Run Blocking Analysis

Discussion in 'Texans Talk' started by Runner, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. Runner

    Runner Hubcap Diamond Staff Member

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    I looked at the data described in the link submitted by infantrycak on another thread:


    I then made an attempt at visualizing the data shown in the tables while comparing the Texans yardage from year to year. According to the description in the article,

    I believe I have accurately portrayed the data in the following table. In my table for instance, the first line is for 2002. It shows that runs to the outside of the left tackle went for an average of 3.31 yards per carry. It then shows that the runs between left tackle and left guard averaged 2.68 ypc, between the guards 3.30 ypc, between right guard and right tackle 2.20 ypc, and outside the right tackle at 2.95 ypc. Each subsequent line is the next year of the Texans existence. Here is my graphic (sorry about the table - I had a nice Excel chart I couldn't import):


    YR-----------LT------LG---C---RG------RT
    2002----3.31----2.68-----3.30-----2.20----2.95
    2003----3.89----3.70-----3.60-----4.04----3.80
    2004----4.85----3.85-----4.35-----3.96----2.83
    2005----4.16----4.14-----4.62-----3.75----4.35


    What does the data show? There are many variables not shown here of course - like the identity of the running backs, injuries, etc. - but some general items can be seen, IMO.

    2002 - I don't know what this shows because the team was so new and raw. I guess it shows we didn't run very well.

    2002 - 2003 Transition - No comment.

    2003 - Pitts at LT improved at run blocking inside and outside of his LT position. We were better across the line and significantly so on the right side. This is also the year Davis joined the team at RB.


    2003 - 2004 Transition - Wand moved to left tackle, Pitts to left guard, Wade joins team, zone blocking implemented

    2004 - Running outside of Wand produced the highest average shown in the table. It increased our ypc outside left by almost a full yard per carry. Running between LT and LG improved a little bit. Our running between the guards increased .75 ypc. Pitts surely had some effect here, but it also appears that McKinney may be a good run blocker in the zone blocking scheme. Runs between Weigert and Wade stayed about the same, but runs outside Wade dropped dramatically. Could the assumption that Wade is an effective run blocker be wrong? Running outside right averaged almost 2 YPC less than outside left.

    2004 - 2005 Transition - Texan coaches install a quicker paced offense and re-emphasize their ball control, run oriented offense. They bench Wand who is one of their quickest linemen and seemingly the best run blocker in 2004. Riley plays 4 games at LT, before being replaced by Pitts who plays the final 12 games there. Injuries play a significant role in the season, giving Milford Brown a lot of playing time at LG. McKinney plays most of but not a full year at center.

    2005 - Running outside left drops .7 yards per carry. Running between LT and LG increase .3 ypc. Running between guards increases again. These two increases make it appear Brown is a good run blocker, and it also appears it is indeed true - McKinney is a good run zone blocking center. Running between RG and RT remains consistent again, but running outside right makes a 1.5 ypc improvement. Either Wade found his blocking skills again, or we did well there after Weigert replaced him. The data isn't granular enough to tell. I think Wade's blocking probably improved. For the first year in our history running up the middle was our most effective area.

    Other conclusions:

    1) Wand should have been given the same opportunity to improve his skills from his first year starting to his second that Pitts had. His pass blocking would have improved, especially if the Texans implemented the same double teaming schemes with Wand/Pitts that they did with Pitts/Brown. If Wand's excellent run blocking had improved even incrementally it would have helped the 2005 offense quite a bit.
    2) McKinney seems to be a good zone blocking center for the run.
    3) Brown may be a good run blocking guard.
    4) I don't know about Wade
    5) Weigert is consistent.


    So. Judging by the data and not the "common knowledge" of the board, what do you think?
     
    Texian, Kaiser Toro and Double Barrel like this.
  2. Texans Horror

    Texans Horror Hall of Fame

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    I have seen a lot of data analysis in my time, but this takes the cake. Awesome job. I haven't "studied" your analysis or tried to verify it yet, but it is definitely worth the read.

    Some conclusions I took from it:
    1) We ran a hell of a lot in 2005, and we were effective all over the field. Too bad we couldn't have had more production time from DD, but I can see where RB would be a benefit.
    2)We have improved steadily at running up the middle (agreeing with your second conclusion). This does not help my "need a good center" theory, but you are looking at running offense, not sacks.
    3)I like Wand/Pitts even more. As has been said in other threads, the good of the many outweighs the needs of the few...er...we should be looking at the effectiveness of a line side rather than one player (i.e., Pitts is a better tackle than guard, but Wand/Pitts was better than this year's debaclt; however, with a steady set of lineman, who knows?).

