Defense is better than you think, offense is worse

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  • #1233411
    tog
    Participant

    As there is every year, there’s a lot of blaming a unit or two for the Bucs woes. “If only the [insert X] was better, this team would be winning.” Pass rush, secondary, offensive line, kicker, you name it.

    Well guess what, the defense everyone is blaming is better than you think. And I’ll show you why.

    Everyone’s looking at the defense and seeing 31 points/game (32nd) and the offense’s 28.9 (3rd) and seeing a great offense and bad defense.

    Except, just looking at points/game ignores CONTEXT. It ignores offensive and defensive turnovers. It ignores matchups. For example, did you know the Seattle defense is worse than the Bucs?

    Let’s do this.

    1) The Bucs team is 22nd in DVOA (22nd O, 21st D).

    DVOA (from Football Outsiders) is a stat that is primarily about context. A 3 yard run on 3rd and 2 is better than an 8 yard run on 3rd and 10. 20 points against the Patriots is better than 20 points against the Dolphins. Context context context.

    There are more graphs and discussion here: https://www.pewterreport.com/forums/topic/bucs-season-so-far-bucs-d-o-discussion-mega-thread/

    In EPA/play (another great measure) the Bucs D is 16th and the Bucs O 18th.

    What is this telling us? The Bucs D and offense are both average on a per/play basis.

    So what’s going on?

    2) The Bucs O is a turnover machine. Its INSANE.

    Ready to be shocked. Not only is the Bucs O 2nd in turnovers with 21 (the D is 9th in takeaways!) but THEY’VE HAD 12 TURNOVERS IN FIELD GOAL RANGE.

    Think about that. Of 18 turnovers (3 were pick-6s) the Bucs O has turned the ball over on average at the Bucs 40 yard line. 3 turnovers have been in the Bucs 10 yard line.

    If the Bucs D plays every TO perfectly and gives up 0 yards, that’s 36 points.

    More realistically, if the Bucs D split those TOs in their end between TD/FG, it’s 60 points, plus the direct 23 points from Pick-6s/safety = 83 points in 9 games.

    In that case, the Bucs D would be 18th in points against.

    5) Unfair? Let’s look at another team – Washington

    But that’s a bit crude. Let’s compare the Bucs to a terrible team with worse QB play and roster: Washington.

    Washington is below average in giveaways with 14 (ranking 20th). Keep in mind Keenum or an unprepared Haskins are playing behind a bad OL (minus Williams) and throwing to a 3rd round rookie and Paul Richardson.

    Of those 14 turnovers, 2 have been pick-6s and 5 have been in field goal range.

    So if we use the same crude metric (split TD/FG, don’t count other TOs) the Redskins O has “given up” 23 points + 14 in pick-6s = 37 points.

    So just using this rough calculation, the Bucs O is responsible for 60.1 points/game MORE than the Redskins O. Or, 6.7 points/game which would make the Bucs D 20th in points/against.

    And again, this is ignoring the 6 other Bucs turnovers that were on the other side of the 50.

    4) Look at the other teams top 5 in giveaways

    Top 5: Giants, Bucs, Dolphins, Bengals, Browns.

    Which of those teams have good defenses? Coincidence?

    Never mind that the QBs starting are Daniel Jones, Fitz/Rosen, Dalton/Finley (had to look at that up), and Mayfield. Of course, giveaways aren’t INTs (for which the Bucs have 14th and are 1st).

    And again, the Bucs defense is 9th in turnovers with 15.

    Conclusion/ tl;dr

    I hope this back-of-the-napkin argument shows how, while the defense isn’t great and the pass defense worse, the Bucs D has been average just like the offense.

    This is without going into time-of-possession (where the Bucs O is 28th/drive) or other stats that show how deceptive just looking at points/game is.

    Like the Bucs O having the 10th best starting field position, or that the Bucs D has the 4th WORST starting field position (turnovers being a big part).

    The Bucs O is making the Bucs D look a lot worse. If the Bucs O was just AVERAGE in turnovers, the Bucs D would be ~average in points/against.

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    #1233464
    Havok904
    Participant

    Does this explain why the defense is last in passing yards allowed, 30th in touchdown passes allowed, and has opponent passing rating of 100?

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    #1233470
    TBayXXXVII
    Participant

    I think most of us have known for 4.5 years that while the defense isn’t good, the misfortunes of the offense makes them worse.

