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The Mystery of the Disappearing Run Game


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So what would fix it?

 

-Continuity on the OL, with more of last year's starters playing?

-Mix up our sets more?  The Bills overwhelmingly play 1-1 (3 WR) and 1-0 (4 WR) sets, and try to run out of those sets.

-Play calling - are we "telegraphing" our runs somehow?

-Play design - when questioned, Daboll almost uniformly shields his players and takes it on himself, saying "it starts with me" and "I need to design better plays that the players can execute".

 

Pretty good article from Mark Gaughan:

https://buffalonews.com/sports/bills/will-zack-moss-carry-more-load-as-bills-push-to-improve-ground-game/article_6772ef4a-2e99-11eb-a38a-c7fd6d2a7333.html

 

"However, there is less variety in the Bills’ run game this year, due to the fact they run out of three- and four-receiver sets on 93% of their plays, according to Buffalo News charting. The Bills haven’t shown any desire to power up with two tight ends and try to run from tighter formations."

(...)

“I feel like the bye week helped clear up some things,” Singletary said after Tuesday’s practice. “Let us reset. The run game is a big emphasis on getting it going. We’ve been working on it since Week 1. Of course, it hasn’t been going the way we’ve wanted it to, but we’re still working towards it.

 

“They put an extra period in for the run game. We’re going to see if it works.”

 

Most of the season, the Bills haven't had both Kroft and Knox available.  Would they try to run more two TE sets if so?  Has the departure of Patrick DiMarco been felt more than most of us thought?

 

From the above, it seems possible that coaches are thinking "maybe practice makes perfect - extra practice helped against NE, let's try it regularly"

 

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Question for the Hive Mind here: What role do you feel Allen's run threat plays in how successful our run game is?  I was surprised to look it up and see that Allen is actually running pretty close to the same attempts/game this season as last - 6.8 attempts/game vs 7.2 attempts/game - and not as far off on yards/game as I thought - 27.9 ypg vs 32.9 ypg  or 5 ypg less on average.  This includes the LV game where he injured his shoulder in the 1st half and ran 3 times for -1 yds.    Obviously, Allen's focus last year and even more this year has shifted to getting the ball to his receivers vs. making yards himself.  Has that shifted too far?

 



 

 

 

 

 

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@Hapless Bills Fan thanks for posting the cover 1 stuff cause thats where I went for this stuff.  Some other notes,   defenses are inserting a defender post snap so while we are getting a lo

So what would fix it?   -Continuity on the OL, with more of last year's starters playing? -Mix up our sets more?  The Bills overwhelmingly play 1-1 (3 WR) and 1-0 (4 WR) sets, and try t

I don't think this team is ever going to turn back to the run to the degree we have seen in a lot of seasons here...just isn't happening. We have finally embraced the new age offense and piling up yar

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Teams should have an advantage running out of 3 and 4 WR sets because it brings smaller players onto the field and opens up natural running lanes by creating more space. That shouldn't be a negative to running the ball effectively, it should be a positive.

 

There is nothing that can fix a run game when offensive linemen consistently allow 2 players to be in the backfield before the RB gets the ball, unless they are allowing a guy on the edge to come free and running away from him. But this isn't the case most times...usually the players are right in the middle of the field, meaning the tackles are getting penetration up the middle too many plays.

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12 minutes ago, matter2003 said:

Teams should have an advantage running out of 3 and 4 WR sets because it brings smaller players onto the field and opens up natural running lanes by creating more space. That shouldn't be a negative to running the ball effectively, it should be a positive.

 

There is nothing that can fix a run game when offensive linemen consistently allow 2 players to be in the backfield before the RB gets the ball, unless they are allowing a guy on the edge to come free and running away from him. But this isn't the case most times...usually the players are right in the middle of the field, meaning the tackles are getting penetration up the middle too many plays.

 

It's my perception as well, that a major problem with the run game has been poor blocking.  And at times both McDermott and Daboll have alluded to as much.  As I recall in one press conference, one of them said something about Motor getting 4-5 "hard fought yards", but behind the LOS.

 

But the pass protection has usually not been that poor, especially up the middle - so that begs the question, are we telegraphing run plays somehow that's letting the defenders get a jump on us?

 

Is it a technical issue where somehow what the OL is trying to do for the run blocking, isn't as successful as what they do when they're pass blocking?

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Obviously the run game has not been what we would like to see, but I also wonder how much of that is a lack of commitment to it.

 

From my perspective, they really have not tried to make it a focus of the offense in any game except the New England game -- and in that game they ran the ball very effectively. 

 

I know once the weather starts getting really bad, etc. the team will need to rely on it more heavily -- but aside from the Tennessee and KC games, the offense as a whole (even without a consistent running game) has performed. 

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Thanks for posting.  Nice article.  Our run game will make or break our season imo.  WITH a steady dose of a successful run game, our offense could be the best in the league.  
 

when we do run, I would love to see us run out of 3-4 WR sets more often than not.  Spread the D

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When the running backs are consistently getting hit in the backfield, it is clearly not a running back issue. I don't know who the running game coordinator is, but that area definitely needs attention.

