Monday, December 29, 2008

Myth of Establishing the Run

i'm on record as being a fan of the power running game and not a big fan of the worst coast offense, but this ongoing notion of needing to establish the run to win continues to baffle me. i keep hearing every tv and radio talking head pointing to yesterday's win as proof that you have to run to win. i just don't understand why this perception sticks in people's minds or how you can point to yesterday as proof that running leads to winning.

the game was won in the early part of yesterday's game -- game over at 17-3. let's review the eagle drives leading to that point.

drive 1
1 run for 2 yards
4 passes for 27 yards
drive ends on westbrook fumble

drive 2
4 rushes for 29 yards
2 passes for 3 scramble yards
drive ends in FG

drive 3
2 rushes for 8 yards
2 passes for 59 yards
2 QB sneaks
drive ends in TD

drive 4
2 rushes for 8 yards
1 pass resulting in sack
drive ends in punt

drive 5
5 runs for 6 yards
6 passes for 65 yards
drive ends in TD

totals for first five drives
14 called runs leading to 53 yards -- 3.8 yards per play
15 called passes leading to 145 yards -- 9.7 yards per play

i know people are looking at that at the number of called plays and thinking "see that's balance", but the runs were not meaningful in building that 17-3 lead. that lead was built entirely on 2 big plays -- mcnabb scramble and pass to buckhalter and mcnabb floating a ball over tight coverage to desean jackson.

just for sh*ts and giggles, let's compare the playcalling for this game to the first five real drives of the washington game.

drive 1
2 rushes for 2 yards
4 passes for 13 yards
drive ends in punt

drive 2
3 rushes for 16 yards
3 passes for -3 yards
drive ends in punt

drive 3
1 rush for 4 yards
3 passes for 13 yards
drive ends in punt

drive 4
1 rush for 2 yards
2 passes for 7 yards
drive ends in punt

drive 5
not counting since end of first half
2 rushes for 11 yards
drive ends at halftime

drive 6
2 rushes for 10 yards (though the birds also ran an end around called back for holding)
4 passes for 6 net yards
drive ends in fumble

totals for first five real drives
9 rushes for 34 yards (10 called rushes) -- 3.8 yards per play
16 called passes for 36 yards -- 2.25 yards per play

was playcalling mix or establishing the run really a meaningful difference in these two games? doesn't seem like it to me.

yes, the eagles called a few more runs in the dallas game than in the washington game, but the real difference was execution in the passing game. correlation does not necessarily mean causation.

forget what the talking heads are telling you. if the eagles are to win in the playoffs, they must execute consistently in the passing game.

UPDATE: i didn't come up with this notion and my rudimentary analysis above is not intended to prove that passing is more important than running, my intent is only to counter the popular current theme that the eagles won "because the playcalling was more balanced". however, here are some links that cover the topic in more detail:

- usatoday - myth #1
- cnnsi.com - myth #1
- nytimes
- benjamin alamar - passing premium puzzle
- aaron schatz - myth of the run

finally, there is brian burke (i've linked to these before and they're definitely a lot to digest but worth a read). brian covers the topic across three posts finally concluding (correctly i believe) that to think about it as run vs. pass oversimplifies the analysis. we need to determine what each team happens to be good at and determine the proper mix accordingly (similar to my contention that it isn't what kind of play a team calls, only that it is successful).

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32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're nuts. They win when they are balanced; when they get pass happy they lose.

3:29 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

don't believe the hype. they get pass happy because they are losing not the other way around.

4:31 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stupid analysis. of course execution matters, but the run/pass mix 1) keeps the defense guessing more (argue to me that it doesnt) 2) keeps the QB from getting pounded every play 3) keeps the defense fresher 4) keeps the other offense from establishing their game plan 5 minutes into the first quarter and 5) gives you a tool to shorter the game once you;re ahead.

You completely left out the effect of a balanced attack on the defense, left out the field position issue, game closeouts.

You just posted the drive results and left it at that. Are you serious?!

Garbage.

5:58 PM EST  
Anonymous Bubba said...

you said the game was won by 17-3? but you cite the SF game where they blew a lead?

