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Gruden really does prefer taller pass targets

Feb 14, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

AJ-Green-TD-Redskins

We have heard that when he was the offensive coordinator of the Bengals, Jay Gruden liked to employ tall receivers. Almost any discussion of a potential Redskins free agent or draft target starts with “how tall is he”?

Sometimes these “preference” are exaggerated by the presence of one tall player. Someone might look at the 6-4 A. J. Green and say, yeah, Gruden likes big guys. But one website decided to put a measuring stick to the question.

Instead of just looking at who has a “WR” or “TE” or “RB” next to his name and averaging out their heights, Chase Stuart of FootballPerspective.com took figuring out how tall a receiving corps is at step further. Here’s what he did:

I calculated the average receiving height of each team during the 2013 NFL season by taking a weighted average of the height of each player on each team, weighted by their percentage of team receiving yards. For example, Jeffery caught 31.9% of all Chicago receiving yards, so his 76 inches counts for 31.9% of Chicago’s average height.  Bennett gained 17.1% of the team’s receiving yards, so his 79 inches counts for 17.1% of Chicago’s average height, and so on.

That way, a 6-5 receiver who rarely gets targeted doesn’t skew the picture of the group as a whole.

The tallest receiving group belonged to the Bears at a weighted averaged of 75.9 inches. Two 6-4 receivers, Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, accounted for just over 60 percent of the Bears’ receiving yards and 6-6 tight end Martellus Bennett accounted for 17 percent.

What about Gruden’s Bengals? They came in sixth with a weighted average of 74.3 inches. Green had 33 percent of their receiving yards and 6-1 wide receiver Marvin Jones had 16.5 percent. They had to overcome the “handicap” of their third-leading receiver being running back Giovani Bernard, who stands at 5-9.

If Gruden wants his Redskins to mirror the Bengals he has some work to do. The 2013 Redskins were 29th in weighted height of their receivers at 72.4 inches. Pierre Garçon, who accounted for 33.2 percent of the team’s receiving yards, is 6-0. Jordan Reed, at 6-3 with 12.3 percent of the receiving yards, pulls the average up a bit but the 5-10 Santana Moss (11.1 percent) drags it back down.

  1. alextwrs - Feb 15, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Nice article, I hope Gruden can incorporate some height with the talent he will bring in for RGIII. I think Helu can be his Gio and Reed will be our X factor, he is literally a match up nightmare, stay healthy kid.

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