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D vs O debate: another stellar edition of NFL Live...

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by the taildragger, May 24, 2006.

  1. the taildragger

    the taildragger Rookie

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    Today NFL Live continued to propagate the myth that offense is “less important†than defense.

    It's tautological to suggest that "D wins championships" because we all know you can't win a championship with lousy D, but you can't win with a lousy O either.

    A team is the sum of its parts, if its deficient on one side, it better make make it up on the other...overall balance can make up for deficiencies on both sides.


    All things being equal, O is every bit as important as D.

    This will sound retarded, but I'm going to spell it out for the well-meaning folks at ESPN: Championship teams need to score against GOOD defense and keep GOOD offenses from scoring...if they excel at one of those two things, they don't have to be as good at the other...but you can't win a championship without doing a little of both.

    Out of 40 SB winners, how many had average or below average offense?...the '85 Bears had Walter Payton, if you don't think he made their defense better you are clueless...the '90 Giants had a dominant possession-style offense as well...then there's everyone's favorite triumverate: the '00 Ravens, '01 Pats and '02 Bucs. The Bucs had a great D in 2001, but it wasn't until Gruden overhauled their OFFENSE that they became legit. I'll address the Pats and Ravens below...

    Keep in mind, these are the EXCEPTIONS...out of 40 Super Bowl winners there are only five cases where the D was superior to the O, and in none of those cases was the O insignificant or merely carried along for the ride.

    The ESPN crew eagerly cited the usual suspect – the Ravens.

    They failed to acknowledge the huge increase in production that season after Dilfer replaced Banks. They failed to acknowledge the GOD AWFUL offenses the Ravens faced in 2001, including their own anemic division. And they also brushed aside Merril Hoge's point that the Ravens' O did a great job of keeping their opponents off the field (huge impact on “points allowedâ€). Once again, big-time pundits fail to understand the basics of complimentary football – while throwing around stats like they actually know what they’re talking about.

    Trey went as far as to claim the Rams had a great D in ’99 -- note to Trey: the statistical strength of the Rams’ defense that season had a little something to do with the 20-point leads they played with.

    Darren Woodson fully understands the concept of playing downhill or playing with leverage – but apparently his Dallas teams won despite their Hall of Fame running and passing games (not)...those Dallas teams were stacked on BOTH sides, they were a dynasty because of great balance and talent, not because the D was better than the O...that's just dumb.


    Leverage is the same reason the Colts’ D is so great at creating turnovers.

    Let's look back at the SB Patriots in 2001:
    • Was the overall D stronger than the overall O: Yes, no doubt about it.
    • Was the D exhausted and worthless in the 4th-quarter of the Super Bowl: Absolutely -- they morphed into the Chiefs’ D against Tiki Barber.
    • Would we have likely won the game in a "5th quarter": No, the Rams would’ve continued to score on every possession and eventually would’ve stopped us…however, they may have won in OT if the coin flip went their way.
    • Why was the D so worn out?: because the Pats did not have a legitimate ground game, and, unlike 2003, didn’t have enough protection/options in the passing game to balance it out, plus against the aggressive Rams’ DBs they had to be conservative in the passing game…conservative playcalling + lack of weapons = no offense = worn out defense.
    Pretty obvious formula right? Yet Michael Smith still somehow concludes that defense trumps offense.

    The truth is that if the '01 Pats had been able to impose their will on the ground and/or allowed the protection in the passing game needed to throw down the field, they would’ve ROLLED over the Rams. Smith also credits the Pats’ D (rather than special teams for winning the AFC Championship)…dumb.

    A bad offense still looks bad regardless of how dominant the defense plays...but a great offense ALWAYS makes a defense look better.

