History Suggests Less Passing

June 19th, 2019


Joe knows more than a few Bucs fans are wringing their hands at the thought of America’s Quarterback, Pro Bowler Jameis Winston, running a no-risk-it-no-biscuit, deep-throwing offense for Bucco Bruce Arians.

But some statistical analysis from a former football coach suggests the Bucs won’t be pass-happy this fall with Arians. Nick Whalen, who writes for a couple of websites Joe never heard of but claims to be a former coach, did simple research so Joe’s going to give him the credit.

Whalen isn’t sold the Bucs will be passing like crazy with Arians.

But here is the factor that Whalen either glossed over or ignored: Arians, in his past, has always had a decent running back. Pardon Joe if the following triggers folks with easy sensibilities, but the Bucs don’t have crap for a running attack (if the Bucs had a reliable running back, then why did Arians drag a 30-year old off the golf course and into a Bucs uniform?).

Peyton Barber busts his tail. A noble trait but when paired with little to no production, doesn’t mean a damn thing. Two 100-yard games in his career? Please!

And don’t get Joe started on Ronald Jones, who we just learned is beset with anxiety. Just what a team is looking for in running attack needs, a dude who doesn’t want his number called.

If Arians runs more than the Bucs did last year, is that really smart? Talk about no biscuit!

27 Responses to “History Suggests Less Passing”

  1. Jeebs the Honey Bear Says:

    Barber is about to prove a lot of people wrong. The dude took atrocious run game play by his line and coaches and turned it into positive yards somehow. The problem with the run game was not the talent in the line, it was coaching and scheming (well except RG, that was just bad, but the fault lies with coaching for putting him out there). I am convinced that this staff will get it done, and Barber will finally earn some respect. RoJo was a victim last year, barely used, set up to fail… No wonder he got anxious. This staff is building his confidence and will use him appropriately. If I’m wrong, you can roast me. But if I’m right, come back to this post and give me proper due por favor.

  2. BetterBucFan Says:

    One sentence about Rojo being anxious about living up to expectations and you’ve blown it up into him being a complete headcase. Also helpfully ignoring the many many people saying he’s practicing with confidence and he’s hit his stride.

    Damn Joe, it’s like you want us to drink, given all the constant negative information you feed us.

  3. BigHog Says:

    We (my Bucs) need to find a run game…that would go a long way towards helping this offense become more than one dimensional…may find a veteran O/lineman after training camp cuts. Maybe even adding a true force at the fullback position! Can AB and staff develop our young O/lineman? Our running game has not been up to the task for a while and if that don’t change this season…this team will not make a playoff run!! Go Bucs Go Suhy!!

  4. SteelStudBuc Says:

    I think I’m gonna skip out on the doom and gloom on this site for awhile… pewter report and buccaneers.com aren’t crying every day. I’ll still stay informed. Can’t say I won’t check in but there’s more important things to me than reading this post-statistical analysis rant day in and day out. Always complaining…. sure it’s tough being a Bucs fan… it is… but I need more positivity with my daily brainwashing… I mean news.

  5. Jameis Almighty! Says:

    bucs should run T Wing with Bucco Bruce at Halfback

  6. BucFan727 Says:

    Alot of sports writers push the panic narrative. Including Joe.

  7. BucFan727 Says:

    Its the Den of Depression. Joes dont give a crap about the Bucs. They just want traffic and clicks.

  8. Bucs_in_Spain Says:

    Over a 14 year period you want to be comparing these to league trends too. Don’t think the passing attempts by them self are that illustrative

  9. Todd Says:

    I’ve become immune to the almost clinically depressed writing about the Bucs day-in-and-day-out (in here). Frankly, I visit to quickly scan for Defense Rules, SA and a few mentally BALANCED contributors who trade in good REASON. I also love Zach’s articles. Always learn something.

    I’ve just come to know what I’m going to get in here. Used to really bother me. Now I just read, consider…and dismiss if I can tell it’s another hit job on the Bucs that fails to encourage or give credit that Arians is a different kind of leader.

    Being negative likely stirs up more drama and debate than being positive…so I tend to think Joe just presses those buttons because it’s good for business.

    Joe’s site. Joe’s movie. Kick the Bucs while they’re down, kick ‘em harder while they’re trying to get up.

  10. Defense Rules Says:

    Todd … Guess I don’t take ‘negativity’ the same way you do. It makes me think AND look deeper into the ‘why’s of the situation’ shall we say. Oftentimes what you find is that the conclusions drawn are bogus. For instance …

    @Joe … “some statistical analysis from a former football coach (Nick Whalen) suggests the Bucs won’t be pass-happy this fall with Arians”. On Whalen’s part, that was lazy analysis that led to a meaningless conclusion IMO.

