exceeded expectations. In his first three seasons he averaged 2.0 +Expected Points Added (+EPA) per game, which put him squarely in the upper echelon of all safeties. (+EPA puts a point value on a defender’s direct contribution to the game outcome, measuring the impact of tackles, sacks, turnovers, passes defended, and other plays.) Then Landry had his breakout year in 2010, notching 4.4 +EPA per game, which was second in the league, sandwiched between likely Hall of Famers Ed Reed and Troy Polamalu. His other stats, like +Win Probability Added, Success Count, and Tackle Factor were also career bests.

In his eight games this season, Landry regressed from his 2010 peak, in part no doubt due to his injuries. But he was still a force in the Redskins secondary, averaging 2.8 +EPA per game, good for 8th in the league for all safeties. By comparison, O.J. Atogwe averaged 1.3 +EPA per game and Reed Doughty averaged 1.4 +EPA per game in 2011. The bottom line is that since his second season Landry has averaged 2.9 +EPA per game, which is a reasonable expectation of future performance.

Burke goes on to conclude that based on current salaries of similarly-performing players, Landry could be expected to be worth approximately 6 million dollars in cap hit per year, and, accounting for inflation, age, etc. he finally pins a good contract at 5 years, 35 million (averaging 7/year), noting that a market-influenced overvalued contract costing 8 per year would still be a good deal for the Redskins.

All that said, I want to offer two caveats.

1) As much as I enjoy using the sorts of advanced statistics offered by Advanced NFL Stats and Pro Football Focus, among others, it must of course be noted that they are far from perfect. The results sometimes seem a bit off-base, and they don't prove anything. That said, they can be enlightening.

2) Regarding Landry, there is significant concern; however, that concern, for my money, draws not from his level of play, but from his injury history. In addition to there being a legitimate concern about continued injuries, it is very worrisome that reports indicate that Landry seems to have an aversion to getting recommended surgeries. After the 2010-2011 season, Landry elected to rehabilitate instead of have surgery to repair his Achilles tendon. The results, obviously, were underwhelming; Landry was hampered by injuries throughout this past season and ended it, again, on Injured Reserve. Landry could, perhaps, be forgiven for making that decision once, but reports now indicate that he is again choosing to forgo recommended surgery. For obvious reasons, this is worrisome.

Still, despite that concern, I think his present impressive level of play and transcendent potential still dictate that we should re-sign, or, at the very least, franchise tag Landry on a one-year prove-it deal. A healthy Landry is a difference-maker and a big part of our defense.


  1. I suppose, as per usual, that ended up being a lot less small of an update than I expected.

  2. dude the redskins suck. your wasting your time with this analysis stuff. they are of the worst franchises in the sport with literally no hope for the future

  3. You should look into the LaRon Landry injury debate. The surgery the Redskins want him to undergo actually cuts the rest of the tendons before it heals. This process takes about a year and a half to rehabilitate. Landry is forced to pay for an alternative treatment out of his own pocket. Expect Landry to play at a high level next season no matter who he is playing for, let's hope it's the burgandy and gold. Here's a first hand account of Landry's situation: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1057624-laron-landry-sets-the-record-straight-about-his-surgery-and-being-a-redskin

    1. Thanks for the info. That (as well as a cbs article and another) provided info I was really looking for, and inspired my new little update on Landry. Cheers.