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Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Backs - 2009

I was perusing over at Football Outsiders and decided to pay my boy Cadillac a visit on the running back pages and see where he was ranked relative to other running backs based on the proprietary formulas FO runs.  Once I found his numbers I decided to take a look at every other Bucs running back (really only Derrick Ward last year).  What I found was the exact opposite of comforting. 

Using DYAR (Defense-Adjusted Yards over Replacement), which measures, based on situation, down, distance, opponent etc the yards over the course of a season that Player X (Caddy) the yards or performance over a replacement level player.  Caddy came in at 40 DYAR, good for 32nd last year and a far cry behind leader Chris Johnson who had a DYAR of 343. 

The surprising part was Derrick Ward came in at a DYAR of negative 46.  Let me repeat that; negative 46.  One, that's awful and good for 46th in the league.  Second, that means he and Caddy total a DYAR of 3 or essentially replacement level.  I would go on to look at DVOA, but it's ugly. 

Conversely, Carnell Williams, who supposedly had an issue with catching the ball out of the backfield had a DYAR of of 70 (DVOA of 20.2%).  Color me surprised.  Nice to see him fix that hole in his game.  Cadillac certainly acquitted himself in 2009, but Ward, with is poor rushing numbers made up for it with a DYAR a bit better than Caddy's (77 DYAR). 

FO also introduces a new stat called "E YArds" or Effective Yards.  This takes DVOA and converts it into a yardage figure.  This is to be compared to their true rushing yards.  If a player has higher true rushing yards than effective yards, they weren't as good as numbers dictate.  If E Yards were higher than real rushing yards, they played/rushed better than indicated.  Cadillac and Ward both had lower Effective Yards than rushing yards, meaning, they weren't as impressive as their numbers dictate, and their numbers weren't that good. 

The last thing I looked at was Success Rate %.  This is defined by a relative success on each play.  Getting certain yardage on certain down and distance makes it a success.  Getting 3 yards on 3rd and 1 is a success.  Getting 3 yards on 3rd and 10 is not.  It also factors DVOA into the equation as a comparison.  Higher Success Rate % with lower DVOA means the player gets the yards needed, but not much more.  Higher DVOA with lower Success Rate means player is boom or bust (big run or no gain type of player).  Higher on both means player is just a stud.  Lower on both means uh oh.  Caddy's DVOA and Success Rate were 2.8% and 38% while Ward's were -20% and 36% (Interesting read here if you want to follow up on RB Success Rate)

We knew our running game wasn't good.  I had no idea that it basically amounted to a running game that could have been picked up by any waiver wire running back.

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