Five Less Plays

May 19th, 2021

Less is more?

Joe has written about fearing the number of snaps some Bucs veterans logged last year and how that could catch up with them in 2021.

The Bucs played 20 games. But guys like Jason Pierre-Paul and Lavonte David were on the field a whole lot, and neither is a rookie. David played 99 percent of the defensive snaps; JPP was at 88.

(This was one reason Joe was hoping the Bucs would draft a linebacker on the first two days of the draft, to prompt coaches to get David some rest.)

With the NFL entering uncharted waters with a 17-game season, stamina and wear and tear on bodies is even more of a concern for teams.

In his podcast “GM Shuffle,”Michael Lombardie, the former NFL suit and coffee fetcher for Bill Walsh, Bill Belicheat and Al Davis, hatched a plan he said he would utilize if he were still in a front office.

A ballpark figure for defensive or offense snaps per game is, conservatively, 60 plays. Lombardi said he would ask his coaches to find a way to get bench players in the game more, at least giving starters five more snaps off the field per game.

Five snaps equals 80 plays over a full season, easily a game’s worth. If starters do that, Lombardi said, the 17th game shouldn’t be that damaging to a player’s body or stamina.

Lombardi said the extra snaps off would be critical for the long-term health and stamina of skill position players.

That got Joe thinking:

If any offense that should be able to withstand the extra game, it should be the Bucs’. Just look how loaded the team is. Joe is convinced receivers, running backs and tight ends who are not classified as starters (Antonio Brown, Scotty Miller, Tyler Johnson, Cam Brate, for example) could all be solid starters on another team.

So if Lombardi is correct, that the 17th game would hit skill position players hardest, no NFL team should be able to handle the 17th game as well as the Bucs.

19 Responses to “Five Less Plays”

  1. KnoxvilleBuc Says:

    Adding the Super Bowl run and now an extended season could be our biggest challenge this season. Would have loved to see the NFL expand the game day rosters. I think the offense will be fine but I do have concerns for some of the defense. Can’t wait for this season!

  2. lambeau Says:

    JPP should not take 943 snaps–hopefully Joe Tryon can relieve him some.

  3. USFBUC Says:

    I agree with expanding the game day roster 100%. Hopefully this is a change we will see in the future since they are adding games.

  4. PSL Bob Says:

    The offense can certainly withstand a more robust rotation, because we have great depth at all of the skill positions. Not so sure about the defense though, particularly our backfield.

  5. ocala Says:

    I am hoping the Coaches have Joe Tryon in on 1/3 of the defensive snaps to keep JPP and Shaq fresh late in games and late in the season.

    The Bucs should liberally substitute at the receiver position too.

  6. rrsrq Says:

    Not to mention a healthy rotation at RB (Lenny, ROjO, Gio and Sneek). We still do not know what and how he may contribute. My only concern is in the trenches, if he makes the team, McClendon is not spring chicken as an depth player.

  7. MrSandman Says:

    The extra game will replace an pre-season game. Bucs should aim for get the bye in the playoffs and rest everyone on the last game.

  8. Waterboy Says:

    Getting more rest for vet Bucs Dlineman and LBs is an absolute must this year! I still would like Bucs to add one more pass rusher or DT which should become available after June 1 cuts. Actually Richardson (DT/DE) cut by the Browns is still out there but he will be very pricey.

  9. SB~LV Says:

    The players union should demand a larger roster and realize the game has changed. The mentality that starters play every snap or most needs to be revisited, once upon a time players played both sides of the ball. 20 games of NFL football is BRUTAL ! My .2 cents

  10. 123urout Says:

    Brady should sit out the Patriots game. 🙂

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    The easiest 3 ways IMO to get our defense fewer snaps is for the offense to increase its time-of-possession per game, for our defense to get off the field faster (better 3rd down efficiency, etc), and for the team to increase its turnover differential.

    Looking back on the past 5 years, our 2020 TOP was the lowest of any of those years …

    2020: 29:06 min TOP (Ranked #21) – Off plays: 1017 – Def plays: 1023.
    2019: 30:54 min TOP (Ranked #9) – Off plays: 1086 – Def plays: 1073.
    2018: 30:12 min TOP (Ranked #16) – Off plays: 1055 – Def plays: 998.
    2017: 29:43 min TOP (Ranked #19) – Off plays: 1035 – Def plays: 1011.
    2016: 30:48 min TOP (Ranked #18) – Off plays: 1066 – Def plays: 1013.

