This week, again I will get on my soap box and BEG for a running game. By running game I mean 45-60% of the offensive snaps are running plays. Let me be clear though, I'm not interested in RUNNING STATS, I want a RUNNING GAME.
Statistically the Pats have been a top 10 run team nearly every year in the last decade but in reality they are not a running team or even a threat to beat you with the run. They are a single threat offense and if they can become a more balanced offense it well help so many areas of the team.
I understand many people feel with a QB like Tom Brady or any great QB, you want him throwing the ball all the time, put the ball in your best players hand, etc.
I fart in this general direction after the jump
When you have a great player, you want to put that player in the best position to help your team.
In basketball you don't want your best player taking all the shots, just as the Lakers, it becomes too easy to stop. A diverse offense is the hardest kind to stop. The more one dimensional you get, the easier you become to game plan for.
Right now the game plan to stop the Pats is to stop Tom Brady. To that end the Jets did an outstanding job last week and that tape should be spread around the NFL by now and will be the flavor of D until the Pats can do something about it.
To me the Pats need to create a running identity. Over the last few years it really feels as though they gain most of their rush yards sprinkling in the run to keep the D honest. I would like to see more consecutive running plays, more dedication to pounding the ball. I want the O to say, we're going to run until you stop us.
What is the harm in doing this? You know you have one of the most lethal passing attacks in the NFL, the more time you spend trying to run the ball, even if it's not effective makes the defense start to wonder, tire and start guessing when play action might hit them.
So far this season the Pats have executed 114 offensive plays. 43 runs, 71 pass. That's a 35-65% run/pass imbalance. And when you consider the types of games the Pats were in, a blow out in the second half of week 1 and a one score game most of week 2 - this is eye opening to me.
I would like to see the pats get closer to 45% at least running plays. The benefits are really countless to this but here are a few:
1. Running is simple, take BoB, BB and the need for creativity (which seems to be lacking) out of the equation
2. Allows Brady to reduce wear and tear on his arm, providing stronger and probably more accurate throws
3. You eat more clock. This helps tremendous in the mental side of the game offensively and also gives a young defense rest and time to adjust on the sidelines.
4. You wear down defenders physically. This can also help in the mental side of the game, creative confidence on both sides of the ball for the Pats, and adding stress to the opposition. This also makes the new TEs even more valuable as they'd be running against tired LBs or hesitant safeties
5. Tom Brady is a tremendously smart QB, he is great on play action and even better at calling audibles at the line.
The more you run, the more the defense exposes itself early the more Tom can see before the snap and catch the D in mistakes. Right now defenses can sit back and wait.
6. The more your run the more safeties will want to creep up in the box...but most teams like to keep safeties back to protect against Moss. The more effective your running game is, the more pressure you are putting on the defense to commit, Tom Brady can see this an exploit big plays with a very high efficiency.
As a point of reference I'd like to bring up the 2004 AFC Championship game vs the Steelers where the Pats came into the game as a very balanced and run strong team and proceed to play action and reverse their way into a blow out.
You set up the run and the whole world opens up to Tom Brady and he becomes a better QB.
It's quaaaaality (of throws) not quaaaaantity (of throws) maaan
So what do we think? Buffalo is a good a place as any to rededicate to the run. .
45% running plays? Yes, No?