The Pittsburgh Steelers weren’t efficient in the red zone during the 2013 season because they have small receivers.
This is a widely accepted ideal.
Widely accepted ideals aren’t widely accepted facts because they are not based on intensive research. They are based on simple logic that is gleaned from the most likely relationship between two facts. During the 2012 season, it was a widely accepted ideal that San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith got a large percentage of his sacks on stunt plays. Smith had 22 sacks in total, but only four came after he carried out a stunt and only two saw him get a clean run to the quarterback because of a stunt.
Just like with Smith’s sacks, the perception of what the Steelers do in the red zone is inaccurate.
On drives when they had at least one offensive snap that was officially listed on the opposition’s 20-yard line or closer to the opposition’s goal line, the Steelers had a 53.7 percent touchdown rate. The Steelers scored 29 touchdowns on 54 attempts. This isn’t a horrible percentage, it appears to be somewhere around league average, but it could definitely be improved upon.
Bringing in bigger receivers wouldn’t solve the problems the Steelers had last season.
Theoretically, bigger receivers should be more successful in the red zone because they should have more opportunities to catch the ball. In the red zone, there is less space to work in so receivers need to make more contested catches and the quarterback needs to be more accurate. In jump ball situations or on fade routes, bigger receivers should be more successful because of their size.
Like most things in football, size is overrated. Continue reading