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    #1233473
    RHBucsFan
    Participant

    Does this explain why the defense is last in passing yards allowed, 30th in touchdown passes allowed, and has opponent passing rating of 100?

    No. The reason for that is that the secondary sucks.

    OP, solid fact based post. Points are where it’s at. Scoreboard.

    Our offensive turnovers are directly affecting our scores against and our win loss record. Those that want Jameis back franchised next year, you have to live with this. Jameis is a turnover machine.

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    #1233474
    RHBucsFan
    Participant

    I think most of us have known for 4.5 years that while the defense isn’t good, the misfortunes of the offense makes them worse.

    He posted this thread because clowns want to say that Jameis and his turnovers aren’t the reason we get scored against so much. They look at our defensive points allowed and say that the defense is the sole reason.

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    #1233478
    KoalaNui
    Participant

    Does this explain why the defense is last in passing yards allowed, 30th in touchdown passes allowed, and has opponent passing rating of 100?

    Stop with the relevant facts.  Can’t you see he’s on a roll?

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    #1233486
    Havok904
    Participant

    No. The reason for that is that the secondary sucks.

    OP, solid fact based post. Points are where it’s at. Scoreboard.

    Our offensive turnovers are directly affecting our scores against and our win loss record. Those that want Jameis back franchised next year, you have to live with this. Jameis is a turnover machine.
    ____
    So you can’t explain it either.
    Thanks

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    #1233488
    Havok904
    Participant

    I think most of us have known for 4.5 years that while the defense isn’t good, the misfortunes of the offense makes them worse.
    _____
    That still doesn’t answer the question

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    #1233491
    kenntak
    Participant

    @Tog, you depressed me more, lol. I am glad that you posted that analysis, because so many people judge the offense by how many yards it makes. If I recall correctly, Winston is in the top three in passing yardage, but he and the other two QBs are on losing teams. I would rather brag about wins than Winston passing for the 3rd most yards.

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    #1233511
    Watchman
    Participant

    Does this explain why the defense is last in passing yards allowed, 30th in touchdown passes allowed, and has opponent passing rating of 100?

    That’s easy, the Bucs pass D is horrible.  Has been for a while.  Which is why our “franchise QB” putting the D in such terrible position over and over and over again (going on 5 years now) is such a problem.

     

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    #1233515
    BucBalla85
    Participant

    I think the OP makes good points. I dont think its that big of a stretch to say that this D isnt as bad as we have thought they have been and the O hasnt been as good as we have thought. Turnovers should definitely factor in.

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    #1233519
    BucBalla85
    Participant

    Does this explain why the defense is last in passing yards allowed, 30th in touchdown passes allowed, and has opponent passing rating of 100?

    The Bucs D sucks but the offense turning the ball over doesnt help said sucky defense. With the numbers our O has put up they should be winning more games. Why arent they? Its not just the crappy pass D. Other things are at play too. Have to think about it all.

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    #1233527
    Jon Gruden
    Participant

    Your DVOA stats are all well and good. But they are skewed by how great the rushing defense looks. I bet if you pulled stats for passing defense DVOA they would tell a different story. Teams just stop running on the Bucs because it’s so easy to stroll into the end zone if they throw the ball.

    We made Daniel Jones look like an MVP candidate. Think about that.

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    #1233530
    Nobody
    Participant

    @Havok904

    DVOA doesn’t attempt to answer the why question you’re asking. It just attempts to answer what is with context.

    DVOA-wise we are:

    #1 Rush Defense

    #27 Pass Defense

     

    Why are such a poor pass defense?

    Overwhelmingly it’s (in no particular order):

    1) Poor coverage and open field tackling by our Rookie DBs, our Rookie ILB, and VH3. In particular it’s the quick game, first read losses (where Pass Rush has no chance).

    2) Being outschemed in key moments.

    3) Commitment to assets in the Run Game.

    4) Offensive Turnovers creating game situations favorable to the Passing Game.

     

    In the modern NFL, the Passing Game is much more important than the running game. So I would say that you have to weight your defensive ranking toward your Pass Defense ranking. As such, I would say that whole our overall DVOA is 22, we’re a little worse than that given our overall poor Pass D and our relatively limited Forced Turnovers.

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    #1233531
    Detrimental
    Participant

    Good post OP, but imo even if Winston kept the turnovers to a minimum, this pass defense would just average more yards per game/drive. I have no confidence in this defense keeping teams from stopping the pass.

    New DB’s new coaches and its the same problem.

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