Carolina CB Josh Norman is off the market– Photo by: Mark LoMoglio/PR
There’s new leadership guiding the Tampa Bay offense this season but one nagging issue that persists from 2014 is an inability to get the ball to receivers with room to run.
The Bucs’ top two non-running back pass catchers – receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson – rank 150th and 179th, respectively, in yards after catch among all NFL players. According to stats compiled by SportingCharts.com, 115 of the duo’s 657 combined receiving yards have come after the catch. Evans’ average YAC figure is 3.1 and Jackson’s is 2.4.
This is a continuing trend from last season when Evans and Jackson each went for over 1,000 yards receiving but picked up just 339 combined after the catch.
Also like 2014, Tampa Bay’s two current leaders in YAC are running backs. Last year it was Bobby Rainey and Charles Sims, this year it’s Sims and Doug Martin.
Running backs get up among the league leaders in this statistical category because of short screen passes and dump-offs in the flats. Seven of the current top 20 NFL players in YAC are backs, led by San Diego’s Danny Woodhead (448 such yards).
Tampa Bay, however, is the only team in the league to have running backs be its top two YAC leaders this season and for all of 2014.
Sims is 26th overall in this category, with 197 of his 210 receiving yards coming after the catch, and Martin is 80th by racking up 121 of his 129 yards with his legs.
Only Minnesota’s top two non-running back YAC players – wideouts Stefon Diggs and Mike Wallace – rank outside of the top 100 players like Evans and Jackson in Tampa Bay. Both tandems are the only ones under 200 combined yards after reception in the league – 168 for Diggs-Wallace and 115 for Evans-Jackson.
The NFL average for a team’s top two non-running back YAC leaders is 304 yards, paced by New England tight end Rob Gronkowski and receiver Julian Edelman combining for 502.
So if the Bucs want to improve on their 23rd ranked passing attack, figuring out how to let Evans, Jackson and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins extend plays would go a long way. In less than two full games played, Seferian-Jenkins has actually compiled more yards after the reception (62) than Jackson (50).
Aside from needing all three to be healthy and on the field at the same time, this can be improved with quarterback Jameis Winston hitting receivers in stride and on target on dig routes, slants and posts – something he struggled with throughout training camp and preseason, even in non-contact 7-on-7 drills with no pass rush.
Granted he may have been getting lit up no matter what by Washington safety Dashon Goldson last week, but a look back at the play Jackson was injured on shows an example of this.
Considering where Evans and Jackson rank among other NFL players this year – 150th and 179th – and where they were last year – 141st and 166th – and that different quarterbacks were delivering them balls and different personnel was calling the plays, there’s a responsibility on the receivers’ end to make things happen as well.
The offense has played good enough for us to be 4-2. Lets stay focus on the elephant in the room? This is one of the worse defenses we have had and you can’t go by stats on this one; just watching the game says it all. We have no impact players on defense. I hope I have to eat my words after the Falcon game.
Good point Eric. Our receivers, especially V-Jax, always look like they’re finishing the Ring Around the Rosie game when “they all fall down.”
Better yet, our defense needs to give up less YAC. Mariota hasn’t won a game since shredding us, Mallett’s been waived since carving us. Now we face Ryan, and Jones. We may all be yaccing after this one.
Good points surfer. It’s amazing at some of the garbage and backup qb’s that Lovies defense has lost to. I would be happy to see the Falcons punter more than once today.
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