    :bricks:
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2005
  2. patsox23

    patsox23 Rookie

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    very good post. interesting. thanks for the insight and work.
  3. Richter

    Richter Rookie

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    I think the reason that most hold this view is that building a defense is the faster path to respectability as a football team, especially if that team has been mediocre for some time. As an example, the Lions draft receiver after receiver to prop up a failing offense, and continue to flounder, while the Jaguars pursue defensive talent first and foremost and return to the playoffs. Situations like that tend to favor the defensive side of the ball from a simple perspective. Not only do you not need to draft for a singularly important and demanding position in the form of a QB, but talented athletes can often make an impact more quickly on the defensive side of the ball. Personally, I've always viewed the ground game (and by extension, possession oriented short-passing offense) as a direct extension of the defense, the first and most formidable line in fact. Both are equally important in stifling the other team's ability to score and dictating game length and field position. Conversely, both are equally important to enabling scoring, as the defense often dictates field position for the offense, occasionally scores directly, and most importantly returns possession of the ball to the offense if it is fulfilling its primary duty. The fact is, the best teams are the teams that excel in all phases of the game, not just one specialized subset.
  4. Lloyd_Christmas

    Lloyd_Christmas I can delete my own crap! PatsFans.com Supporter

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    In principle I agree with you, but I just can't sit by while you try to put a pig in a dress.

    The Baltimore Ravens offense blew chunks. Dilfer, while effective at not making costly turnovers, was anything but prolific. He may be only QB who was actually cut (or was he an unwanted UFA? either way... ) during the off season after winning a SuperBowl. Statistically, the Ravens offense was one of the worst to have ever won a SB.

    I also would characterize the New England defense in 01 dramatically better than it's offense. I disagree with your characterization of our offense vs the Rams defense. It's not that we couldn't open it up against the Rams because of their DBs, it was that we were protecting a lead and playing conservatively BY CHOICE in order to prevent turnovers and give the deadly Rams offense a momentum swing. Tired or not, I am amazed we held the Rams O in check for 3 quarters. Other teams well rested defenses had been unable to stop them all year.

    The Giants of the 90s also logged one of the most fantastic displays of defense when they shutdown the Bills offense in the Super Bowl.

    Having said ALL that, I think both facits fo the game are important and if there is an advantage to having a great D and subpar offense versus a subpar D and a great offense, it is probably not as significant as most people think.
  5. JR4

    JR4 In the Starting Line-up PatsFans.com Supporter

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    There are exceptions to most everything. Your premise I beleive to be true
    most of the time but occassionally you may find a mediocre offense and
    a dominate D winning.

    You are right that you needed both.

    I think BB did the right thing this offseason building up the offense. He saw
    improving defenses and knew the way to keep ahead was making his offense
    better. Our defense the way it is will be competitive against most offenses
    they face and will probably be dominate often.

    Now with a better Offense PATs can take on the improving Miami Defense
    with more assurance they can score enough to win the game. Miami is
    our biggest concern in the regular season. If PATs can handle them they'll be
    in the playoffs. That's the bottom line for me.
  6. DarthPatriot

    DarthPatriot Banned

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    What helps a defense more than an offense that puts together long drive after long drive.If your offense keeps going three and out you can have probowlers at every defensive position and by the end of the game they will be worn out and getting beat like a red headed step child by the fourth quarter.Thats why I think we addressed the D when we drafted O.Oh yeah and trey wingo is a mutant.
  7. Richter

    Richter Rookie

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    This is an indictment of Brian Billick's ability to assess quarterback talent, not a refutation of the original argument.
    Last edited: May 24, 2006
  8. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good discussion tail, especially the complimentary relationship between the three phases of the game, you've got folks thinking.
  9. sieglo

    sieglo Rookie

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    OMG, Rick Spielman said "the best defensive end in the league is Dwight Freeney."

    ROTFLMAO!

    And all this Reggie Bush ballwashing is making me sick.
    Last edited: May 24, 2006
  10. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Outstanding post, Taildragger.
    I especially liked your analysis of SB36.
    I remember watching the game and thinking toward the end of the game ..."man, these guys are tired". To me it was obvious and I'm sure it was for the Rams as well.
    But the Ram recievers did a pretty good job making our DBs constantly on the hustle. Though they did take some hard hits from our secondary they came back pretty admirably.
    I thought Antoine actually had a good game that day. I'll check.
  11. 363839

    363839 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Last edited: May 24, 2006
  12. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Bottom line: A good defense always overcomes a good offense, and vice versa.

    However, that said, a strong offense that scores 40 points is useless when coupled with a lousy defense that allows 45 points.

    On the other hand, if a defense shuts out the other team, and scores a couple TDs on INTs, then it doesn't matter how bad your offense is because they don't have to score at all. They only have to avoid giving up turnovers.

    The Pats scored a total of three offensive TDs in their three playoff games in 2001 post season.
  13. AndyJohnson

    AndyJohnson PatsFans.com Veteran PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I have a different take.
    I agree defense wins Championships.
    But defense ALONE doesnt.

