FanPost

Who is the third option in the passing game?

Streeter Lecka

Based on free agency and recent discussion I decided to crunch some numbers to see how often the tight end is used in this offense.

Wide Receiver

Targets

Tight End

Targets

Running Back

Targets

Full Back

Targets

Vincent Jackson

147

Dallas Clark

76

Doug Martin

71

Erik Lorig

19

Mike Williams

127

Luke Stocker

27

D.J. Ware

20

Tiquan Underwood

56

Nate Byham

4

LaGarrette Blount

2

Arrelious Benn

6

Chris Owusu

4

Sammy Stroughter

2

Total

342

107

93

19

% of Total

60.96

19.07

16.58

3.39

This chart shows the total number of targets of all offensive positions during the 2012 season. Here we see that wide receivers garner the vast majority of targets, roughly 61% of pass attempts. If you look closely, you will see that Jackson and Williams lead their next closest competitor, Dallas Clark, by 51 targets. This shifts the percentage in the wide receivers favor.

Since the purpose of this article is to compare the use of the tight end relative to the slot receiver, I will remove Jackson and Williams from the chart since they play on the outside for the majority of snaps.

Wide Receiver

Targets

Tight End

Targets

Running Back

Targets

Full Back

Targets

Tiquan Underwood

56

Dallas Clark

76

Doug Martin

71

Erik Lorig

19

Arrelious Benn

6

Luke Stocker

27

D.J. Ware

20

Chris Owusu

4

Nate Byham

4

LaGarrette Blount

2

Sammy Stroughter

2

Total

68

107

93

19

% of Total

23.69

37.28

32.40

6.62

Here we see once Jackson and Williams are removed that tight ends are targeted more than any other position. This points to the tight end being Josh Freeman's tertiary target following Williams and Jackson. That point meets reality when the Buccaneers play teams with two good corners like Dallas and St. Louis. If we had an effective third option, we could have had more success offensively against those teams.

Just comparing the wide receivers other than Jackson and Williams to the tight ends we see that there is a 22% usage difference in favor of the tight ends. That shows that this Buccaneers offense is not similar to the Giants offense in terms of how much the slot wide receiver and tight end is used.

Wide Receiver

Targets

Tight End

Targets

Tiquan Underwood

56

Dallas Clark

76

Arrelious Benn

6

Luke Stocker

27

Chris Owusu

4

Nate Byham

4

Sammy Stroughter

2

Total

68

107

% of Total

38.86

61.14

All of the data points to tight ends being used more than most realized, including myself. An elite tight end would garner more targets than Clark did just because an elite tight end will be able to get open easier than the declining Clark. Also, 2010 points to the last time we had en effective tight end, and that was a big factor as to why Freeman had a successful season. A third option whether that be a slot wide receiver or a tight end will help this team tremendously, but the statistics show that we use the tight end more than the slot wide receiver; therefore, it is not accurate to say that the Buccaneers offense is a carbon copy of the Giants. Mike Sullivan has used the same principles, but he runs this offense his way.

Note: I got all of my data from ESPN.

Content provided by a member of Bucs Nation and does not necessarily reflect the view or opinions of Bucs Nation.

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