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Author Topic: Red-Zone Offense  (Read 1216 times)
Hercules50
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« on: Sep 26, 2007 at 13:27 »

I want to suggest a bit of a defense of our red-zone offense.

1. Not as bad as it seems:

* we scored plenty of TDs against Cleveland,

* our opening critical scores against SF were TDs and not FGs (so when it was still a game we were getting into the end zone), and

* against Buffalo, where we had the worst performance, kicking four FGs in the first half, but can we agree that the Bills' defense isn't that bad? They were damn competitive with the Patriots for a half (just like they were against us) despite little help from the offense.

2. A corrollary to the above: we're being careful at times, appropriately. If our defense has the other team totally under control, as against Buffalo, it's fine to chew up yards between the 20s, get your points, and put your rested D back on the field. Again, anyway, I think the Bills' game skews the numbers.

Last year, many complained about Ben forcing it or whatever, and he threw a lot of picks in the red zone. We had a lot of fumbles in the Red Zone (and inside the 5 in fact -- Willie several times, Ward, Wilson, Batch in the Miami game on the 1).

Is it possible that Tomlin has focused this team on, when appropriate, making a priority of not turning the ball over in scoring range?

I acknowledge that this may not be what it will take to beat the Colts and Pats, but, since we haven't played 'em yet, it's irrelevant. We're building something here, and going 3-0 while doing so isn't a bad result.
« Last Edit: Sep 26, 2007 at 13:28 by Hercules50 » Logged
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #1 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 12:28 »

Pro Football Weekly carries RZ stats by week.

[doHTML]<TABLE BORDER=2 CELLPADDING=1 CELLSPACING=1>
<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Week</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Possessions</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>FG</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Score %</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD %</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD % Rank</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>4</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>0.500</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Tied 5th</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>10</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>4</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>6</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.4000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Tied 10th</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>3</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>13</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>5</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>8</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.385</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Tied 12th</TH>
</TR>
</TABLE>[/doHTML]

Worth noting: those TD scoring ranks are clustered pretty heavily; most weeks the bottom is a tie for ~15th, so tied for 10th and 12th ain't good.

Good: Each week, we've increased scoring opportunities.  This may be due to the fact that the Browns game was over early, and scoring occurred from outside the RZ, which would mean 10-13 RZ shots per week is par... at least against bottom-tier LOC.  Remains to be seen how many shots we get against the better teams.  

Also good, 100% scoring in the RZ, whether by 3s or 7s.  

And some of the crucial third downs have been because of notoriously poor throws or stupid drops, which can be corrected.

Finally, and this yang has its yin below, we are improving our RZ potency in second halves, by my estimate.  I didn't cull the breakdown by halves, but seems logical.

Bad:  OK, pretty obviously we need to increase the TD/FG ratio.  First halves of games are worse.  

Again, dovetailing the above, scoring only 38-40% of your RZ opportunities as TDs won't cut it against, well, the Pats.  

***

Luckily, the easy LOC these early games is allowing us time to implement some things, and I think fans lose sight of the fact that we are breaking in a somewhat new offense, a new OC, a QB with more responsibility, etc.  Drops are drops, but better now than a month from now.  

As noted in another thread, it's good to have something for the team to focus on and improve, rather than beginning at the zenith and expecting it to go on forever.  Seems that the Pats model, like the '05 Colts, defies some law of thermodynamics or something: the perfect machine can only expect entropy, rust, breakdown.  
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Big Virgil
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 12:55 »

Quote
Pro Football Weekly carries RZ stats by week.

[doHTML]<TABLE BORDER=2 CELLPADDING=1 CELLSPACING=1>
<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Week</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Possessions</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>FG</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Score %</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD %</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD % Rank</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>4</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>0.500</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Tied 5th</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>10</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>4</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>6</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.4000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Tied 10th</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>3</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>13</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>5</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>8</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.385</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Tied 12th</TH>
</TR>
</TABLE>[/doHTML]

 
That is most screwed up table of stats I have ever seen.  It lists each week, but week two is cumulative of weeks 1 & 2, week 3 is cum for weeks 1, 2 & 3.  It is really cumulative through the specific week, not each week individually.  

Seems more intuitive to list the % and rank for each week and then a separate line for the total.

I must need to drink more liquor or maybe I'm just stooopid.
« Last Edit: Sep 27, 2007 at 12:56 by Big Virgil » Logged

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I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.
Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #3 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 14:30 »

I didn't notice that.  And should have, no way would we be scoring 8 FGs in week 3.  Duh.

It does show our TD % trending down, but we remain perfect in overall scoring %.

Thanks for the catch, hurried those stats up on the board without looking.

Bottom line: we still need some work, and if anything, we've been going the wrong way.

 
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Big Virgil
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« Reply #4 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 15:20 »

I like the stats, but some genius over at Pro Football Weekly definitely needs to rework the chart.  

The cumulative total is correct, but in weeks 2 and 3 the team had a 33% TD percentage for each of those weeks, and they had 50% the first week.  The average per week is .389 and cumulative is .385.

Splitting hairs possibly but what the heck.

Regardless, this definitely needs to improve.  A TD percentage of 65 - 70 works better for me.  That is close to double their current rate.

