Play-Action Not Working

October 29th, 2011

Well, as the Bucs enjoy their last weekend off until January — defensive end Adrian Clayborn took in Game 7 of last night’s World Series to watch his hometown Cardinals win (again) — there is no shortage of work to be done within the walls of One Buc Palace.

In addition to the fact the Bucs are 28th in the NFL in team defense, a Bucs bread-and-butter play from last year isn’t there this season.

Last year quarterback Josh Freeman used the play-action pass to take advantage of defenses keying too heavily on running back LeGarrette Blount. This year, maybe because Blount isn’t used that much, maybe because he has been hurt, maybe because opponents never heard Bucs rock star general manager Mark Dominik’s sales pitch of Kregg Lumpkin, defenses simply are not fooled by the Bucs’ play-action passes.

Word from BSPN Stats & Information by way of Pat Yasinskas, Josh Freeman’s success with the play-action this season has much to be desired.

The Bucs have been horrible on play-action passes. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Josh Freeman ranks No. 33 in the league with a 49 percent completion rate on play-action throws. Only Jacksonville rookie Blaine Gabbert (29 percent) ranks below Freeman.

On play-action passes, Freeman has completed 24 of 49 attempts for 347 yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions.

Joe’s going to guess now that Blount will be on the field the rest of the way — barring another injury — this number will improve.

Or it better improve.

17 Responses to “Play-Action Not Working”

  1. Mr. Lucky Says:

    Maybe when Freeman actully learns to look like he’s putting the ball into the RB players will bite. Half-hearted playaction doesn’t fool anyone – with or without Blount


    True Dat!

  3. Jrock Says:

    The world series happened last night? Does that mean baseball season is over for a few weeks?

  4. Pete Dutcher Says:

    33rd amongst 32 starting QBs? That is bad! (rolls eyes)

  5. Steve From Oregon Says:

    Completely off the subject, but Tashard Choice was just cut from Dallas. The boy is an excellent change of pace and pass blocking RB…..just a thought!

  6. Patrick Says:

    @Steve From Oregon

    Yeah and that’s another thing, why hasn’t Dom signed any running backs during the bye week?!? Either that or at least promote Spann or Madu to the roster. Lumpkin is not deserving of a roster spot! Blount is banged up and even when healthy, he needs a back to help him out.

    Tashard Choice and Tiki Barber would both be better options than Lumpkin.

  7. Steve From Oregon Says:

    Madu was promoted to the active roster, although…..havent seen anything out of him to get excited about.

  8. Patrick Says:

    Same here, I’ve just been hearing things about him. I haven’t ever watched Spann play either, but he looked pretty productive in college looking at his stats and some of his highlights.

  9. RastaMon Says:

    IMO or what I’d like to see early is….quick…short…timing passes….build off of basics

  10. thomas 2.2 Says:

    Thanks for reporting the bucs defensive ranking: 28th out of 32, and in yards allowed they are 31st. Horrible. Yet in total offense they are 11th.

    I am sick of the sheep acting like our offensive coordinator is doing a poor job but our defensive coordinator isnt. That is just absurd. The reason rah doesnt like stats (like his career record 17-22,no playoffs) is because by any measure he should be fired based on his defense’s statistics.

    Yes Free turns the ball over too much now, Olson can’t control how the ball leaves Freeman’s hand. Olson is doing a fine job, twice as good as the d coordinator. It is time that someone accepted that.

  11. Joe Says:

    Steve from Oregon:

    Completely off the subject, but Tashard Choice was just cut from Dallas. The boy is an excellent change of pace and pass blocking RB

    If Tashard Choice is so “excellent,” why did Dallas cut him in the middle of the season?

    Generally, guys that have any value do not get cut in the middle of a season.

  12. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Choice averaged less than 3 yards a carry this year. No thanks.

    As for the play action, it’s simple. Teams don’t respect the play action when the offense doesn’t show commitment to the run.

    Olson has not stuck with the run game come hell or high water this year. They have backed off the run and shown way too much focus on trying to force the passing game. In fact, even when the run game is going well they sometimes inexplicably move away from it and back to the pass. It’s frustrating and not effective at all.

    Until the Bucs start showing commitment to the run ALL GAME LONG, and for several games in a row, teams will simply not bite very often on play action. And why should they? If they know the Bucs will pretty quickly return to over-focusing on the pass what do defenses have to lose? Not much. There’s nothing to be afraid of at that point.

    Good teams stick with the run a minimum of 50% of the time even when they’re only averaging 3 yards per carry. Why? Because the run will eventually break through later on in the game, and also because teams will eventually start respecting the run and biting on good play action. Simple as that.

  13. Patrick Says:

    @Thomas 2.2

    I thought you didn’t like Olsen?

    I’m not going to throw the towel in him, but he’s a bad playcaller. He’s consistently made questionable calls in just about every game we’ve played this year. Last year too. He doesn’t let Blount run it enough. And he’ll make some dumb decision like throwing a hail mary on 3rd and 1.

    Freeman has definitely regressed, but his receivers haven’t been doing their job either. They’ve struggled to even get open and they lead the league in drops. Without Blount it’s even worse, because they have no other backs to help out.

    And I agree with you about the defense. However, I’m real happy with the way our D-line has improved this year. Foster has looked solid too.

  14. @eric Says:

    Choice is a much better option to back up Blount than Lumpkin….easy decision really…I am sure Choice is pretty pisst he got cut and with the Cowboys coming up he just might have a thing or two to prove, it deffinetly couldnt / wouldnt hurt.

  15. thomas 2.2 Says:

    Apparently, the defensive coordinator is a worse playcaller – bc he is 31st in yards allowed while Olson is 11th. Olson would light up a clueless rah rah defense. Patrick: I agree with you, I have been pleased with Clayborn, Zprice, Bennett and Foster – despite their play talent, we have the 31st ranked defense in points allowed. Apparently their is a problem with the coordination.

  16. Garv Says:

    Third string RB, NO FB, third string C and LG all playing at once after not practicing for it all week?

    I’m shocked, SHOCKED, that play action did not work! LOL

  17. MTM Says:

    The best play-action offense works when the QB actually looks like he is handing off the ball. “Fake” is the key. Nobody is being fooled or drawn off by our fakes.
    Van Pelt needs to works on this with Freeman and for god sakes throw in some well designed trick plays. Not the same old s*%t !