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Matts4313

Run Game is largely irrelevant

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Posted (edited)

This is a repost of one I made in the Cowboys forum. Thought some of you may be interested:

Ive gotten this stigma that I hate Zeke because I think he is a jerk. I dont hate Zeke. In fact, as a player, he is probably the second best position excluded (behind Martin) on our whole team. And this past year, he helped make himself much more valuable. Not because his rushing. That doesnt matter. Its because he grew a ton in the pass game. The only thing that matters. Here are some facts that are irrefutable the past 25 years (or 5, 10, 15 - any time frame).

Point 1: The team that has a better ANY/A (adjusted net yards per an attempt => an advanced passing stat) in any given game wins the vast majority of the time. 

  • Depending on year they win between 60 - 90% of the games. The average is mid-high 70's win % based on time frame.
  • Your goal should be to have an efficient passing game (High completion, low sacks and turn overs). 
  • Bulk passing does not matter.
  • Defensively you need to make the other team inefficient in the passing game. 

Point 2: Despite "common knowledge" there is no evidence that running the ball helps passing

  • Running efficiently (YPC) doesnt make you win more or pass better
  • Bulk running (YPG) doesnt make you win more or pass better
  • Attempts doesnt make you win more or pass better.
  • Running the ball does not set up Play Action Passing. 

Point 3: That doesnt mean that running or running backs arent useful.

  • Running short yardage is useful
  • RBs who help in the pass game are useful

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Supporting facts for the above statements:

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 From 1998 through 2017, only 39 of 252 playoff teams allowed more yards per pass attempt than they gained. This implies that 84.5% of playoff teams had a positive pass efficiency.

Super Bowl champions excelled in pass efficiency as well, as 15 of the 21 champions had pass efficiencies of a yard per attempt or more.

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However, the insignificance of rushing in the NFL might surprise you.

From 1997 through 2017, only 57.5% of playoff teams (145 of 252) had a positive team rush efficiency. The visual of rush efficiency for playoff teams shows a random scatter of points with both positive and negative values. A strong run game or stout rush defense has little effect in helping an NFL team win enough games to make the playoffs.

https://thepowerrank.com/2018/09/24/the-surprising-truth-about-passing-and-rushing-in-the-nfl/

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Conclusion

To review, here are our three main findings:

1) It is not the case that long drives disproportionately have greater rush/pass ratios.
2) Rush attempts that come in situations where running the ball is better than passing the ball in terms of extending drives are extremely rare.
3) There is not strong carryover between rushing success in short-yardage situations and rushing success in other situations.

Justifying an investment in the run game by saying it will help extend drives is misguided. If you want to get first downs, throw the ball (unless it's a short-yardage situation).

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2018/long-drives-and-running-game

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After measuring this every way I could think if, it appears that the conventional wisdom that running is necessary for play-action passes to be effective should be questioned

https://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2018/rushing-success-and-play-action-passing

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So what does this mean?  First, QB play is extremely important to winning games. Second, there is very little to show that a team’s success in the running game influences QB play. And if running doesn’t help you pass, then running does very little to help you win. The conventional wisdom that teams should establish the running game or maintain some kind run/pass balance does not appear to be supported by evidence.  Which isn’t to say that teams shouldn’t run. Rushing is helpful in goal line situations and in running out the clock at the end of the game.

http://www.hawkblogger.com/2017/09/relationship-passing-rushing.html

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What does make the formula predictive? Using net yards per attempt — which deducts sacks from a passer’s production — is the simplest and best way to predict future performance. That’s why when looking at which quarterback will perform the best in the future, NY/A is my favorite statistic. When analyzing past quarterbacks, I prefer Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt, which gives a 45-yard penalty for interceptions and a 20-yard bonus for touchdowns. That’s more useful as an explanatory statistic than NY/A, but is not as helpful in predicting the future.

http://www.hawkblogger.com/2017/09/relationship-passing-rushing.html

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The actual correlation coefficient of ANY/A differential to offensive point differential is a pretty awesome 0.83 through 4 weeks.

http://archive.advancedfootballanalytics.com/2013/10/introducing-anya-differential.html

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I measured the correlation coefficient between winning percentage and Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt in 2017; it was 0.71, which indicates a very strong positive relationship. This is what you would expect: as ANY/A increases, so does winning percentage. Last year, the Saints, Patriots, Chargers, Rams, and Chiefs were the top 5 teams in ANY/A, and they combined for 54 wins and a 0.675 winning percentage. The bottom 5 teams in ANY/A? Cleveland, Denver, Green Bay, Baltimore, and Miami, who combined for just 26 wins and a 0.325 winning percentage.

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 Another would be that in the modern game, rushing yards are just not that important: teams can move the chains and drain the clock with the short passing game

http://www.footballperspective.com/any-a-rushing-yards-and-winning-percentage/

Edited by Matts4313

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5 minutes ago, footbull3196 said:

Anything to heap more credit at dak right

Did you read anything about what I wrote? Its applicable to all teams across the NFL. Its not about Dak. 

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6 minutes ago, Art_Vandalay said:

Image result for cmon now gif

This thread isnt about Dak. At least give the respect of reading and responding. Its about the relationship between QB, RB and Wins. 

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Im disappointed this thread didnt get any traction. I thought it would be a lively debate. But not even 1 single serious response. 

giphy.gif

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The run game still has its place in the NFL; we don't win our sixth Super Bowl without Sony Michel.

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9 minutes ago, Elky said:

The run game still has its place in the NFL; we don't win our sixth Super Bowl without Sony Michel.

I was just gonna say...Michel was awesome in the Super Bowl, a huge reason why the Patriots won. 

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7 minutes ago, Elky said:

The run game still has its place in the NFL; we don't win our sixth Super Bowl without Sony Michel.

Thats not the debate. You can run a lot (or little) as part of your plan to pass efficiently. If you run 40 times it effects the win rate little. IF you run 40 times and pass the ball efficiently, you win the game. 

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8 of the top 10 teams in rushing attempts last year made the playoffs. 1 of the bottom 10 teams in rush attempts made the playoffs

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2 minutes ago, Thomas5737 said:

8 of the top 10 teams in rushing attempts last year made the playoffs. 1 of the bottom 10 teams in rush attempts made the playoffs

Why use 1 year when 20 are in the OP?

Quote

From 1997 through 2017, only 57.5% of playoff teams (145 of 252) had a positive team rush efficiency. The visual of rush efficiency for playoff teams shows a random scatter of points with both positive and negative values. A strong run game or stout rush defense has little effect in helping an NFL team win enough games to make the playoffs.

 

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The average pass is more effective than the average run

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Elite secondaries and elite QBs win titles.

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3 minutes ago, Matts4313 said:

Why use 1 year when 20 are in the OP?

 

I'm sure if you use rush attempts it will be similar over 20 seasons. Of course the passing numbers are going to look better than rushing, if you have a good QB playing against a bad QB the team with the good QB usually wins. Therefore the stats will show that the majority of the time.

I don't care what anyone says running helps set up playaction.It doesn't mean it can't succeed if the other team doesn't buy it nor does it guarantee success if they do, it certainly improves your chance of a safety biting or even someone in man coverage hesitating, especially in short yardage.

It is a passing league and QB is the most important position. Doesn't mean you can take running completely out of the picture and have success, you just don't have to run more than 50% all of the time anymore because rules have made it a passing league.

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7 minutes ago, Thomas5737 said:

I don't care what anyone says running helps set up playaction.

I literally provided an entire article solely for this point.

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