Considering orange zone rather than red

We all know the importance of red zone offense and defense.

While space for an offense shrinks, is the 20-yard line the best line of demarcation for a defense to tighten up?

Via Nate Dunlevy of Bleacher Report, we find this piece in which Matt Grecco of Stampede Blue moves the line. He concludes looking at how teams do from the 35-yard line and it may be more telling.

Greco has calculated the percentage of total points possible a team scored or allowed from the 35 since 2002. You can click the overall or year-by-year headings to sort his charts. I’m trusting his numbers, obviously, as I’m not equipped to run them myself to cross-check.

Here’s a breakout of the AFC South:

Two thoughts:

The Titans were great in Orange Zone offense, which is an extension of solid red zone work, keyed largely by Matt Hasselbeck’s performance. Jake Locker will have to show he can be similarly productive in these important territories to dislodge Hasselbeck from the starting job.

The Texans had an excellent defense last season, and ranked 10th in overall scoring defense. Houston’s red zone defense, rated by TD percentage, was ninth, at 47.7. But in Greco’s expanded zone, where he’s looking at percentage of possible points allowed, the Texans weren’t as good, allowing 56.1 percent of possible points inside the 35.

These are interesting charts to explore, and all the columns are sortable. We’ll check in as Greco monitors these numbers during the season.