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Thursday, November 17, 2011

[OT] Q4 NFL Thread

So as what not to annoy the people in the “no, no, the fact that we exploit our players and refuse to cut them in on the cash except for dirty booster money makes us amateur and pristine!” thread.

Mike Vick was injured in the posting of this thread.

Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: November 17, 2011 at 01:08 PM | 2939 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   301. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: November 26, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#4001219)
Steve Young set the NFL rushing mark for a QB at age 37 or 39. Too lazy to check.


Career or seasonal? It certainly can't be the latter. His personal best was at age 31, but that was 400 fewer yards than Bobby Douglass in 1972. And if it's the former, so what? Nearly every career mark is set late in a player's career.
   302. Bad Doctor Posted: November 26, 2011 at 04:50 PM (#4001221)
This particular instance doesn't sound like it*, but there are examples of misusing TOs around the two-minute warning that can cost a team a considerable amount of time (last year's AFC title game was one).

The main danger is if the defense uses its TO with about 2:05 or less. Now the offense has pretty much the whole playbook at its disposal. It doesn't have to worry about stopping the clock on an incomplete pass or an outside run or pass, because the two-minute warning is coming anyway. The defense is better off having the offense in a situation where the safe run up the middle is a no brainer (especially considering the low-risk coaches that populate NFL sidelines) than allowing it one free play to pick whatever it wants out of its playbook that gives it the best chance at cashing in the first down at the two-minute warning. Gaining four or five seconds is hardly worth that risk.

Because only you knew with that much time left that he needed two. For all everyone else knew, they'd miss the two-point conversion and give up two fourth-quarter field goals to lose by a point.

Yeah, hadn't Miami's D only given up one TD in the last four games? With Dallas still expected to get 3, 4, maybe more possessions in the game, I don't have a problem with Sporano protecting against a potential loss from two Dallas figgies.
   303. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 26, 2011 at 04:55 PM (#4001222)
The main danger is if the defense uses its TO with about 2:05 or less. Now the offense has pretty much the whole playbook at its disposal. It doesn't have to worry about stopping the clock on an incomplete pass or an outside run or pass, because the two-minute warning is coming anyway. The defense is better off having the offense in a situation where the safe run up the middle is a no brainer(especially considering the low-risk coaches that populate NFL sidelines) than allowing it one free play to pick whatever it wants out of its playbook that gives it the best chance at cashing in the first down at the two-minute warning.


It depends on the situation. If you're only trailing by a field goal or less and you'll still get the ball back with more than a minute, then you should take the offense-limiting scenario (though recognizing that some Bellichickian coaches don't feel constrained to simply run up the middle). If you're trailing by four or more points, where time is more critical, then you might need to take the tradeoff of a wider open playbook in exhange for 30 or more seconds.

Yeah, hadn't Miami's D only given up one TD in the last four games? With Dallas still expected to get 3, 4, maybe more possessions in the game, I don't have a problem with Sporano protecting against a potential loss from two Dallas figgies.


Agreed. One reason you don't automatically go for 2 in the third quarter is there are too many possessions remaining, which can turn situations around. Going from 5 to 7 is really valuable if it's likely that the opposing team will only score once more, but if 2 FG (or other combination of points) are likely, you realize that there is significant value in being up 6 vs. being up 5.

And again, as you note (and like the 2-minute question), it's situation-dependent. In a low-scoring affair as this one was, you may not feel really confident that you can get the 2-point conversion. Conversely, you may act differently in a high-scoring contest.
   304. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 26, 2011 at 05:51 PM (#4001235)
I've always heard that the rule of thumb is to not even worry about going for two until the fourth quarter, unless you're down by 24 points or something and need to mount a huge comeback. That makes a lot of sense to me.
   305. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 26, 2011 at 06:25 PM (#4001244)
This week's Word of Muth on Football Outsiders has an interesting section on whether the Wing-T could work in the modern NFL.
   306. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 26, 2011 at 06:26 PM (#4001245)
I don't see what's magical about the 4th quarter vs. with 3:54 to go in the 3rd.

Sparano went up 5 and had the choice to either go up 6 (pretty much a sure thing) or go up 7 (50-50, and if he fails to convert he's back to up 5).

