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Pass To Get The Lead, Run To Keep It

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Pass To Get The Lead, Run To Keep It

Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin is old school - in a bad way.

Old school football guys, many of which work in television as commentators, like to talk about needing to 'establish the run' and the importance of doing so when it comes to winning football games.

Nothing could be further from the truth in today's NFL.

Mike Vandermause gives us Philbin's quote on his hopes for the running game in 2009:

Boy I'd love to see us run 32-34 times a game where we need to split up the carries a little better...We haven’t been that type of a team consistently. We’ve had spurts where we ran it that much but we need to get it up in the 30s on a consistent basis. When that happens the way the game unfolds dictates that you balance it out a little better. When you’re running it 24 times, it’s a little different.

How many times you run it per game is really immaterial. If the bulk of those carries come in the 4th quarter, you're usually winning. If the majority of those snaps come in the first half, you're most likely losing.

Vandermause then gives us the following:

The Packers ran the ball on 43% of their offensive plays last season, which includes scrambles by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. The year before, in Brett Favre’s final season in Green Bay, the Packers ran on 39% of their offensive plays. In Mike McCarthy’s first season as head coach in 2006, the Packers ran on 40% of their plays.

Let's put that together, shall we?

  1. 2008: 43% running plays = 6-10
  2. 2007: 39% running plays = 13-3
  3. 2006: 40% running plays = 8-8

Keep chucking it Mike.

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (11) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

Rainman's picture

I wonder if those percentages are skewed for the 2007 season? The first 6 games the packers were extremely pass happy it probably went up after for games 7 on. I agree though they seem to be built to "pass to set up the run".

Jayme's picture

I think this goes along the lines of the article you posted earlier. Since so many rules changes are put into effect to protect the QB and increase scoring, there is basically no reason for teams to put a huge amount of emphasis on the run. It's almost absurd to prioritize running the ball, assuming equal talent in both the passing and running games, since there are so many advantages given to QBs/receivers over the defense.
Of course, if you have Adrian Peterson on your team, it is in your own best interest to run the ball as often as is feasible.

packeraaron's picture

Rainman - the attempts went up as the weather turned and Grant was established, but they were still a very pass-heavy team.

Rainman's picture

Sorry, that was meant to be a response agreeing with you. It must just be a reflex left over from an earlier post.

packeraaron's picture

No worries. Between the Backup Quarterback Post and the PackSmack Feud on Religion, I'm in need of a long weekend without blogging ;)

Brian Carriveau's picture

You hear about a new emphasis on the run every year, and it never changes. That kind of stuff goes in one ear and out the other for me. It's almost impossible to find balance even for teams with good running games. When you're behind and when there's not much time in either half, you have no choice but to pass significantly more than run.

InFact's picture

Another interesting comparison would be the % difference between five-receiver set attempts in 2007 (13-3 season) vs. 2008 (6-10 season).

I'll bet the % was 10% more + in 2007 vs. 2008.


packeraaron's picture

Not sure of the exact numbers, but I remember reading somewhere that it was way down. A lot of that can be put down to Jones' injury problems. There was still a liberal use of 5 'reciever' sets, usually with Donald Lee or a running back in one of the slots.

coreyb's picture

Ok I'll give you 3 years. But if you have Ahman Green healthy and a REAL offensive line then you can run more.

What do the last 3 YEARS have in common.

The crappiest O-Lines since 1991. Yeah I said it. But I completely agree when you have the receivers, QB, RB and line we have today. Let's toss the ball this year. 5 receivers in Double Digit TD's. That would be hot. Greatest Show on Tundra.

Ron La Canne's picture

Run, pass whatever works. Score early and often. And, don't ever go to a prevent defense, ever.

Ron La Canne's picture

Amen, Corey! TT's selections for the Oline are less than stellar. Stellar? They are pretty much CRAP!

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