    No defense is good enough to win without an offense. Just as no offense is good enough to win without a defense.
    However, a great defense with an average offense wins much more often than a great offense with an average defense. ESPECIALLY in big games.

    Ive always felt that Defense wins Championships means that in big games, defense BECOMES more important than in a typical game. How many 'shootouts' do you see when you get to conference champiosnhips or SBs? Not as many as low scoring games.

    The basis of the concept is that to win Champioships you must win a streak of games against good teams. Defense is much more consistent week to week than offense. In other words once the playoffs start, you are much more likely to have an 'off day' on O than on D. Plus when you put a great O vs a great D, typically the D comes out on top.

    Additionally, a defense can support an offense more than an offense can support a D. Sure you can control the clock, play from ahead, make your Ds life easier. But a defense can force turnovers and gain field position that makes a mediocre O productive.

    A great defense can accout for as many points (scoring or setting up) as they allow. An offense has much less control over keeping points off the board than a defense does in putting them on the board.

    In the final analysis if you give me the best D vs the best O (and each team is mediocre on the other side of the ball) the great D wins way, way more often than not.
  14. Richter

    Richter Rookie

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    That first line is logically inconsistent. Not sure what you're trying to say there. As for the Pats scoring three offensive touchdowns (one per game) in the 2001 postseason, that bit of anecdotal evidence works to solidify the original point - teams win games, not offenses or defenses. The Oakland game took place in blizzard like conditions, which tends to limit offensive production, and in turn makes it difficult to draw any conclusion from. The Pittsburgh game was a clear example of how a balanced team will beat a team with a decisive leaning towards one facet of the game - an offensive touchdown, an "offensive" special teams touchdown (the punt return) and a "defensive" special teams touchdown (the field goal block). And the Superbowl is the best example of balance defeating a specialized unit, with an offensive and defensive touchdown, a field goal and a last minute offensive drive to set up a clutch field goal.

    As for the examples you gave, they aren't consistent. An offense scoring 40 points while the defense gives up 45 isn't equivilant to a defense pitching a shutout and scoring a few times. The first is a good offense, the second is a herculean effort on defense. Even the very best defenses in league history could not and cannot manage such efforts on a consistent basis.
    Last edited: May 24, 2006
  15. Richter

    Richter Rookie

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    This may be true or it may not be. The Patriots victory over the Steelers in the 2004-2005 AFC Conference championship was not a classic shootout, but was hardly a defensive struggle either, with a final score of 41-27. Regardless, the number of shootouts isn't a good indicator, because how many teams with flat out bad units on any side of the ball make conference championship games? Typically, the best of the best play, strong in all three facets of the game.
  16. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    It's a slight misquote of something Yogi Berra once said: Good pitching always overcomes good hitting, and vice versa.

    It basically means what AJ said in a later post. The difference is that AJ is eloquent and learned, and provides logical analysis and thoughtful insight, whereas I am a wiseass.

    But I'm probably taller than he is, so there!
  17. Richter

    Richter Rookie

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    Hmm, that particular Yogi-ism doesn't ring a bell, but it sounds about right for him. Given your respective heights though, I'd say this conversation is now 90% mental, and the other half is physical.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 3, 2005
  18. the taildragger

    the taildragger Rookie

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    Statistically, the Ravens offense was one of the worst to have ever won a SB.

    They are one of the “five exceptions” I came up with. This is like saying offense wins championships by pointing to the Rams in ’99…exceptions don’t prove a rule.

    Dilfer, while effective at not making costly turnovers, was anything but prolific. He may be only QB who was actually cut (or was he an unwanted UFA? either way... )

    Say what you want about Dilfer, the fact is that team sucked before he took over, and after he was let go they went right back to sucking.

    The Giants of the 90s also logged one of the most fantastic displays of defense when they shutdown the Bills offense in the Super Bowl.

    The Giants' D was indeed brutal -- one of the all-time front sevens. But how great would the Giants have looked if Otis Anderson hadn’t run wild and helped NY dominate time of possession and keep the Bills' offense off the field...there were some monster drives in that game...Hostetler had one of the great unsung performances IMO.

