FanPost

Evolution of our run game

MHR,

We are on our 5-1 run because the whole team has improved their play. Defense, Offense, S/T (esp. Colquitt). Awesome job to all of our guys and coaching staff!

Interesting article at Football Outsiders by Aaron Schatz.

1) I agree with some of the article and some of it I do not. The article says (and shows with numbers) that the defense has not changed as dramatically from earlier in the season to the present as much as we may think. I do not think the numbers show the psychological effects that our vastly improved defense has on our team, opposing teams, and us fans. My hats off to the defense, because our 5-1 run would not be possible without their awesome play.

2) What I do agree with. Tim Tebow's ability to run is something other teams must adjust to and allocate resources to defend, opening up other parts of the run game. I am very excited with this as I believe this will give us one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult, running games to game plan against. The option won’t be the Bronco’s ONLY offensive capability, but ANOTHER capability within in the run offense. I personally believe that Tebow’s passing game will develop with more time and reps. As Tebow’s passing improves we can become an offense that can be a threat from multiple fronts - from the passing game to the option enhanced/capable run game.

On to Mr. Schatz’s article…..

http://footballoutsiders.com/dvoa-ratings/2011/week-12-dvoa-ratings

So, why have the Denver Broncos suddenly gone 5-1 over their last six games after beginning the season 1-4? Is it Tim Tebow, improvement in the running game , or improved defense? That last element is getting a lot of credit from smarter fans. What if I told you it wasn't quite true?

If we look at the Denver Broncos defensive numbers before and after Tim Tebow took over in Week 7, we see almost no difference:

DEN defense

Total

Rk

Pass

Rk

Run

Rk

Weeks 1-6

7.7%

19

19.1%

21

-5.0%

16

Weeks 7-12

4.6%

19

13.6%

22

-6.5%

12

Now, part of the reason why there's no difference is that the Broncos got clobbered by Detroit 45-10 back in Week 8. So what if we set the line after that game instead of after six weeks? Well, now we see a little bit of improvement, but still nowhere near as much as you might expect.

DEN defense

Total

Rk

Pass

Rk

Run

Rk

Weeks 1-8

8.3%

21

19.5%

25

-4.4%

14

Weeks 9-12

2.1%

15

10.4%

20

-8.1%

14

Now let's look at the offense. Look at the running game before and after Tebow took over as quarterback, and you'll see where the real improvement in Denver has been:

DEN offense

Total

Rk

Pass

Rk

Run

Rk

Weeks 1-6

-8.1%

27

-4.8%

28

-8.9%

26

Weeks 7-12

1.0%

18

-8.1%

23

11.6%

7

First of all, in case you are wondering, Denver's pass offense DVOA has gone down overall but up in ranking because the overall leaguewide passing DVOA has gone down since those first few ridiculous weeks that started the season. Still, the real change here is in the running game. We've written about this a couple times, including a few years ago in one of the first pieces we ever did for ESPN, but the threat of a running quarterback really does open things up for the rest of the running game. Clearly, that's what has happened in Denver. Some of the improvement is Tebow's own rushing ability, but a lot of it is an improvement from Willis McGahee because opponents have to constantly watch out for Tebow carrying the ball himself. When some commentators have said the option looks seem to be working in Denver, this is what they mean. Denver's offense has improved more than Denver's defense, and the biggest reason for the improvement really is Tim Tebow.

Of course, the other element in Denver's 5-1 record is pure, old-fashioned luck. Five of Denver's six wins this year have come by seven points or less, including two in overtime. If Nick Novak hits a 53-yard field goal -- or if Norv Turner doesn't go all conservative on that drive before the field-goal try -- this conversation seems a bit different.

MHR – Your thoughts?


This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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