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A look at the Bucs after Week 1 - DVOA Style

WAre we done talking about week 1 yet?  Almost, but not quite.  I want to beat this dead horse a few more times to make sure it's truly gone.  We're gonna take a look at DVOA (Defense adjusted value over average) for the Bucs and for our quarterback position, as that is/was the most singled out offensive position for some reason.

The good folks over at FootballOutsiders have run the numbers, formatted the spreadsheets and are ready to share their calculations.  Let's dive on in.

A quick refresher course.  Two stats that are going to be talked about; DVOA and DAVE.  Straight from FO, here are the explanations.

DVOA - system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average.

DAVE - it stands for DVOA Adjusted for Variation Early.) In this week's DAVE ratings, the preseason projection counts for 90 percent, and the current VOA counts for 10 percent.

This will tell us not only where a certain team ranks and how they are doing, but it accounts for who we played.  Beating up on an awful Rams team is not as impressive as beating up on the Steelers.  Got it?  Good.

So what do the Week 1 numbers show us? Let's start out with the good stuff.

TB -44.6% -15.2% 27 43.0% 3


Alright I lied, we start with a lot of bad stuff and a tiny bit of good stuff.  What we see here is that the Bucs as a team were WAY below average.  Adjusted for defense the team's total DVOA was -44.6%. This is pretty simple formula of Off DVOA - Def DVOA - S.T. DVOA.   Wow.  This totaled ranking put the Bucs 27th of the 32 teams.  I find it hard to believe there are 5 teams worse than us, but I forgot our offense had a decent showing.  So based on the average situation, the Bucs were 44% worse than their counterparts.

Speaking of offense, is that a positive number and single digit rank?  The end of times must be around the corner.  The Bucs offense had a very high positive DVOA, a nice change.  Ranked 3rd in the NFL, this proves how well our offense played based on defense and how they compared to other NFL teams and the average in similar circumstances.  It's a small sample, but very encouraging thus far.  For example, on first down, the average team picked up 4 yards.  The Bucs were 43% better (defense adjusted value over average) meaning we saw a gain of 5.72 yards.  (Note: The numbers used were examples, not true data).

I've put it off as long as I could.  Here's the really bad stuff aka the defensive numbers.

TB 75.7% 32 -11.9% 28


First things first, on defense, the lower the number (i.e. negative) the better it is.  So a value over average of 75.7% is horrendous, as you can see by our dead last ranking in the NFL.  Are you surprised?  We generated one sack, zero turnovers, and 3 TD passes over 30 yards.  This is one of those times where the stats and what your eyes see/saw align. 

Special Teams goes back to the higher number is better axiom, and here we are negative.  Again, we kind of figured this.  Our special teams are below average at this point, and almost dead last in the league.

Now that we've got a handle on the Bucs numbers, let's look at another team.  To best compare this to another team, let's look at the only team we've seen thus far, the Dallas Cowboys.

Dal 59.4% 4.9% 13 92.8% 1
TB -44.6% -15.2% 27 43.0% 3


Let's tackle the offensive numbers first.  For as good as our offense was, look at how Dallas' numbers jump out.  Using the value over average, us Bucs fans got to see the #1 and #3 offenses for the week.  So we've got that going for us.  As a team, the Cowboys total DVOA is superior to the Bucs, but that is thanks to how good the Bucs D made them look.

Dal 33.6% 30 0.3% 14
TB 75.7% 32 -11.9% 28


The rest of the picture is just the flipside of what we already know.  If the Bucs had the 3rd best offensive DVOA, it stands to reason that the Cowboys would have the 3rd worst defensive DVOA, and there it is.  Their special teams were slightly above average, which didn't affect their total DVOA much.

What did we learn?  The Bucs had a good offensive week, an atrocious defensive week and a terrible week on special teams, all lining up to place us in the bottom 20% of the league.  This is one of those times as an analyst or writer where everything lines up.  The eyes told a story and the stats confirmed it.

We'll be keeping an eye on the Buc's DVOA over the course of the year, as well as analyzing players, both our own and opposing, other teams, and other advanced stats to help paint the picture of who we have and who we are facing.  In the very near future, we'll take a look at the lightning rod of the offense, Byron Leftwich, and his week 1 performance as told by DVOA, DYAR, and any other acronyms that are out there.

(Thanks again to FO for the use of their stats)