BS - the dallas game was over when clemons ran the fumble back.

6:01 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

Running more will definitely cut down on the wear and tear on a QB. Don't buy the rest though. Would you rather have the D guessing which of 3 ways a RB is going or which of 4 targets a QB is throwing to? Running more doesn't necessarily rest your D. Number of plays run mean a lot more than "running down the play clock".

Passing also gives you the option of dramatically shorting the field. Very tough to go 15 plays to score in this league. At some point the D is going to shut you down.

6:22 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

stupid analysis. of course execution matters, but the run/pass mix 1) keeps the defense guessing more (argue to me that it doesnt) 2) keeps the QB from getting pounded every play 3) keeps the defense fresher 4) keeps the other offense from establishing their game plan 5 minutes into the first quarter and 5) gives you a tool to shorter the game once you;re ahead.

you're reading things into it that i did not say. i'm a big believer in the running game, especially a power running game, and i like a balanced offense. everything that you cite as a benefit of having a balanced offense makes sense. however, none of those things were part of the difference between games 15 and 16.

what i'm apparently not communicating effectively here is the "playcalling mix" and "balanced offense" do not win games. executing the offense does.

my point is that the playcalling mix was not significantly different enough between the early part of the washington game and the early part of the dallas game to have played a meaningful part in the outcome.

blaming the washington loss on playcalling mix and crediting the dallas win on playcalling mix is not a reasonable conclusion when you look at the facts.

like it or not, the facts are that andy did try to call a reasonably balanced offense for most of the washington game. the real difference was the execution, not the mix.

You completely left out the effect of a balanced attack on the defense, left out the field position issue, game closeouts.

again, i'm trying to isolate on a single theme being repeated in the media -- that the playcalling mix and "establishing the run" played a big part in this specific win.

6:50 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

you said the game was won by 17-3? but you cite the SF game where they blew a lead?

BS - the dallas game was over when clemons ran the fumble back.


the game was a blowout when clemons ran the fumble back. i felt pretty comfortable about the game when it was 17-3, and was pretty certain of the outcome after the celek TD.

6:55 PM EST  
Anonymous Doc | ballssticksstuff.com said...

I tend to agree on the general theme that passing gets you a lead and running keeps it. There's just to much research that indicates it.

However, you've got to run the ball some early just to keep the pass rush off guard, give the QB a break, etc.

9:30 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

However, you've got to run the ball some early just to keep the pass rush off guard, give the QB a break, etc.

agreed, but my point isn't that they don't need to run the ball early. my point is here is that there wasn't a signficant enough difference in the early playcalling mix between the two games to warrant giving "running the ball more" much (if any) credit for the difference in outcome.

9:41 AM EST  
Anonymous Kerry Collins said...

I don't really care WHEN they run the ball, but this team needs to - yes here it comes - have BALANCE.

If the defense knows you're passing every down instead of trying to push their line backwards on some of the plays, there is no mystery. No suprise. No need for them to switch guys out.

Andy's idea of "surprise" is running a trick play.

The best player on this team is Westbrook. Run him when you can. And when you can't use him as a decoy and run Buckhalter or whatever load is our FB this week.

Don't quote me stats. Stats are bogus. You watch the games. You see why we win and why we don't.

"Execution in the passing game" happens when receivers get open and catch the ball. They can't get open - especially this bunch of receivers - if the defense knows we are throwing EVERY DOWN.

Congrats. You generated posts for an article written like Dave Spadaro.

11:01 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I don't really care WHEN they run the ball, but this team needs to - yes here it comes - have BALANCE.

well, it seems pretty clear that i've done a poor job of explaining my point (or maybe the title suggests something less subtle than i'm trying to show).

i agree that balance is a good thing. i agree that running the ball is important.

however, running the ball more is not why they won the dallas game. they won the dallas game because they passed the ball more effectively. that was the difference when the game was still in the balance.

11:26 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the problems in this argument is people aren't firm enough about the numbers. Fans and talking heads seem to think anything other than 50/50 is imbalanced and doomed to failure, stat heads trend towards pass - pass - pass.

