Objectivity. Objectivity. Objectivity. Those are the three driving factors behind the new Ultimate22 platform. We understand there is still a great amount of unknown that comes with film breakdown. On some plays, it will be nearly impossible to grade a player based on completion of his assignment. In other instances it will be much easier to tell whether or not a player did or did not complete his assignment for that play. Here is one great example—in pass protection a running back, despite his assignment, is always supposed to block inside out. This means that he is always required to block the threat closest to the quarterback, which always happens to be inside. Another good example comes with grading the defensive line position. We all know that leverage is the key to DL play and thus, someone playing “too high” will be easily exposed on the end zone coaches film for us to properly assess.
Ultimate22 Grade Guide
+2: An impact play. A Dave Diehl pancake block to spur a big run. A Victor Cruz shake of a CB that sends him off on a 74-yard touchdown. Michael Boley filling through the “A” gap and stopping the RB in the backfield for 2nd and 13. A JPP strip sack to stall a drive and get the offense back onto the field.
+1: A good play. Corey Webster with a pass defensed in one-on-one coverage. David Wilson breaking a tackle against the Bears on Friday and rumbling for extra yards.
0: The standard grade. This is what you will mostly see on a play-to-play basis. When the player does what is expected of him, no more, no less he will receive a 0. A three-yard rush. A tackle by a linebacker at the second level.
-1: A poor play. In the simplest terms, a negative play. This could mean a center failing to block down for a pulling guard and allowing his man to make a stop in the backfield. It could come in the form of a Martellus Bennett dropped pass that hits him between the numbers.
-2: Getting burned. Think Frank Walker circa 2005. For an offensive skill player, often times this comes in the way of a turnover. A terrible pass into the flat that is jumped by the CB and returned for six. Bradshaw not protecting the ball properly and getting stripped of the ball. (To contrast, if the RB is holding the ball high and tight and a fluke set of circumstances causes a fumble, then he will get a 0.) There are certainly far more opportunities for a DB to make a “-2” than a OL or DL and we will take this factor into account when evaluating players at particular positions.
Here are a few rules of thumb that the Ultimate22 team will be looking for:
The Double Team
If a player gets double-teamed, that is a +1. Why? Because the rest of the team is benefiting from the respect and attention being afforded to the player. It logically flows- a player who receives the attention of two players certainly should receive the credit for such. Just so it is clear, we will be grading with the understanding that when a player gets double-teamed, he automatically becomes a minimum of a +1, regardless of other factors. If a double-teamed player still manages to make a good play (think the old days when LT would get to the QB despite being doubled), then that becomes a +2.
Cover-2 is not a double team. Getting bracketed (i.e. TE w/ LB covering or trailing) while safety help is right there on top will be considered a double-team.
We want guys like JPP and Cruz to get the points they deserve specifically when they get extra attention. This is the power of Ultimate22, to track this kind of contribution. It flows. If Cruz gets doubled and Nicks (gets the pass and) beats single, they’ll both deserve AND GET +1.
If a RB or TE chips a defensive player, that is not a double team but it does lower the standard for what it will take for the player to get a +1 rating. If Osi is still able to apply pressure despite getting chipped in addition to the OL pass blocking against him but still pressures the QB in a timely fashion that would be grounds for a +1. If an interior defensive linemen consistently faces two blockers off the snap (commonplace in both zone and man run blocking schemes) the pattern will be noticed by our graders.
It is our goal to understand just how much we can assume/understand about a player’s assignment on a given play. In seriousness, it is safe to assume that on most plays, the player that we are grading is more or less carrying his assignment out for that particular snap. There will be certain instances where it is glaringly obvious that a player failed to even have an opportunity to complete his assignment (i.e. a LB slipping before he even gets an opportunity to pick up the RB on his route out of the backfield).
Emphasis on “0”
We really want to place an emphasis on the fact that on more plays than not most players are going to receive a 0. That is because out of 130+ snaps in a game, most plays are going to result in a “0.” In this case, a 0 is the median, what is expected out of that player on a play-to-play basis. If Chris Snee is able to open a hole for the RB but isn’t able to move him off the line of scrimmage that is a 0. If Eli Manning checks down to a back that is more likely than not going to stand as a 0. If, however, he has eyes behind his head, slips in and out of traffic behind the line, and then manages to find his RB for a nice salvage of a play which was a possible sack, that is going to be a +1.
The Big Picture
As we go along these rules will be supplemented with new rules and guidelines. While we are confident in our evaluation skills, this is certainly a process that will become more and more refined with time. Also remember that we may give a player a grade too high on one play and a poor one somewhere else, but the errors (hopefully limited) will average out. We are not trying to be perfect on every single play- we are trying to grade it ALL out so that 1400 grades over the course of a game and over 20,000 grades over the course of a season show trends and general conclusions about what is going on on the field.
We believe that Ultimate22 will become in an indispensable resource for Giants fans because it will be objective and comprehensive.