Chicago Bears: Buster Skrine advanced stats review

Chicago Bears (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

What did the advanced stats say about Buster Skrine and his first season with the Chicago Bears?

One of the biggest differences between the 2018 Chicago Bears and the 2019 version was Bryce Callahan. No matter how you debate it, the Chicago Bears made the right call letting Callahan walk. His injury never got better and he missed all of 2019.

Still, in signing Buster Skrine to replace him, it is worth wondering what type of drop off the Bears saw at the position, if any, when moving from Callahan to Skrine. This article will look into the comparison between the two, as well as look at how Skrine did in comparison to his prior year stats.

Raw Stats

One of the biggest differences comes right off of the bat with Callahan seeing just 17.3% of the team’s targets. Skrine was targeted 29.9% of the time in 2018, and that went down to 22.8% in 2019, according to player profiler. Still, that does show that teams were more aggressive picking on Skrine than Callahan. Teams also attacked Skrine deeper down the field. His Average Depth of Target (ADOT) fell from 6.9 in New York to 6.6 in Chicago. However, that is deeper down the field than Callahan who was targeted 5.7 yards downfield on average.

That showed in the numbers as well. Callahan allowed 39 receptions for 319 yards and one touchdown allowed to two picks. Skrine allowed 54 catches for 532 yards last year. He allowed four touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Once again, those numbers were worse than Callahan, but better than his numbers in 2018. He allowed 54 receptions for 630 yards and five touchdowns to no picks. Callahan had five pass breakups in 2019, while Skrine had four in 2018 and three in 2019. Lastly, Callahan did not have a single penalty in 2018. Skrine only had one, which is great compared to six the year prior.

Advanced Stats

Altogether, Callahan had an 85.5 passer rating allowed. Skrine passer rating allowed dropped from 116.8 to 96.9, but that is still a decline from Callahan.

Below you can see their yards per route run allowed, yards per target allowed, yards per snap, targets per snap and snaps per reception. In snaps per target and snaps per reception, a higher number is better, meaning you play more snaps without targets and receptions allowed.

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You can see almost across the board that while Skrine was a better version of himself playing in the Bears defense, he was not quite up to the level that Callahan played in 2018.

One area where Skrine had Callahan beat is yards per target. Skrine improved dramatically here. A lot can be shown in yards after the catch per reception allowed.

In 2018, Skrine allowed 5.92 yards after the catch per catch. In 2019, that number dropped to 3.85, as he shut down more passes as they were caught. This is a huge upgrade and even a better rate than Callahan had. He allowed 4.9 yards after the catch per reception. Skrine also had a better run stop rate. Callahan had a 1.1 rate in 2018, Skrine had a 1.5 rate. We finally see two areas where Skrine did perform better.

Burn Rate and Separation

One of the most interesting aspects of Callahan and his elite 2018 was his 1.21 yards of separation allowed. Skrine had 0.8 in 2018 and 0.99 in 2019. Skrine allowing that space shows that he was daring quarterbacks to try him. His interception and pass defended totals showed that he was confident in making up that ground. This is supposed to be a stat in favor of Skrine, but the tape and context of other stats show that Callahan knew what he was doing.

Lastly, while allowing a yard of separation, he never was burnt in 2018. That means allowing more than five yards of space between his receiver. Skrine had a 1% rate in 2018 and a 1.1% rate in 2019. Still, Callahan not getting burnt once shows how great he was.


It had to be noted beforehand and will be brought up once again that re-signing Callahan was not an option and would have been a bad move. Still, when you look back at his 2018 and how it compares to Skrine, you have to be impressed. He was so good that season.

That is why it was fair to bring the 2018 numbers of Skrine into context as well. If the Bears got that type of player, the signing would have looked bad. However, to see Skrine show improvement across the board does show that the Bears knew their defense could bring out more for him.

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Knowing that they could not bring back Callahan, getting a drop off in play, but an impressive season out of Skrine has to be commended as a strong move. The hope is that in year two, Skrine can continue to progress.