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What not to focus on this off season

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by wick, Jan 3, 2013.

  1. wick

    wick Active Member

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    If you want to improve in the off season, you have to pick the areas that actually correlate to winning, right? After all, each team has only a finite number of resources. Dallas, by virtue of a constrained cap, has fewer resources than most. So you have to pick for improvement only the areas that most improve your chances of winning.

    To that end, which areas should we purposefully ignore or minimize because they needlessly waste resources without a commensurate increase in winning potential? Here's my list:

    1. The running game. This includes running backs and the run blocking aspect of the offensive line. The running game doesn't determine winning and losing in the NFL. There is a mountain of statistical evidence to back this up. Since it doesn't determine winning and losing, minimize your efforts to shore it up. We can find warm bodies at running back late in the draft and in free agency. Don't sign or draft offensive linemen based on their run blocking ability or lack thereof.

    2. The secondary. It's true that passing determines winning at that this applies to both sides of the ball. It's also true that Dallas was horrible against the pass in 2012. So why not upgrade the secondary? Because current NFL rules are so heavily slanted toward the passing game that expensive resources in the secondary are generally unable to perform at a level that justifies the expense. Look at Dallas this year, with four corners making significant money. We stunk anyway. Reward in the secondary is paid in turnovers, and turnovers are a function of pass rush and zone coverage that puts defenders in a position to watch the quarterback and be in the area when opportunities present themselves.

    3. Run-stopping defensive linemen. This gets back to the point about the running game not determining winning and losing. As such, don't focus on getting that prototypical space-eating nose tackle or the run-stuffing defensive ends. Aside from maybe Jason Hatcher, we don't have a defensive lineman worth a lick at rushing the passer, and it's one of the big reasons why our defense stinks.

    Do focus on getting as many pass rushers as possible. Do focus on changing our defensive schemes so we run more zone and create more opportunities for turnovers. Do provide more pass protection for Tony Romo so we can turn a decent passing season into a potentially elite one. Do attempt to provide even more weapons in the passing game. Those are the reasons why teams win or lose, so let's spend our resources where they matter.
  2. Super_Kazuya

    Super_Kazuya Well-Known Member

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    Then why are 7 of the top 11 RBs in the playoffs? I'm not totally blowing off what you say but there must be something about running that is good, even if it's not measured in yards.
  3. TonyS

    TonyS Well-Known Member

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    Ummmm....ok....I guess that'll work.

    Let me see if I get this right. Stink at the run, defending the pass once its thrown and defending the run. I think we're there already!

    Oh wait. Devote all resources to the pass rush. Pass rush solves everything.

    Is that you Jerry? Is this your way of vetting your plan for change?
  4. wick

    wick Active Member

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    Are you referring to yards rushing? That's easy. Teams that win run the ball a lot, affording them more carries to accumulate yards. Only two playoff teams rank in the bottom half of the league in rushing attempts, and one of them is ranked 17th, just outside of the top half.
  5. wick

    wick Active Member

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    If it can be statistically proven that the performance of the rushing game has virtually no effect on winning or losing, why would you engage in a strategy of spending finite resources to improve those areas of your team, thus reducing the number of resources available to shore up the areas that actually do impact winning and losing?
  6. Super_Kazuya

    Super_Kazuya Well-Known Member

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    Hmm, I kinda see what you mean. If you change it to rushing yards per attempt, playoff teams start to disappear from the top. Of course, you still have Minnesota, Washington and Seattle in the top 5, but it could be argued that two of those teams are getting quite a boost from long quarterback scrambles/rushes.
  7. SkinsandTerps

    SkinsandTerps Redskins Forever

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    6 of the best (top 10) rushing attack teams are in the playoffs right now.

    With Baltimore at #11.
  8. wick

    wick Active Member

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    That's because they win, and thus run the ball more than other teams that don't win as much.
  9. SkinsandTerps

    SkinsandTerps Redskins Forever

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    But the flip side to that is that teams with crazy passing yardage are losing at a similar clip.

    You need to be able to run the ball and stop the run. Ball control is a huge part of this game. Rams losing to the Pats was a prime example of that and the Pats are not a great running team. They set an early tempo and get that lead as you suggest...and then run the ball to control the other teams offense. That is football 101.
  10. wick

    wick Active Member

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    Raw yardage is not synonymous with effective passing. It is a myth that you need to be able to run the ball and stop the run. You can and be effective or you can just as easily not do those things well and be effective. What determines team success is how well you pass relative to your opponents.

