I've taken a look at the last dozen years in an attempt to see what the NFL trend is for the running game vs. the passing game. Is the rushing attack going away in favor of the high flying passing attack? A lot of people are claiming this is the case, but what do the #'s show?
Percentage of offensive plays that are RUSHING plays from 2000 to 2011:
45.6%, 45.8%, 44.9%, 46.8%, 46.9%, 46.6%, 46.9%, 45.1%, 46.1%, 45.3%, 44.6%, 44.5%
So the % of plays that are rushes vs. passes has pretty much remained steady between 45%~47% over the last dozen years. But...
+The % of rushing plays has steadily dropped over the last 4 seasons
+2010 and 2011 had the lowest rushing %'s of the last decade
+From 2000~2008 the % of rushing plays was 46.1%, over the last 3 seasons it is only 44.8% (-2.8%)
So there is an indication that rushing plays overall are on a slight decline.
But what about the % of teams that run a ton, has that changed?
From 2000~2008...the avg. # of teams that rushed 500+ times was 5.4, from 2009~2011 it was 3.3 (-38%)
From 2000~2008...the avg. # of teams that rushed 450+ times was 13.2, from 2009~2011 it was 11.0 (-17%)
There is a significant drop over the last 3 years of teams that are heavy runners.
What about the workhorse RB's? Are they truly going out of fashion, or is that a myth?
From 2000~2006 the # of RB's that rushed 300+ attempts averaged 9.0, and was at least 9 in 6 of those 7 years.
From 2007~2010 the # of RB's that rushed 300+ attempts averaged 6.0
In 2011 the #of RB's that rushed 300+ attempts was only 2
From 2000~2005 there were 17 RB's who rushed 350+ times, averaging 2.8 per year
From 2006~2011 there was a total of 4, and none in the last 2 seasons.
There is a significant drop in the # of RB's who are placed in workhorse roles, carrying the load for their teams.
So are teams really throwing a lot more, or just a little bit more?
From 2000~2009 there were only 2 total teams who threw 650+ times
In 2010 and in 2011 there were 2 teams who threw 650+ times each season
From 2000~2007 there was an average of 1.9 teams per season who threw 600+ times
From 2008~2011 there was an average of 3.3 teams per season who threw 600+ times
Over the last 3 seasons there were 13.7 teams per season who threw 550+ times, in the years before that only 10.3
Teams are throwing more - especially over the last 3 seasons, and the trend is continuing.
What about picking RB's high in the draft? Is that a thing of the past? If teams are running less, and teams are relying on workhorse/cowbell types of backs, how is that playing out in the draft?
From 2000~2008 the average draft position of the first 5 RB's drafted was 30.3
From 2009~2011 the average draft position of the first 5 RB's drafted was 39.3 (+30%)
From 2000~2008 the average # of RB's drafted in round 1 was 3.2
From 2009~2011 the average # of RB's drafted in round 1 was 2.3 (-28%)
From 2000~2008 the average # of RB's drafted in the top 50 picks was 4.3
From 2009~2011 the average # of RB's drafted in the top 50 picks was 2.7 (-38%)
So running backs are getting pushed back further in the draft in the last few years, but not totally out of round 1.
So what does this mean about the draft, and going forward?
1) The running game has not gone extinct and still accounts for about 45% of a teams offense - although that is dropping. So the running game can't be ignored as insignificant.
2) The # of teams who are relying on passing heavily is increasing, and the % of passing plays is increasing over the last few seasons. So a defense must be better at defending the pass than before - getting to the QB and defending the receivers.
3) Fewer RB's are being taken in round 1, but RB's are still being taken in round 1. If you really want the top 1 or 2 RB's you still have to use a round 1 pick.
4) Because RB's are falling overall in the draft, about 9 spots in average compared to where they used to be taken, you can more readily find good RB's in round 2 compared to years past.
I am thinking....
We should use a 1st on Trent if he is there, but no other RB (27 votes)
We should use a 1st on a RB even if Trent is gone (2 votes)
We should use a 1st on a DB - teams are passing more (21 votes)
Forget DB, we need a pass rush DE - teams are passing more (2 votes)
Teams aren't rushing less / aren't throwing more. It just LOOKS like they are (because they are) (0 votes)
Easter Sunday is coming...mmmm, choc chip cookies! (2 votes)
54 total votes