Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Analysis of Henning's Offenses

I wanted to take a look at how our new offensive coordinator Dan Henning has fared in the recent past during his stint with the Carolina Panthers.

I've organized this chart using the excellent statistics provided by Football Outsiders.

The stat DVOA stands for Defense-adjusted Value Over Average. According to FO:
"DVOA is a method of evaluating teams, units, or players. It takes every single play during the NFL season and compares each one to a league-average baseline based on situation. DVOA measures not just yardage, but yardage towards a first down: five yards on 3rd-and-4 are worth more than five yards on 1st-and-10 and much more than five yards on 3rd-and-12. Red zone plays are worth more than other plays. Performance is also adjusted for the quality of the opponent. DVOA is a percentage, so a team with a DVOA of 10.0% is 10 percent better than the average team, and a quarterback with a DVOA of -20.0% is 20 percent worse than the average quarterback."
The longer, full explanation of the stat can be found here.
"WEIGHTED OFFENSE is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season. VARIANCE (VAR.) measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance on offense. Teams are ranked from least consistent (#1, highest variance) to most consistent (#32, smallest variance)."
The numbers in parentheses are the overall NFL ranks for those particular categories. Remember, that in the VAR stat a rank of 32 means that the offense was the most consistent in the league.

I included that numbers for both the Panthers and Dolphins in 2007 in order to show how the Panthers fared the year after Henning left the team and how Miami's numbers last year compare to Henning's years in Carolina.

Offense DVOA
Weighted Offense
Pass Off.
Pass Rank
Rush Off.
Rush Rank
2002 Panthers
-22.9% (31)
-30.3% (30)
8.6% (7)
2003 Panthers
-7.2% (18)
-7.1% (17)
3.2% (30)
2004 Panthers
0.8% (13)
3.7% (13)
3.4% (31)
2005 Panthers
-3.2% (15)
-4.3% (16)
6.5% (16)
2006 Panthers
-4.2% (19)
-5.6% (20)
4.9% (25)
2007 Panthers (w/o Henning)
-15.2% (27)
-19.3% (31)
7.6% (14)
2007 Dolphins (w/Cameron)
-8.8% (23)
-14.5% (27)
6.9% (15)

Wow. I was unimpressed with Henning before doing this research, and I am even more unimpressed now. For a guy who likes to run the ball so much, he has never really been successful at doing it. Granted, I realize that personnel affects how well you can execute your schemes, but it's not like Henning is going to be inheriting a wealth of talent in Miami.

Looking at these numbers, Henning had a horrible year in his first year with the Panthers. To be fair, the offense was just as atrocious the year before he arrived. The offense improved over the next two years, but it never approached a top-ten unit, even with Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith on the roster.

The numbers show that he always had a better pass offense than rush offense, and his rush offenses border on terrible. Even though his offenses have been relatively consistent, it seems that they have been consistently underwhelming.

These numbers do not bode well for Miami in 2008, but hopefully Tony Sparano will be able to add something to the mix in an attempt to reshape this offense.

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