What exactly did DD do to the offense???
Disclaimer: Very, Very Long
I have voiced my opinion on many other threads that DD might be hurting the offense by taking all the dump downs, so now after 2 hours of research and doing math I have some interesting stats to throw around.
1st 5 games = pre-DD; Last 11 games = after-DD; except on DD stats, I had trouble classifying which one I should put the @Tenn game under. So for Bradford, Johnson, Gaffney, and Carr the @ Tenn game is counted in the first 5, for Davis the @ Tenn game is counted as the last 12. I did this because I felt that the @ Tenn game was the game where DD's production started and after that game everyone else's tailed off
1st 5 games - 54.2 yards/game and 2.4 receptions/game
*most productive game, in first 5 games of season, came with David Carr at QB (@ Tenn: 5 receptions, 127 yards, 1 TD)
Last 11 games - 17.2 yards/game and 1.01 receptions/game
*most productive game, in the last 11 games of the season, came with David Carr at QB (Tenn: 3 receptions, 36 yards)
1st 5 games - 79 yards/game and 5.6 receptions/game
*most productive game, in first 5 games of season, came with David Carr at QB (KC: 7 recpetions, 102 yards, 2 TDs (one TD came with Tony Banks at QB))
Last 11 games - 52.8 yards/game and 3.5 receptions/game
*most productive game, in the last 11 games of the season, came with Tony Banks at QB (@ Buf: 4 receptions, 122 yards, 1 TD)
*most productive game, in the last 11 games of the season, with David Carr at QB (Tenn: 5 reception, 108 yards)
1st 5 games - 42.2 yards/game and 3.2 receptions/game
Last 11 games - 17.4 yards/game and 1.6 receptions/game
*most productive game, in the last 11 games of the season, came with Tony Banks at QB (@ Buf: 3 receptions, 40 yards)
*most productive game, in the last 11 games of the season, with David Carr at QB (Tenn: 1 reception, 14 yards or @ Cin 2 receptions, 8 yards, 1 TD)
David Carr (only counted 4 games in last 11)
1st 5 games - 250.2 yards/game; 34.4 attempts/game; 19.8 completions/game; 57.56 completion %
*most productive game, in first 5 games of the season: @Mia: 266 yards, 1 TD or @Tenn: 371 yards, 2 TDs, but 3 INTs
Last 4 out of 11 games - 165.75 yards/game; 26.25 attemps/game; 14 completions/game; 53.33 completion %
*most productive game, in the last 11 games of the season: Tenn 242 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs
1st 3 games (only played in 2)-
9.3 rushing attempts/game; 37.3 yards/game; 4.0 yards/carry
2 receptions/game; 21.3 yards/game; 10.6 yards/reception
Last 12 games (only played in 11)
19.1 attempts/game; 83.5 yards/game; 4.4 yards/carry
3.7 receptions/game; 26.1 yards/game; 7 yards/reception
1st 5 games - 352.8 yards/game
Last 11 games - 231.1 yards/game
Last 11 minus Dave Ragone games - 256.8 yards/game
Now given that 2 of the last games came with Ragone at QB and Carr was
injured most of the last 11 games, there is still a noticeable difference in the
yards per game before DD and after DD, almost 100 yards of offense.
When you RB is averaging more receptions and yards receiving then your 2nd
and 3rd WR something is wrong. Read that last line again, your RB is averaging more receptions and yards receiving than BOTH your 2nd and 3rd WR.
Now I dont know what the problem is, Carr being quick, directions from Palmer and/or Capers, or something else, but this is what I am most worried about next year: Carr not taking advantage of all of his weapons and DD playing too big of a role in him not taking advantage of his weapons.
Did DD hinder the development of Carr?
Did DD hurt the explosivness of the offense?
Did DD turn the Texans into a conservative offense?
All of the WRs stats dropped dramically, especially Gaff's, after DD was discovered. ALL OF THE WRs. Not one, not two, all three of them. AJ's yards/game dropped almost 30 yards, Bradford's dropped 30 yards and 20 yards. Carr's passing dropped almost 100 yards/game.
I know one thing DD did: DD gave the Texans a running threat.
But he gave the running threat at what cost???
