Here Are Some Analytics For Ya

September 16th, 2014


Bucs coach Lovie Smith professes to be a stats guy, an analytics kind of guy. And the Bucs even hired a guru to lead a growing department that only crunches numbers and works Excel spreadsheets.

Since Sunday, Bucs fans are still griping about a run called on 3rd-and-7 from the Lambs’ 9-yard line.

Joe can see both sides of the coin here. If, as the Bucs organization has bragged about for months, you have the Dunkaneers, then you exploit those weapons in the red zone, especially when they have such a height advantage over the puny Lambs corners.

Of course, Bobby Rainey was having a helluva day and Joe also likes the element of surprise, and yeah, running at that point is somewhat of a surprise. Sadly, the play seemed more of a statement that Lovie doesn’t trust his hand-picked quarterback than it did catching the Lambs defense off guard with a run.

Since Lovie is so fond of analytics, he may appreciate the following: Greg Auman of the Tampa Bay Times decided to go all statgeek to determine what may have been the best strategy at that down-and-distance.

So how rare is it to hand off to a running back on third and 7? The Bucs had 21 third-and-7 plays last season, and they didn’t hand off to a running back once — 17 passes, 3 sacks and one Mike Glennon scramble. They completed 10 of those 17 passes and converted on five of those 21 opportunities.

Across the NFL, there were 547 third-and-7 plays in the NFL, and in exactly two (2) of them did a team hand off to a running back and gain those 7 yards or more. Teams opted for passing plays 89 percent of the time, with QB runs accounting for two-thirds of the non-pass plays. Out of 547 plays, the ball was handed off to a running back just 21 times, and again, found success just two times in those 21.

Even those two successful RB runs on third-and-7 plays were odd circumstances. One came with 23 seconds left in the first half and Carolina at its own 23-yard line, and Jonathan Stewart ran for 10 yards when all the Panthers likely wanted to do was go into halftime. The other came against the Bucs in the final game of the season, with the Saints leading 28-17 late in the third quarter and Pierre Thomas getting an 8-yard touchdown on third and 7.

Again, Joe has no problem if the team was trying to run a hot hand with a hot running back and trying to catch the defense by surprise. Still, the play smelled like Lovie was scared McCown was going to throw a pick, something he all but admitted in his postgame comments.

And if you don’t trust your quarterback, then why is he even on the field?

As Sunday proved yet again, you let a team hang around, chances are you will get burned. And the Bucs got burned, by a third-string slug who was a walk-on at Southern Miss.

33 Responses to “Here Are Some Analytics For Ya”

  1. flmike Says:

    More proof Lovie hijacked the play calling in the redzone.
    I’m putting together a scenario in my head of Lovie and Tedford in the film room, Scene…
    [Shot over shoulder, plays on the screen]HC Lovie Smith and OC Jeff Tedford are watching game film.
    [Cut to Lovie] Lovie: “Why can’t we run on 3 and 9 in the redzone?”
    [Cut to Tedford – We watch as all the blood drains from Tedford’s face and his skin goes ashen white] Tedford keels over and has a heart attack…

  2. billy buckaroo Says:

    I think it was more of a combination of a
    Conservative Lovie
    Not trusting the play caller (whoever that was) and
    Wanting at least 3 points

  3. Jonny 2.3 Says:

    Could someone tell me when exactly did Tedford have that double facepalm on TV? Was it right after we ran on 3rd and 7?

  4. Buccfan37 Says:

    Duh, how about a Lovie brain fart.

  5. meh Says:

    It had nothing to do with McCown. It was classic Dungyball, and the same crap that got Lovie fired from Chicago. No, I’m not calling for his head (that’s stupid 2 games in), but this loss is squarely on Lovie Smith’s shoulders. He needs to keep his hands off the offensive play calling, for all our sakes’.

  6. Joseph Mamma Says:

    What a cowardly play call that was

  7. RCH Says:

    I’m not part of the Glennon mob but I think we should consider going with him.

  8. meh Says:

    Going with Glennon will not make Lovie Smith use his timeouts to attempt a 2 minute drill at the end of the half.

    Going with Glennon will not make Lovie Smith call a pass on 3rd and 7 in the redzone.

    Getting Tedford healthy and Lovie Smith completely out of the offensive play calling will.

  9. BucBob1 Says:

    I can’t figure out what’s going on in Lovie’s head, or if there’s even anything going on at all.