What does going from 5 to 6 buy him? Very little. Most probable scoring outcomes for Dallas the rest of the game, in order:

* Dallas scores a FG
* Dallas scores a TD
* Dallas scores two FGs

You need to worry about the second outcome before you worry about the third.
   307. stanmvp48 Posted: November 26, 2011 at 06:31 PM (#4001246)
Agree with 306. If Dallas scores 7 it is clearly better to go for two. If they score two field goals, a successful two is the difference between winning and tying. The whole wait for the fourth quarter argument means, IMO, waiting until it is so late in the game you can't be criticized if you don't make it.
   308. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 26, 2011 at 06:39 PM (#4001252)
I don't see what's magical about the 4th quarter vs. with 3:54 to go in the 3rd.


Well, what's so magical about 3:54 to go in the third? If the Dolphins had run back the second-half kickoff for a TD to go up 15-10, should they have gone for two at that point? At some point, you just have to assume you can't game-plan the scoring for the rest of the game. The start of the fourth quarter makes just as much sense to be that point as four minutes or six minutes or eight minutes left in the third quarter.

Another thing you haven't considered is that if the Dolphins go for two and don't make it, then subsequently kick a field goal (which they did), the Cowboys are still within one score.

This might be hard for you to believe, Ray, but there are people involved in professional sports who are as smart as you.
   309. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 26, 2011 at 06:51 PM (#4001258)
* Dallas scores a FG
* Dallas scores a TD
* Dallas scores two FGs

You need to worry about the second outcome before you worry about the third.


And as Tom notes, you're still limiting it to too few options, such as Miami scores another TD and Dallas scores a TD (and is within 2 of a tie).

The more time you have, the less likely that the rest of the game plays out with a single score. There's nothing magical about the start of the fourth quarter, but it represents a generic point in a game when you can start to think in terms of single scores increasing in likelihood instead of multiple combinations.

It's not to say that Sparano would be wrong to go for two with 3:54 in the third. That's an option*, dependent on a host of factors. Just that, like most subjects, the question is more complex and open to legitimate difference of opinion than your simplistic reasoning would indicate. (-:

* And one, I suspect, is generally underused by the conservative NFL.
   310. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 26, 2011 at 07:09 PM (#4001267)
Yeah, I think SoSHially has it right. I'm not arguing that Sparano was right to go for one; I suspect that there is no correct answer to the question.
   311. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 26, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#4001271)
You can't worry about a tie game or "only being up by one score" before you worry about being down 1 after a TD because you didn't go for 2.

Even had he failed on the two-point conversion, if Dallas scores a TD whether he was up 5 or 6 didn't matter. He needed to guard against the very real possibility of Dallas scoring a TD there to go ahead. I don't think there's "no correct answer." I think the correct answer is clear.
   312. McCoy Posted: November 26, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#4001285)
Teams should simply just go for two all the time then.
   313. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 26, 2011 at 08:03 PM (#4001286)
Post 312

This is not an unreasonable approach.
   314. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 26, 2011 at 08:26 PM (#4001289)
Teams should simply just go for two all the time then.


Yes.
   315. Tripon Posted: November 26, 2011 at 08:36 PM (#4001294)
If you're going for two all the time, there's little need for a special teams except for punts and kickoffs.
   316. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 26, 2011 at 08:43 PM (#4001295)
Going for two all the time would, of course, be just as dumb as going for one all the time. There will certainly be situations near the end of the game - let's say, starting with 3:54 left in the third quarter - where a 100 percent chance of one point is more strategically optimal than a 50 percent chance of two.
   317. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 26, 2011 at 08:51 PM (#4001296)
Going for two all the time would, of course, be just as dumb as going for one all the time.

The math shows differently.

Now, there are game manaagement reasons that justify extra points that supercede nerd talk.
   318. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 26, 2011 at 08:55 PM (#4001297)
For the record I didn't do 'the math'.