It's an interesting post, but there are several different components that played a role in it. One, early in the season the NFL defenses weren't expecting much from the Texans, and with only one season of film to work with it took time to develop a scheme to slow the offense. Often in the NFL you'll see offensive numbers blow up the first few games for several NFL teams till the defenses adjust and bring it back towards the norm. Secondly, injuries played a key role in the conservativeness of the offense. After David returned from his shoulder injury late in the season, his arm was most assuredly not 100% and therefore was not as capable to make throws downfield against even mediocre DBs covering. Add that to the fact that the often injured defense had a hard time stopping anyone means less time on the field for the offense thus fewer chances to gain yards. The injuries would also lead the coaching staff to adjust and throw in safer plays to get DC comfortable. Thirdly, there is much to be said for the strength of schedule as the seasoned progressed. That coupled with the injuries would skew the offensive production some. The reasons go on and on from rookies hitting the 'wall' to even wear and tear on the team as a whole as it gets later into the season.
Dont get me wrong, I think the numbers you put forth are interesting, but in the NFL a running game is very valuable. It gives you the ability to control the ball longer and thus a greater chance to win the game. I'm sure even DC would tell you that he was thankful for a running game, and a good dependable dump off guy. Also, I believe that if DC's progress has been stunted its more a product of his own actions as opposed to having a dependable dump off option. I feel that you'll see much more progress from Carr in his 3rd year, as I assume many others do, and he'll surprise many people. Look for him to start making his other reads as opposed to only his primary read like he did much of last season. If you want a good example of a reliable dump off guy look at Green with the Packers, or Faulk a few years ago with the Rams. If anything it allows more chances to turn a negative play into positive yards. Good stuff nonetheless.
BTW Tried to make an equally long reply, but I feel I came up a bit short. Oh well maybe next time.
I have had a gut feel along similar lines. Everyone has been saying how explosive our receivers will be this year, but I'm not so certain that is in the cards. If you look at what we went after offensively (TE) and what we have done with the line, it points more to a conservative running game and winning with defense rather than being offensive minded. I'm very concerned about the direction the ball club is taking given our talent. I think this is a reflection of Caper's comfort level. I think people are going to find us in the same struggles we had last year. Very close games with little offensive threat from the QB. We had trouble last year when the other teams focused on DD. Yes, he did well, but when crunch time came I think you will find he was stopped. To focus on the receivers alone would be equally as bad. I just have a feeling that we won't be dynamic in the way we use our receivers. You can't put one receiver out there and expect him to get the ball with all of the talented defensive ball players in the NFL. I hope I'm wrong, but most of the press out of the mini camps has focused on defense and little if any comments about the offense, and in particular, AJ, Bradford, or Gaffny. I wonder why?
I dont believe that DD hurt the Texans offense last year, he was just last years Billy Miller. In year one, Carr found a reliable target in Miller and being young and not so smart, he looked at the 1st receiver then threw to Miller, same thing he did to DD once DD proved he could be productive, not only in the run game, but the passing game as well. I wouldnt blame it on DD for doing a good job catching out of the backfield and makeing plays. If I had to blame anyone, it would have to be Carr/Banks for locking on to AJ so long then haveing to dump it off. The QBs responsibility is to see the whole field, and check all of his targets before dumping down to the RB or TE(unless a blitz is on on which they look quickly to the hot route or dump off).
Oh and the reason most of the focus this off-season was on defense was because most of our offseason moves were on D. We signed R.Smith and used most of our draft picks on defensive players. We also had more defensive position shifts. The press usually likes to talk about the new players and topics more than the same people.
