Gruden won't like these numbers
If you spend anytime around Jon Gruden, you quickly come to learn he isn't fond of the use of statistics to measure success or failure. On more than one occasion, Gruden has said "stats are for losers."
So, if you're reading this Jon, consider yourself warned. There are some startling numbers that are worth examining, so let's do that.
If you've watched the Bucs this season, you know they've been reluctant -- or, perhaps, unable -- to get the ball down the field. The passing game has been more horizontal than vertical, and it shows.
The Bucs are tied for 28th in the NFL in yards per pass attempt with 5.5 yards. Just three teams have a lower average: The Bengals, Chiefs and Browns. To reinforce the point, consider that the Bucs have recorded just five pass completions over 20 yards. Only the Ravens and Browns have fewer.
So, it's no wonder that despite leading the league with 205 pass attempts, the Bucs rank eighth in passing yardage with 1,077 yards -- well behind league-leading New Orleans (1,629).
Here's another reason this is troubling: When the Bucs find themselves in third-and-long situations, as they frequently do, it's difficult to convert when the majority of your passes gain fewer than six yards (for the record, the Bucs are tied for 22nd in third-down conversion ratio at 35 percent).
I don't have the answers, but I do know this: You have to make some big plays in the NFL. All the good teams do. The Bucs like to think of themselves as one, so, these are some numbers that are worth keeping track of.