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Who cares about the running game. It’s not who they are now.  Bills have an elite QB and the best WR group in the NFL.  That was not the case a few years ago. Weather will not stop KC and Pittsburgh from throwing the ball. Commit to the best 5 linemen. Daboll is doing fine and getting guys open all over the field. My only criticism is they should call 2-4 more screens a game.

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

It's my perception as well, that a major problem with the run game has been poor blocking.  And at times both McDermott and Daboll have alluded to as much.  As I recall in one press conference, one of them said something about Motor getting 4-5 "hard fought yards", but behind the LOS.

 

But the pass protection has usually not been that poor, especially up the middle - so that begs the question, are we telegraphing run plays somehow that's letting the defenders get a jump on us?

 

Is it a technical issue where somehow what the OL is trying to do for the run blocking, isn't as successful as what they do when they're pass blocking?

 

From what I read somewhere and I am not sure exactly how accurate it is, is that the OLine is trying to act like they are pass blocking even on run plays a lot because they are doing RPOs and when Allen hands the ball off on those, often times they don't have proper setup or technique to run block...

 

Plus with our use of play action so much they would want the looks to be the same from the OLine...

 

Whatever the case they are definitely getting beat too often...whether its man on man or not executing the zone blocks well enough and letting defenders through cracks, it has been downright terrible in many games. Not all, as we ran well against the Pats and a couple others but all too often the RBs are fighting to get back to the LOS which is ridiculous.

 

Pass blocking is a different story because they have been pretty good most games...even when Seattle sacked Allen 7 times, the majority were due to them sending all out blitzes or Allen holding too long trying to wait for something and make a play. Even with that, he torched them for 415 yards and 3 TDs.

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I feel like teams turn to the run when they get banged up on OL because it's (supposedly) easier to run block as a unit than it is to pass block.. or so I've heard. 

 

It certainly seems strange that the OL is above average in pass pro, but every other run has somebody crashing into the backfield to blow up the run for a negative/zero gain.   

 

The only thing I've got, from looking in from the outside, is predictability.  We rarely run outside so teams can crash the interior unless McKenzie is in motion.

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35 minutes ago, SCBills said:

I feel like teams turn to the run when they get banged up on OL because it's (supposedly) easier to run block as a unit than it is to pass block.. or so I've heard. 

 

It certainly seems strange that the OL is above average in pass pro, but every other run has somebody crashing into the backfield to blow up the run for a negative/zero gain.   

 

The only thing I've got, from looking in from the outside, is predictability.  We rarely run outside so teams can crash the interior unless McKenzie is in motion.

 

I don't think this team is ever going to turn back to the run to the degree we have seen in a lot of seasons here...just isn't happening. We have finally embraced the new age offense and piling up yards and points through the air...

 

They do need to get better at picking up positive yards on carries instead of having losses and leaving their offense in 2nd and long and 3rd and long too often....even though the Bills are converting an unheard of 50% on 3rd down, 3rd best in the league behind Las Vegas at 51.6% and KC at 50.6%.

 

I am not sure when it started but you see them in 3rd and 5 now and you are like "Oh that's a gimme" and even on 3rd and 12 or 13 you expect them to convert. Don't know if I ever felt more confident in their 3rd down abilities than right now...maybe when Kelly was here.

Edited by matter2003
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1 minute ago, matter2003 said:

 

I don't think this team is ever going to turn back to the run to the degree we have seen in a lot of seasons here...just isn't happening. We have finally embraced the new age offense and piling up yards and points through the air...

 

They do need to get better at picking up positive yards on carries instead of having losses and leaving their offense in 2nd and long and 3rd and long too often....even though the Bills are converting an unheard of 50% on 3rd down, 3rd best in the league behind Las Vegas at 51.6% and KC at 50.6%

 

Agreed.  We're clearly a passing team, and that's long overdue, but the run game needs to be used to keep teams honest and to set up play-action.  Just get us positive yardage on runs and eliminate the -2, -1, 0 yard gains and we'll be fine.  

 

When push comes to shove, and it's do or die, Josh Allen becomes the X factor in the run game.   I am so glad we aren't running him like that in the regular season, but come playoffs, I wouldn't be suprised to see double the designed runs for Allen. 

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8 minutes ago, SCBills said:

 

Agreed.  We're clearly a passing team, and that's long overdue, but the run game needs to be used to keep teams honest and to set up play-action.  Just get us positive yardage on runs and eliminate the -2, -1, 0 yard gains and we'll be fine.  

 

When push comes to shove, and it's do or die, Josh Allen becomes the X factor in the run game.   I am so glad we aren't running him like that in the regular season, but come playoffs, I wouldn't be suprised to see double the designed runs for Allen. 

It's been proven you don't need to actually run teh ball at all, to be effective in play action

The LB and DB still watchc the play and re-act to eh motion they are seeing

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