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The Problem?

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; It seems to me that this dispute regarding who is blame for our favorite team's losses this season is unresolvable. While this has been expressed by many of the esteemed members here, I think that Brook's bashing (or loving) is ...

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Old 11-26-2003, 06:01 PM   #1
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The Problem?

It seems to me that this dispute regarding who is blame for our favorite team's losses this season is unresolvable. While this has been expressed by many of the esteemed members here, I think that Brook's bashing (or loving) is not even the central issue. Brooks has not been, well, great; however, he has not been completely awful either. Many teams get by with average (by NFL standards) QBs. We however are not; instead of calling for our QB's head, perhaps we should first ask why we cannot get by?

That said, I think a shift in focus might be interesting (of course, you decide).

Here is an argument: look at this year's stats FOR THE TEAM. Since football is a team sport, no one will object to that (at least not at first).

Here are the team vs opponent stats for the year:
TOTAL FIRST DOWNS 204 203
FIRST DOWNS (Rushing-Passing-By Penalty) 74 - 117 - 13 74 - 113 - 16
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS 72/155 51/140
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS 4/14 7/9
TOTAL OFFENSIVE YARDS 3755 3561
OFFENSE (Plays-Average Yards) 699 - 5.4 674 - 5.3
TOTAL RUSHING YARDS 1470 1534
RUSHING (Plays-Average Yards) 309 - 4.8 331 - 4.6
TOTAL PASSING YARDS 2285 2027
PASSING (Comp-Att-Int-Avg) 215 - 365 - 8 - 6.65 171 - 319 - 7 - 6.77
SACKS 24 25
FIELD GOALS 16/20 21/23
TOUCHDOWNS 26 28
(Rushing-Passing-Returns-Defensive) 9 - 15 - 1 - 2 10 - 15 - 0 - 2
TIME OF POSSESSION 30:31 29:29

These are from the team's official web site.

Now we all know that a broad stroke analysis is probably stupid, but here is my challenge: show how particulars make this generalization false - our favorite team's problem is an inability to stop the run. We have Duece (the best back in the NFL right now) and other teams (most of whom have no back comparable to Duece) and have still out rushed us by 100 yards. The only other glaring difference between our team's overall stats and our opponents is our inability to stop 4th down conversions (usually runs). Thus, I argue that the big problem with this team is our run defense.

I look forward to thoughts on this. Cheers.


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Old 11-26-2003, 06:19 PM   #2
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The Problem?

JKool -- First, welcome to the board. Second, I think you bring up some very good points. If you can\'t stop the run then a team isn\'t going to stop too many offenses. You might can stop the pass but teams aren\'t going to pass that much, because they will be busy running the ball down your throat !!

Good Post.......

[Edited on 27/11/2003 by BillyC]
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Old 11-26-2003, 07:19 PM   #3
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The Problem?

Nice observations, JKool. What I think those stats show is that the Saints are an average team in the statistical sense-- not surprising given their average win/loss record. The fans are upset because we thought we had above average talent this year-- average on defense and above average on offense. Our offense hasn\'t lived up to its potential and that\'s what hurts the most IMO.
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Old 11-26-2003, 08:40 PM   #4
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The Problem?

Rich006,

Your observation is well taken, but what do you think of this idea:

If our defense is indeed slightly below average, and our offensive statistics (overall) are slightly better than our opponents (at least our passing stats are) or roughly equal - then, it follows, that our offense is above average?

Agreed, watching the boys this year has been, at times, quite painful.

Cheers.
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Old 11-26-2003, 10:34 PM   #5
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The Problem?

The Saints defense is currently allowing 4.6 yards per attempt on the ground as an average .

Kansas City Chiefs - 4.9 per attempt
Indianapolis Colts - 4.7 per attempt

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Old 11-26-2003, 10:52 PM   #6
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The Problem?

That\'s an interesting observation 08. I wonder what are defense against the run looks like pre and post Grady, just out of curiousity?

(I feel like I\'m chumming the waters here)

Where does our problem lie?
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Old 11-26-2003, 11:55 PM   #7
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The Problem?

Thanks for the observation Saintz08.

Certainly this does give me pause. I assume you are pointing us to the fact that these teams offenses are strong enough to offset their weakness against the run?

Here is a thought. How many rushing attempts have these two other teams faced? You\'ll notice that teams run against us more often than they pass. Yards per rushing attmept can be misleading if there are only a few runs for big gains. That is, the Colts and Chiefs might be strong against the run most times, but allow a few big plays. It remains the case that if BillyC is right, then teams have found our weakness and are exploiting it.

At any rate, you may be on to the weakness in my argument, but I think I\'d have to hear a bit more about what it means that some teams with winning records have fairly high yards per run against stats.


"... I was beating them with my eyes the whole game..." - Aaron Brooks :cool:
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Old 11-27-2003, 09:07 AM   #8
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The Problem?

It\'s not the occasional long run that makes the Colts and Chiefs look bad against the run. It\'s definitely a weakness of these teams, but they were able to overcome better than we did. Some stats:
Team / Rush attempts against (per game) / Rush yards against (per game) / 20+ yard rushes against

Saints / 30.1 / 139.5 / 9
Chiefs / 27.5 / 133.7 / 8
Colts / 26.6 / 125.5 / 10
The Colts made up for it with the arm of Manning, the Chiefs made up for it with their special teams (and a pretty good offense). Both teams should be worried about it, though. When the Colts lost to the Panthers, they gave up 189 yards rushing. When they lost to the Jaguars, they gave up 174 yards, including Taylor\'s game-winning, 32-yard touchdown run with 1:08 left.
When Kansas City lost against Cincinnatti, they gave up 200 yards rushing. In the game against Denver (which they should have lost and only won because some special teams coach didn\'t believe Dante Hall was THAT dangerous) they gave up 176 yards rushing.
Most of the time these two teams can bail their run defense out, but they are vulnerable if you run the ball well.

\"What is Wal-Mart? Is it like they sell wall stuff?\"
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Old 11-27-2003, 09:15 AM   #9
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The Problem?

Ah ha.

Then we have discovered somethings. We have several problems: (1) an inabiliity to stop the run, (2) we do not have the means to consistently erase the deficit (our special teams and offense cannot bail us out in many cases), and (3) our favorite team\'s problem runs slightly deeper than one guy on offense.

Thanks everyone for you thoughts. I have enjoyed this very much.

I am still interested in the Grady Jackson question raised earlier - how has our run defense changed since his departure?
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Old 11-27-2003, 09:36 AM   #10
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The Problem?

My first idea to evaluate the \"Grady-factor\" would be to look at the teams we played twice - once with him, once without him.

Carolina (with Grady): 185 / 4.9 average
Carolina (without Grady): 223 / 5.7
Atlanta (with Grady): 130 / 5.9 (including a 69-yard TD-run which lifts the average considerably)
Atlanta (without Grady): 168 / 6.0

Not surprisingly, our run defense didn\'t get any better without him. I\'m not sure what the point of such an analysis might be.
1) He\'s gone and won\'t be coming back
2) He was the \"run stuffer\" who did his job half-heartedly. None of our DTs could take his place and do what he did, although they might do some other things better. Once again: No surprise the stats look worse
3) Overall the defense might be better off playing without him

[Edited on 27/11/2003 by nocloning]

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