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Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Sometimes facts are born from assumptions that are repeated and repeated until they become common knowledge. Sometimes those assumptions are correct. Sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes they’re a little bit of both. When discussing how the New Orleans Saints build their ...

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Old 05-16-2016, 08:39 PM   #1
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Sometimes facts are born from assumptions that are repeated and repeated until they become common knowledge.

Sometimes those assumptions are correct. Sometimes they’re wrong. Sometimes they’re a little bit of both.

When discussing how the New Orleans Saints build their offensive line, it’s a little bit of both.

If you’ve followed the Saints at all over the past decade, you’ve probably been lead to believe that the team builds its offensive line from the inside out, starting with the guards and centers and working toward the tackles.

This, of course, would run counter to how most teams build their line. On almost every team in every city, the tackles are the top priority, then the guards and centers. People believe the Saints work counter to that because of quarterback Drew Brees’ height and the way he likes to climb the pocket.



The general idea is that, because of Brees’ height, he needs a cleaner pocket to be able to see the field. He also needs room to navigate because of the way he moves around the pocket. The level of priority is born from the fact that Carl Nicks, Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs all used to collect sizable checks during their time in New Orleans while the tackles were usually cheaper.

The second point might be more of a coincidence than anything. It was the result of drafting and developing players who hit in the fourth and fifth rounds (Nicks and Evans), then the result of opportunity (Grubbs). The first point has more merit.

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Old 05-16-2016, 10:54 PM   #2
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

Just fix it.
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:01 AM   #3
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

Originally Posted by QBREES9 View Post
Just fix it.
What exactly is broken? Other than rushing the ball, name a single team offensive stat where this offense was not in the top 10 of the league?

I've been looking at this stat on Pro Football Reference called Expected Points. It's a combination of down, distance, and field position that computes the expected number of points that results from that situation. It's possible to evaluate the efficiency of an offense/defense by tracking the differences in EP from play to play and summing those differences over the course of a game.

Take this example: The EP value of 1st and 10 from your 20 is 1.22. If the offense gets an 80 yard TD then the actual points for the play is 7 (PATs are automatically given). So the difference is 7-1.22 = 5.78 points. However, if the result of the play results in a 2nd and 8 from the 22 with an EP value of 1.25 then the offense would get 0.03 points for the play. And if the QB throws a pick-6, resulting in -7 points, then the offense is charged -8.22 points for the play. Flip the signs of the numbers for the defense.

Here's the point. According to PFR, the Saints offense scored a +144.2 for the season, 2nd in the league only behind the Cardinals. 8 out of the top 10 teams in that category were playoff teams last year.

The flip side is abysmal. The Saints defense was dead last at -204.1. This was 90 points worse than the next team last year. This was worse than 0-16 2008 Detroit Lions @-199 that gave up 517 points for that season. Even 80 points worse than the 2012 Saints defense that gave up a record 7000+ yards in a season.

My point is thinking of the offense as broken is wishful thinking. The defense is close to FUBAR. Let's just hope a full offseason with Allen as the DC and the infusion of new defensive personal will move us closer to the middle of the pack.

FYI last season the top defense in EP was Denver at +146, nearly 50 points ahead of the #2 KittyKats. Denver's offense was 30th at -56.3.

So I ask again: fix exactly what?

SFIAH
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Old 05-17-2016, 07:23 AM   #4
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

there in lies the problem. playing too many games with your 20 million dollar man. Drew is getting sacked more and more every year. one day he will break
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:22 PM   #5
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

Originally Posted by hagan714 View Post
there in lies the problem. playing too many games with your 20 million dollar man. Drew is getting sacked more and more every year. one day he will break
That may be an issue, but it's not a problem, and certainly isn't the problem that has this team so broken that it must be fixed.

The only the problem the Saints currently have is the defense in its entirety. a defense according to EP outlined above ranks 50th in a 32 team league. A defense where no lead is safe. Refer to 52-49 against the Giants, 28-35 against the Titans, and 38-41 against the Panthers as examples.

Simply put other defenses in the NFL are not as bad as ours has been the last 2 years. We have 10 years of evidence that there will be little falloff in the offense. Pay attention to the fact that the team went 7-9 last year while giving up an average of nearly 30 points and 3 TD passes per game.

It's not rocket science. Look at the Saints defensive stats and record the last 3 years:

Year Points Expected Points Record
-------------------------------------------
2013 304 4.34 11-5
2014 424 -147.8 7-9
2015 474 -204.1 7-9

The dropoff from excellent to really bad to flat awful is really quite stunning.

BTW the Saints offense was in the top 10 in scoring offense and top 5 in EP each of those 3 years.

The offense is the engine of the team. I agree with that. But the engine just keeps on chugging. The defense is the brake. It keeps the team from getting over the mountain. We just need to get them back to neutral. But that's a long haul from 474 points against and a -204 EP. Last year the average defense was at 365 PA with an EP of -32. During the Payton tenure every successful season had the defense below 350 PA, regardless of the offensive output. So the goal is 350 PA and an EP of 0. BTW it isn't a completely hopeless dream. Note that in 2012 the defense gave up 454 with an EP of -125. The last new DC turned it around in a single year. Here's hoping to recapturing that magic.

And this has absolutely, positively nothing to do with guards, or wide receivers, or tight ends, or Brees. Does the offense need tweaks? Probably. Should the offense be more balanced? Sure.

But it isn't a problem to be fixed. That solely lies with the defense.

SFIAH
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:29 PM   #6
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

Our line is good. It is not great.

We just don't run block for poo. And Drew is pocket savvy. And frankly our pass blocking just, well, I didn't feel good about it last year, but I'm the first to tell you that based on how I felt watching the games. I haven't looked at numbers.

So I could be wrong, but honestly I don't think I'm wrong. Maybe I'm wrong though.
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Old 05-17-2016, 12:33 PM   #7
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

you aren't wrong, it seems more and more I cringe most times Brees drops back to pass because he's about to take an unnecessary hit because this offensive line can't pass protect like it did in year's past. Hope this year Peat beats out Strief and they strike gold with one or two of these UDFAs they signed on the offensive line
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:02 PM   #8
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

O-line could use an up-grade at T and G. Got to agree about the D being FUBAR
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Old 05-17-2016, 01:58 PM   #9
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

If they can establish the run takes care of everything!!!
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Old 05-17-2016, 02:40 PM   #10
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Re: Despite common narrative, Saints do not necessarily build offensive line from inside out

Originally Posted by saintfan View Post
Our line is good. It is not great.
Sure. The defense has been awful the last two years. Not OK, not bad, not terrible, but historically awful.
We just don't run block for poo. And Drew is pocket savvy. And frankly our pass blocking just, well, I didn't feel good about it last year, but I'm the first to tell you that based on how I felt watching the games. I haven't looked at numbers.
The numbers are simple: nearly 5000 passing yards, a 100+ QB rating, overall 25+ PPG.
So I could be wrong, but honestly I don't think I'm wrong. Maybe I'm wrong though.
It doesn't matter if you are right or wrong. What matters is that it doesn't matter because the defense is so bad, so terrible, so horrible, so inept, so awful, that it doesn't make any difference.

SFIAH
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