    Your Redskins win not because of their rushing game but because they are one of the most devastatingly efficient passing teams in the league.
  11. SkinsandTerps

    SkinsandTerps Redskins Forever

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    That's not true for every team.

    For example the Redskins have lost quite a few starters on the defensive side of the ball. To control the bleeding the rush attack had to be solid. They keep the other teams offense off of the field and run the clock down. I am not positive about this stat, but I believe the Redskins have the best 1st down yardage per play in the league. That is because of the threat to run and the execution of the run.

    You take away any semblance of a rush attack and your QB will not play more than 3 games next season. And that is being generous. You can't stop the run and your defense will be on the field all game chasing WRs for no reason.
  12. davidyee

    davidyee Maple Leaf

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    ...some semblance of a run game for no reason other than forcing the dfence to defend more territory.

    Spreading defenders makes the pass more effective.

    The best part of the run game is getting the tough short yards and making a statement in the game. Possibly a momentum changer.
  13. ddh33

    ddh33 Active Member

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    I see enough holes everywhere that Dallas ought to be able to find something they need.

    My first preference would be to help this defensive line. It's getting old, and it may only have one good player on it (Hatcher). I would love to see a guy who can do so damage at that position.
  14. Illini88228

    Illini88228 Well-Known Member

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    Being able to run out the clock at the end of games is crucial. If you have to throw the ball, and risk stopping the clock, you give the other team a much better chance to get back in the game.
  15. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    Going into that game, Griffin had only converted on 5 of 51 situations of 3rd and 8+ by passing. In the game, the Skins had 12 3rd downs of any length, and he only converted 3 by the pass. Staying out of 3rd and long has been huge for that offense all year long, and as you know, the running game has helped make that possible.

    That said, get ready to be told you don't know what the hell you're talking about. :D
  16. percyhoward

    percyhoward Research Tool

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    In 2011, when the Giants (whose passer rating differential was worse than ours) won the division, they outscored us 394 to 369.

    They passed for 29 TD, and we passed for 33.

    They ran for 17 TD, and we ran for 5.

    Total TD: Giants 46, Cowboys 38

    All touchdowns--even rushing touchdowns--determine winning and losing.
  17. wick

    wick Active Member

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    How you put the ball into the end zone doesn't really matter. You need to look at how the Giants were able to create 46 scoring opportunities to Dallas' 38.
  18. Shinywalrus

    Shinywalrus Active Member

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    I think you're mostly right, but the problem is with your argument is that you're asserting a prior - that the running game has virtually no effect on winning and losing - that isn't completely correct.

    The problem with most analyses of the import of the running game is that they look at the raw rushing yardage alone. Yes, it is true that raw rushing yardage often has very little explanatory power beyond passing yardage, or better, something like passing yards-per-attempt. But that doesn't actually prove that effective running doesn't have import in producing wins. The truth is that first down conversion success rates in short yardage situations, explosive running play potential and the absence of negative running plays all have meaningful contributions to victory totals.

    I also think that too much Madden forces a lot of us into thinking that players are "run defenders" or "pass defenders" - for several years, we thought of Ratliff as a pure inside pass rush threat, but in more recent years, despite lacking the prototype size, he has actually been at his most effective in defending the run.

    So I don't completely disagree with your premise - spending picks on running backs and thumper safeties is probably ill-advised given the importance of passing - but big, sometimes slower players who "smell" like run defenders are often pivotal parts of certain defensive schemes that very effectively defend the pass. I just don't think improving pass defense is quite as simple as, "Spend picks and FA money on pass rushers and corners."
  19. jnday

    jnday Well-Known Member

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    The offense that Garrett runs depends on balance to work best. You can cherry-pick stats to support any agenda.
    I disagree on the run-stuffing linemen as well. Redskins game is all I have to say about that.
    Running zone coverage was one of the reasons that the secondary got torched this year. Ryan ran zone coverage to hide some weaknesses due to injury. It didn't work too well with man coverage corners.
  20. visionary

    visionary Well-Known Member

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    when Aristotle was asked who taught him to be so wise

    he answered: "the stupid people"

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