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Athletic Subscription Required: Teams don’t have to establish the run to win games, and the analytics proves it. But the run isn’t dead, either

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https://theathletic.com/980870/2019/07/26/teams-dont-have-to-establish-the-run-to-win-games-and-the-analytics-proves-it-but-the-run-isnt-dead-either/

 

It's unfortunately behind a pay wall, but this is a really in-depth look at the run game, featuring analytics, player/coach testimonies, etc.

 

Some of the conclusions:

Recommendations from the analytics community:

1. Don’t invest heavily in your run game because it doesn’t correlate with winning

2. Use more play action because it’s more effective than drop-back passing and it has proved to work without having to “establish the run”

3. Don’t run the ball into eight-man boxes

4. Test the limits of passing, don’t force the run “unnecessarily”

5. Use the pass to set up the run (run when defenses start to adjust to pass)

6. Deception in all its forms is the most important element in offense

7. The run game is valuable in short-yardage situations, in the red zone and for running out the clock.

 

Players/Coach Testimony (with some math involved too)

1. The run game is less risky (duh), so it has value in situations due to that.

2. Defensive players felt that when they're getting gashed on the ground, they're more likely to bite on play-action even if the math doesn't support that

3. Offensive linemen feel that the running game is basically necessary just to get pass-rushers to think about it instead of just going for the sack every single play.

4. One coach of a team that uses analytics believes that some of the analytics are flawed due to using averages. His argument is that averages are skewed in favor of the passing game because the passing game produces more big plays; he would be in support of studies that use the median results rather than average and believes the median result might show that the run game produces more consistent yardage than the passing game does.

5. The run game impacts the types of pass coverage you see (duh).

6. You can repeat the same run play over and over and still have success, but that may not be the case with running the same pass play over and over. If the defense figures out the pass concept, they have an opportunity to jump the pass and create turnovers.

 

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Pass to score, run to win. That will always be the case.

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you have to do both well....sometimes one more than the other to win games. 

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But I don't have any money for the Athletic.

Image result for kramer gif

 

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1 hour ago, nucci said:

you have to do both well....sometimes one more than the other to win games. 

Great coaches game plan to win - run, pass, defense or special teams. Many watch the NFL for Show Time Arena Football excitement, anybody who thinks the running game is dead is sadly mistaking. Ask the no huddle offense and OJ Anderson! 

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2 hours ago, DCOrange said:

 

Players/Coach Testimony (with some math involved too)

3. Offensive linemen feel that the running game is basically necessary just to get pass-rushers to think about it instead of just going for the sack every single play.

 

The above is EXTREMELY important imo.

 

It is easier in almost every case for an offensive linemen to run block than pass block. Blockers know the count and on running plays they can fire out and punish defenders. On passing downs blockers are often backing up and getting hit by genetic mutants. And if an all world lineman like Bruce Smith gets you off balance even for a fraction of a second, your quarterback is toast.

 

I was lucky enough to met and had a 20 -30 minute conversation with Jumbo Elliot and he told me this. He wasn't physically afraid of Bruce. He had no reason to be. He coached Jason Peters briefly and when I mentioned how strong Jason was, he implied that he was stronger. :)  Maybe he was. But he did say that he was afraid of Bruce wiping out his qb if he had even the slightest chance to do so.

 

So yes, imo a running attack is still vital and might grow in importance with defenses getting smaller. I hope that this works FOR the Bills.

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Does anyone know where the phrase "Play-action" came from? It has never made any sense to me. It's even stupider than "Power Play" in hockey. 

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I remember an interview with Ditka when he was coaching the Bears & he said defensive lineman get more tired trying to stop the run because they have to bend & get on the ground as opposed to just rushing straight up at the OB. He said you need to have a run game to slow defensive lineman down & tire them out for the 4th quarter.

 

 

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Interesting article (what I can see).  Thanks for posting it.

 

I don't see any mention of breaking the will of the defenses by running the ball on them.  Just bowing up and smashing it over and over because you can.  Ripping the voice away from the hopeless home fans, and just demoralizing the opponent.  We've all felt it both ways.

 

I think the play action works because this is fear #1 for a defense, maybe 2nd to 'don't get beat deep'.  Do not let them run on us!

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21 hours ago, K-9 said:

Pass to score, run to win. That will always be the case.

 

Yup - if you can convert “and short” situations a little better and maintain a 4 minute offense, it’s big... but ultimately it’s not a ground and pound league. It is helpful in controlling some key situations though 

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Lions are a team that proves you need a run game. They’ve had like 2 100 yard rushers since stafford got there but one of the more prolific pass games 

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Too much NFL Jock coverage available via my internet subscription. Not going to be an athletic supporter...

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I found it interesting - mostly the fact that listening to coaches and players talk about the unmeasurable value.  The fact that a good and efficient run game puts a bigger defense on the field to help open up the passing game and changes defenses scheme.  Similarly a good passing attack can do the same thing for a teams running game.

 

This is one of the reasons I like McD’s defensive approach to long athletic LBs - they can play both the run and the pass without much change helping the defense hide their intentions even a limited amount and gives some flexibility.

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I can't afford the Athletic

Related image

 

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