Interesting developments. I can agree with your stats to a point. However the real issue is what the coachs allowed Carr to do. They said at the begining of the year that Carr was going to get rid of the ball quicker even if that meant not allowing plays to develop. Once Davis established a runnig game Capers went into his normal mode of conservative offense run the ball down their throats. Therefore limiting the opportunities for the rest of the team. When Carr ran a play he only had two options. I was at every home game. THere were times Johnson was wide open Carr would look at Bradeford and then throw it Davis. Those were his two reads. Hopefully he will develop a thid read this year and maybe four next year. Right now the only active quarter back to make 4 or 5 reads is Farve. David has a good arm and sometimes in the first five games hew forced a few passes to avoid sacks. This accounts for early production. After Davis established a running game. Carr began makeing two reads with Davis usually the second read. As the year went on Carr got much better at it. At first it was check the 1 reciever and if not open throw to second reciever if hew is open or not. This caused afew ints. Next he started making decisions and if the second reciever was covered he would throw the ball out of bounds. Finally he started moving out of the pocket and running is the second reciever is covered. His next jump will be throwing once he moves out of the pocket because his second reciever is covered. If you watch Farve you will see that he will run around for ever looking at the 4,5 and 6 options. That is when David will be great. Mcnabb is just learning to look at his thid reciever this year. Last year Mcnabb tried to make impossiable throws when his reciever was covered. Vick looks at one and two and then runs. Sometimes he only looks at one and runs. The key here is that although not effective at winning games all those dumps to Davis help Carr to understand when to through to a second option and when not to. Davis speed up Carrs progression even if it did not turn into wins on the scoreboard. :soapbox:
edit: nevermind, failed to read the whole thing.
First, I'd like to thank Fiddy for displaying his research. Good work.
And I think you have made a strong point about Davis. But I can take the same data, and make a case that the Texan coaching staff made a decision to become more conservative due to Carr's injuries. Yeah, Domanick's prowess facilitated those game plans. But, the Texans probably would have gone that way even if Mack had been the back. I just feel the Texans were for the most part concerned about Carr's health and the ability to keep Banks on the field. They knew then what we would find out in the late season Florida road trip...Ragone was not ready. Had Carr been healthy all year long, we would have seen a less conservative offense.
So the question you're asking is "What offense will we see in '04?". The Carr driven air attack or the DD small ball? I'd guess some of both, and a little extra on the side. I think we'll see a bunch of double TE sets that will try to spread the defense and allow Davis (or Hollings) to find holes into the secondary. And I think we'll see 3 WR sets where the Texans will try to take advantage of the opponents weaker DB's. As a bonus, I expect more play action passes on 1st down, taking full benefit of the accomplished rushing attack.
On paper, look how far the talent base has grown from entering year 2 to this season:
WR - A full offseason for AJ and another for Gaffney. Remember, this would have been Jabar's true rookie season had he played out his eligibility at Florida.
TE - A veteran blocking TE in Bruener and a young multi-purpose guy in Joppru. Plus, Miller is still one of the more reliable receivers at TE in the league.
T - Two huge, long armed, prototype tackles in Wade and Wand. With a new blocking scheme designed for their maximum effectiveness.
G - Pitt’s physical style making him likely to become one of the better guards in the AFC by the end of the season. Plus, Wiegert's 2nd year in the system.
C - An extra season of experience at center for McKinney.
FB - Two functional NFL FB's with Baxter being the better runner/receiver and Norris the better blocker.
RB - Two gifted young RB's with a full offseason under their belt. While Davis has already developed into a prominent dual threat, Hollings could well be one of the top 5 fastest RB's in the NFL.
QB - Not only an extra year of experience for Carr, but Ragone's 1st full NFL offseason. By the end of training camp, Dave could be hailed as the most improved player on this team. The man does have the physical ability to play and play well in this league.
I expect the Texans to build on last year's early season passing performance and combine that with the ground game that Davis provided. By the season's end, this should be an offense that can take control of a game pull out the victories that eluded them last year.
this was a very good post...you obviously took your time on doing the research and putting your thoughts in this...so applaud you for that...DD didn't hurt the offense...he hurt the passing game...which isn't a bad thing...he just made us a more balanced offense that's all...we went from averaging like 60 some odd yards rushing a game to somewhere in the high 80's i think...he rushed for over a 1,000yds in what 12 games...so to say he hurt the offense wouldn't be correct...a balanced offense is the way to go...if we start to depend completely on the running game then we'll get stuck in situations that require us to pass and we won't be ready for...if we depend too much on the pass teams like the patriots, the bucs, and the other good pass defensive teams will eat our lunch...so don't worry...like glenn said we just need to gell as a team before the season starts
Good stuff from all and especially Fiddy. What we see in the Texans offense in years one and two is an expansion team with young players and journeymen in spots at times. Terms like refined, sophisticated, diverse, experienced, and dominating are not going to be found.