    Again, well done. If I could give you rep, I would!
     
  3. Kaiser Toro

    Kaiser Toro Native Mod

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    Runner, that is some quality stuff brrraaahhhhhh! Appreciate the time and effort.

    And now a super smilie :superman:
     
  4. Double Barrel

    Double Barrel Modified Simian

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    Great post, Runner! :thumbup

    I'll have to chew on the data awhile, but excellent compilation skills. Good food for thought and discussion.
     
  5. bdiddy

    bdiddy Veteran

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    Pitts is NOT a better tackle than guard. He was average at tackle, but has a chance to be a pro bowl guard.

    However, this being said a number of situations could present themselves:

    If we draft Bush

    1. Draft Winston and/or Colledge in 2nd round to play LT
    2. Draft Greg Eslinger in the 4th or 5th round to play C
    3. Cut McKinney if he does not take a serious salary hit

    Winston/Colledge - Pitts - Eslinger - Weigart/McKinney - Wand

    If we trade down:

    1. Draft D'Brick
    2. Draft Greg Eslinger

    D'Brick - Pitts - Eslinger - Weigart/McKinney - Wand

    Either situation would leave both third round picks (and most likely John Abraham in the trade down scenario) to address needs at DE and MLB.

    Could use 4th or 5th rounder depending on where Eslinger is projected on a TE (some good ones will still be available second day)
     
  6. infantrycak

    infantrycak Mod. Staff Member

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    What makes you say that? I don't think Pitts is the long term solution at LT, at least as any kind of top 10 LT, but he has looked better in that position than at LG IMO. Pitts frankly looks better to me when he knows he is going to go one on one with someone. Most of where I see something fail around him is when it is a coordination issue. At G that will always be more of an issue than at T, especially at RT which is where I would like to see him.
     
  7. AustinJB

    AustinJB All Pro

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    What?!:confused:

    I don't know what you've been watching, but from what I've witnessed, I'd have to say that Pitts is definately a better tackle than a guard.:challenge
     
  8. MorKnolle

    MorKnolle Hall of Fame

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    I agree with your post. I think Pitts would also benefit from actually knowing where he's going to play rather than being switched around multiple times each year.

    Bdiddy, assuming we draft D'Brick or Winston, I would rather have Pitts at RT than Wand or Wade anyday. If we bring in Eslinger (I'd prefer Mangold if we trade down and acquire an extra 2nd or if he falls to the 3rd) then he and Wiegert would be two good interior OLinemen, and we can add another one later in the draft (maybe Will Allen in the 5th-6th) or else between McKinney, Todd Washington, Drew Hodgdon, and Milford Brown I'm sure we can find one serviceable guy there. This would be a much better OLine configuration:

    LT Winston/D'Brick
    LG Wiegert
    C Hodgdon/Mangold
    RG Mangold/McKinney/Brown
    RT Pitts

    If we can add LeCharles Bentley to the mix that would be phenomenal as well.
     


  9. Texans_Chick

    Texans_Chick Utopian Dreamer

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    Don't have anything to add other than giving you mad ups for posting a rational, thoughtful post on the Texans football message bored.

    Are you sure you put it in the right place???? :cool:


    :texflag:
     
  10. Runner

    Runner Hubcap Diamond Staff Member

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    Time to add the team wide data to this thread and get back on track. I have added more data from the stats page referenced on the original post. Here are some definitions from the stat page:


    Here is my summary table and some comments.

    Year---Adj. Line----RB-----Power---Power---10+ ---10+---Stuffed--Stuffed
    --------Yards-----Yards---Success--Rank--Yards---Rank-------------Rank
    2002----3.10------2.96-----56%-----29-----09%----30------36%-----32
    2003----3.68------3.73-----66%-----16-----16%----15------30%-----30
    2004----4.14------3.86-----67%-----11-----13%----31------25%-----20
    2005----4.43------4.06-----50%-----30-----12%----27------26%-----21

    2002 - No comment

    2002 - 2003 Transition - No comment.

    2003 - We gained another .75 per carry, both adjusted and straight RB. We ranked in the middle of the pack in the league in power success and runs of 10 or longer. We got stuffed at the line a lot.

    2003 - 2004 Transition - Wand moved to left tackle, Pitts to left guard, Wade joins team, zone blocking implemented

    2004 - Our ypc's went up again. We ranked 11th in the league in power success, which is a necessity for a ball control offense. We fell to 31st in the league in runs of 10+ yards, but improved our stuffed ranking by a third.