  10. flmike Says:

    @Jonny 2.3
    They showed him multiple times during that sequence doing it. You could see the frustration on his face, which was beet red…

    For the love of all things Lombardi…PLease keep Lovie away from the offense!!!

  11. Jim Says:

    The offense AND play calling must be held accountable or the Bucs will not win 4 games this year.

  12. C. Alaka Says:

    Hey Joe! Just last last yr we started out losing 2 close games. We could of EASILY won all four games (2 last yr & 2 this yr) which gives me faith that we are close! What I will say now is we (including you Joe) thought the D was nothing to worry about. I think with all the injuries now things have changed! I think Lovie should let his offense drive the bus now as most of our talented players & starters lie on that side of the ball.

    I’m not so caught up on passing yds or completion percentages. I know for 2 games now we have ONLY given up 17 pts twice! We have enough talent on offense to be able to score more than 17 pts a game. The cover 2 is meant to give up things in front of you & not let big plays or scores happen. So far mission accomplished (besides that bum Jenkins who is thankfully gone).

  13. The_Buc_Realist Says:

    In Lovie’s defense, The running back was averaging more yards than the QB was with Avg. pass attempts.


  14. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Can we move on to ATL now? Maybe we can talk about our next loss and predict new ways we find to lose games. This way we will be ahead of schedule next week when we have about 9 days to discuss the draft.

  15. Soggy Says:

    If McCown would audible to a pass play it might even make lovie look good providing McCown throws on target.. Do something different.. I get to go to my first game this year against the vikings and I do not want to see us playing for a first round draft pick.. Someone here said “Even though it is a rebuilding year make the games more interesting when we go to the games have lovie come out at half time and wrestle a bear or somthing” Thought that was about right..

  16. ruggyup Says:

    “A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep.”
    Saul Bellow

    Management thought for the day.

  17. jo_mama Says:

    Here is a stat that Lovie can shove.


    Mike Glennon had 19 Touchdown Passes to 9 Interceptions throwing to a team who had NO Tight End and only 1 legit WR.

    McClown has thrown 52 TD’s versus 48 Ints in his entire career.

    Lovie is lying when he says Glennon is the QB of the future.

    After 2 games McClown has thrown more Ints than TD’s.

    Fire Lovie

  18. Soggy Says:

    On second thought maybe playing for a first round pick would be better but only if used right and not more or less wasted.. If we are playing for a draft pick maybe I will just go play on the ship all day..

  19. jo_mama Says:

    C. Alaka Says:
    September 16th, 2014 at 10:04 am
    Hey Joe! Just last last yr we started out losing 2 close games. We could of EASILY won all four games (2 last yr & 2 this yr) which gives me faith that


    Last year we had the lead. We were not coming from behind.

  20. CC Says:

    I would like to know what the % of scoring TD’s once inside the redzone is without throwing a pass.

  21. biff barker Says:

    “And if you don’t trust your quarterback, then why is he even on the field?”

    It’s the DNA of defensive minded coaches.

    Play not to lose as opposed to playing to win. (This reeks of Commander Schiano killing the no huddle because we didn’t practice it.)

    Lovie owns the McCown experiment in it’s totality. It’s not really working. Taking the scoring responsibility out of McCown’s hands deflects any potential criticism.

    Meanwhile, the losses are mounting, confidence is dwindling and the injuries are piling up.

    It’s a Bucs life losers!

  22. C. Alaka Says:


    who cares if we were leading or not, the only result that matters is the final score!…end of the day we are losing these games by less than a TD or a FG or less…once again Lovie will get things rite…I’m encouraged to actually still be in it come 4th qrt…it might take a few losses to finally understand what the winning formula is

  23. Buc1987 Says:

    Bucs fans everywhere lost it last season when Schiano ran three straight run plays against the Saints so he could either get the 1st down and run out the clock or kick a FG.

    They ran Doug 3 times. They didn’t get the first down. They attempted the FG and missed. Giving Brees and the saints like 57 seconds on the clock to march down and kick a game winner, which happened.

    People questioned whether or not Greg trusted Freeman or not and that’s why they ran it 3 times.

    What Lovie did on that 3rd and 7 was 10 times worse than what Schiano did.
    Schiano got called every name in the book for that move and it lasted all week in here.

    Man people REALLY hated Schiano I guess. Because the comments on JBF about how stupid of a call Lovie made have been virtually non existent. There have been a few here and there, but nothing like Schiano on those 3 straight run plays.

