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I’m short on time this week, so I will present the data and leave the commentary to you guys. Here are the Game Scripts data from week 4.

Well, okay, allow me one comment. Under Joe Philbin, the Miami Dolphins have been incredibly pass-happy, despite the fact that the team has often been more effective on the ground than through the air. Well, in Philbin’s last game as head coach, Miami passed on 81% of dropbacks, the highest rate of any team in week four. And, of course, while some of that was due to the team’s poor Game Script, note that Tampa Bay had nearly the same Game Script and passed on only 61% of all plays.

Miami rushed 11 times for 59 yards, so it was not as though the Dolphins rushing attack mandated a pass-happy approach. And Ryan Tannehill averaged 2.49 ANY/A on 47 dropbacks. You can probably figure out why Philbin was fired.

TeamH/ROppBoxscorePFPAMarginGame ScriptPassRunP/R RatioOp_POp_ROpp_P/R Ratio
ATLHOUBoxscore48212722.3293545.3%581777.3%
CAR@TAMBoxscore37231412.1243242.9%452960.8%
NYJ@MIABoxscore27141311.9294340.3%471181%
NYG@BUFBoxscore2410149.5362757.1%432563.2%
GNB@SFOBoxscore173147.9353351.5%311863.3%
CINKANBoxscore3621157.6242648%502368.5%
DENMINBoxscore232035.9292454.7%482169.6%
SEADETBoxscore131034.8323051.6%351866%
STL@ARIBoxscore242223.8252649%502170.4%
WASPHIBoxscore232032.9463358.2%331766%
CHIOAKBoxscore222021.2462862.2%352162.5%
SDGCLEBoxscore302731.1402165.6%452168.2%
NORDALBoxscore26206-0.5442563.8%292850.9%
INDJAXBoxscore16133-1.2502368.5%512765.4%
BAL@PITBoxscore23203-2.1383750.7%303347.6%

Please leave your general thoughts in the comments. One specific question: how do you think the Miami offense will look without Philbin the rest of the year?

  • As you know, I use a regression to calculate expected Pass Ratio based on Game Script (as opposed to your standard deviation method). The thing that has stood out to me most this season is the pass happiness of the Patriots. They have the fourth highest pass ratio in the league, despite boasting easily the highest average game script. Overall, they have passed 15.7% more often than expected. Even though they have played just 3 games, they still lead the league in marginal pass attempts.

    Also of note (to me) is the pass aversion of the 49ers. They are fifth from the bottom in pass ratio, but they are comfortably at the bottom in average game script. Their “expected” pass ratio is nearly 66%, but they have only passed on about 53% of their plays — a -12.9% difference. An average team would be expected to throw about 32 more passes in the same number of plays.

    Denver ranks pretty high in pass plays even though they have an elderly, dead-armed quarterback. Establish the run, indeed.

    Kansas City passes more than expected as well, despite featuring Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles as their options. They are like a less egregiously inexplicable version of the Dolphins.

    Green Bay and Cincy are interesting to me, too. They both call fewer pass plays than expected, but they both make the most out of the pass plays that are called. Going only by ANY/A, Dalton and Rodgers are the top two quarterbacks who are currently starting.

    There doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong approach to take, as the six undefeated teams rank 1, 4, 18, 24, 25, and 29 in pass ratio over expectation.

    As far as your Dolphins-specific question goes, I am personally not familiar enough with Dan Campbell or Bill Lazor to know what they are going to try to accomplish. I can assume that, as a former blocking tight end, Campbell may wish to instill some toughness (what coach doesn’t, right?) and run commitment. However, that’s pure conjecture on my part. I think if they’re smart, they’ll give Lamar Miller more looks. From a work-psychology perspective, I’m not sure how long it will take Campbell, who answered to Lazor just a week ago, to feel fully confident asserting his vision over his former superior. I also don’t know how Lazor will respond to having to now answer to a guy who was just basically his assistant. In my not-very-informed opinion, it doesn’t really matter how the Dolphins offense will look, because it will probably suck either way; and the team in its current state is an embarrassment to fans.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQ4R1Y5UkAEluS_.png:large

    • Richie

      “From a work-psychology perspective, I’m not sure how long it will take
      Campbell, who answered to Lazor just a week ago, to feel fully confident
      asserting his vision over his former superior. I also don’t know how
      Lazor will respond to having to now answer to a guy who was just
      basically his assistant.”

      Yeah, I was wondering how that goes. I think I would feel irritated if I were Lazor. On the other hand, (from the outside) it would appear that Lazor’s job is also hanging by a thread, so maybe he’s just happy to still be there.

      “In my not-very-informed opinion, it doesn’t
      really matter how the Dolphins offense will look, because it will
      probably suck either way; and the team in its current state is an
      embarrassment to fans.”

      I think the Dolphins have some decent pieces at the skill positions, so there is still hope. But the problem is the offensive line. I guess if they can’t do anything to shore up the line, then only Ben Roethlisberger would be able to make any decent throws.

  • Richie

    “Well, okay, allow me one comment. Under Joe Philbin,
    the Miami Dolphins have been incredibly pass-happy, despite the fact
    that the team has often been more effective on the ground than through
    the air. Well, in Philbin’s last game as head coach, Miami passed on
    81% of dropbacks, the highest rate of any team in week four.”

    https://youtu.be/UMe0Rz1frdE?t=3s

  • Richie

    “One specific question: how do you think the Miami offense will look without Philbin the rest of the year?”

    I have no idea. However, Dan Campbell appears to be a military style disciplinarian. It seems like “running the ball” usually goes with that mindset. So maybe they will try to run more.

    But Bill Lazor is staying on as offensive coordinator, and I’ve never fully understood who exactly decides the run-pass ratio (and other offensive decisions such as 4th downs and clock management) – coordinator or head coach?

    I would think Campbell’s willingness to run will be a quick litmus test for his coaching ability. Anybody should see that the Dolphins pass the ball way way too much, and if a new coach does the same thing, he’s probably not worthy of sticking around.

  • Lazor comes from the Chip Kelly tree IIRC. And Kelly seems to believe in running the ball. So if Lazor gets more autonomy over play calling I can see the Miami offense running the ball more often. Though to be fair to Philbin, the defense has been terrible, often putting the offense in a situation where they’re playing from behind. That makes it harder to commit to the run.

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