Just like that, the NFL season is approaching the midway point with Week 8 on the horizon. With every game, rookies are getting chances to show what they can do for their respective teams. The PFN Offensive Share Metric (OSM) analysis from Week 7 highlighted Oakland Raiders undrafted wide receiver Keelan Doss and Arizona Cardinals Heisman-winning and first overall pick Kyler Murray for extremely different reasons.
While the Raiders got blown out by the Green Bay Packers in a 42-24 loss, Doss had a great week as far as his effort was concerned. According to PFN’s OSM, Doss led all rookie WRs in Week 7 with a grade of 35.15. He was also ranked second among all rookies behind Minnesota Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr.
On the flip side, while the Cardinals emerged victorious from their scrap with the New York Giants with a score of 27-21, Murray was merely a game manager earning an OSM score of 9.06. This was a massive drop from his previous two weeks earning a 28.78 in Week 6 and a 36.09 in Week 5, his highest OSM score of the season.
With two intriguing scenarios for each rookie, let’s delve deeper into exactly what they did to earn their respective scores. Utilizing PFN’s OSM and the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, we can better understand the final analysis from Week 7 in the NFL.
Keelan Doss shines for the Silver and Black
What a whirlwind this Oakland Raiders receiver room has been through this season. From the Antonio Brown fiasco to injuries to their free agency addition of receiver Tyrell Williams, the Raiders have been forced to place their trust in some inexperienced hands on the receiving end of QB Derek Carr’s passes.
The Raiders traded a 2021 fifth-round draft pick to the Buffalo Bills for wide receiver Zay Jones before Week 6 of the 2019 regular season. With little depth at the position, it was not a surprising move for the Raiders to make; however, Jones has yet to see the field after two weeks with the team.
Before the Raiders Week 7 matchup with the Packers, Doss had just three receptions for 25 yards all season. Carr targeted him five times, and Doss hauled in three passes for 54 yards.
As stated earlier, when analyzing Week 7 of the NFL season, Doss earned a 35.15, according to PFN’s OSM. By NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Doss had the fifth-highest average separation for a wide receiver in Week 7 of the NFL at 3.5 yards. He would also have a yard after catch (YAC) per reception ratio of 5.2 yards/rec. This was 1.2 yards higher than his expected YAC/reception ratio, which ranked ninth-best among pass-catchers in Week 7.
With the somewhat unexpected dismissal of Brown from the Raiders and a couple of injuries hindering a few receivers, Doss has been receiving a chance to make a statement with this team. Week 7 provided a promising performance from the undrafted rookie from UC Davis.
Cardinals QB Kyler Murray disappoints in PFN’s Week 7 analysis of the NFL
The Arizona Cardinals are currently riding out a nice three-game win streak matching their win total from last season. Arizona defeated the Giants in Week 7, but there was a distinct difference in play from Murray, their first overall pick, as opposed to their past two wins.
Murray earned a measly OSM score of 9.06, ranking him as QB 25 in Week 7. Kyler was asked to do very little on Sunday, completing 14/21 passes for 104 yards as Murray Mania took a backseat to the Chase Edmonds show.
In Week 6, Kyler earned an OSM score of 28.78. This was due to having the second-best air yards differential between his intended air yards, 6.9, and his completed air yards, 6.4. His -0.5 AYD was just .2 off of Matt Ryan and Case Keenum for the league lead in Week 6. Add on the fact he completed 73% of his 37 pass attempts earning a completion percentage of 5.6% higher than expected. Murray had a good on the verge of being a great performance in Week 6.
Week 7 was a completely different story. Murray was tied with New England Patriots QB Tom Brady for the lowest intended air yards average at 5.2 yards. He would also have the lowest average completed air yards of all QBs in Week 7. While his AYD wasn’t awful in terms of other Week 7 performances, he was still the tenth worst overall.
While some of this is unavoidable for Murray, he was not able to take advantage of the opportunities he was given against the Giants as opposed to other weeks. Kyler has been a dynamic player for the Cardinals offense this season. Head coach Kliff Kingsbury and company need to have faith in the former Heisman-winner as he is slowly proving he can hold his own in the NFL.
After allowing the Seattle Seahawks pass rush to sack Murray four times in Week 4, the offensive line has improved, allowing just three sacks during the Cardinals win streak. The improved protection certainly helped Murray in Weeks 5 and 6. However, the Cardinals turned to the rushing game in Week 7 against a Giants team that has surrendered ten passing touchdowns compared to just four rushing touchdowns before Week 7.
While Murray’s performance was a bit underwhelming, one must take into account Arizona ran the ball 17 more times than they passed in Week 7 of the NFL. He underperformed this week according to the OSM, but this performance seems like an outlier as you can’t expect Chase Edmonds to have three touchdown games every week. The run was productive early, and the Cardinals rode it out, not a move I would advise heading into a matchup with a monstrous New Orleans Saints defense in Week 8.
The combined record of the teams the Cardinals have beaten over this three-game stretch is just 3-18. Yet, a three-game win streak from the worst team in the league last season is an improvement and gives hope for the future.
Zachary Knerr is a writer for PFN. You can find him @ZachKnerr on Twitter.