Movin’ On Up

December 9th, 2020

“I see you, Todd Bowles.”

When you start throwing around names like Randy Moss and Michael Thomas, those are serious comparisons.

But the way Aaron Schatz sees it, that’s just how good of a rookie season Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson is having, as Schatz, the founder of Football Outsiders, typed for BSPN.

Using statistical hopscotch and creative math, Schatz has determined that’s how good Jefferson’s rookie year has been — better than Thomas or Moss, who are No. 2 & 3 in Schatz’s historical rookie year calculations.

(Warning: Joe personally flies a big red flag whenever anyone uses a stat that requires a Google search to find the definition, and the words “adjusted” or “expected” are part of the acronym. That’s mathematical hopscotch and reinforces what Joe learned in high school about stats: You can twist numbers any way you want to prove your point.)

Jefferson is impressive for having such a high catch rate while also running deeper routes, more similar to Moss than to Thomas. In fact, Jefferson leads the league with 19 catches on passes of 16 or more yards through the air. Jefferson also has moved the sticks on half of his targets on third and fourth down, not including a couple of DPI flags on third-down passes to the end zone that also gained a new set of downs for the Vikings.

We all saw how badly Cheetah Hill roasted Todd Bowles’ defense. We’ve also seen lesser receivers (though not by a whole lot) like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods shame the Bucs.

Jefferson also is within striking distance of setting the Super Bowl-era record for most receiving yards by a rookie. That was set in 2003 by Anquan Bolden with 1,377.

If Jefferson is all that, Bowles better be ready to make adjustments far earlier than halftime for the Bucs to win on Sunday.

16 Responses to “Movin’ On Up”

  1. Rashad Says:

    We get roasted when we sit in zone. Let’s get up in opposing wr’s face and send the heat.

  2. Hodad Says:

    This game is the season. Let the Vikes come into our house, and take our playoff spot it’s over for the Bucs. Just getting to the dance would be meaningless. Bucs have lost 3 home games. Lose again at home for a playoff spot, get the pitch forks, and torches ready.

  3. DavidBigBucFan99 Says:

    Better be and will be are two totally alien worlds when it comes to these coaches. They expect the other teams to play down to their schemes but never do. Call this defense Big Play Tampa Bay because all season long they’ve been giving up huge plays. It’s like they don’t watch film so are not prepared for a team’s best receiver. Look at Hill and Kupp years of tape yet still roasted us. Look at the practice squad call up from San Diego, ripped us for 75 yard td. The game tape is there for all to see and if this Jefferson kid is having a great year he will continue to have it against this defense.

  4. alton green Says:

    I’m glad to see that people are waking up and seeing what i’ve said all along. Now this could apply to every loss but ESPECIALLY the Chiefs. Sometimes i wonder if our coaches have a TV or if they’ve EVER watched a Patriots game. Bilichick always take your strength away. In both games that the Pats beat the Chiefs, Hitower disrupted Kelsey at the line. When the Chiefs scored their 1st TD abainst us, I yelled “what the &^&%% is Tyreek Hill not double covered??????? Whats worse, our DC STILL didn’t do that. And here’s a DUH, STOP playing so soft on defense. Cousins will carve up the corners just like Brees did. Yes, i’ve been watching for 6 decades

  5. Sport Says:

    Shutting down running backs. Check

    Shutting down wide receivers not named Hopkins circa 2019, Not so much.

    Joe, numbers can definitely be twisted, but so can words and blogs.

    Determining Intent, context and understanding of the calculation are more important than what you learned in high school about numbers. You just don’t want to for reasons that could vary from stubbornness, laziness, aptitude or simply lack of interest.

    But we all know you only write about what interests you, not calculating it. Hah

    In BA I Trust!

  6. Bobby M. Says:

    We get roasted in 1 on 1….we get roasted in zone. Its a pick your poison scenario for Bowles, he simply doesn’t have the horses in the secondary to match up. The strategy with zone coverage is to force drives that burn clock. The hope is the more plays you force, the better the chance the opponent screws up….whether that be incompletions, sacks, busted plays, fumbles, etc. While zone is brutal to watch it might strategically be our best option because going man we get torched for big chunks/quick scores….which then puts us in the position we were in against the Chiefs….down 2 or 3 scores in the 1st qtr. We’ve seen what happens with the offense if we get in a hole early. The offense becomes predictable and defenses start teeing off on the pass rush.

  7. Allbuccedup Says:

    Shaq needs to get back to last years 19.5 sack mode to give our weak secondary a break.

  8. All lives matter Says:

    If they intentionally double certain players the whole game like other teams do to us then their contributions will be limited. It was nuts not to automatically double Hill and Kelsey on every play.

  9. PSL Bob Says:

    He looked pretty impressive against the Jags last Sunday. The best way to defend him is with a consistent pass rush. If our DBs play 9-10 yards off the line, they’ll get beat all day. The corners have to bump him at the line and then have over the top help from one of the safeties.

  10. Cobraboy Says:

    This game is the Vikes Super Bowl.

  11. Nick2 Says:

    At least they only have Cousins and not Mahomes throwing to Jefferson. Cousins hopefully will be mediocre as always at least thats my hope.

  12. stpetebucsfan Says:


    Exactly! And let’s face it…it’s a playoff game for us as well. Motivation will not be lacking on either side of the field. Of course with motivation there is also the possibility of playing too tight. Makes this game exciting mentally as well as physically.

    Both teams will be highly motivated…great football weather..temps in the high 70’s..very light breeze at 4 mph and only a 15% chance of rain.

    I do not remember the last time I was looking forward to a game this much.
    So much on the line…

    I just hope on Monday morning we are not talking about the refs…coaching decisions..or choking. I hope both teams play their very best and let the chips fall where they may.

  13. D1 Says:


    Your description of zone coverage is not entirely accurate. What you are describing is a way certain schemes use zone to limited big plays.

    The Dungy era bucs defense used zone to accomplish the overall philosophy. But it’s not the only way to implement it or the fundamental reason why teams employ it.

  14. Cobraboy Says:

    @spbf: I don’t see a motivated Bucs team, and have not for weeks since the second quarter of the Packers game.

    Motivated teams don’t go turtle at kickoff and spot teams big leads.

    This is not the first supremely talented group to underachieve in NFL history, and they ARE underachieving.

    S#!T needs to change really fast, or the wheels are about to come off. And that change is on both players and coaches. Sorry, BA, BL, and TB: you three are just NOT getting the job done right now, and it shows on the field. You went 1-3 in the third quarter and there is no evidence it will be any different in the fourth, that things will change.

    I’m sorry for being negative. I just don’t see any motivation or urgency with this team today.

    I hope this team proves me wrong because if this group with every resource they asked for granted by the owners fails, ultimately the Glazers make changes and the Bucs go into more years of darkness…and I am tired of that crap.

  15. Cobraboy Says:

    Zone coverages work best with pressure. No pressure, even a pedestrian QB can look like the GOAT.

    If you can’t pressure, a serious man D by great athletes, mainly CB’s, works. Gtreat athletes, not semi-good, and the Bucs have maybe two elites in the D backfield. Not five. That’s a problem when facing teams with superior WR’s.

    Blitzes work well when unexpected. But when expected…and properly blocked…a decent QB can pick it apart. The Bucs have experienced this over and over.

    I am not a believer in this defense at all, and only half believe in this offense.

    EWho’da think that the best performing, most consistent part of the Bucs game would be the kicker?

  16. unbelievable Says:

    I expect him to be single covered until he’s racked up at least 150 yards…