 
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I wouldn't say I've been *missing* it, Bob.
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« Reply #5 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 15:35 »

It does seem like they're scoring on lots of drives, though, so that's always a positive.  It shows they're winning the TOP battle and not covering so many punts.

You gotta like that.
 
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Finnegans Wake
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« Reply #6 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 15:41 »

Quote
I like the stats, but some genius over at Pro Football Weekly definitely needs to rework the chart. 

The cumulative total is correct, but in weeks 2 and 3 the team had a 33% TD percentage for each of those weeks, and they had 50% the first week.  The average per week is .389 and cumulative is .385.

Splitting hairs possibly but what the heck.

Regardless, this definitely needs to improve.  A TD percentage of 65 - 70 works better for me.  That is close to double their current rate.
That's exactly the percentage we should be shooting for, BV...

[doHTML]<TABLE BORDER=2 CELLPADDING=1 CELLSPACING=1>
<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Rank</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Team</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>RZ
Possessions</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>FG</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Score %</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>TD %</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>N.O. </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>5</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>4</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.800 </TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>G.B. </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>10</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>7</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.900 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center> .700</TH>
</TR>
   
<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>3. </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Car.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>10</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>7</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.900  </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.700 </TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>4. </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Clev. </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center> 6</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center> 4</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center> .667</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>5.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center> Ariz.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>6 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>4</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.667</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>6.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Cin.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>9</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>6</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>3</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.667</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>7.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>N.Y.J.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>9</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>6</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>2</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.889</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.667</TH>
</TR>

<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center> 8.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>S.D.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>9 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>6</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>0</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.667</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center> .667</TH>
</TR>

  <TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>9.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>N.E. </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>14</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>9</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>3</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.857</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.643</TH>
</TR>
   
  <TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>10.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Dall.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>14</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>8 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>5</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.929 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.571</TH>
</TR>  
 
<TR ALIGN=left>
  <TH ALIGN=center>...24.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>Pitt.</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>13</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>5</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>8</TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>1.000 </TH>
  <TH ALIGN=center>.385</TH>
</TR>

</TABLE>[/doHTML]

Worth noting that all these teams have some pretty good offensive weapons, and while some teams (Cleveland, Zona, Nawlins) may have stats skewed higher by great success on fewer visits, the best teams in that top 10 are, by conference, New England and Dallas, 14 trips each; Pittsburgh is close behind at 13.  With 5 TDs and 8 TDs in 13 tries, we've basically flipped Dallas's numbers (8 and 5 in 14).  

Put another way, we convert just three plays and we're top 10, with a 0.615 rate, landing us just above NE and Dallas.  The plays were there, but the execution wasn't: a bad throw by Ben, a drop, it adds up.
« Last Edit: Sep 27, 2007 at 15:46 by Finnegans Wake » Logged

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aj_law
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« Reply #7 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 15:55 »

And, these stats aren't even counting those possessions where Pittsburgh started a drive on the opponent's side of the 50 or even their own 40 and came away with nothing.  I'm almost positive that happened 3 or 4 times against Cleveland.

I realize I'm splitting hairs here and it's not adding to the redzone discussion, but I thought it noteworthy to mention.  It is kinda related.
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« Reply #8 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 16:42 »

Red zone stats be damned, if they keep putting up 30 or so points a game, its hard for me to get upset.  Of course you can't expect to get the number of scoring opportunities we've been getting against the better teams, but I'll live in a state of denial until then.
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« Reply #9 on: Sep 27, 2007 at 21:31 »

Quote
Red zone stats be damned, if they keep putting up 30 or so points a game, its hard for me to get upset.  Of course you can't expect to get the number of scoring opportunities we've been getting against the better teams, but I'll live in a state of denial until then.
And part of me says the same thing...30 plus points, I don't care how they get it as long as they're getting 'em.

At the same time, it does say that we can get better, which as things have gone and as things currently stand, is an amazing possibility.  

I don't think the Steelers can leave that many points out on the field when a lot of it seems like miscues and mental farts, rather than poor personel or game-planning.  The pass the other week from Ben to Danny K that was dropped, or poorly thrown, depending on your opinion.  A bad overthrow or two to Ward in the EZ during the first and/or second game.  Some key drops by Washington (along with some great catches by Washington).

And the list goes on and on.  

I don't think the concern is irrelevant because we haven't played the Pats or Indy yet.  I think it's something to improve upon during a season that, so far, appears to have few flaws.  
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« Reply #10 on: Oct 01, 2007 at 23:42 »

i have been wondering something for a while with willie as our running back. whenever we have the ball on the goal line like we did in the arizona game, why don't we ever send willie over the top of the pile. maybe it will work, maybe it won't but i would like to see it once at least. just once.  
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« Reply #11 on: Oct 02, 2007 at 10:07 »

Quote
Is it possible that Tomlin has focused this team on, when appropriate, making a priority of not turning the ball over in scoring range?
 
I think if this was true, they wouldn't have called that ill-advised pass play down at the 3 yard line during the Cardinals' game, when the score was tied 7-7.

I was screaming for a draw play, because even if you don't convert it, you're still guaranteed of 3 down there.

And with the type of game that it was, 10-7 could've easily won it.



.WiH.
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