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Evolution of the Run Game

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by TJV, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    McGinn has another (IMO) excellent article titled, “Linemen, backs allow Packers to rejuvenate run game”.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  2. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    And here I though a good running game was no longer important in the NFL anymore.
     
  3. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Zone blocking schemes are not designed to have the runner target a specific hole. Patient, one-cut-and-go TBs fit the scheme; they're supposed to wait for the OL to "influence" a hole in a general direction and the TB is supposed to find it.

    In theory, the attractiveness of the zone scheme is that you can use guards and centers that a lot of teams don't put a lot of value on while using higher picks and cap money elsewhere. Again, in theory, interior zone guys can get away with being smaller provided they have the smarts and athleticism to execute it. And presumably the athleticism will hold them in good stead in pass blocking. The Packers took the approach of drafting smaller college OTs who did not project high in the NFL and converted them to interior OLs. Sitton, Lang, Trettor...Wells too I think.

    Anyhow, I've noticed the Packers first team running a few inside pull blocks per game this preseason which were not particularly evident in the past...a guard or tackle pulling and then turning up into a hole. That looks like a run call to a particular hole as opposed to zone. That leverages athleticism as well...a guy has to be quick and agile to get up, around, and back into the line with that pull move...without getting caught in the wash and in front of the TB. It looks nifty in the way it's timed when it works. The guy next to the pulling guy might have to reach block to cut off the backside pursuit.

    One thing that should not be expected...the drafting of 330 lb. road-grading interior lineman. We've got some athletic guys who are experienced and sufficiently talented to execute both schemes in specific permutations. I'd expect it to stay that way. The price you pay is you're not going to get that mano a mano push on 3rd. and 1. That's where the Lacy spin-in-the-hole comes in. ;)
     
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  4. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    I bit ironic to hear that from a Vikings fan, the only team with a primarily rushing-based offense.*


    * 2007-2013
     
  5. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    One thing that certainly helps with a good running game is tight ends that can effectively block and, most importantly, TEs that are willing to throw and sustain blocks. IMO, this is what makes Bostick and Stoneburner decent options at tight end, because they can crumple the edges or crash down on linebackers.
     
  6. ExpatPacker

    ExpatPacker Cheesehead

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    Well, when the other teams in your division have Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson and you have Alex Green and Cedric Benson, the run game isn't very important.
     
  7. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    Well it's what Packer fans have been saying for the last 8 years. The running game no longer matters in a passing league. Now of course they have better running game it important again.
     
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  8. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Well, if you consider winning important then it's a passing league: "Raw efficiency stats also point to the futility of the running game. Offensive running efficiency correlates with team wins at 0.15, a meager relationship compared to the 0.66 correlation of passing efficiency. This stark difference suggested that teams are investing far too much attention and resources into running the ball."
    http://www.advancedfootballanalytics.com/2010/10/how-coaches-think-run-success-rate.html

    I like the run game, and nothing is greater than running out the clock at the end of a game. But today the running game is secondary to the passing game, just as the NFL wants it.
     
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  9. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    That may be true, JBlood, but how much does an effective running game effect the efficiency of the passing offense. Haven't seen the stats but it seems like the Offenses that were really emphasizing spread concepts and the pass have started to put more emphasis on running the football and establishing greater balance.
     
  10. TJV

    TJV Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    This just for Vikings fans: An accurate QB is one who frequently throws the ball so the receiver is able to catch it, often in stride!
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
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  11. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Those guys are gone when we pick anyway.
     
  12. brandon2348

    brandon2348 GO PACK GO!

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    Well what's better then having a dominant running game and a dominant passing game? Who has that? :)
     
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  13. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Brian Burke, the genius at Advanced Football Analytics, thinks the run/pass ratio should be .15/.85 based on EPA for run vs pass plays. You can read about EPA here: http://www.advancedfootballanalytics.com/2010/01/expected-points-ep-and-expected-points.html
    I think it's a valid point to make that a good running threat adds to a good passing game, especially play-action. Another point: a good passing team can more readily build up a lead with passes, then run the ball in the 4th quarter to eat up the clock. So such a team might have passed the ball 65% of the time while scoring, but wind up with 55% by the end of the game. But I believe the EPA stat takes that into consideration.
     
