Does Schiano Have The Wrong Approach?July 11th, 2012
Joe loves the idea of the Bucs and Greg Schiano resurrecting the offensive philosophy of the undefeated 1972 Dolphins. Those guys had two 1,000-yard rushers in a 14-game season and successfully picked their spots to throw the ball deep. Smashmouth, run-first football.
But the NFL has changed, and there are those who believe the pass-happy NFL is that way because it’s a winning formula.
NFL Films guru Greg Cosell, one of the game’s more astute analysts, makes a case against building a run-first offense in his latest breakdown for NFL.com. If you read Cosell’s entire take, it’s easy to walk away believing the New Schiano Order is starting on the wrong foot.
Teams that feature the run as their foundation generally don’t score as many points. They tend to play closely contested games that are within one score in the fourth quarter. Those kinds of games can be decided by one play. In fact, too often better teams lose to less-talented teams simply because the game is close and that single play becomes magnified. That’s a tough way to play every week. But that’s the profile when you’re a running team built around a great back. Your margin for error as a team is very small, which is exactly why you have to be extremely good in all phases, like the 2011 49ers. That’s very difficult in today’s NFL.
In fact, I strongly believe most organizations recognize that kind of team-building is not truly viable in the salary-cap era. That’s not the best approach to compete for championships. You will not consistently beat the top quarterbacks and the top offenses by playing conservative football, with the emphasis on shortening the game, and as a result, limiting the opposing offense’s snaps. I always debated this with coaches as it pertained to Peyton Manning. For years, the Indianapolis Colts had the fewest overall possessions in the NFL, usually eight or nine per game. That’s great as an abstract number. But they would score touchdowns on three, four or five of them. If your offense controlled the ball, and the clock, but did not score touchdowns, as was often the case, then all you’ve accomplished is shortening the game for yourself. You get fewer opportunities to score and you’re not built to aggressively attack with the passing game. It’s a catch-22 that ultimately fails.
Of course, Joe hopes Cosell is off the mark and the Bucs with Doug Martin and LeGarrette Blount can break new ground as they revive what worked in the past.
Regardless, Joe is not concerned about the Bucs’ offense outside of having a newbie playcaller. It’s the heinous defense that must at least become close to average for the Bucs to have a chance at competing in 2012.