    Focus on BA’s stint with the Cardinals (2013-2017) since he only had 1 year as interim HC before that. BA had meh RBs during that whole period, with the exception of David Johnson’s ONE good year in there (2016). Ellington was with him all 5 years, Kerwynn Williams for 4 years, David Johnson & Chris Johnson for 3 years and Adrian Peterson for 1 year. So there was a LOT of stability in the RB group IMO, but their RESULTS were marginal except for 2 years (2015 & 2016).

    Over that 5 year period the Cards AVERAGED 416 rushing attempts per season for 1,577 yards average per season. They AVERAGED 1,043 total plays per season in that period, so BA’s teams rushed an AVERAGE of 40.0% per season. Just a guess, but I’d say that’s probably a tad on the low side across the NFL in that period. Just a guess though.

    But wait, there’s more (you were dreading that, weren’t you). AVERAGES ARE GENERALIZATIONS & ARE OFTEN MISLEADING (who knew?). Look at the Cards RUSHING in each of those 5 years:

    o 2013 (10-6) – 422 attempts for 1,540 yds (3.6 YPC average) … 40.7% rushes
    o 2014 (11-5) – 397 attempts for 1,308 yds (3.3 YPC average) … 40.0% rushes
    o 2015 (13-3) – 452 attempts for 1,917 yds (4.2 YPC average) … 43.4% rushes
    o 2016 (7-8-1) – 399 attempts for 1,732 yds (4.3 YPC average) … 36.7% rushes
    o 2017 (8-8) – 410 attempts for 1,386 yds (3.4 YPC average) … 38.7% rushes

    The leading rusher in 2015 (the Cards best rushing year in that stretch) WASN’T David Johnson … it was CHRIS Johnson (most attempts & most yards). David Johnson (his 1st yr there) was the Cards’ primary receiving back. David Johnson had a great 2016 (1,239 yds … his only year over 1000 yds BTW) BUT that was the Cards LOWEST rushing % in BA’s 5 years there.

    What does all this mean about passing? Will the Bucs be more or less ‘pass-happy’ than they’ve been in the past? My conclusion is that BA’s ‘average’ while he’s here will be around 40% rushing (he was pretty consistent in 2013 & 2014 even though he didn’t have an effective running game). BUT … he seems to prefer to ‘ride the hot hand’ when it comes to passing & rushing. Can’t blame him for that. Pretty hard to conclude much of anything in reality regarding rushing vs passing from BA’s history. It’s actually all over the place (fairly large spread in percentages … just like Dirk Koetter’s was).

  11. Bucsfanman Says:

    Defense Rules- Excellent analysis! And, as you alluded to, statistics can be deceiving. A common misconception is that “having a run-game” means that you’re the 1960’s Packers lining up in the wishbone trying to bludgeon teams to death. “Having a run-game” also means being able to, or having the threat to run the football.
    Diversity works both ways, passing or running. What we saw in Koetter’s offense was a lack of diversity in the “run-game”. Heck, play-calling in general!
    You play the hot hand, use what works. This is the part that always makes me scratch my head. It is NOT complicated. You just have to have the ability to adjust.
    In conclusion, the stats for the Bucs and Winston are not flattering when we attempt more than 35 passes. Risk increases every time ANY QB throws that many times. So, yeah, I would say less passing is a good thing considering our record.

  12. Todd Says:

    Defense Rules—

    Regarding how we each take negativity, I agree. I’m more right-brained and thus travel through emotion to perceive and analyze. Maybe I’m wrong, but you’re probably a bit more left-brained and travel through a less emotional, more reasoned approach. While I’m a very good CMO, I’d be an absolute sucky CFO. Yet I appreciate those who are adept at the side of the brain I am not. Which is why I noted I scan articles to zero in on “Defense Rules” because you are very measured, articulate, humorous and is always learn something.

    I in no way am a JBL basher. I guess I’m just allergic to always reading why we’ve sucked and how nothing has effectively changed, when I believe a tremendous amount has changed and there is STRONG reason to be optimistic. Very optimistic.

    I still maintain we open 6-0 and will make the playoffs.

    To be cliche at this point, “In BA I trust.”

  13. Justafan Says:

    When you are winning the game in the 4th quarter, you run to take time.off the clock. When you are losing, you throw to gain big chunks of yards and catch up.
    Unless Cappa and Jones really step up, its hard for me to envision running more.

