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Sunday, October 16, 2005

The run/pass ratio, Why all the fuss?



by Rick
For PackerChatters

I've been reading some Eagles forums lately and have found an oft-stated theme: Virtually no fans are happy with the offensive play selection (the run/pass ratio). Actually, they're peeved, to put it politely. Here's the breakdown:

Philadelphia Eagles 2005
88 rushes
214 passes
Ratio 29/71


Now, I'm wondering. Why is it that there is so much fuss about having a near 50/50 ratio anyway? Teams that run the ball more are typically teams that can run the ball more, or teams that do it well. The Eagles, at this point, aren't a particularly good running team (they currently rank last in the league in rushing yards and 24th in yards per attempt). On the other hand, they are a good passing team (#1 in the NFL currently with 307 passing yards a game), as they have one of the top QB-WR tandems in the NFL. Also, their little scatback seems to be a better receiver than he is a runner anyway.

Relating this to our own team, I'd like to know why there so much concern about having the Packers establish the the run (and not abandon it) if, when we do try to run, it doesn't work well anyway, and our passing game is working so much better.

Right now we have two guards who haven't been run blocking especially well. Our C position is occupied by either an apparently declining player or a 2nd year player (who's better). We have a gimpy #1 RB who may or may not play in a week against Minnesota. We have lost our #2 running back for the season. Our #3 back has averaged 2 yards per carry (8 carries for 9 yards and one 9-yard run) and is playing poorly this year. And our "starting" fullback has to come out on running plays in favor of a guy who didn't make the final cut (but who's probably a better blocker). On the other hand, we have two really good pass blockers at T, a Hall of Fame QB who can routinely get rid of the ball in 1.5 seconds, and respectable receivers. Given those contextual factors, I'd much rather hang my hat on the passing game than the running game.

Of course, if you can run the ball, you have more options in the passing game. More roll-outs. More play-action. Brett's really good when he's on the move. But if we try to establish the run early in the game and can't, we've then limited our chances of having our passing game work well too. Maybe we should worry less about establishing the run in our gameplanning, and concentrate more on getting our passing game going, as the odds now are that we're going to be more successful passing than running anway.

So, what would be so wrong about coming out throwing the heck out of the ball these next several games? What do we have to lose?
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