NFL Offense Observations Through Week 7
Through 7 weeks of the NFL season many offenses have formed an identity and the patterns they are showing now are likely going to hold mostly true through the rest of the season. Using the NFL Team Yardage Breakdown by Player tool I’ve found a few interesting patterns that I think are worth pointing out.
It may take a second to get used to, but once you know how to read them they’re very simple. The height of the bar indicates the total yardage gained by each player. The color shows yards per play. Dark green is the highest and it begins turning red at 3.5 yards per play. The width of the bar indicates the number of plays by each player. If there is a second bar on top for a given player – the top bar is for pass plays and the bottom bar is for run plays. The labels show the number of plays on top and the number of touchdowns underneath.
The Ravens have a complete inability to run the ball. Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce are both averaging 2.8 yards per carry which is not going to sustain drives. That leaves the passing game as the only viable option, but Torrey Smith has been the only productive pass catcher. Surprisingly, (at least to me) Smith leads the league in total receiving yards. He’s gaining 89 yards per game through the air, and that’s with a 1 catch for 12 yards performance against the Packers. I doubt the running game will round into form considering it appears to be an offensive line issue since neither running back has been able to produce. I would think a 2nd receiver could emerge if defenses start blanketing Smith more and the Ravens are forced to throw 40-50 times per game.
St. Louis Rams
I’m amazed with how poorly Jared Cook has performed since his breakout Week 1 that he still leads the Rams in yardage. Chris Givens is next in line and he’s been just as bad. With Sam Bradford out for the year I’d be surprised if the Rams win more than 1 game the rest of the year. Zac Stacy has been the lone bright spot, but defenses will likely key on the run now and dare Kellen Clemens to beat them.
Even though he’s the “name brand” guy in the Dolphins offense, Mike Wallace has really been just another guy so far this year. Charles Clay has been the biggest red zone option and Brandon Gibson is the possession/3rd down receiver so Wallace just isn’t featured much outside of deep targets 1-2 times per game. However, Ryan Tannehill has been fairly efficient passing the ball as indicated by the high yards per play (dark green) for all of his WR’s and TE. All 3 Miami receivers could have a productive 2nd half of the year.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Now that Doug Martin is out for an extended period of time, I’m not sure what will happen to the Bucs offense. Martin was their bell-cow who carried the ball almost 19 times per game. I don’t know if Mike James can handle that kind of workload so I suspect their pass attempts per game would increase. If that happens another receiver will be desperately needed to emerge because defenses should begin to key on Vincent Jackson. VJax has been targeted 36 times in the 2 weeks after their Week 5 bye with Mike Glennon under center and no other WR has even 5 targets. My thought would be Mike Williams, but it could be Kevin Ogletree or even TE Tim Wright.
You can use the tool to do your own analysis on your favorite team and filter by any given game situation you’d like to see.