    Interestingly, 2020 was an anomaly in that it was the first year since 2015 that the Bucs’ defense actually logged more plays (1023) than our offense (1017). And yet we went 11-5 and won the Super Bowl.

    From the NFL perspective, the teams with the #1 TOP ranking came in between 32 to 33 minutes TOP each of those seasons, with the exception of 2019 when the Ravens ran all over everyone (34:24 mins TOP, with 1064 offensive plays to only 921 defensive plays). The concept is relatively simple: CONTROL THE CLOCK and you’ve got a better-than average chance of controlling the game outcome. All the Bucs would need to do is increase our TOP by 3-4 mins/game to achieve a #1 ranking (just a thought, but that might necessitate that we run the ball more to keep the clock moving?).

    Bucs 3rd down efficiency has been all over the place in these past 5 years. We actually ranked #1 in that category in 2016 (34.36%) to #32 the next year in 2017 (48.15%). We were roughly middle-of-the-pack in 2018 (#22 with 40.33%), but rebounded nicely in 2019 with a #4 ranking (34.40%). Last year that ranking slipped considerably to #17 (41.25%) but our defense made big plays when they were needed most.

    Even more importantly, our 2020 turnover margin per game was the best in the NFL (PLUS 0.7). Quite a reversal from 2019 when our TO margin per game was close to the worst in the NFL (MINUS 0.8) ranking #28 in the league. Last year’s TO margin per game (+0.7) was the best we’ve had since 2007 (+0.8) when we went 9-7 under Jon Gruden and made the playoffs as a wild card.

    In any event, it’ll be interesting to see how this year’s Bucs do in those 3 categories. Personally I can see us improving in each of those 3 areas & having a very good year if we do.

  12. catcard202 Says:

    Running plays eat clock, shortens the games & help limit the # of OFF & DEF plays for both sides.

    I also believe the SB~LV has the right idea in that game day roster increases could help facilitate more rotational players getting on the field. (Which, in theory, would help limit starter snaps over the course of the season.)

  13. K2 Says:

    Great stuff! “Defense Rules”

  14. Pewter Power Says:

    5 plays off per game sounds nice when you add up that total but this ain’t basketball, it’s a high collision sport and benching starters could cause them to be on the field longer on defense of miss on a key play on offense. They get paid to play and if David is too old to play 17 games they that pay day shouldn’t have been asked for. We drafted help for JPP but he doesn’t like to come off the field so earn your money

  15. SOEbuc Says:

    Depth wins championships. True story, I had a short dream of Tyler Johnson catching a one hand grab in the end zone . I think it came from watching the Lightning Tyler Johnson and telling myself I forgot we had two TJ champs in TB 😃

    GO BUCS!!!
    GO BOLTS!!!

  16. SOEbuc Says:

    I hate the owners and NFL as much as anyone. This dumbass record new record system might take a while for me to get use to. They’ve ruined the defensive play in the NFL for not being able to touch the QB and not letting DBs use strong coverage. It’s about the TV and merchandise money that they get when Mahomes throws a bomb to Tyreek Hill.

    On the other hand…If I’m a player that’s even taking the league minimum (much more than i make) to work my dream job, I’m not crying over wear and tear of one extra game of the regular season.

  17. David Says:

    I agree with Joe. WR/TE/RB shouldn’t be a problem. I think Stinnie can you give the interior lineman some rest.
    D line should get the rookie rotating in along with Nacho in the interior.
    The DBs already have Dean and SMB splitting some and Edwards.

    The biggest issue is linebacker. Minter is pretty damn good and should rotate in especially for David in the first half of the season

  18. David Says:

    A lot of the younger players will be fine but there’s more to it than wear and tear after playing 20 games and potentially another 20. It’s also about depth and experience because there will be injuries

  19. Wal Forester Says:

    With the offense all on the same page this season that alone sould buy the defense 5 plays a game.