Analytics and the Bucs Offensive Line

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  • #1250203
    Pennywise
    Participant

    With or without winston?,

    3 weeks ago you said deal with it,Winston will get new contract.

    Now you sound not so sure,or are you just trying to be right? So you throw every scenario out there?

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    #1250249
    tog
    Participant

    When your O’line is near the bottom of the league in run blocking and pass protection that should be an indication that there is improvement to be had. I can simply go by eye test to see this O’line underperforms and in my opinion (with the improved play of the secondary) is the weakest unit on this team.

    Except how do you factor in scheme and QB?

    1) Winston had the 9th best Pocket Time in the NFL, per Pro Football Reference, with an average of 2.5 seconds between the snap and the pocket collapsing.

    2) Winston has always held onto the ball a longtime, only slightly improving on his 2018 2.80 seconds to 2.77 in 2019. In comparison, Brees with his “good” OL gets the ball out in 2.57 seconds.

    3) Arians has never had a good OL. His scheme asks the OL to block a long time.

    If you don’t factor scheme/QB in, your eye test is going to be wrong. You can luck into the right answer, but it’s not because of your “eye test”.

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    #1250253
    Hockey Duckie
    Participant

    What I like about FBO is that they’re based upon production whereas PFF does have some bias on who is to blame or give credit.  This is where FBO is a more reliable source of information as it’s a conservative recording as opposed to subjective recording.

    I’ll do the breakdown for FBO’s Run Blocking sub-categories.

    • Overall (adjusted Line yards):  Is a composite yard production for the Oline.  Loss yards is 120% the OLine’s fault.  0-4 yards gained is 100% the OLine.  5-10 yards gained is 50% OLine.  11+ yards gained is 0% Oline.
    • Power:  Gains of 1-3 yards for a “first down”.  The carrier is a RB or a QB.  This is a measure of the OLine at the Line of Scrimmage.
    • Stuffed: Gains of zero or negative yards for all situations.  The carrier is only the RB.  This is a measure of the OLine at the Line of Scrimmage.
    • 2nd Lvl: Gains of 5-10 yards.  The carrier is only the RB.  This is a measure of the Oline opening holes to the 2nd level.
    • Open Field: Gains of 10+ yards.  The carrier is only the RB.  This is a measure of the RB.

    NOTE:  Adjusted Line Yards isn’t raw yards gained.

    I can explain this through practice, Bucs Run Blocking rankings from 2014 – 2019.

    • 2014: Overall = 32, Power = 7, Stuff = 32, 2nd lvl = 25, OF = 13
    • 2015: Overall = 9, Power = 8, Stuff = 13, 2nd lvl = 13, OF = 1
    • 2016: Overall = 21, Power = 32, Stuff = 32, 2nd lvl = 25, OF = 28
    • 2017: Overall = 16, Power = 12, Stuff = 17, 2nd lvl = 31, OF = 30
    • 2018: Overall = 31, Power = 22, Stuff = 30, 2nd lvl = 27, OF = 6
    • 2019: Overall = 23, Power = 29, Stuff = 30, 2nd lvl = 28, OF = 27

    In 2014: LT Collins, LG Mankins, C EDS, RG ?, RT Dotson.  Collins was a FA failure signing by GM Licht.  OC was Arroyo (because Tedford had heart stent problems).  RB = Doug Martin & Sims

    In 2015: LT Smith, LG Mankins, C Hawley, RG Marpet, RT Cherilus.  C EDS was injured and then lost his starting position.  RT Dotson was injured most of the season.  Mankins came into camp in great shape and was a Pro Bowl guard.  Smith and Marpet were rookies.  RB = Martin & Sims.  Martin proved he was explosive once he got to the 2nd level as he made the OLine look great, ranking 1st in Open Field.

    In 2016:  LT Smith, LG Pamphile, C Hawley, RG Marpet, RT Dotson.  The loss of Mankins due to retirement blew the OLine completely.  Both Martin and Sims had the same broken tackle rates in 2016 as they did in 2015, but they were often fighting it in the backfield as opposed to it in the 2nd level.

    In 2017: LT Smith, LG Pamphile, C Marpet, RG Sweezy, RT Dotson.  None of the guards were mobile enough to get to the 2nd level.  Sweezy couldn’t bend his back as he was stiff after a year off due to back problems.  Martin and Sims were well in zone blocking schemes (ZBS) that require mobile guards.  Peyton Barber is a north-south runner that fits a man-scheme, which requires little talent on the OLine.  Marpet carried the interior forward with his physicality and strength, but his guards couldn’t open lanes to the 2nd level.  All we could do was to fall forward.  Martin and Sims would be exposed often in ZBS looking for openings.