I think that we have seen the makings of a solid offense and simply witnessed the growing pains that are associated with going with youth and inexperience. As our players mature and can handle more sophisticated schemes I think you guys will find that our offense gets more complex and tougher to stop. The NFL is one tough league and a unit centered on one and two year players will struggle. Heck, when you add one rookie to a unit he is often exposed. We had a team centered on youth last year.
this all brings to mind something that McClain said in one of his question & answer sessions. He said "Because the defense had so many injuries, including being depleted up front, the offense had to become more conservative and rely more on the running game. When Carr was hurt, they ran Domanick Davis a lot, and it paid off."
Great stats and very interesting read to all.
The Texans have the necessary talent combined with veteran leadership and good coaching to make the same strides made by Carolina last year.
The Texans improved line on both sides of the ball with the Wade and Robaire additions, additional experience to talented youngsters (Carr, Johnson, Gaffney, Hollings and of course DD), and a return to health for the teams proven stars (Walker, Payne and AG) coupled with the fact that most every opponent will underestimate the Texans will prove to be a breakout season for the team, individually and as a whole.
Carr will make all the reads, all the throws and manage effectively.
DD will provied a solid, if not spectacular, running game and add to the aerial attack.
AJ will show why he was 3rd pick of the draft with improved hands and comprehension to accompay the size, strength and talent.
The defense looks to have all the pieces, it just depends on how fast the youngsters pick-up the system and adapt to the position and the league. Another big question mark is the health of the veterans. If the (AG, Walker, and Payne) can all stay healthy and we can get another career year out of Jamie Sharper, then the Texans will make the playoffs. Bunch of ifs but fewer than the last two years for the Texans franchise and most everyone else.
Great Post Guys,
I see everyone's point of view here and do not disagree with anyone.
I think the underlying reason behind what and how the offense has performed and will perform this year, is directly equated to the performance of the offensive line.
The offensive line play will determine when the brain thrust has confidence in the offenses ability to complete certain plays or even try them, David Carr has the time to read the defense, Carr has time to survey the field, the line has the ability to open holes or push the defense backward for a short gain, etc.
I think last year they just felt "SAFE" trying the type of plays you are talking about. This years play calling will be determined by the offensive line play again. I think the jury is still out on what plays we will be able to execute. I hope all the changes will also open up the offense and give Carr time to complete his reads. It's also time for him to step forward and lead.
I believe (hope) we have adequate skill players. Its the trenches that I worry about.
I know this is not revelation to anyone. I just wanted to add my $.02 worth.
Well, I tend to fall in the "DD was last years Billy Miller" line of thinking (and so I am saying that BuffSoldier is clearly brilliant :) ) and I suspect that in 2004 IF Carr continues to progress (and I see no reason why he should not) then DD's pass catching skills will be used less than in 2003. Those plays will be directed at our 2nd and 3rd WR's more often and we should see an increase in the number of yards we get where this is the case.
I'd also hazard a guess that DD will produce for us in 2004 quite well on the ground. I don't think that part of the "DD Equation" was a fluke and assuming he stays healthy I think we're going to see a 1,400 - 1,600 yard performance out of him. Optimistic? Yes but if our other wideouts come into play more then I think stacking the line to shut down DD is going to be a very bad idea. I look for 2004 to be the year Palmers offense starts to run with the big boys.
Hopefully, this year, the offense will have enough stability to begin to learn it's identity. I think it's very important for a team to figure who it is and what it can and wants to do. I think this is why many of the so-calles West Coast offenses have had success- they knew who they were and what they wanted to do. The Faulk/Warner Rams were that way as well... I can list others that had a clear vision of who they were:
Dallas Cowboys: 1991-1996
Baltimore Ravens: 2000-2003
Carolina Panthers: 2003
Washington Reskins: 1980's
even the Houston Oilers during Pardee... it was a poor choice but just being committed and believing in the Run 'n Shoot brought results... Though, I'll never forgive them for using that great OL and that monstrous bench of RBs so poorly!
idonno: All of that to say that I just want the offense to establish itself somehow... If we're going to pound it on first down 70% of the time, then let them buy into it and figure out how to make this thing work.
