Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

08 Oct 2007

Alge Crumpler Knows Bad Offense When He Sees It

Bobby Petrino's Louisville offenses were consistently among the best in college football. His pro offense? Not so much. Against Tennessee, Petrino benched an ineffective Joey Harrington for the recently-signed Byron Leftwich, but the results were much the same. Four of the last five Atlanta possessions started in Tennessee territory and netted zero points, leaving tight end Alge Crumpler to publicly question Petrino's playcalling. It may be time for Bill Simmons to pack away his Ewing Theory for the year.

Posted by: Sean McCormick on 08 Oct 2007

20 comments, Last at 09 Oct 2007, 11:54am by RickD


by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 2:51pm

Apparently, Algae Crumpler does not know a bad offense when he sees it. He's been playing in one for the last couple seasons. They only had a positive DVOA for team offense in 2005, and if you check it out, its due to their ground game (i.e. Michael Vick running around).

by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 2:51pm

This misspelling of Crumpler's name was unintentional...but kind of funny.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 2:51pm

I'm guessing Tennessee's defense had something to do with the bad Atlanta offense.

by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 3:16pm

Why does no other team attempt to emulate the Colts offense? I know that not every QB is Peyton Manning, but you'd think someone would try the stretch play as their basic running play, and PA off of it.

Most successful teams are emulated, but I have yet to see anyone go the Colts route? Do teams think that without Peyton to run it, they shouldn't even try?

Maybe an offense has emulated it, and I haven't seen it. I don't see any other offense predicated off the stretch, and it seems to open things up a bit by forcing the defense to go left and right constantly.

by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 3:28pm

Why does no other team attempt to emulate the Colts offense?
I think the Patriots are trying that (zone-blocking/stretch-running combined with play-action) this year, but Maroney has been injured the past two games and Morris is more of a straight-ahead runner.

by Not The Great Babe Laufenberg (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 3:52pm

The flip dismissal "not so much" by now has got to be the #1 tritest, most overworked phrase in Internet discussions. Other smarmy expressions? Not so mu- ah, almost got me there!

And oh yeah, Atlanta's offense really sucks.

by Tom (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 4:07pm

Isn't the Denver (and now Houston) offense based on stretch plays and PA?

by Nathan (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 4:14pm

agreed on not so much. it's been over used for quite awhile now.

i love when things like that hit corporate offices. not so much has reached fist bump threat level.

by Sisyphus (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 4:28pm

The stretch play is pretty much basic and played at about every level of the game. In the NFL several teams use it as part of their normal package because it is the basic running play of all zone-blocking offensive lines. The limitation isn't so much the quarterback as the running back and offensive line. The running back has to have great vision because the play doesn't develop holes but rather seams, gaps that are fluid and open and close pretty quickly. The linemen have to be quick, as opposed to fast and move their target by using the defenders own momentum against him.

The ability of the quarterback to play action off of the stretch is another matter entirely. The handoff takes place in open space and it does require the QB to be very consistent in following through with the same motion, handoff or play fake.

by Lance (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 4:32pm

"Why does no other team attempt to emulate the Colts offense?"

Last time I checked there was only one Peyton Manning.

by C (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 4:50pm

Re: #4

I think that the Bronco's have been running the stretch/bootleg-off-stretch for even longer than the Colts. Given that the two teams have won three of the last ten Super Bowl's, you'd think that more teams would use it.

And sure, both teams won with top 10 all time QB's, but other than DEN-2006 and 1999 and IND-2002, neither team has been below tenth in Offensive DVOA (ignoring the Colts before Manning). Meaning Brian Griese and Jake Plummer have helmed powerful offenses in this scheme.

Perhaps its the difficulty of getting the smaller quicker OLinemen? Getting ones who are quick enough to shuffle over, but stout enough to pass block seems like it ought to be difficult, but given the way the Broncos and Colts have let all of their RG, LG, and RT's go it must not be that hard to find non LT's and C's for the system.

by Truman (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 4:57pm

Stating that the results were much the same with Leftwich is an insult to Joey Harrington. Leftwich was pathetic.

The problem with this team is still the offensive line. Funny how that running game disappears without teams accounting for Vick on every play - the line just gets pushed into the backfield and there are no lanes for the backs.

I don't think the problem is with the playcalling, its light years ahead of what greg Knapp was doing last year.

by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 5:10pm

"The problem with this team is still the offensive line. Funny how that running game disappears without teams accounting for Vick on every play - the line just gets pushed into the backfield and there are no lanes for the backs."

You do realize that the Falcons were a zone blocking team when Vick was there, and are now a power blocking offense, right? The offensive line looks bad because they have small fast lineman, and they're being asked to push down bigger defensive lineman.

by Sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 7:06pm

The highlights (er, lowlights) of Leftwich were among the worst I'd ever seen. They showed multiple passes so far overthrown you couldn't even tell who he was throwing to.

by The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 7:10pm

Re: 13

Maybe the Falcons and Redskins should trade offensive lines. Or offensive strategies.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 8:00pm

4. Greg Knapps offense was based off the stretch play right, and bootlegs from Mike Vick.

The opponents weakside DE ( and WILL) had to honor Vicks ability to bootleg and it gave the offense favorable matchups.

Their entire offense last year was based off the stretch/Bootleg, and they ran a lot of option keepers too.

There was little to no thinking at all from Vick. Even many of his pass plays were just bootlegs where Crumpler would run drag routes with him.

Quarterbacks can't do what Manning does because...
1. They don't fully understand what they see.
2. Their teammates fully don't understand what they see.
3. Their coach isn't confident enougn to let them call their own plays/audibles enough.

Manning is so damn good he makes it look easy.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 10/08/2007 - 8:05pm

7 you are correct, Denver and Houston run a lot of that too. It allows dumb quarterbacks like Jake Plumber and Mike Vick to look better than they are because they don't have to read a defense the way a trational offense requires.

#9 you are correct.

14- but everybody was so upset when Del Rio dropped Byron for Garrard. You know Byron... the quarterback who wouldn't even talk to his head coach?

by emcee fleshy (atl/sd) (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2007 - 2:56am

Two minutes left, seven points down.
1st and Goal from the 1.

Highest paid Fullback ever, brought in just for this type of situation. . . doesn't touch the ball.

Alge looks right on the merits - the team isn't competitive. But evidence aside, Crumpler's one of the only guys in the NFL that I have enough respect for that I'd be willing to just take his word for it.

by Truman (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2007 - 3:27am

#13 Yeah, the pass-blocking has been better this year, and the personnel are a bad fit.
They also suffer from teams not having to account for Vick on every play.

by RickD (not verified) :: Tue, 10/09/2007 - 11:54am

re: 10
"Last I checked there was only one Peyton Manning."

But there's an Eli...

(OK, I thought that was good for a laugh.)