    In 2018: LT Smith, LG Marpet, C Jensen, RG Benenoch, RT Dotson.  Notice how the Power and Stuffed rankings dropped.  Jensen and Benenoch were turnstiles with no physicality or push.  Jensen was signed to be the highest paid center in the NFL this season and was a failure.  Cappa couldn’t beat out Benenoch at LG, which was also a personnel failure for GM Licht in 2018.  Surprisingly, our RB did get some scarce looks into the 2nd level and exploited it as they ranked 6th in Open Field.

    In 2019:  LT Smith, LG Marpet, C Jensen, RG Cappa, RT Dotson.  While both Jensen and Cappa came into the season better than last season, they were worse in the individual categories.

    Here’s where I’ll show Adjusted Line yards vs Raw yards.

    • 2018:  Adjusted line yards = 3.78 yds, Raw yards = 3.55 yards
    • 2019: Adjusted line yards = 3.99 yds, Raw yards = 3.59 yards

    Remember, the Adjusted Line yards is composite percentage applied to yards lost or gained for the Oline production.  The Raw production is the actual yards gained by our RB’s.

    The adjusted line yards reveals that we were more OLine dependent to garner yards on the ground in 2019 than in 2018.  That’s both good and bad.  The good is our Oline play produced most of the yards, but the bad is our Raw production was similar to 2018’s Raw production.

    What this means is that our RBs were able to do more in 2018 than in 2019.  And that’s scary because with better talent on the OLine in 2019, our Raw production barely increased.  This is reflective in the low rankings in Power, Stuffed, and 2nd level categories for 2019.

    It’s a bad identification to know the Raw production was similar in 2018 (3.55 yards) and 2019 (3.59 yards).  With a vastly improved C Jensen play with RG Cappa in the lineup, we didn’t do more damage with our RB’s.  And these are the RB’s we had in 2018 in Barber and Rojo.  And the fact they couldn’t get more yards in the Open Field in 2019 is even more deflating.

    In short, this year our OLine was more dependent on earning rushing yards, but we still didn’t get more rushing yards (Raw production).  This should be considered a failure for the run game.

    Here’s the funny part. On ESPN stats, the rushing yards per game in 2019 was 95.1 yards.  Our rushing yards per game in 2018 was 95.2 yards.

    ***

    From my research (that I’ve done throughout the years), our Oline worked best when we had TWO great maulers in guards.  This was proven in 2015.  We haven’t had two great maulers in guards since.

    But when we put Marpet at center, he literally controlled the Line of Scrimmage (LoS)!  Unfortunately, he had no guards that were athletically enough to open holes to the 2nd level.  I don’t know why we didn’t keep Marpet at center.  This becomes more perplexing when I do the Pass Blocking in another post.

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    #1250294
    tog
    Participant

    From my research (that I’ve done throughout the years), our Oline worked best when we had TWO great maulers in guards.  This was proven in 2015.  We haven’t had two great maulers in guards since.

    But when we put Marpet at center, he literally controlled the Line of Scrimmage (LoS)!  Unfortunately, he had no guards that were athletically enough to open holes to the 2nd level.  I don’t know why we didn’t keep Marpet at center.  This becomes more perplexing when I do the Pass Blocking in another post.

    I think the deeper problem is poor drafting that mis-matches talent and scheme.

    To me it’s not the maulers, it’s that more mobile OL like Jensen and Marpet are a poor fit for “maulers” like D Smith.

    The OL in 2018, for example, was a mis-match of strengths that couldn’t build on one scheme. If you’re going to power run, draft those types of OL. If you’re going to more zone or gap, draft that.

    Instead, it’s a patchwork that doesn’t work. Never mind, I don’t like Arians/Leftwich’s run scheme.

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    #1250298
    buc_boi
    Participant

    Top 5 offensive line with a QBs who knows what they’re doing.

     

    itll stay middle of the pack, at best, so long Winstons under center.

    Just like our losing record

     

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    #1250429
    Hockey Duckie
    Participant

    @Tog,

    To run ZBS, you need talented OLine personnel.  To run man, you don’t need that talented a product.  The problem is we haven’t had a strong enough talent across the board.  Yet, 2015 and 2017 happened.

    In 2015, we did have D. Smith work b/c we had LG Mankins in shape for that season.  People forget that Hawley and Cherilus were our starting center and RT respectively for that season.  The dominant players on OLine that year were Mankins and Marpet.