    Most of you remember what I’m talking about. Does Lovie get a pass from most of you because of who he is?

  24. Buc1987 Says:

    C. Alaka Says: “it might take a few losses to finally understand what the winning formula is”

    Keep thinking like this. It’s what gets you through being a Buc fan. If you keep thinking like this everything will be fine for the next 30 years or so.

    Schiano lost a lot of close games too and never found that “winning formula”.
    Oh that’s right Lovie is a proven winner.

    Greg won 7 games as an NFL rookie (garbage Rutgers college coach is what he was called) head coach. How many does “proven” Lovie win in his first season as Bucs coach?

    I bet he wins 4 games….Maybe.

  25. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    I think there are actually two things happening here: 1) Lovie is losing trust in McCown due to all the amateur plays and, 2) Tedford is out so Lovie doesn’t want to take risks with someone else doing the play calling.

    We’ll probably see the calls become less conservative when Tedford is calling them full time, and also when McCown has a streak where he plays efficient football and doesn’t pull any JV stunts out of his arse.

  26. Bucamania Says:

    Lol at Tedford caught doing the double facepalm on TV. I think I saw it twice actually. The playcalling was horrendous.

  27. C. Alaka Says:


    truth is that’s what it takes most times…you don’t know what kind of team you have till you start playing REAL games…so what do we know so far?!?…we are losing by a FG or less, our D only gives up 17 pts & our QB if decides to stop playing hero can win us some games…I hope you didn’t think we were going to win the NFC South or go to the Super Bowl this yr?!?!?!?…w/ the way we played I’m once again encouraged that we are right there when it comes to winning

    About Schiano after the 1st half of his 1st yr teams figured him out lol…remember the record after that!…LOVIE WILL FIGURED IT OUT!

  28. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    “If, as the Bucs organization has bragged about for months, you have the Dunkaneers…” – Joe

    The Bucs organization did not brag that. The media did. See? That’s the problem. The media made all these claims while Lovie and the bucs told people it would take time. Even former Buccaneers said it will take time.

    But the media created all this hype.

    Meanwhile, guys like me who said “Don’t give credit before it is earned…” got attacked by people here (not you Joe) for not believing. I warned people countless times that the high expectations would lead to disappointment. “Support, don’t hype” I said.

    Now, it turns out I was right along with several others. So here I am cautioning patience, saying that the Bucs can turn things around (even if they do not make the playoffs this year). And once again, people here attack me, even though I have not been wrong.

    People need to harken back to Dungy’s first year. That’s what we are looking at here.

    He lost the first 5 games, but then things started getting better. He went 7-9 (the same as you predicted this year, Joe). The next year started an epic run of winning.


  29. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    FLBoyInDallas Says
    “I think there are actually two things happening here: 1) Lovie is losing trust in McCown due to all the amateur plays and, 2) Tedford is out so Lovie doesn’t want to take risks with someone else doing the play calling.”

    I think that is well stated and correct. I would also add that, because Lovie is a defensive coach without his OC, his instincts are running the ball against stout defenses.

    I would also add that so much damage has been done to the roster that I don’t think Glennon would have a fair chance of winning until some players return.

  30. C. Alaka Says:

    Damm I could imagine what was said about you guys 1st 2 years of living in this world lol…talk about quick to judge!…you guys need to take a deep breath or lay up w/ somebody REAL “giving” at nite lol…by the 8th game of the yr you will have a better idea of who we are…do you really think that Rainey is going to run for 144 yds every game as a starter?!? or L. David will have no “impact” plays all yr?!?…let the team play & give you a better idea of who they’re…sometimes losing or failing pushes you to try different things

  31. Red86 Says:

    I don’t hate the run. I hate the formation they ran the ball. A singleback and I formation are obvious running set. I would’ve been happier with a shotgun draw or trap play. Or a shovel pass to the runningback. At that time the Rams’ d line was going hard to the Qb on passing sets.

  32. feelthepewterpower Says:

    we were just trying to get into fg range for our new kicker 😉

  33. Adam Says:

    The answer to this problem is simply that Lovey can talk the talk but not walk the walk of a good coach. In fact he sucks. Why do you think they fired his ass in Chicago? You guessed it, being to conservative. Look at his record. He is not a winning coach except for short stretches. Why is Booger taking up for him? because he is a good friend of Dungy, the man who cut Culpeper to bring in Booger.(Story Booger brags about on his fm job)