Projecting the Ravens offensive output
Double tight ends sets, play action, bootlegs, zone blocking scheme, H-backs. All buzz words pertaining to Gary Kubiak’s offensive system that he’ll employ in Baltimore this year. Another phrase capturing attention is “run first offense”, despite being a west coast style system which traditionally uses short passes as an extension of the running game. We know that Kubiak will run the ball to open up the passing game, but how much of that goes out the window based on game situation?
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Clearly how much a team runs the ball versus how much they pass is predicated on how the team is performing. If you’re winning more often than not, then you are running the ball to chew up the clock and put the game away. See 2011, and even in 2012 the difference in run versus pass isn’t as large as in the seasons where they are behind more often. If you are losing games you are throwing the ball more to move the ball in larger chunks and trying to score quicker. Notice the larger disparity in 2013.
Over the last four seasons, two winning and two non-winning seasons, a Gary Kubiak offense runs on average 1,029.75 plays. Call it 1,030. Based on these percentages, if the Ravens are winning more often than not, the run game is working; they will throw the ball 507 times and rush 523 times. Five teams in 2013 ran the ball more than they passed, and three of them made the playoffs. They are Seattle, San Francisco and Carolina. The other two are Buffalo and the New York Jets.
If things aren’t going the way we hope, the Ravens find themselves behind often resulting in more losing efforts, the Ravens will pass 609 times and rush only 421 times. In 2013, nine teams threw more than 609 times. Only three of them made the playoffs and they are Denver, New England and New Orleans. Obviously Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees are special cases in which you want those guys to throw the ball all day long. The more Joe Flacco has to do, the worse he is going to be. Also in 2013, 12 teams rushed less than 421 times. Only the Saints and Colts made the playoffs.
Using the range of plays that we can expect the Ravens to run above, let’s take a look at the expected output from Joe Flacco, Ray Rice, and Bernard Pierce, based on their career numbers.
Note: Ray Rice’s expected suspension to come at some point is not factored in.
Joe Flacco career – 60.2 CMP%, 6.94 Y/A, 3.9 TD%, 2.5 INT%
Joe Flacco floor – 305/507, 3,518 Yards, 20 TDs, 13 INTs (This would be the lowest completion and yardage output since his rookie year)
Joe Flacco ceiling – 366/609, 4,226 Yards, 21TDs, 15 INTs (This would be his highest completion and yardage output for his career)
Here’s a look at how the Ravens backs carries were split in 2013, and their career yards per attempt.
Ray Rice 2013 – 214 Carries (50.6%) Career – 4.3 Y/A, 2.6 Rush TD%
Bernard Pierce 2013 – 152 Carries (35.9%) Career – 3.7 Y/A, 1.2 Rush TD%
The rest 2013 – 57 carries (13.5%) 2013 – 4.0 Y/A, 1 TD
Ray Rice floor – 213 Carries, 916 Yards, 6 Rush TDs (This would nearly mirror last season)
Ray Rice ceiling – 265 Carries, 1,140 Yards 7 Rush TDs (This would be a very average season for him)
Bernard Pierce floor – 151 Carries, 559 Yards, 2 TDs (Mirrors last season)
Bernard Pierce ceiling – 188 Carries, 696 Yards, 2 TDs (Would be the most carries and yard in a season in a young career)
Others floor – 57 Carries, 224 Yards, 1 TD
Others ceiling – 71 Carries, 284 Yards, 1 TD
Team rushing Floor – 421 Carries, 1,699 Yards, 9 rushing TDs
Team rushing Ceiling – 523 Carries, 2,120 Yards, 10 rushing TDs
Seven teams rushed for more than 2,120 yards in 2013. Four of them made the playoffs.
11 teams failed to rush for 1,699 yards in 2013. 10 of them missed the playoffs. New Orleans is once again the exception here. And they say this is a passing league.
Even teams with other worldly QBs like Peyton and Brady still manage to run the ball efficiently and rack up the yards on the ground, which appears to be the key to a successful offense. Joe Flacco is good, but not other worldly, meaning getting the running game back in 2014 is even more imperative to the Ravens success.