I think history suggests the balance for West Coast offenses should be around 55/45. That's where the Pack was during the Super Bowl years, the Niners were even closer to 50/50.

Burke's analysis shows that more risk adverse teams are more successful. Another of his posts discusses the game theory reasons why teams must mix in runs with passes, even though passes are overall more productive (many of these reasons are the typical balance arguments, ie keep the defense guessing).

What we end up with, I think, is that teams should balance slightly towards the pass, because it is more productive, but run to avoid losing that very effectiveness. I doubt that the pass was more effective in the Dallas game solely because the Eagles ran more, but clearly that plays a part. Over the course of an entire season, keeping disciplined about the pass/run ratio is a recipe for sustained success.

- Behan

12:57 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not really going to comment on how silly this strain is-on every single level of football, first and foremost you gear your offense to establishing the run and you gear your defense toward stopping it. There are no exceptions. Passing is fun. passing picks up big yards quickly, passing also falls apart in inclement weather. Running never fades.

That is not to say that you cannot pass more than you run, but you need an exceptional QB with ridiculous accuracy who can check down at the line of scrimmage and throw the ball quickly and accurately to split second routes. There may be 2 QB in the league who can really do that effectively (P Manning and Brady) and we don't have one of them. McNabb has a cannon and nice wheels, but he does not check down well enough to throw as often as Red throws and he goes into major funks like Washington. They lost the Skins game partially because of an awful game plan by Red (the ONLY thing the Skins do well is throw 5-6 talented DB at you) but primarily because McNabb was awful for 58 minutes of that game. Yes his receivers sucked, but he was just in mopey McNabbville throwing balls at people's feet and making bad decisions. Again, that is natural as QB won't always be perfect, another reason to establish the run.

TMG you cite the run and pass differences between the Skins and Boys game, but you say they were the same and they weren't. They ran 1/3 of the time in the first half vs. the Skins and 1/2 vs. Dallas. That is a huge difference in clock control and pounding for the other team's defense.

Phil, I cannot understand why you cannot agree that running the ball rests your D. Apparently the concept of a running clock and less overall time on the field is not relevant. As a former DT, let me assure you that nothing sucks worse than having a good stand only to have to go right back on the field because your offense went 3 and out in under 2 minutes. You get no time to catch your breath, no time to adjust to what the other team is doing to you, no time to regroup. The only thing worse is when the other team can establish the run and they just cram it down your throat-4 yards, 3 yards, 5 yards, 3 yards, etc. It's true that 15 play drives are rare, but the way they throw the ball with those little 5-7 yard patterns dictates that even passing drives are 15 play drives, so what's the difference?

This team needs to stay balanced, by balanced I mean run those counters, screen passes, swing passes, etc. Make the other team always account for your RB and open up single coverage on Jackson. They need to use Celek on the 8-12 yard gimme patterns and they need Don to be accurate Don, not chucking it at people's feet Don. I want them to run more to tire the other team out and I want them to actually use Buck because he showed he can be a weapon.

I don't think they need to run 80% of the time, just closer to 40/50%. Stop giving up on the run when your first two runs get stuffed for 2 yards and don't throw the ball 70% of the time. Only bad things can happen when you're that out of whack on either ratio.

Bumble

2:50 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

One of the problems in this argument is people aren't firm enough about the numbers. Fans and talking heads seem to think anything other than 50/50 is imbalanced and doomed to failure, stat heads trend towards pass - pass - pass.

agreed, though the stat-heads seem to be coming back to the center as their models get more sophisticated.

What we end up with, I think, is that teams should balance slightly towards the pass, because it is more productive, but run to avoid losing that very effectiveness. I doubt that the pass was more effective in the Dallas game solely because the Eagles ran more, but clearly that plays a part. Over the course of an entire season, keeping disciplined about the pass/run ratio is a recipe for sustained success.

agreed. which is really what i'm trying to point out. the benefits of pass/run ratio show up over the course of an entire season rather than playing a significant role in any particular game.

things like tendencies and decreased wear and tear have cumulative impact.

the ability to demoralize a defense and the ability to shorten a game via running game are important, but are dependent on getting the lead, which establishing the run early doesn't necessarily help you do.