  14. Allbuccedup Says:

    T J Weldon may be getting released this summer, bucs could pick him at a low price that is if he does get released. Doesn’t look like a very promising free agent list. If Rojo doesn’t produce in the preseason we are in trouble if Barber goes down.

  15. Alanbucsfan Says:

    In a balanced offense (run game and passing game both effective), run game sets up pass game and vice versa.
    In Koetter ‘s offense, passing game set up more expected passing game and run game set up 3rd and long.
    Arians will use backs as runners and receivers, keeping defenses off balance and setting up passing game – especially Howard – expect a big year from him.

  16. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “IND = 628”

    When he had a passing QB, he threw for more yards.

    There will be no run game…unless we see a superstar in the making, like if Jones explodes.

    A running back will have to be so good that it will be impossible to not use him.

    Defensive coaches run the ball.
    Offensive coaches throw the ball.

    The Bucs threw the ball so much because they were playing from behind.

  17. 813bucboi Says:

    he’ll run the ball…..no doubts about that….

    GO BUCS!!!!!

  18. ben Says:

    Do you want Joe to make up stories? I pay for season tkts and tired of the rose colored glasses every year that are not truthful ?? The bucs are a bad team for years and the gm may be the worst in the league. the bucs qb was rated toward the bottom by the nfl and the team lost two of its best players .. the national media basically ignores the bucs so when and if the bucs ever have a winning season ……, shout it out!!!

  19. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    “And don’t get Joe started on Ronald Jones, who we just learned is beset with anxiety. Just what a team looking for a running attack needs, a dude who doesn’t want his number called.” – J0E

    “He was drafted where he was drafted for a reason,” McNair said. “He’s got a wealth of talent. Our goal is to take the anxiety away from him, take the expectations off him. Let just focus and make this thing small. And it seems to be paying off. He’s working hard, and he’s going to keep working hard.” – Bucs’ running backs coach Todd McNair.

    Ronald Jones is 21, and in his second year. That means he was drafted at 20.

    I decided to do some checking.

    The first RB taken in this year’s draft is Josh Jacobs. He is 21. Drafted a year older than Jones.

    That’s this year. But I decided to look at last year, when Jones was drafted. Here are the RBs drafted before him:

    Saquon Barkley Drafted at 21.
    Sony Michel Draft at 23.
    Rashaad Penny Drafted at 22.
    Nick Chubb Drafted at 22.

    That’s an average of age 22 between the 4 of them.

    Ronald Jones was two years younger, so of course there is a little ‘anxiety’ for the kid. That doesn’t mean he is a head case, and frankly, even saying so should be considered offensive…a step too far.

    That ‘anxiety’ could be from the RBs coach and the way he was not given opportunities last year too. We’ve had one of the worse RB coaches for years. That seems to be different now.

  20. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Not that you said he was a head case. Just seems implied.

  21. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    When you take a player so young, it;s with the understanding that they have to mature and develop. That’s what I’m getting at.

  22. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Oh, and “He was drafted where he was drafted for a reason” is not a negative comment. Jones was drafted in the second round. He was drafted where he was drafted because the Bucs believe he can be great.

  23. danr Says:

    i thought joe was telling us last year that we HAD a number one back. that peyton barber was a true feature back.

    I feel like it is fair to point out, just like you pointed out that pff was wrong about OJ Howard.

  24. Joe Says:

    i thought joe was telling us last year that we HAD a number one back. that peyton barber was a true feature back.

    Thought so. Barber proved Joe wrong (and Dirk Koetter right).

  25. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    “… Ronald Jones, who we just learned is beset with anxiety.”

    Reggie Bush 2.0
    Something in the water at USC.

  26. Barack's Crack Pipe Says:

    BucFan727 Says:
    “Joes dont give a crap about the Bucs. They just want traffic and clicks.”

    Do you work all day just to make other people happy, or do you actually need to feed your family?

  27. Joe Says:

    Joes dont give a crap about the Bucs. They just want traffic and clicks.

    🙁 Do you know of any successful business that strives for no one to walk through its doors? If so, please alert Joe. He wants to visit such a business.

    Just to clear up any potential confusion, Joe is not a charity.

    Yes, Joe cares about the Bucs. You think he would be doing this for roughly 11 years if Joe hated the Bucs? Also, when the Bucs win, more people read Joe.

    If all Joe cared about was traffic, he’d turn this into an adult site (ahem). A whole lot less work, a whole lot better schedule, a whole lot more free time and a WHOLE LOT more fun!