    To me, Licht has tried to be cute too many times without shoring up talent in the OLine properly for the longevity of the team.  When Marpet was transitioned to center, coach Warhop had already told Marpet that he would go to center when he was drafted.  That was the long term plan.  In 2017, Marpet was impressive for a first year center.  If we held onto Sweezy and drafted a LG in 2018, our OLine would have performed far better than making C Jensen the highest paid center and hope.  We could have traded up for LG Will Hernandez or Braden Smith at the bottom of the first (NE) or top of the 2nd round (Cle) in 2018.

    Licht isn’t loading the OLine with talent across the board, which Koetter has been using his RB’s and TE’s to great effect to mask Licht’s flaw.  Licht believe OT/OG Kevin Pamphile was an answer at LG for two seasons in 2016 and 2017.  Why?!  Then Licht believed that signed C Jensen and putting Benenoch at RG with Cappa to vie for that spot was an answer as well in 2018.  It was not.  Now, with a better play from Jensen and Cappa in 2019, we’re still struggling.  The weakest link is Cappa at this point and Dotson is getting up there in age.

    2018 PFF ratings (16 games)

    • LT Smith = 66.4
    • RT Marpet = 73.2
    • C Jensen = 54.9
    • RG Benenoch = 43.6 (Cappa was worse)
    • RT Dotson =  67.3

    ***

    2019 PFF ratings (10 games)

    • LT Smith = 68.6
    • RT Marpet = 70.7
    • C Jensen = 61.2
    • RG Cappa = 59.7
    • RT Dotson =  64.1

    We were 3 – 7 at this point of the season.  Then we face four weak teams in a row, Houston, and finished against a resurgent Falcons team once they got their starting RG back.

    2019 PFF ratings (16 games)

    • LT Smith = 70.8
    • RT Marpet = 72.3
    • C Jensen = 79.3
    • RG Cappa = 62.7
    • RT Dotson =  71.0

    In the final six games, we went 4-2.  We lost the last two games against Houston and Atlanta.  What I don’t get is how Jensen’s rating jumped that high when he was the fourth best OLineman after 10 games.

    Defensive rush rankings (last six games, opponents)

    • Game 11: Atl, 15th
    • Game 12: Jax, 28th
    • Game 13: Indy, 7th
    • Game 14: Det, 21st
    • Game 15: Hou, 25th
    • Game 16: Atl, 15th

    Atlanta’s rush defense was terrible against us in both games.  Against Indy, we managed only 67 total yards on the ground.

    Anyhow, FBO says we still suck as a running team and PFF says Cappa is the weakest link.  The raw production was the same as last year.  PFF does denote improvement for our OLine individually, but we still don’t know how to run the ball.  This is something I didn’t think was possible, but that’s what the numbers reveal.  Sad. We had better Oline coaching last year.  ha ha ha ha

     

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    #1250513
    buc_boi
    Participant

    Funny how not a soul had an issue with PFF when the bucs oline was ranked 24th, but now all of a sudden PFF is “ biased” because we improved.

     

    its like some of you WANT to hate this team.

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    #1250593
    Nobody
    Participant

    @tog

    As an addendum to your post here, check out the final data and play breakdown of all of our 2019, designed runs on 3rd/4th and short and 3rd/4th and goal to go in short yardage.

    My takeaway is simple from that:

    1)  FBO’s Power Success has some noise to it and that is surely impacting every team’s % and the NFL average % derived.

    2)  We were quite successful in these situations minus one single game (which damages our overall dataset and skews any perception derived on that gross %).  We were nearly 2/3 success rate for 15 games.

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    #1250694
    Hockey Duckie
    Participant

    Funny how not a soul had an issue with PFF when the bucs oline was ranked 24th, but now all of a sudden PFF is “ biased” because we improved.

    its like some of you WANT to hate this team.

    I don’t follow PFF for team grades, just track individual grades (knowing full well there is some bias on credit – kinda like how hockey home teams give credit to shots on goal, it varies).

    But I suppose when PFF had the OLine at 24th overall and it also matched other site ratings on OLine rankings such as FBO, then it’s a consistent thought.  It’s when PFF and FBO have two extreme rankings is where confusion arises.  PFF ranks the Bucs’ Oline as a top-10 OLine, but FBO ranks them 23rd in run block and 22nd in pass blocking.  They’re not even close.