2:52 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I am not really going to comment on how silly this strain is-on every single level of football, first and foremost you gear your offense to establishing the run and you gear your defense toward stopping it. There are no exceptions. Passing is fun. passing picks up big yards quickly, passing also falls apart in inclement weather. Running never fades.

and yet you have an actual ex-nfl GM writing this: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/michael_lombardi/05/14/nfl.myths/index.html

The first comment that makes me hit the mute button is when announcers start talking about establishing the running game and the virtues of how the running game will set up the entire offensive playbook. Hogwash. Is anyone paying attention to what is going on in the NFL today? The running game in the first half does not set up anything other then field goal attempts and potentially low-scoring games. In fact, the team that ran the ball in the first half the most last season, the Minnesota Vikings, failed to make the playoffs. No. 2 was the Oakland Raiders, another non-playoff team. Who is behind this "establish the running game early" myth?

3:27 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

As a former DT, let me assure you that nothing sucks worse than having a good stand only to have to go right back on the field because your offense went 3 and out in under 2 minutes. You get no time to catch your breath, no time to adjust to what the other team is doing to you, no time to regroup.

i think this is a weakness in your argument, you're equating more passing with more three and outs, which isn't necessarily true. i haven't looked at the numbers, but i remember plenty of three and outs when the eagles were a run heavy team.

offensive success, regardless of play mix, rests the defense, not running the football.

3:38 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Running the clock, regardless of success, rests the defense. The difference between a short, unsuccessful passing drive and a short unsuccessful running drive can be 2-3 minutes of rest, that can seem like a lifetime.

And one duechebag GM goes against the grain to get people talking and proves that it's pass vs. run that leads to wins? Sorry, don't buy it. Too much NFL history suggests otherwise. Look at the sound running teams and how they force flow early in the game by running the ball and controlling field position. Giants, Panthers, Vikes, Redskins before their O line collapsed. Quick strike pass plays certainly get you on your heels, but establishing the run as a threat to force 8 in the box or take away from double coverage is the key to passing. It isn't execution, it's making the defense believe you may actually run the ball and keeping them honest. Reid failed to do that vs. the Skins and lost because they couldn't complete a pass as the Skins could rush 4 and drop 7. They established the run last week and held the Cowboys LB which in turn enabled them to find open pockets all day in the zone as they forced a 5 on 5 match up. Run begets pass early, pass begets run late. One cannot have one without the other. It's like a "you stuck your chocolate in my peanut butter" argument. You cannot do what Andy too frequently does which is abandon the run entirely and pass every play and expect to have any aerial success.

I see your point TMG, but in many ways I think you're trying to hop back on the Reid bandwagon and point out to any of us who see cracks in Big Red's dyke that we're wrong. I think we both have valid points-I probably jump to hasty conclusions-but in the end, Reid does best when he maintains balance and forces the other team to respect all phases of your game, not just the pass.

Bumble

4:43 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

TMG you cite the run and pass differences between the Skins and Boys game, but you say they were the same and they weren't. They ran 1/3 of the time in the first half vs. the Skins and 1/2 vs. Dallas. That is a huge difference in clock control and pounding for the other team's defense.

ah the magic of small sample sizes. so just to make sure i understand what you're saying correctly. not counting the last two runs of the first half, there were 21 offensive plays, of them seven were runs (your 1/3 number), this is true.

BUT

if we change two (2) of those passes to runs, we would have exactly 50/50 playcalling mix. are you saying that those two play calls would have made all the difference? those two plays would have turned the tide of time of possession?

the reason the eagles lost the washington game is because their passing game sucked -- some combination of QB play or the seven (7!) drops. i think it had more to do with the drops than any single other factor.

it had very little (if anything) to do with play calling mix.

4:50 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Running the clock, regardless of success, rests the defense. The difference between a short, unsuccessful passing drive and a short unsuccessful running drive can be 2-3 minutes of rest, that can seem like a lifetime.

the play clock is still the same regardless of whether the game clock is running or not. you don't get more time between running plays than passing plays.

yes, you burn more game clock, but that only matters if you're protecting the lead. a three and out via the pass takes exactly the same amount of real-life defense resting time as a three and out via the run.