    I disagree with your characterization of our offense vs the Rams defense. It's not that we couldn't open it up against the Rams because of their DBs, it was that we were protecting a lead and playing conservatively BY CHOICE in order to prevent turnovers and give the deadly Rams offense a momentum swing. Tired or not, I am amazed we held the Rams O in check for 3 quarters. Other teams well rested defenses had been unable to stop them all year.

    Agree on all accounts there…bottom line is the Pats' O was on a tight leash…you’re right to suggest there are multiple reasons for this, I might not have made that clear.

    I thought Antoine actually had a good game that day.

    Fair point, his numbers in that game were solid…but I would submit the stats don’t show two important things: the Rams weren’t AFRAID of our ground game, and two, we consistently failed to get the tough yardage to keep alive drives…it’s not all Antowain’s fault…IMO, vintage Corey Dillon would’ve struggled running behind that O-line.

    An offense has much less control over keeping points off the board than a defense does in putting them on the board.

    Again, what about keeping the other team off the field? This was exactly how the Pats beat the Colts in '04, our defense just sat on the bench and watched

    The Pats scored a total of three offensive TDs in their three playoff games in 2001 post season.

    The ESPN crew also brought that up. I have already conceded that the Pats O in ‘01 was NOT nearly the equal of the D…it’s partly why what #12 managed to do at the end of the Snow Bowl and Super Bowl was so remarkable...one wonders if the games might've been easier if we'd just played them entirely in no-huddle.

    if you give me the best D vs the best O (and each team is mediocre on the other side of the ball) the great D wins way, way more often than not.

    I don't want to make it sound like I'm knocking defense...all things being equal it's AS important as offense.
    but no matter how good D is, if you can't move the chains, the D isn't worth a darn.

    The perception that D trumps O comes from 3 of the most recent Super Bowl winners which did have better defenses (I hope that undresses the pig), but when you go back and look at all 40 Super Bowls, 6 out of every 8 winners had a very balanced team, 1 out of 8 was clearly skewed toward defense and 1 out of 8 was clearly skewed toward offense.

    Consider the following paradox:

    Why did the '05 Bears not advance to the Super Bowl?
    Answer 1: Because they couldn't stop Steve Smith (the #1 scoring D was dominated by an offense with one lone weapon)
    Answer 2: They were lousy at the QB position.

    Why did the '05 Panthers not advance to the Super Bowl?
    Answer 1: Because they had one lone weapon on offense.
    Answer 2: Because the Seahawks #1 scoring offense was too much for Carolina's #5 scoring defense (great offense trumped great defense).

    Why did the Steelers win the SB?
    Answer: I still have no clue...talk about the Ravens and Dilfer all you want, but if you put all the losing SB QBs side by side, they all top Roethlisberger in that game.

    Forget about offense, it's obvious to everyone but Trey Wingo, but field position is the heart of the game and special teams are every bit as important as defense…mistakes or big plays in the kicking or return game turn games around…consistent production in the return game is a huge boost to offense…consistent coverage play in special teams is a huge boost to defense.


    almost forgot to add: Rick Spielman had the single dumbest comment of all time...he said he'd build his defense from the outside to the inside and from the back to the front...that's the exact opposite of the way anyone ever builds a defense...it's clear why he was fired. Both Woodson and Hoge looked at him like he was crazy...even Woodson, a safety, said you start with the middle of the line and build out and back from there.

    And they refer to Spielman as their "insider"...yeah, more like their outcast.
    Last edited: May 24, 2006
  19. spacecrime

    spacecrime Rookie

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    Not an exception. The '99 Rams had an awesome defense.
  20. the taildragger

    the taildragger Rookie

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    The media thought so...that's what the stats show too...but playing with a 20-point lead had a little something to do with their stats. I'm just using the eye-test -- scoring leverage is a basic concept most pundits refuse to acknowledge.

    When the media was gloating about the Colts' amazing revamped defense in '05 (and they sent all those players to the pro bowl) I cried foul...both the Rams' D in '99 and the Colts' D last year obviously benefited big time from the enormous production of their Os. You can have Cato June and Dexter McCleaon, I'll take Marshall Faulk and Edgerrin James.

    Not saying their defenses were weak, just would never quite mistake them for being "awesome."

    In any event, my point was that the Rams O was superior to the Rams D...it's the antithesis of the Ravens example.
    Last edited: May 24, 2006

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