I just read the results done as projects by students in different Masters programs for stats. Kind of funny how so many projects are sports-centric.
   319. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 26, 2011 at 09:01 PM (#4001298)
HW, you seem to be saying that it makes sense to always go for two, except for certain "game management reasons." Maybe I'm dumb, but you'll have to explain to me how that contradicts what I said in 316.
   320. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 26, 2011 at 09:07 PM (#4001299)
Tom

First, I am merely sharing what I have read relative to folks who have studied the math around such things. There the conclusion is that going for 2 every time is justified.

However, a 2 point attempt is another live play involving a team's best players. That is another play where injuries could happen. Also, a failed attempt would be an emotional disappointment. Players can be a bit twitchy so as a leader you work to build off successes, not detract from them.

But these things cannot really be quantified so it's for management to determine their importance.
   321. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 26, 2011 at 09:12 PM (#4001301)
Tom, your 316, with all due respect, misses the point. Nobody is arguing going for 2 when it's 20-20 with 3 seconds left. The point is, should teams be going for 2 in the vast majority of situations, rather than kicking the XP in them.
   322. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 26, 2011 at 09:39 PM (#4001311)
Nobody is arguing going for 2 when it's 20-20 with 3 seconds left.


Well, with all due respect, when they use terms like "all the time" and "every time," they are arguing for that.
   323. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 26, 2011 at 10:03 PM (#4001317)
Tom

I didn't take you for one of the annoying Internet subcultures, the ultra-literalist.

not that I disagree with your stance. Just that I associate that with known dumb*sses around here.

I will not add you to that group as one data point is insufficient justification
   324. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 26, 2011 at 10:12 PM (#4001319)
Well, this whole discussion is getting surreal. Someone says that teams should go for two "all the time," and I point out that they really shouldn't - which is a stance that apparently everyone agrees with. Except that I'm also told that "the math shows differently" and that I'm "miss[ing] the point" - even though everyone agrees that I'm right.

I'm going to stop talking now.
   325. smileyy Posted: November 26, 2011 at 10:27 PM (#4001324)
I'm both in the "go for it all the time" camp, and the "that obviously doesn't mean every single time as 321 points out" camp.

Of course, I also hate the NFL kicking game and would prefer a return to one platoon football, so...
   326. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 26, 2011 at 11:04 PM (#4001346)
2-point conversions succeed only around 40% of the time, IIRC, so going for 2 every time is not the optimum play.

Now, if you were to propose never punting, I could get on board.
   327. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: November 26, 2011 at 11:12 PM (#4001349)
Well, this whole discussion is getting surreal. Someone says that teams should go for two "all the time," and I point out that they really shouldn't - which is a stance that apparently everyone agrees with. Except that I'm also told that "the math shows differently" and that I'm "miss[ing] the point" - even though everyone agrees that I'm right.

I'm going to stop talking now.


Oh Jezuz. If someone says "I say [that] all the time", that doesn't mean that they say that exclusively, to the exclusion of any other word or sentence.

"I take the subway all the time" doesn't mean that I never walk, never take taxis, never fly, never get a ride from a friend, never take a ferry, never ride a bike, never take a bus...
   328. DA Baracus Posted: November 26, 2011 at 11:25 PM (#4001352)
2-point conversions succeed only around 40% of the time, IIRC, so going for 2 every time is not the optimum play.


Yup. People think "you only need to go 2 yards!" but that's in a situation where the defense only has 12 yards to defend. On the flip side though, the defense can not score on the play, so that negates some of the downside.

Now, if you were to propose never punting, I could get on board.


It would free up a roster spot if you never used a punter.
   329. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 26, 2011 at 11:34 PM (#4001356)
DA

Punters act as backups to the field goal kicker and vice-versa.

At least mostly
   330. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: November 27, 2011 at 12:02 AM (#4001368)
On the flip side though, the defense can not score on the play, so that negates some of the downside.


Can't they get 2 points if they recover a turnover and score on their end?
   331. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 27, 2011 at 12:09 AM (#4001371)
Punters act as backups to the field goal kicker and vice-versa

Good point. Let's get rid of kickers too.
   332. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 27, 2011 at 12:52 AM (#4001387)
Can't they get 2 points if they recover a turnover and score on their end?


In the college game only.

