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Target Practice: Who was Tom Brady’s favorite (and most dependable) target this past postseason?

02.09.12 at 9:08 am ET
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Wes Welker tied for the team lead in targets this postseason and led the team in receptions. (AP)

Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains an imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. We had the target breakdown for the New England passing game for the 2011 regular season — here’s what the postseason breakdown looks like:

Chad Ochocinco: 1 catch on 1 target (100 percent)
Wes Welker: 19 catches on 23 targets (83 percent)
Danny Woodhead: 5 catches on 6 targets (83 percent)
Rob Gronkowski: 17 catches on 23 targets (74 percent)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis: 3 catches on 5 targets (60 percent)
Deion Branch: 8 catches on 13 targets (62 percent)
Aaron Hernandez: 19 catches on 31 targets (61 percent)
Julian Edelman: 2 catches on 5 targets (40 percent)
Stevan Ridley: 0 catches on 1 target (0 percent)
Matthew Slater: 0 catches on 1 target (0 percent)

By position
Wide receiver: 30 catches on 43 targets (70 percent)
Tight end: 36 catches on 54 targets (67 percent)
Running back: 8 catches on 12 targets (67 percent)

The sample size for the postseason is smaller, but it’s interesting to note that when you compare the regular-season percentages against the postseason number that Gronkowski’s percentage was almost the same (74 percent in the playoffs, 73 percent in the regular season). And among the receivers who see the most passes, Welker’s numbers increased dramatically between the regular season (71 percent) and postseason (83 percent), while Hernandez saw a sharp drop in his percentage from the regular season to the postseason (70 to 61 percent).

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, BenJarvus Green Ellis, Chad Ochocinco, Danny Woodhead Print  |  Bark It Up!  |  Digg It
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