Mike Tanier has written a follow-up to his previous article on MSNBC, focusing on the defense this time. As I wrote a response to the previous article, it only seems fitting to write a follow-up on the follow-up.
In summary, Tanier’s previous article suggested that “tricky” offenses might suffer this year since there won’t be the same amount of time to prepare due to the lockout. My argument was that teams have spent years building an offensive philosophy (which they should not abandon for just one year) and that complexity has more to do with offensive philosophy and personnel rather than the learning capacity of players.
In this article, Tanier suggests that defenses will also be affected by the lockout, but to a lesser extent since “confusion favors the defense.” On one hand, defenses require less overall communication; each defensive player typically only works in conjunction with a couple other players (cornerbacks work with safeties but not really with defensive linemen for example).
Offensive players are more inherently required to communicate between the whole squad (wide receivers need to know who to block on running plays and running backs need to know who to block or where to go for passing plays). On the other hand, as I have previously mentioned, a lot can go wrong on a offensive play and still net positive yards, but it only takes one confused defensive player for a play to end in a big gain or a touchdown. Read more... (1017 words + 1 image, estimated 4:04 mins reading time)
Posted in 2010 - 2011 Season
by Thomas Hobbes
In a recent article on NBC, Football Outsiders senior writer Mike Tanier wrote a piece on how the lockout might have a detrimental affect NFL offenses. (Picture taken from National Football Post, props to anyone who can figure out what play this diagram is showing) The reasoning is pretty simple, with less time to prepare and train players due to the lockout, playbooks and offensive philosophies that are considered “tricky” are going to be harder to execute than “simple” offenses and therefore put “tricky” offenses at a disadvantage.
I respect Tanier’s work and I think Football outsiders is one of the best football websites out there, but this article had me scratching my head a little. The implicit suggestion of this article is that if a team utilizes a “tricky” offense they should consider dumbing it down to account for the lockout.
To me this seems a little bit ridiculous, teams spend years building an identity and to throw it out the window for one year sounds like a decidedly bad idea. Should the Packers take the ball out of Aaron Rodgers hands and start calling more running plays? That’s not who the Packers are and it definitely wouldn’t work for them. That’s like asking the Tennessee Titans (who Tanier uses for comparison for the Packers), to take the ball away from Chris Johnson and give it to (insert quarterback here).
To me the inherent flaw in this piece is that ”tricky” plays are inherently complex and that complexity is handled the same for each team. Read more... (1223 words + 1 image, estimated 4:54 mins reading time)
As I opened up my e-mail Tuesday evening, I was pleasantly surprised with a message from Aaron Schatz of Football Outsiders. You see, a little over a month ago, as I was preparing for my article about Dom Capers and his use of the three-man rush, I decided to send Football Outsiders a query for some information to beef up my analysis. It’s hard to find statistics on the effectiveness of certain types of plays, but I knew they would have this sort of information logged into their databases.
Here was my original message:
As a Packers fan and blogger, I have heard many complaints about Dom Capers’ use of the three-man rush, especially in third-and-long situations. I was wondering if you had any stats/analysis on the effectiveness of this strategy regarding the Packers defense and/or the NFL as a whole.
And then I waited…
…and eventually decided to finish the article without the information. By this time, the Packers had finished beating the Chicago Bears in Week 17, and I saw some good footage I could use instead.
But lo and behold, I finally received my answer. So I thought I would share it with you, because I found it rather fascinating. (It also helps to confirm my suspicions that most people complain about the three-man rush due to faulty preconceptions.)
Here’s what Aaron Schatz found out: Read more... (583 words + 1 image, estimated 2:20 mins reading time)
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Packers Three-Man Rush Revisited: Football Outsiders Responds to Inquiry
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Did you know the Green Bay Packers play the Detroit Lions Sunday? With all the talk about the Packers vs. New England Patriots game on Dec. 19, it seems that most people have already chalked up Sunday’s game against the Lions as a Packers victory.
The people that do realize the Packers play the Lions this week are using one of my least favorite phrases to describe the contest: Trap game.
Loosely defined, a trap game occurs when a good team plays a bad team the week before playing another good team. In this case, the trap game concept assumes the Packers are thinking about playing the Patriots instead of focusing on the Lions. This will cause the Packers to play poorly and maybe lose to the lowly Lions.
I think the trap game concept is just a simple way to let a team that lost off the hook. Sometimes a bad team comes together and plays well enough to knock off a superior opponent. And sometimes a good team, for whatever reason, plays terrible against a foe it should beat.
In either case, all of the credit or the blame should go to the two teams that actually played the game, not a third team that had nothing to do with anything.
The Football Outsiders did a study in 2007 and concluded that the entire concept of trap games was a myth. The Outsiders defined a trap game as any game against a sub-.500 opponent slotted between two games against opponents who, on the season, posted records above .500 (this definition means that Sunday’s game against the Lions would not be a trap game, but anyway…). Read more... (596 words + 1 image, estimated 2:23 mins reading time)
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Debunking the Trap Game Myth: Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers
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