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SaintNik 07-11-2003 12:21 AM

Passing On The Run
The NFL used to be a league where the best teams were defined by being able to run and being able to stop the run. It now seems that it is more important to be able to pass and also defend the pass. Minnesota and Miami ranked 1st and 2nd in the league in rushing last year and both missed the playoffs which was also the case with four of the league's top five and six of the top twelve rushing teams. The number one passing team in the league, Oakland, made it to the Super Bowl. Tampa Bay defended the pass better than anyone else and they won the championship. Ricky Williams won the league rushing title with 1853 yards. Like Miami, the Saints had the number one rusher from its conference (6th overall) in Deuce McAllister with 1388 yards and missed the playoffs. As a TEAM the Saints only ranked 17th. Aaron Brooks was 9th in the league with 3572 passing yards and tied for 1st with 27 TDs but as a TEAM the Saints only ranked 16th (can you believe the Bucs were 15th overall) in passing yards. The offense impressed by ranking 3rd overall (27.0 ppg) in scoring but the defense was at the bottom at 26th (24.2 ppg). The Saints defense ranked 19th league wide against the run and even worse, 29th against the pass. Being a middle of the pack TEAM on offense in rushing and passing combined with TEAM defense playing in the lower middle against the run and near the bottom against the pass contributed to the middle of the pack win/loss record, one win away from the playoffs. It has often been said that stats are for losers, but that is only said after a loss. After a win, stats are proudly boasted, yet nobody ever trots out that cliche'. Nobody will argue that when the final horn sounds the only thing that matters each week is the final score, yet as the season wears on ( and certainly into the postseason) stats are analyzed to break down the opponents weaknesses, strengths, and tendencies in order to attempt to exploit by game planning for or against them. If the league stays on the current trend of pass/stop the pass, the Saints have made some changes on both sides of the ball that gives hope for improvement in both areas. If you kept all stats the same except improved just two into the middle of the pack, pass defense and of course, ppg allowed, we may have had the best record in the league. Injuries or the lack of them are always a major factor. If we execute just slightly better as a TEAM in all phases of the game we will most certainly get into the playoffs and could very well make it to the big dance. The TEAM may be young overall and scattered with several new faces, but with the draft and free agency, revamped rosters are the norm now league wide. I think this is the most talented TEAM the Saints have ever had, position by position and depth from top to bottom of the roster. With a seasoned coaching staff in place, I do BELIEVE this is the year of the SAINTS! Get a ticket and get on the bandwaggon now. SAINTAS sleigh will soon be full with somone other than mysELF.

BillyCarpenter1 07-11-2003 07:14 AM

Passing On The Run
People are obsessed with stats. They look at them for anwsers and try to make sense of why this was successful and that was not successful. The game of football is pretty simple. If you score more points than the other team, you win. It\'s always worked that way and it always will.

Like everything else in life, in the game of football trends change. For a while it\'ll be great defenses that seemingly win championships. The next it\'s an unstopable running game, while later on the passing game is all the rage.

In the days of the dynasties, teams were able to \"build\" a team and keep it together long enough to be sound in all three areas (offense, defense, special teams.) In those days the upper echelon teams proved if you have the right talent and were able to coach it long enough, that the best way to win a championship was to have a balance of the run and pass on offense and you must be able to stop the run on defense.

Well, those days are long gone. Now you have teams that are kept together for a very short period of time. Because of that the game of football is not as technically as sound as it use to be. How well do you think that the last 3 superbowl winners would match-up against some of the dynasties of the past? Defenses are more easily exploited and also rules have been changed to aide for better productivity in the passing game.

The NFL knows offense sells tickets. All sports are changing rules that make it easier for the offense to score. Just look at the NBA. Fans are starting to complain about the NBA though. All the players are trying to be human highlight films and little attention is paid to the fundamentals. Kind of like all the missed tackles and blown coverages you see in the NFL today.

[Edited on 11/7/2003 by BillyCarpenter1]

SaintNik 07-17-2003 11:28 PM

Passing On The Run
It\'s hard to compare one era to another for several reasons. Teams of the past were kept together longer and this continuity allowed team consistency both good and bad. Blocking and tackling fundamentals may have been better overall on the better dynasties. Lombardi, Landry, Knoll, Shula, Walsh and Seifert all were long timers with their teams and produced some TEAMS that could compete in this era today. They make plays when they have to.

Todays players are far more athletic. They are much bigger, stronger, and FASTER overall. Training is now a year round requirement in the gymn, the film room, and on the practice field. The constant changes make team chemistry and fundamental play suffer a bit. Prima donas are now more commonplace which detracts from the game.

Regardless of what era or what year, the championship teams find a way to get it done in all phases of the game. If at all weak in one aspect, they usually find a way to mask it, but when the chips are on the line, that weak link in the team provides enough good play to get the job done. They make play when they have to make them.

As for the Saints stats last year, the point is that we were only superior in one area, points scored. We were terrible in points allowed and passing yards allowed. We were average in teams rushing and passing on offense, below average on rushing yards allowed, and above average on special teams. We ended the year with an average record. For our record to improve we can\'t have stats in any one area or more that are at the league bottom. We must be more consitstent as a team.

SaintNik 09-12-2003 12:17 AM

Passing On The Run
I bumped this thread so I didn\'t have to repeat typing the facts stated from my original post. We as a team would like to have a balanced attack on offense as most teams strive for. Is it necessary to establish the run first in order to open up the passing game? This was always old school offensive coordinator thinking. With all of the weapons we have on offense it would seem logical to open the first quarter with high percentage pass plays that would put you in 2nd and short or 3rd and short yardage situations along with some first down strikes. Running the ball would be much easier if the defensive opponent was playing on its heals fearing the pass. Is 2nd and 8 or 3rd and 6 after two succesive running plays any better than 2nd and 10 or 3rd and 10? It seems like our play calling has tried to get the running game going first. I would like to see us work it the other way and then give them a big dose of Deuce. Going against tendacies keeps the defense guessing. Execution rules!

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