Large, bold stats. Big, gaudy numbers. They're a good thing, right? 2000 yard rushing marks. 1000-yard receiving marks. Although not as much as baseball, we measure success and failures, to some degree, by the depth of the numbers produced. Bigger is better, right?
Not necessarily. Conversely, sometimes the lower the number is better. 78 ruyds allowed/game. 3 sacks allowed. 4 INTs thrown.
So is 95 a good number? A bad one? A high number for a given statistic or a low one? See if you can take a guess as to what statistic I'm referencing. Want a hint? The Bucs finished in a 6th place tie in the NFL last season with this number (still doesn't tell you if it's good or bad).
Find out after the jump......
Without further ado....the Buccaneer offensive line, despite finishing just outside the top-10 in the league in fewest sacks allowed, gave up 95 hits on their quarterback in 2009, good for a tie with the Detroit Lions for 6th-most allowed. That's quite an interesting stat considering most all of the remainder of the teams in the Buccaneer's dubious "QB hits" company ranked in the top-10 in most QB sacks allowed.
I think this statistic is a bit of a perfect storm of inexperience, game situation, and scheme. Much of that statistic can be correlated with the fact that the Buccaneers were consistently behind in games, coupled with the style of Greg Olson's 5-step drop, deep passing attack, which obviously puts the quarterback in position to stay in the pocket a little bit longer and take some shots. Byron Leftwich took a flat-out beating in the first few games from the Cowboys (in the 2nd half) the Bills, and the Giants. Josh Johnson's maddening indecisiveness subjected him to substantial pressure. Josh Freeman managed to avoid sacks through his sheer size and suprising elusivity, but the Buccaneers certainly gave his big arm a test and dropped him in the pocket time and again each game.
All in all, this is a statistic that I think was a bit of a by-product of the aforementioned comedy of errors that, with a more balanced offensive attack, likely will not repeat in 2010. However, it is certainly one that you do not want to see repeated, as Josh Freeman, while a big and strong guy, certainly is not indestructible.
What do you all think?