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Bucs offense still mired towards the bottom of league rankings

By now, we've all had time to digest the new that offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Greg Olsen would be brought back for the 2010 year.  Some people have supported the move, citing continuity for a young QB, maintaining one system and the uptick in the offense as reasons to keep Olsen.  Others have denounced the move, pointing out the stagnancy (is that a word?) of the offense, the lack of commitment to any one idea, and the fact that this offense doesn't appear to fit the current personnel.

While that is certainly a valid discussion, I wanted to look at the numbers for the offense as they stand through Week 12.  We've all seen flashes of brilliance from our young offense andyoung quarterback, but how does that translate in comparison to the rest of the NFL?  Lets take a look at both some advanced stats and some traditional metrics to see how the Bucs size up on offense.

Let's hit the advanced numbers first, courtesy of FootballOutsiders.  We'll be looking at DVOA (Defensive adjusted value over average) for total offense, pass offense, and run offense.  Warning:  It's ugly.

    DVOA Last Week Pass Rank Rush Rank
26 TB -15.20% 26 -10.50% 24 -7.20% 25

Ugly, but consistent at least.  The Bucs offense is nothing to jump up anddown about.  To work backwards, our rush offense is in the negative (read: bad) when compared to other NFL rush offenses.  This should come as no surprise as not only do we not break very many runs, we rarely stick with one back and seem to have an aversion to running the ball consistently. 

In the air, we are statistically worse, but ranked better.  Sitting at just over a negative 10%, we rank 24th in the NFL in terms of passing offense.  Some of this stems from Leftwich and Johnson for sure, but as a group, the Bucs quarterbacks, receivers, and offensive line have not been setting the world on fire through the air.

The total picture is actually the worst in terms of ranking.  26th in the NFL.  For reference sake, here are the teams with worse total offenses measured by DVOA.  In order, starting with 27th and working to 32nd we have Chicago, Buffalo, Kansas City, Detroit, Cleveland and Oakland.  Not company I want to keep for too much longer.

To use some more conventional metrics, lets look at some basic offensive numbers.  Apologies to UNFNOLE if I am reiterating info he brought to our attention a few days ago.

Category Value Rank
Yds/Game 274.8 29
Pts/Game 16.5 28
3rd down % 31% 28
Penalty Yds 484 24
T.O.P. 28:10 28
TO Margin -4 21

Nothing good here.  The Bucs are ranked in the bottom five in four categories, two of which most people would deem fairly important or telling; Yards per game andPoints per game.  The rest of the picture doesn't exactly fill you with optimism. 

To break it down further, let's look at some other conventional stats and separate the running and passing games.  Lets hit the passing game first.

Category Value Rank
Att/Game 32.6 18
Comp % 52.90% 30
Yds/Gm 176.6 25
TD 15 16
Int 16 28
QB Rating 65.6 27

The numbers speak for themselves.  Right about average in terms of number of TD's, but the interceptions put that in perspective.  Our completion percentage is horrible and our QB rating isn't much better (our defense allows a QB rating of 92.1 for what it's worth).  We rank right in the middle in attempts per game but lower in yard per game.  Paging Mr Olsen, where is the vertical threat we were promised?

And now, my personal pet peeve, the running game.

Category Value Rank
Att/Game 24.3 26
Yards/Game 98.2 23
TD 4 29
Fumbles 10 T-32
YPC 4.0 T-21

None of these numbers are great, but while we run the ball 7th least in the league per game, our yards a game and yards per carry are slightly better.  Probably not enough to read into, but maybe with a bigger commitment to either one running back, a running attack, or both, we might do our offense (and defense) a favor and control the ball longer and provide our quarterback a bit more time.

As I noted in my play calling recap post, the Bucs are a pretty predictable group.  Third downs really are no mystery to opposing defenses.  We have passed the ball on 89.67% of our third down plays, regardless of distance.  Some, are warranted, your 3rd and 8's deep in opponent's territory.  Other instances are baffling, your 3rd and 2's. 

The team has improved as a group over the last 4 weeks.  What hasn't improved is our play calling and our offensive performance.  The Bucs have topped 21 points just twice this year (opponents have topped 21 points 9 times in comparison).  We've been lucky to have a few short fields set up for us via turnover or returns, but any way you slice the numbers above, our offense is sitting at the bottom of most categories and metrics. 

The talent is there at certain positions, and we certainly are a young team that has room for growth and improvement, but it has to come soon.  With all the dollars spent on the offensive side of the ball, we clearly should be doing better that we are.  This isn't meant to be an indictment of any one coach or player, but I don't think Bucs fans are out of line in asking for some improvement on this side of the ball.