I do think this was a very good post and probably one of the best in a long time because it allows us to put so much analogy to it.
I wouldn't say that these stats aren't correct but I would say they don't reflect what the season was really like. While taking the first five games before Davis started and comparing them to the last eleven when he did start I think it is important to take the games themselves into consideration.
Miami- we had to start passing to get back in the game, where a Carr to Bradford 78 yard catch and run helped get us back in it but the dump passes to DD (I knew he was special when he ran over Zach Thomas) is what helped us get the game winning FG.
New Orleans-Injuries to our defensive line allowed the Saints to get a big lead on us and we had to pass to try and get back in the game.
K.C- We turned over the ball too much and we had to pass to get back into that game and Carr was pulled from the game to avoid injury to him.
Jville- This was a little different. Carr had a great first half, and he and Johnson looked good in the 4th quarter. A lousy halfback pass call and a lousty 3rd quarter ruined our chances of winning this one early.
@Tenn-Matt Stephens forced us to have to come from behind and pretty much throw in the second half, and Tenn defense was forcing Carr to get rid of it fast.
Also we played Indy twice after those five games and they have a pretty good cover 2 defense that allows the dump off and we had to exploit their weak run defense.
Then you have to look at how Davis did the last two games of the season. He showed up in those games against Tenn and Indy, and he was the reason we won against Atlanta and Carolina.
We can also put it like this. Our 3rd down conversion % was a whole lot better once we started Davis and as the season progressed.
I'm sure someone else has already said it in another post, but Domanick Davis should provide a stable running game which will help in running more play action plays that could open things up for Carr and the WRs. I feel that DD did more help than damage last season and gave the fans a new player to root for... I remember the VERY loud cheers when DD became the first Texan to rush for 100 yards in a game.
It's a good thing that Carr didn't break his sack record from the previous year. Davis is part of that , the Offensive line and the coaching staff is equally responsible. It doesn't make good football sense to bounce your franchise around the turf and expect him to be healthy for long.
However, we should not mistake good numbers for good offense. The goal is to put points on the board and win ballgames. The question is did we win more ballgames with Davis than without? If so, then "What DD did for the offense?" is simply help them to win.
DD is a miracle
To think DD hurt or offense in any kind of way is a little strange but to think he took away from the recievers is even more nuts (no offense) ! Yeah or recievers might of had more yards and catches before DD took the starting job at running back but Carr's injuries had alot to do with it ! I Mean look at all or last few games where we had most all or starting offense we had over 20 points in a lot of those games ,,,,its or defense that couldnt stop the other team ! i think DD helped us alot and w/ a more productive defense we would of won alot more games ! and about the recievers Tony banks is a good quarter back but he is alittle bit conservative and that also limits recievers catches and yards, while carr was injured . I might be crazy but i think Davis is exactly what or offense needed .
not long into the season it became apparent davis was the key playmaker on our offense. naturally, that took oppurtunities away from our wide recievers. barring injury, i dont think that will be the case this year (at least to the extreme your stats would suggest). heres a few factors to consider...
1. carr's evolution as a qb...reading the defense...a better grip of the offense...better progression through his targets.
2. a better offensive line then we've ever had...gives carr the time to progress ,and hit those downfield recievers.
3. joppru...equally a threat as a reciever and a blocker makes our offense less predictible and may give carr a slight advantage compared to what we've had in the past (yes, i'm assumeing he'll start at some point in the season)
4. an improved defense wich would ideally hold on to leads and keep games even closer then they have in the past potentially opening the playbook. this would keep the playcalling less conservative.
5. OVERALL HEALTH!
i would not anticipate our offense being the kind to provide anyone of our recivers a 90+ reception type season. what i would expect instead with davis in the key role on our offense, is an improved downfield performance. more deep plays and more touchdowns out of our recievers. until this offense becomes domminant its a give and take league. your stats suggest disputible themes, what isnt up for question in my mind is wether or not davis made us better. he did ,and i hope that trend continues.
Tony Banks was not conservative last year and did not limit the WRs, the WRs had some of their best games with Banks at the QB. He was our best QB last year.
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