4:53 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

And one duechebag GM goes against the grain to get people talking and proves that it's pass vs. run that leads to wins? Sorry, don't buy it. Too much NFL history suggests otherwise. Look at the sound running teams and how they force flow early in the game by running the ball and controlling field position. Giants, Panthers, Vikes, Redskins before their O line collapsed.

yet you exclude the other teams who run early in the game -- raiders, lions. running doesn't equal winning.

i'd like to request that you go a little more in depth into the NFL history that suggests otherwise. if you take just the first halves of the games played by superbowl winning teams, i'm positive you'll see that virtually all of them passed a lot more than they ran to get the lead and then ran the ball afterwards.

it's been proven time and time again by anyone who has looked into it.

I see your point TMG, but in many ways I think you're trying to hop back on the Reid bandwagon and point out to any of us who see cracks in Big Red's dyke that we're wrong.

this has nothing to do with any bandwagons, i still hate his offense and i still hate the type of running he employs. i'm simply pointing out that most talking heads have no clue what they're talking about.

5:02 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, you burn more game clock, but that only matters if you're protecting the lead. a three and out via the pass takes exactly the same amount of real-life defense resting time as a three and out via the run.

This statement assumes you complete three passes. If you throw 3 incomplete passes, you burn significantly less time than 3 runs where you get stuffed. You can keep the game clock and play clock running and burn an extra 2 minutes running.

There is obviously no debating this point with you as you will find stats that support your argument be damned, but name me a football scheme not centered around stopping the run and running the ball and I'll show you an ill-planned scheme. I am not a talking head, but I do know basic football and it has always been and will always be predicated on those two tenets. Look at all the flashy college offenses-the Florida Gators and various wildcat knock offs for example. They are still centered on getting the ball in your top play maker's hands in hand off or direct snap format vs. reception format. Also show me the last Super Bowl winner who threw 50 times a game in the Super Bowl. Colts won with a ground game. Giants won last year with a ground game. Pats beat the Rams behind Antowan Smith.

Bumble

8:17 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

This statement assumes you complete three passes. If you throw 3 incomplete passes, you burn significantly less time than 3 runs where you get stuffed. You can keep the game clock and play clock running and burn an extra 2 minutes running.

There is obviously no debating this point with you as you will find stats that support your argument be damned


bumble, your original statement was:

Running the clock, regardless of success, rests the defense. The difference between a short, unsuccessful passing drive and a short unsuccessful running drive can be 2-3 minutes of rest, that can seem like a lifetime.

please think about this statement again. running the clock has no impact on the rest your defense gets -- the clock does not impact the real life time that three plays (run or pass) and a punt take. running does not mean more rest for the defense. first downs mean more rest for the defense.

that's not a statistic.

yes, an incomplete pass stops the clock, but the defense doesn't get less rest during the time between plays.

running the ball more shortens games, but it does not mean more rest for the defense.

football scheme not centered around stopping the run and running the ball and I'll show you an ill-planned scheme

come on. you can't be serious.

new england patriots - superbowl team(s) ran the ball the first time because they had the inferior team. passed during second because they had the superior team

any team that plays a tampa-2 defense -- geared toward stopping the pass

indianapolis colts - superbowl winner they ran the ball once they got the lead by passing

tampa bay bucs - superbowl winner

st louis rams - superbowl winner

san francisco 49ers - dynasty

green bay packers - superbowl winner

12:02 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

Also show me the last Super Bowl winner who threw 50 times a game in the Super Bowl.

bumble, you're missing the point entirely.

teams that pass the ball 50 times rarely do it by design.

teams that pass the ball 50 times do it because they're behind.

pass the ball to get ahead. run the ball to shorten the game.

i agree with you 100% that any coach that plans to throw the ball 50 times a game has an ill planned scheme, but there simply aren't any coaches like that in the nfl and haven't been since the run and shoot offense died.

