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nine

So WTF happened during the bye week last year?

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nine   

It's no secret that Derrick Henry's performance and production improved dramatically last year after the bye in week #8.

 

Weeks 1-7:   3.25 yds/carry, 1 TD

Weeks 9-17:   6.0 yds/carry, 11 TD

 

We already knew about this.


However.....amidst all the various conversations about various other players, something struck me:   it wasn't just Henry that suddenly got better;  several others also struggled early but turned it around and improved significantly after the bye.

 

Marcus Mariota

weeks 1-7:   66% completions, 6.8 yds/att, 3 TD, 5 INT,  78.5 passer rating

weeks 9-16:   71% completions, 8.3 yds/att, 8 TD, 3 INT, 103.8 passer rating

 

Jonnu Smith

weeks 1-7:   44 yds receiving, 0 TD

weeks 9-14:  214 yds rec, 3 TD

 

Taywan Taylor

weeks 1-7:  190 yds, 27 yds/game, 10.0 yds/rec

weeks 9-17: 276 yds, 46 yds/game, 15.3 yds/rec

 

Corey Davis' improvement was fairly modest but his TDs trended upward nicely:

weeks 1-7:  395 yds, 56 yds/game, 13.2 yds/rec, 1 TD

weeks 9-17:   496 yds, 55 yds/gm, 14.1 yds/rec, 3 TD

 

So what was it?    Was it simply a matter of players growing more comfortable in the new system and understanding it better?   Did LaFleur's playcalling improve down the stretch?    Was this improvement a byproduct of the improved O-line play?   

 

Unfortunately, not everything was all sunshine and roses, as Deon Lewis and Tajae Sharpe fell off sharply after midseason.  Lewis was obviously highly ineffective down the stretch, averaging only 35 yds/game (rushing + receiving)  after week 9.   And after a respectable 200+ yards in weeks 1-7,  Sharpe was shut out in six out of nine games and had only 94 yards over the rest of the season.

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BudAdams   

It was a combination of things IMO

 

1.  Adjusting to the new offense by the players

2.  The OC getting more experienced with what works for the talent.

3.  Mariota was healthier.

4.  Henry ran with more urgency.

 

 

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I would think that the week away from the players to some extent really helps the coaches implement changes that they probably knew needed to be made.  It's probably difficult when you are in the weekly routine.

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Dinx81   

Id like to think it was the trade rumor that made him run better, but if thats the case that kind of motivation only lasts so long. 

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1 minute ago, Dinx81 said:

Id like to think it was the trade rumor that made him run better, but if thats the case that kind of motivation only lasts so long. 

We'll see with Henry. He looked like a completely different runner to me, but maybe just got more of an opportunity with the improved play of the OL. I don't think it had everything to do with being replaced, even though it probably played at least somewhat of a role for him.

 

But Henry has seemed pretty open about it whenever he hasn't been playing well so it could just be as simple as being a pride thing, not wanting that to be representative of what kind of player he is. If that's the case then more power to him because it just means being a better player is his motivation.

 

I'm pretty excited to see how the run game looks this year with the improvements on the oline. Probably the most excited about it I've been since before the 2010 season kicked off.

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big2033   

Our offense goes through the run game. The run game got better so, so did the rest of the team.

 

I mean outside of Mariota most of the stats you're showing aren't that big a difference. Jonnu Smith would get better in a role he's been forced into regardless.

 

Overall, IMO there isn't enough of a sampling outside of Henry to say anything definitive.

Edited by big2033

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Thrill   

I think the O-Line started clicking a bit more and that gave everyone more confidence (particularly Mariota and Henry). Unfortunately, Dion was clearly nursing some injuries at that point so we were never able to get a full steam 2 headed attack from the backfield.

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Stan17   
55 minutes ago, big2033 said:

Our offense goes through the run game. The run game got better so, so did the rest of the team.

 

I mean outside of Mariota most of the stats you're showing aren't that big a difference. Jonnu Smith would get better in a role he's been forced into regardless.

 

Overall, IMO there isn't enough of a sampling outside of Henry to say anything definitive.

But the sampling size is basically the same.... So either the first bit of the season could be considered an outlier, or it is indicative of an upwards trend.

 

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big2033   
8 minutes ago, Stan17 said:

But the sampling size is basically the same.... So either the first bit of the season could be considered an outlier, or it is indicative of an upwards trend.

 

Not really. Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor played 8 weeks in the second half versus seven in the first.

 

And they're increase in yardage were 96 and 100 yards respectively. That's one or two better performances overall to move the needle there. Dropped pass here, good catch there ... you have your numbers.

 

Jonnu Smith was again someone forced into a role. He had to get better over time.

 

Mariota did better. But 8 TDs and 3 INTs over 7 games isn't exactly lighting the world on fire. The shift in stats there could be situational. The amount of TDs overall are so small that it could be purely luck of the draw.

Edited by big2033

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15 minutes ago, big2033 said:

Not really. Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor played 8 weeks in the second half versus seven in the first.

 

And they're increase in yardage were 96 and 100 yards respectively. That's one or two better performances overall to move the needle there. Dropped pass here, good catch there ... you have your numbers.

 

Jonnu Smith was again someone forced into a role. He had to get better over time.

 

Mariota did better. But 8 TDs and 3 INTs over 7 games isn't exactly lighting the world on fire. The shift in stats there could be situational. The amount of TDs overall are so small that it could be purely luck of the draw.

Logic is useless. People see any increase and try to cherry pick what they want to see

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