Thursday, October 06, 2005

3rd Down Woes

I was reading Killers article about Mooch on Tuesday and what's wrong with third down conversions, I was amazed that Mooch didn't seem to have an answer.
Mariucci identifies problems, not solutions

Detroit Lions head coach Steve Mariucci has identified the team's problem: Everything.

When it comes to solutions, though, Mariucci is a little less forthcoming. During his weekly press conference Monday, Mariucci had precious few answers for questions concerning Detroit's 17-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

While the Lions' defense played a fairly good game, forcing four turnovers and holding Tampa Bay's running game in check, Detroit's offense struggled in every phase.

"We were two-of-12 on third down (conversions) and that can't happen. You have to be over 40 percent," said Mariucci, who was just beginning his laundry list of problem areas. "We don't have the explosive plays. We haven't established the ground game like we want to to keep people playing run-pass and with play-action to get people to bite.

"There's just a lot of it, from protection to accuracy to decision-making to catching the ball, making the tough catch to separating from defenders to reading coverage properly . . . the timing of it all. That has to improve quickly."

So the Lions were 2 for 12 on 3rd down agains the Bucs. Here is a breakdown of the plays...

1 - 3rd and 6, incomplete to Roy, dropped sure TD.
2 - 3rd and 12, Joey scrambles for 4
3 - 3rd and 19, Bryson draw for 10
4 - 3rd and 4, Joey scramble for 1 - Field Goal
5 - 3rd and 5, Bryson catch for 4
6 - 3rd and 8, Joey sacked, 0 yards
7 - 3rd and 5, incomplete to Bryson, dropped
8 - 3rd and 5 - BMW catch for 11 yards, First Down!
9 - 3rd and 5 - incomplete to Pollard, Field Goal
10 - 3rd and 5, KJ2 catch for 7 yards, First Down!
11 - 3rd and 5, Incomplette to CRog, dropped, made 4th down conversion
12 - 3rd and 1, Incomplete to BMW, toe on line

Does anyone else notice anything wrong with this?

What I take out of that horror show is:
A - We only had ONE 3rd and less than 4 - PATHETIC. Gain some yards on 1st and 2nd downs.
B - We dropped 3 balls on 3rd down - INEXCUSABLE. Drops are bad at any time, but those were drive killers.
C - We ran / scrambled / were sacked on 4 plays, averaging 3rd and 11, including our 3 longest 3rd downs. You have very little chance of converting 3rd and 10+ if you run unless your name is Michael Vick.

If Mooch can't see it, he needs glasses and a lesson in Football 101. Just eliminating the drops brings us to 5 of 12 - much more respectable. Better play calling on the 3rd and longs, and maybe we convert one of those as well. Heck, better play calling on 1st and 2nd downs, and maybe we actually have some 3rd and shorts, not just on the 2nd to last play of the game with no timeouts and 12 seconds on the clock where a run is not an option.

This is frustrating as a fan, because you see a team that is not giving itself a chance to succeed.

Get a clue Mooch. Most teams don't convert a high percentage of 3rd and long's...

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