Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Nov 2005

FO in the NYTimes: Decline in Offense is Leaving 2004 in N.F.L. Record Books

Remember the golden age of offense? Man, I remember it like it was just a few months ago. Thanks to the New York Times for once again inviting me to write the weekly Keeping Score column. (free registration or bugmenot required)

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Nov 2005

3 comments, Last at 08 Nov 2005, 4:15pm by Tom Kelso


by ZH (not verified) :: Sat, 11/05/2005 - 9:41pm

Good article, but I would like to point out something else. A lot of teams in games I have watched this season seem to have DB's play a little more off WR's than in years past. This helps take away the deep ball, so the offense uses more short passes. Then when the receiver touches the ball, he gets slammed by a corner or safty, and often doesn't catch it. And even if the receiver does catch it, he is usually immediately tackled, and so he doesn't get long gains. I remember the NYG-SF game week 1 2002 (opening night if I remember correctly), in which the Giants (particularly the much maligned Will Allen) held T.O. to 41 yds on 4 rec using such a strategy. The problem with using this strategy much is that too many DB's are not good tacklers or hitters and don't time their hits well. But when a team's DB's are good at timing hits, this strategy is effective.

by tom (not verified) :: Sun, 11/06/2005 - 9:04am

That makes a lot of sense if you're trying to eliminate big plays and wait for the mistake (and also resembles how DBs play in Madden, I can't help but notice!). I can imagine RBs would have a good game receiving against that kind of defence, though, as flat passes to the back usually get it to them in the open field, and you've then got a situation where the cbs are looking to bring down a team's best runner.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Tue, 11/08/2005 - 4:15pm

Congratulations, Aaron; you are now officially part of the cognoscenti -- I'm being told I have to sign up for Times Select to read you.

Anyone else having this problem?