12:05 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

pass the ball to get ahead. run the ball to shorten the game.

i'd like to add that this statement doesn't mean i want to see an offense that passes the ball exclusively until they get ahead.

it's obvious that you have to have a good mix of plays (e.g. 55% pass), but it's a fallacy that you have to establish the run in order to pass.

all of the evidence points to good teams passing heavily to get a lead and running heavily to protect the lead.

we'll be able to find single game exceptions to this because from a scheme standpoint the best way for an inferior team to pull an upset is to shorten the game (makes luck and chance a bigger factor) and running the ball is the best way to shorten the game.

12:17 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The basic concept of cover 2 is strength up the gut. All good Tampa 2 teams have stud DT, MLB, and SS. That has been discussed ad nauseum by football folks and it makes sense. You rely on those 3 positions to shut down the run and you need quality CB play to avoid the deep ball and keep everything toward the sidelines.

Indy won the SB behind Addai and Rhodes. Look it up. The Bears took their pass away and they established a running game plan, primarily because Tommy Harris did not play so their DT were hobbled. Then their D was geared toward taking the Bears run away and making Grossman beat them, which he couldn't do.

All the SB winners you list had great balance. Ricky Watters ran wild in the SB for San Fran. Brady loosened teams up with short pass routes then ran a bunch of screens (essentially long hand offs) and draws.

Maybe I have not been clear enough, but balance is key to winning. You have to establish the run early and stay with it just to keep the defense guessing. You saw the quotes from the Skins defensive players after that victory, they had no clue what Reid was doing because he cut his game plan in half. Had he worked harder to establish Buck and B Wes, maybe, just maybe, they wouldn't have had to wait until minute 58 to advance the football. My whole point is you cannot just come out throwing. You need to confuse the defense and force them to account for all of your weapons.

It is not a fallacy that you need to establish the run to pass the ball, but I'll alter the statement to "you need to establish the run to pass the ball effectively". If you want those mismatches and fewer people in coverage, you absolutely must establish the run to do it. I think you agree that your offense will click on more cylinders by establishing both parts early in the game vs. hoping you get a lead then running all dives in the second half.

Bumble

11:16 AM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

The basic concept of cover 2 is strength up the gut. All good Tampa 2 teams have stud DT, MLB, and SS. That has been discussed ad nauseum by football folks and it makes sense. You rely on those 3 positions to shut down the run and you need quality CB play to avoid the deep ball and keep everything toward the sidelines.

this is getting ridiculous. one of the critcisms of the tampa 2 is that it is weak against the run due to the undersized defenders.

the middle linebacker is critical to this defense, that is true, but not as a run stuffer. the middle linebacker in a tampa 2 defense has responsibility for covering the seam down the middle. that's why they tend to be undersized and fast.

the d-line plays 1 gap, again sacrificing run control for penetration and pass rush.

in base coverage, the corners do *not* have deep responsibility as they roll forward to cover the flats and provide run support. that's why tackling ability is almost more important for tampa-2 corners than coverage ability.

the deep routes are the responsiblity of the safeties, who stay very deep and do not provide a lot of run support in base coverage.

All the SB winners you list had great balance. Ricky Watters ran wild in the SB for San Fran. Brady loosened teams up with short pass routes then ran a bunch of screens (essentially long hand offs) and draws.

we're not debating balance. i've said repeatedly that you need balance. we're debating the notion that you have to "establish" the run in order to pass. not true.

the most yards ricky watters had with the niners was 1013. just enough to show a willingness to run, not a scheme "centered around the run" (your words).

again, the eagles need balance. i've never once said they didn't.

however, the two (2) extra running plays would have gotten them to exactly 50-50 run pass in the washington game first half.

balance and play mix are not why they lost that game. play mix plays out over a whole season. which runs and passes they call definitely impact an individual game, but the evidence indicates that play mix doesn't seem to play a big part.

12:20 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

wow, looking at his career stats. did you know that ricky watters only played here for three seasons?

seemed like much longer than that.

12:27 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not worth arguing. After the compelling evidence against running the ball, I completely recant my opinion and admit I'm wrong. Throw the ball 900 times a game, it'll work. Just keep throwing every down and eventually it'll work. You don't need to run or stop the run as long as you throw the ball a lot. After all, the only way to win is by throwing the ball.