  14. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    It would be interesting to see his ideal run/pass ratio put side by side with the run/pass ratio of the past ten super bowl champions. Winning games in the NFL and scoring lots of points doesn't necessarily lead to trophies.
     
  15. easyk83

    easyk83 Cheesehead

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    I wasnt thinking so much in terms of play action as much as I was thinking of sacks and pass rush. Seattle game in 2012 sticks out, first half we ran the ball only 4 times on designed runs and Rodgers was sacked how many times again? Second half we didn't gash them on the ground but we were more balanced on Offense and our pass protection stabilized.
     
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  16. PikeBadger

    PikeBadger Cheesehead

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    It's always good to be good at everything. Opens up the playbook and forces defenses to pick their poison. The thing I like about a long drive mixed with run and pass is it keeps our defense off the field and often disrupts opponents offensive flow and rythym. I think that helps lead to more three and outs and can affect the patience of opponents play calling.
     
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  17. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Hard to argue that.
     
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  18. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Good question. I don't think that's been published, but he does have success rate, expected points added, and win probability added for offense vs defense over the last 10 years (article in 2011). The numbers show that good offenses beat good defenses, primarily due to QB play. http://www.advancedfootballanalytics.com/2011/01/top-offenses-top-defenses.html
     
  19. Oshkoshpackfan

    Oshkoshpackfan YUT !!!

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    Nice link JBlood, thanks for sharing.
     
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  20. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    SR, EPA, WPA...undefined terms, black box formulations, resistant to scrutiny. Looks nice, but how did he get from point A to point Z?
     
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2014
  21. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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  22. JBlood

    JBlood Cheesehead

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    Not true. You've got to spend some time on the site and go through all the statistical analyses. I'm not a statistician, so am content with reading the bottom lines. :confused:
     
  23. Raptorman

    Raptorman Vikings fan since 1966.

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    What's ideal run/pass ration? I do have this. This is a list back to 2006 of the Super Bowl teams and their run/pass ratio. The data was taken from NFL.com and reflects pass attempts vs. rushing attempts as percent of total. Super Bowl winners are on top. I can also say that during that time period the average for all teams was 55% pass 45% run.

    Code:
    2006     
    Colts      56%    44%
    Bears      51%    49%
    2007     
    Giants     54%    46%
    Pats       57%    43%
    2008     
    Steeler    52%    48%
    Cardinals  65%    35%
    2009     
    Saints     54%    46%
    Colts      62%    38%
    2010     
    Packers    56%    44%
    Steelers   50%    50%
    2011     
    Giants     59%    41%
    Pats       58%    42%
    2012     
    Ravens     56%    44%
    49ers      47%    53%
    2013     
    Seattle    45%    55%
    Denver     56%    41%
    
     
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  24. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Well, here are a couple of things I noted before I stopped looking at it:

    First a simple example:

    Expected Points (EP) is how many points a team can expect to score from a specific down and distance. He has determined, for example, that teams with a 1st. and 10 at their own 20 score on average 0.4 points on that possession. Teams with a 1st. and 10 on the opponent's 20 score on average 4.0 points in that possession. If, for example, a 60 yard pass in completed from 20 to 20, that play has earned 4.0 - 0.4 = 3.6 Expected Points Added (EPA).

    He then goes on to state in the glossary that the Success Rate (SR), the subject of the first scatter chart, is calculated as the "percentage of plays with positive EPA". Why he chose this approach rather than cumulative EPA is not explained so far as I can see. It actually defies the notion of "big play" value. A team that wins incrementally more plays on mostly dink and dunk success will score higher than a team that wins incrementally fewer plays but has more big plays.

    He also tried to adjust for performance when a team had a big lead or it was garbage time at the end of a half or the end of a game. Here's how he did it, with a meat cleaver:

    "The baseline EP values are therefore based only on game situations when the score was within 10 points and in the first and third quarters. This eliminates situations like ‘trash time,’ and other distortions."

    That means he threw out more than 1/2 of all the game data from any consideration with no more explanation than the paragraph above, and anything that happens when there is an 11+ spread doesn't count. Tell that Matt Flynn circa 2013. ;)

    I stopped looking at this at that point.
     

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