    2004 - 2005 Transition - Texan coaches install a quicker paced offense and re-emphasize their ball control, run oriented offense. They bench Wand who is one of their quickest linemen and seemingly the best run blocker in 2004. Riley plays 4 games at LT, before being replaced by Pitts who plays the final 12 games there. Injuries play a significant role in the season, giving Milford Brown a lot of playing time at LG. McKinney plays most of but not a full year at center.

    2005 - ypc's went up again; if you look at the individual stats at the start of the post this is because of the large increase in success when running to the right, which accounted for the increase AND made up for the drop-off when running left. We plummeted from 11th to 30th in power success - this is bad news for a conservative, ball control offense. Rankings of runs of 10+ yards and stuffed remained stable.


    It appears the major change in our running game between the 2004 and 2005 seasons is that we couldn't get yards when they counted most.

    Comments?
     
  11. bigTEXan8

    bigTEXan8 All Pro

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    Nice post Runner.:redtowel:
     
  12. Texans_Chick

    Texans_Chick Utopian Dreamer

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    If the other team knows that your passing game is struggling, that you mostly do hitches and your playmaking WR is injured or only getting dink passes, it is gonna be harder to run.

    Other than Mathis, 2005 makes me wish I had a brain eraser.
     
  13. El Tejano

    El Tejano Hall of Fame

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    I am hoping that Mathis improves at WR and is able to make a heavy contribution on offense this year. I feel that when in the game, he alone changes things and perhaps, if improved, he could've help win a couple of those close games for us.

    I mean look at the game against Jville I believe. He comes in and Carr connects with Johnson on a 53 yrd TD.
     
  14. Meloy

    Meloy Hall of Fame

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    I agree. Stats seem to support that Pitts is a better tackle. I would guess the oline will improve if allowed to keep players in set position. Some of the movement was injury related, some was because Riley was a bad choice in F/A and some seemed to be "I don't know what to do now so just move people around and hope something clicks."
     
  15. Runner

    Runner Hubcap Diamond Staff Member

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    Well, stats also show that Wand is a better run blocker than Pitts at the LT position. In fact, the argument could be made that in the year he started, Wand was the best run blocker the Texans have ever had at any position.

    In analyzing the last two years of passing stats, the combination of Wand/Pitts outperforms the combination of Pitts/Brown(McKinney) by a significant margin in sacks allowed. So we have to ask the question - do we want to maximize Pitts' performance, or the performance of the line as a whole?

    We have a new coaching staff. Wand and Pitts could both excel in the zone blocking scheme. The new coaching staff could try 2 things to solidify the left side of the line:

    1) Work with Wand to improve technique and balance while pass blocking. This is the "coaching" part of the equation that Pendry didn't bring to the table.

    2) Teach Pitts how to play the "team game" on the offensive line at the guard position. This is something else that can be coached and taught. It seems silly to say "make Pitts a tackle because he doesn't understand how to play guard".

    If this worked we would be set on the left side of the line for years to come with two young, durable players. Pitts is a proven performer, and Wand has the speed, quickness, and athleticism to excel in the Denver scheme. At the very least Wand could be moved to right tackle.

    This leaves o-line money to shore up the center and right tackle position in draft and free agency. If we used Wand and Pitts at the tackles we would need to reinforce the center of the line a bit more. We could also then draft for o-line depth.
     
  16. Bullfan

    Bullfan Rookie

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    Nice work! Hopefully the new coaches will have the same opinion about Wand/Pitts on the left side after they review all the data and stats from the previous seasons and not allow "power plays" over rule what is best for the team.
     
  17. dat_boy_yec

    dat_boy_yec All Pro

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    I am of the opinion that Pitts should stay at LT and Wand be moved to RT then something should be done to shore up the interior. It does no good to have a lopsided line the talent should be distributed evenly. Wand and Pitts have both shown they could play Tackle and should get the opportunity.
     
  18. Runner

    Runner Hubcap Diamond Staff Member

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    That's not a bad option either. I'd probably flip the sides they are on though.

    Training camp will be fun this year - real practices with actual talent evaluation.
     
  19. JohnGalt

    JohnGalt Rookie

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    Runner, this is a nice piece of statistical work.

    You know these coaches have stats like this and a dozen lackeys to summarize these numbers for them. Assuming Pendry is an ultracompetive guy and he knows his job is on the line, why would he bench Wand?

    What are we missing here?
     
  20. Runner

    Runner Hubcap Diamond Staff Member

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    I think you'd have to check your assumptions on Pendry. First thing I would check is if he has any competence in the modern game.

    If he is "ultracompetive", maybe his utlracompetiveness is manifested in his "my way or the highway" attitude rather than fielding a winning team.

    Or maybe we're all wet and we had a fine coaching staff who did as good with the material they had as possible, and no one could have done better. :eek:
     

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