This is a silly argument. At the end of the day run begets pass early, pass begets run late. The two have a shark and remora relationship and you CANNOT have one without the other. I cannot believe we are debating that running the ball is unimportant as long as you can pass it, but we're all bored on New Years. Watch out for crazy drunk drivers tonight and don't get sucked in by the $100 cover for 2 beers and cocktail weenies deals.

Bumble

2:59 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

bumble, do you even read what i'm writing?

never once have i said that running isn't important.

never once have i said that i think passing 50 times a game is good.

never once have i said that there is evidence that you shouldn't run the ball.

somehow you're coming up with those things on your own.

happy and safe new years to you too!

3:26 PM EST  
Anonymous Phil said...

We might be looking at the wrong stat here (run/pass ratio). Looking at the correlation numbers, yards per attempt correlates much higher to winning than average yards per rush attempt.

And keep in mind we're talking about a team that was 6th (6th!) in offensive scoring this year. They're obviously doing a lot of somethings right. Only in PHI could there be such a huge debate about a problem that does not exist. And note the defense was 4th in scoring so all those 3 and outs resulted in . . . nothing.

7:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I get all that, I do, but explain to me how this team has greta numbers and can only scratch out 9 wins? That is where stats lie in my opinion. Their offense was great with huge numbers vs. Dallas, Arizona, Rams, Browns and the Giants, yet they were downright awful vs. the Skins (twice), Ravens, Bears, Bengals, Steelers. The same can be said of the D. Some great games vs. the Skins (once), Browns, Steelers, Rams, Cardinals, but some turds vs. Dallas, Ravens, Giants, Skins (once). Isn't this a game of "Enron math" in many ways. Maybe the conclusion is when they're good, they're really good, but when they're bad, they absolutely suck. The point being that there doesn't seem to be a middle with this team-they ahd an off week passing but the defense won the game or they ran the ball well but needed a late Akers FG to win.

TMG I am just having fun poking you. You've been so busy and away for some longish stretches that when I can actually engage you, I sometimes can't help but be a dick just to keep the conversation interesting. I know we both want the same thing at the end of the day, I just need to keep my fat self entertained.

Bumble

10:30 PM EST  
Blogger The Mean Guy said...

I get all that, I do, but explain to me how this team has greta numbers and can only scratch out 9 wins? That is where stats lie in my opinion. Their offense was great with huge numbers vs. Dallas, Arizona, Rams, Browns and the Giants, yet they were downright awful vs. the Skins (twice), Ravens, Bears, Bengals, Steelers.

the true stat-heads attribute a lot of this to "bad luck" or random variation, since the eagles lost several games this year where they outplayed the other team.

i'm not so sure i buy that since the reason they lost those early games was due to one primary factor -- inability to convert in short yardage situations. that's definitely not bad luck.

stat-wise, the eagles are one of the best teams in the league. record-wise, they're lucky to be in the playoffs. kind of obvious i guess, but i think the reality is that they're somewhere in between.

you said it before, all that really matters is that the birds are in the playoffs and appear to be peaking. playoff football, nothing like it.

The same can be said of the D. Some great games vs. the Skins (once), Browns, Steelers, Rams, Cardinals, but some turds vs. Dallas, Ravens, Giants, Skins (once). Isn't this a game of "Enron math" in many ways. Maybe the conclusion is when they're good, they're really good, but when they're bad, they absolutely suck. The point being that there doesn't seem to be a middle with this team-they ahd an off week passing but the defense won the game or they ran the ball well but needed a late Akers FG to win.

well let's hope they have things figured out and put a 4 game hot-streak together!

TMG I am just having fun poking you. You've been so busy and away for some longish stretches that when I can actually engage you, I sometimes can't help but be a dick just to keep the conversation interesting. I know we both want the same thing at the end of the day, I just need to keep my fat self entertained.

it take two to tango. i get too caught up in being factually correct that i respond to each statement someone makes. sometimes that's counterproductive to the broader goal.

still, i always enjoy a good argument.

6:06 PM EST  

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