Run-pass ratio and the Buccaneers

Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

We know the NFL is a passing league, but I have never quantified it. I have argued that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to take a more balanced approach in play calling between pass and run, to a tune of 54% pass plays to 46% run plays. I came to those projections based upon last year’s Tampa Bay records where when we ran more, we gave our team a higher percentage of winning as opposed to throwing more. Granted, there are a lot of factors involved to which enables the team to run more or run less. The Bucs’ own rookie RB Doug Martin actually had a better rush average as the season went along when compared to the beginning of the season, but the rest of the running backs became inept. But I digress.

Fiddling around collecting stats, I wanted to see the percentage breakdown of the yards given up by our defense by passing and rushing yards. We owned the best rush defense as well as the worst pass defense, in respect to yards given up. Out of 6,078 yards given up by the defense, 4,758 yards were allowed through the air and 1320 yards on the ground. The percentage breakdown is 78.28% passing to 21.72% rushing. So our secondary got picked on more often than a kid goes picking for nuggets in the nasal area once the kid becomes cognizant of the ability to control the digits.

That stat alone says the secondary was bad, but it does not describe how bad they were. Were they mediocre, terrible, or abysmal? Yes, there are degrees in sucking, thus the prompting of finding a reference to help describe the level of suckiness. (I doubt suckiness is even a word!)

Defensive Rush to Pass Ratio,


In respect to Yards allowed


Rank


Team


Rush %


Pass %


1

Tampa Bay

21.72

78.28

2

Washington

25.35

74.65

3

New England

27.29

72.71

Mean


NFL Average


33.41


66.59


About 80% of the yards gained against the Bucs’ defense were via the air. As Sander would put it aptly, “LoLerzballs!” In that 80% bracket, I found that a majority of it were short to intermediate routes in an article I wrote long before. Great. So we’re beyond abysmal. I do not know what to call it and I am trying to avoid saying H – E double hockey sticks. And yet, when we see who ranks second and third behind the Bucs we see two playoff teams. Doubly Great. So we either lack the defensive personnel talent or lack the fire power on offense to make up for it on defense. Not so surprisingly, it is probably both. Okay, I think that was the triple Lindy performed by Rodney Dangerfield.

Afterwards, I went one step further. I took the mean of the defensive ratios. Being a Bucs’ fan, we are not known for our QB’s. With being treated with Alstott, Dunn, Cadillac, Blount, and now Martin. It may seem odd to talk about offense when the narrative here is about defense, but the thought it perceive this idea through a different lens. With the aforementioned stat, this league is a throwing league. And with that said, maybe that could possibly be why the organization has been trying to get Freeman to become more of a pocket passer as well as be more reliant on his arm. After 2010, the volume of passing attempts increased dramatically for Freeman.

Freeman Passing Attempts,


2009 – 2012


Year


Attempts


Yards


2009

290

1,855

Projected 2009

If played 16 games

464

2,968

2010

474

3,451

2011

551

3,592

2012

558

4,065

In between 2010 to 2011, we see the volume of attempts increased to 77 more passes in the following year. In 2011 to 2012, we see a similar volume thrown, but about 500 more yards accrued. It seems as though the organization is trying to keep up with the league meme that it needs to throw. Based upon this narrow stat, Freeman is showing improvement as more burden was placed upon him. Of course, this narrow field does not include the talent factor around him.

Even though the league is obviously heavy in the passing department, I still think this team needs to buck the trend and continue to run.

TB Play Calling Ratio Average,


2012


Game Set


Pass %


Rush %


Record


1 – 4


54

46

1 – 3

5 – 10


54

46

5 – 1

11 – 16


63

37

1 – 5

TB Offensive Yards Average,


2012


Game Set


Pass


Rush


Rush % of Total Yards Gained


1 – 4


197.5

91

31.5 %

5 – 10


285.8

154.2

35.0 %

11 – 16


260

91.3

25.9 %

That is quite interesting, in reference to the last chart. In the last six game set, if 25.9 % of the total yards were gained by running, then that leaves 74.1% of the yards earned through the air. Recall, the mean for defensive yards given up was 33.41 rushing to 66.59 passing; compared to 25.9 yards rushing to 74.1% yards passing. Huh. I suppose we aired it out more than the league average would defend… much more. Maybe the team does not need to run more, but pass less.

We can see that rushing had a more vital role in the offense in terms of helping the team win. There are articles that support that the passing game helped the run game. But I beg to differ. From the information amassed above, it looks as though the team made passing a much higher priority and, in result, displaced itself. The league is a passing league. In the latter parts of the 2012 season, the Bucs’ took passing to a new level… ludicrous speed.

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