A day or so ago, I took a look at the change in our defensive structure. I wanted to see what differences we could see in what our defense gave up through the air and on the ground as compared to last year. I looked at all numbers on a per game basis for both 2008 and 2009. Without getting into the advanced stats, it was pretty easy to see that there was significant damage being down per play and per game in the passing and running game.
With all the turnover and dysfunction on the offensive side of the ball, I thought it might be good to look at some of the same information.
Hit the jump to take a look into the 2008 offensive numbers as compared to 2009.I'll be the first to admit that I never thought Gruden's offense did much. For being an offensive genius and with plenty of time to bring in "his" guys, I always felt like our offense was a great example of doing alot of work to go nowhere. The shifting and trickery often led to minimal gains it seemed. Maybe I'm changing history, but I just never felt like our offense was set to explode.
The general consensus seems to be that the offense is just as anemic this year, and it's due to lack of a commitment to the ground game. Now, to be honest, we all know Gruden wasn't exactly the guy who stuck with the run in any game. It always seemed he got away from it (the obvious examples being Gradkowski's start in New York where we threw 48 times in the wind and the playoff game at home against the Giants.)
What does that have to do with 2009? Well, I've jokingly said that it still feels like Gruden is running the offense due to lack of a run game (or commitment to the ground game). Let's look at the numbers.
|yds/ rush play
Color me surprised. We ran the ball more, and for more yards under Gruden in 2008. That's baffling because our backfield is exponentially stronger this year. The Bucs threw the ball less in 2008, but for more yards per play. Now this could be YAC or maybe noodle-armed Garcia got the ball down the field better than Leftwich and Johnson.
Those numbers completely surprise me. I don't think our offense is a finished product, but to run it less, though we have more yards per play, with a better backfield and to throw it more with a young quarterback just goes against everything I know as a football fan.
Enough of this, on to some other numbers.
|3rd down %
Yikes. That 3rd down percentage is terrible. I haven't checked but that has to be worst in the league (I just checked, we are 26th. The Chiefs are last at 21%, ugh). As shown above, we obviously are gaining less yards per game than last year. Sacks are roughly the same, which doesn't surprise me. And finally, total touchdowns per game are down on the offensive side. You couple that with a field goal kicker who couldn't make anything and the end result is a small number of points on the board.
This is kind of staggering. For all the money spent on the offensive side of the ball, the additions, and scheme changes I thought we'd see results. Sure, this is 5 games and maybe we are set to explode, but thus far it's been quiet. We've added (and paid) Jags, Olsen, Leftwich, Ward, Bryant, Clayton, and Winslow and our offense has gone backwards. The defense gets most of the blame, but the offensive performance can't be overlooked.
One last stat to throw out you. Actually, before I do that, let me say this. I am not defending our defense (or offense). But you always hear how defenses get tired if they are on the field too much. Well, when you convert 29% of your 3rd downs, it seems to reason that your defense is back on the field quicker. In fact, here is average time of possession per game in 2008 and 2009
2008 - 32:14
2009 - 29:11
Three minutes per game, which could be anywhere from 5-8 extra plays a game on average. I can't really draw any conclusions from that data, but it's something to remember for the long haul.
Another look at the numbers. Not only do they baffle me, but the typical fan reaction confuses me. I hear Raheem Morris being blamed, I hear Clayton being blamed, I hear the defense being blamed, but where is the accountability for Dominik, for Olsen, for these players and schemes?
The defense might be historically bad, but the offense isn't far behind.