The numbers that defined 2010: 2.08
Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jun 28, 2011
By Jonathan Comey
Cold, Hard Football Facts Leader of the Raid
Cold, Hard Football Facts Leader of the Raid
Wondering why the Raiders cut Tom Cable (no pun intended) and jumped on Hue Jackson as head coach for 2011?
The Raiders quietly engineered one of the greatest offensive turnarounds of all time in 2010, and did so under their first-year offensive coordinator.
Oakland set a record for a 16-game season by increasing their scoring output for the year by more than double, by an exact factor of 2.081 from 2009. It's the only time since 1978 that a team has done this, and while it helps to set the bar extremely low, it's also one hell of an achievement.
Since the league expanded to 16 games in 1978, only 15 teams scored 200 points or fewer in a non-strike season. Oakland was one of them, finishing with 197 points in their 2009 season.
In every case except Oakland's, these franchises took a mild step forward into mediocrity the season following their embarrassing output, as you'd expect (Carolina, which scored under 200 last year, is still a work in progress).
- 2010 Rams: 289 points
- 2007 Raiders: 283
- 2001 Bengals: 226
- 2001 Browns: 285
- 1999 Eagles: 272
- 1994 Bengals: 276
- 1994 Colts: 307
- 1993 Seahawks: 280
- 1992 Colts: 216
- 1992 Cardinals: 243
- 1992 Bucs: 267
- 1991 Patriots: 211
- 1986 Bills: 287
Yet the Raiders, somehow, some way, went all the way from below the Mendoza Line all the way up to Ty Cobb territory with 410 points scored.
You'd think from looking at their drafts that the Raiders' new-found offensive glory came as a result as a classic series of top-of-the-draft impact players. They went QB-RB-WR in the top 10 overall in 2007, 2008 and 2009, so that finally came together, right?
Well, no. JaMarcus Russell's biggest impact was flunking out of the league, and Darrius Heyward-Bay has been legendarily unproductive despite plenty of playing time as a very flat deep threat.
McFadden did justify his high selection with a breakout 2010, averaging 5.19 yards a carry and 10.8 a catch on 47 grabs and putting up more yards from scrimmage (1,664) than he did in his first two seasons combined. It was a hell of a breakout season, and only the logjam atop the AFC running back field kept him from Hawaii.
That said, McFadden's play wasn't so good that it explained a team-wide renaissance.
They went from 266.1 yards per game to 354.6, a leap of 88.5 that seems impossible. Cable said during the 2009 season that he felt the Raiders lacked only decent quarterback play to be a good offensive team, and he was right. Still, it doesn't quite add up. Jason Campbell and Bruce Gradkowski were just decent, as the Raiders finished 23rd in passer rating and 16th in yards per attempt (7.1).
So, was it Jackson? His previous two stints as an NFL offensive coordinator weren't so hot. In 2003, he was the OC for the Redskins, but did so under offensive-minded head coach Steve Spurrier – and the combination wasn't so hot. Washington, riding the classic "triplets" of Patrick Ramsey, Trung Canidate and Laveranues Coles, could only muster 17.9 points a game. Spurrier and his staff were gone at season's end.
In 2007, he was OC in Atlanta, where he had a front-row seat the biggest disaster in the city since Rhett Butler was frankly not giving a damn. With Michael Vick out for the beginning of his off-field legal odyssey and head coach Bobby Petrino fleeing to college ball in midstream, the Falcons averaged 16.2 PPG and placed 29th league-wide in scoring.
He then spent two successful seasons as Joe Flacco's quarterback coach in Baltimore before winding up in Oakland for the 2010 turnaround – although, for the third time in three years, his head coach got fired at season's end.
So, is Jackson an offensive genius, death to head coaches, or just another guy who's going to fail as leader of the Oakland Raiders?
Not sure. But if he pulls another offensive improvement out of his silver-and-black hat in 2011, even Al Davis won't be crazy enough to let him go.
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