    At least with FBO, they’re using raw data produced by the teams.  When they alter it, they identify it by calling it “adjusted”.  With PFF, Jensen went from the 4th best OLinemen on the team to the best OLineman on the team.  That’s a whopping 18.1 PFF rating jump in only 6 games.  That’s crazy!  No one else on the team had higher than a 6.0 PFF rating jump.

    PFF does deserve a lot of credit for the work they put in, but they’re not as reliable because they have different people rating different players and teams.  They don’t truly know what play was called and assume too much to giving credit, both bad and good – which several coaches have stated often.  FBO mostly utilizes the raw data anyone sees on ESPN, but they also have a rigid rubric on grading.

    Now, footballreference.com does have individual ratings on players via CAV (Career Average Value), but they knock a player down if they don’t play games.  So you gotta be careful when using footballreference when looking at a player’s AV with respect to games played.

    There’s a lot of nuances to statistics online.  And it takes a whole lot of time to understand them.  But the more info the better b/c when a lot of them match, then we know for sure.  LoL

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    #1250953
    tog
    Participant

    @hockey-duckie

    I’m not quite following your point unless it’s that the OL run blocking didn’t improve this year. In which case, totally agree.

    And of course completely agree Licht has screwed up bringing in talent on the OL.

    I’d actually argue you need MORE talent for a man/gap scheme because you need the size/strength. The beauty of ZBS is you can get away with smaller blockers who are just more mobile. For a long time ZBS was to OL what Tampa 2 was to CBS – you could get away with less talent and a different skillset. If you think this has changed, I’d be interested in your reasoning.

    Either way, that’s tangential.

    I’ll add as well that Arians scheme has very rarely produced a strong rushing performance.



    @nobody

    This discussion is now in two places, but I think FBO’s “Power Success” is of course limited. In some ways I think the title is a little disingenuous. And why not include rushes on 3rd/4th down with 3 yards to go?

    I’m less concerned with a single-game skewing the data set. In large part because there are other factors that inherently skew the dataset like injuries and opponent.

    “Power success” has to be included with other data – it’s not reliable enough (as you point out) to be used on its own.

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    #1250959
    Biggs3535
    Participant

    I’d actually argue you need MORE talent for a man/gap scheme because you need the size/strength. The beauty of ZBS is you can get away with smaller blockers who are just more mobile. For a long time ZBS was to OL what Tampa 2 was to CBS – you could get away with less talent and a different skillset. If you think this has changed, I’d be interested in your reasoning.

    Agreed completely.  The Quenton Nelson’s of the world that can just man-handle opposing players are much more difficult to find than zone-blockers.

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    #1252941
    Hockey Duckie
    Participant

    @ Tog,

    You need more strength in Man/Power.  People can bulk up, but it’s the athleticism that needs addressing.  Please note how Jensen was referred to as a mean SOB and that Cappa is a bouncer.  Great.  Now, what about Marpet?  Marpet is just amazing and his mockdraftable web trait reflects not only is he strong, but very athletic too.

    This isn’t tangential.  This is directly related.  Otherwise, stop using all the stats you’re putting up because you have no idea how they’re “directly” utilized if you can’t figure out that you need more talent for ZBS than Man.  An offense should be able to run both so as to not be predictable.  With Marpet at center, he can run both ZBS or Man.  When we discovered our OG’s had no lateral movement, we went with Man/Power and simply fell forward on run plays.  On pass plays, we were amazing as Winston was able to step up into the pocket that Marpet held like he was a Spartan at Thermopylae as LT Smith’s pushing arc no longer had Winston falling too far back into that arc push.

    This is the point of drafting OL in the first or second rounds because they are strong and talented to begin with.  Both Jensen and Cappa took some time to become NFL players, though I think Cappa would have been easily displaced if we drafted OT Dalton Risner to play RG last year.  Licht has been relying on late round picks to develop in OT Edwards, OT Pamphile, OT Benenoch, and OT Cappa.  Licht’s FA OL acquisitions also haven’t panned out well in OT Collins, C Evan Smith, OG JR Sweezy, and C Ryan Jensen.  Licht did trade for LG Mankins, but Mankins was terrible in his first year here, then a Pro Bowl the next year (with Marpet as his RG), but also retired after year 2.

    Koetter proved he can have a run game, but he needs talented interior OL – preferably two mauling guards with above average lateral movement.  Arians has had the most complete line under GM Licht with respect to talent.  In 2015, Koetter was playing two backups for most of the season with C Joe Hawley (whom we picked up off from the streets) for 15 games and RT Cherilus (who is a turnstile) for 13 games.

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