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A troubling aspect of Scott Linehan's offenses.

Below, I'm going to link to Scott Linehan's offensive records from Pro Football Reference.

What strikes me about this data -- and worries me -- is that in 10 out of 12 seasons, his teams ranked better in YARDAGE than in POINTS SCORED. And sometimes, the difference was dramatic.

For example, his last two years in Detroit, his offenses were 3rd and 6th in yards. But they were only 17th and 13th in points. Indeed, other than his 3 years in Minnesota, when he had Randy Moss, he's only had 1 year with a top-10 offensive point total.

The trouble is - POINTS, not YARDs, win football games. Why the disconnect? One reason I think is that his teams have typically ranked poorly in the giveaway department. In other words, they turn the ball over a lot. 7 of 12 years they've ranked 20th in the NFL or worse, and 6 of those years, they've been in the bottom 5.

Here is the link. http://www.pro-football-reference.com/coaches/LineSc0.htm

The interesting thing about this is that Jason Garrett has a similar record as offensive coordinator.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/coaches/GarrJa0.htm

In his 6 years as offensive coordinator in Dallas, he did best his first year (with Tony Sparano's help). He did pretty well in 2010, when he had to pull out all the offensive stops because the defense was so bad. Those were the only years with top-10 offenses in points scored.

Last year, with Bill Callahan calling plays, Dallas flipped the script, ranking 16th in yards, but 5th in points. The year before, it was the exact opposite -- 5th in yards, but 16th in points. Needless to say, the former is better.

Let's compare that record with a guy like Bill Belichick, whose NE teams have ranked in the top 5 in points 5 of the last 7 years, with 2 #1s, a #2, and a #3 in there. In every one of those years, NE ranked very highly in keeping their turnovers down. That's the gold standard.

So what's it going to be for Dallas in 2014? Can Scott Linehan really change his stripes? Can he concoct an offense that's top-5 in points, and top-10 in fewest turnovers? We might SUPPOSE that he could, but there is very little historical evidence that he can.

*********************

At some point I realized if I posted the data from PFR into Excel, I could then paste it here. So now you don't have to go elsewhere to see the numbers. The only problem with this is the headings are now a little off, so overall offense now looks like Rushing Off.

Overall Offense Rushing Off Passing Off Defense Rushing Def Passing Def
Year Tm Tms WL% T/G Pts± Yds± Yds Pts GvA Att Yds TD Y/A FL Att Yds TD Int NY/A Yds Pts TkA Att Yds TD Y/A FR Att Yds TD Int nY/A
2002 MIN 32 25 31 24 12 2 8 31 8 1 1 1 27 13 9 20 30 12 26 30 27 6 10 17 17 30 17 29 32 19 32
2003 MIN 32 14 5 11 5 1 6 7 7 4 12 6 13 15 4 1 6 4 23 23 7 3 17 32 31 29 25 26 6 2 23
2004 MIN 32 14 18 13 11 4 6 5 28 18 29 2 5 8 2 2 7 2 28 26 25 13 21 21 28 19 27 29 27 28 28
2005 MIA 32 14 14 17 18 14 16 20 17 12 17 8 21 10 16 11 17 18 18 15 7 22 17 11 7 3 24 20 24 23 6
2006 STL 32 13 2 18 11 6 10 3 23 17 14 10 10 3 4 8 1 11 23 28 7 24 31 32 30 5 3 8 16 13 22
2007 STL 32 31 27 32 25 24 28 29 24 25 32 25 8 9 19 17 32 27 21 31 19 16 20 27 19 25 9 21 22 10 27
2008 STL 32 30 23 31 28 27 30 27 22 25 30 25 20 15 26 30 26 28 28 31 13 28 29 30 29 5 2 19 14 21 31
2009 DET 32 31 32 31 29 26 27 32 24 24 22 28 7 6 21 24 32 28 32 32 24 22 25 26 21 4 21 32 32 30 32
2010 DET 32 20 11 17 20 17 15 12 24 23 18 20 9 3 12 11 16 26 21 19 11 19 24 27 24 4 10 16 13 19 21
2011 DET 32 7 4 8 9 5 4 11 31 29 23 13 8 1 4 3 19 12 23 23 3 10 23 6 30 3 28 22 22 5 8
2012 DET 32 28 30 23 2 3 17 27 25 23 6 18 27 1 2 18 22 14 13 27 27 14 16 18 24 25 12 14 19 23 18
2013 DET 32 20 28 13 5 6 13 30 14 17 10 22 29 5 3 8 20 8 16 15 21 4 6 8 20 25 19 23 13 17 20
12 yrs %tile 39 45 41 58 68 56 42 39 46 47 57 55 80 71 63 44 54 32 25 53 56 41 37 30 57 52 36 41 48 33
5 yrs DET 37 38 46 63 68 56 33 29 31 54 40 53 93 77 63 35 48 38 31 49 60 44 50 29 65 47 36 41 44 41
3 yrs MIN 48 47 53 74 96 82 58 58 79 59 94 56 66 88 79 58 84 23 21 42 80 53 30 24 22 31 16 35 52 17
3 yrs STL 26 49 19 36 44 32 42 31 33 24 41 64 75 52 46 42 34 28 9 63 32 20 10 22 67 89 53 49 57 20
1 yr MIA 59 59 50 47 59 53 41 50 66 50 78 38 72 53 69 50 47 47 56 81 34 50 69 81 94 28 41 28 31 84

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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