I've seen the studies (or articles based on the studies) on the go-for-it-all-the time school of thought. I remain unconvinced it would lead to more wins in practice.
   333. McCoy Posted: November 27, 2011 at 01:42 AM (#4001405)
2-point conversions succeed only around 40% of the time, IIRC, so going for 2 every time is not the optimum play.

I think in the NFL it has been around 45% as attempts have increased with passing plays being around 40% but teams calling for a pass something like 70% of the time. The thing is though that if teams went for the 2 point conversion more often the success rate would plummet. The 2 point conversion and the stolen base attempt are similar things in that the less you do it the better your success rate since you are picking your spots and only going for it when you think you have the clear advantage.

If teams went for the 2 point converstion even in just half the times they score a touchdown I'm willing to bet the success rate would drop to around 25 to 35% success rate.

Let us say a team scores 44 TD and they try for 2 points on 22 of those plays and make it 7 times for a 32% success rate. That team would score 146 points on those 22 TD and if they had simply kicked the extra point each time they would have scored 154 points on those 22 TD. That's a losing proposition.
   334. AJMcCringleberry Posted: November 27, 2011 at 01:50 AM (#4001408)
The 2 point conversion and the stolen base attempt are similar things in that the less you do it the better your success rate since you are picking your spots and only going for it when you think you have the clear advantage.

But they don't pick their spots and only go for it when they have the clear advantage. They only go for two when they need to.
   335. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 27, 2011 at 01:53 AM (#4001410)
But they don't pick their spots and only go for it when they have the clear advantage. They only go for two when they need to.


Which, in the end, would actually cause the success rate to be artificially depressed.
   336. DA Baracus Posted: November 27, 2011 at 03:00 AM (#4001423)
Punters act as backups to the field goal kicker and vice-versa.

At least mostly


Yes, I know that. But that's because they're already on the roster as a punter. A team is not using a roster spot for a backup kicker. Some teams already use other players. The Lions used Suh last year, Ochocinco for the Bengals. Also, some teams have a kicker for kickoffs and another for FGs, so they're already covered if the FG kicker goes down. It's just not worth the roster spot. In another instance last year, I forget which team it was, but their punter went down and their kicker couldn't punt, so they had to go for it on 4th down every time.
   337. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 27, 2011 at 05:38 AM (#4001476)
Well, this whole discussion is getting surreal. Someone says that teams should go for two "all the time," and I point out that they really shouldn't - which is a stance that apparently everyone agrees with. Except that I'm also told that "the math shows differently" and that I'm "miss[ing] the point" - even though everyone agrees that I'm right.

I'm going to stop talking now


I'm with Harvey. The point was, quite clearly, that teams should go for 2 the vast majority of the time, instead of kicking the XP the vast majority of the time. Anyone interested in a serious discussion wouldn't be so ultra-literal. I, too, think you're not usually one to engage in this Andyan behavior, so I'm going to shrug it off as your time of the month and leave it at that.
   338. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 27, 2011 at 05:43 AM (#4001480)
Now, if you were to propose never punting, I could get on board.


I have in fact proposed that.

Er, I mean, I've proposed not punting nearly as much, as opposed to "never" punting.
   339. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 27, 2011 at 05:44 AM (#4001483)
The 2 point conversion and the stolen base attempt are similar things in that the less you do it the better your success rate since you are picking your spots and only going for it when you think you have the clear advantage.


? Teams don't "pick their spots" at all. They go for 2 based on the score and the clock.
   340. DA Baracus Posted: November 27, 2011 at 05:55 AM (#4001490)
This HS team never punts, almost never returns punts and onsides kicks almost exclusively.

And I mean all those words in the literal sense.
   341. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 27, 2011 at 06:44 AM (#4001511)
This HS team never punts, almost never returns punts and onsides kicks almost exclusively.


Having spent a lot of Friday nights covering HS football, I long ago came to the conclusion that teams should onside kick on every kickoff. Never thought about not returning punts, but I can see that as well. And no punting at that level is defensible (since most HS punters suck).

I still think the wisdom of the never punting strategy ("never" apparently being shorthand for "not as often," who knew?) is highly questionable at the pro level. For example, I look at the Cleveland-Seattle game earlier this year that finished 6-3, and think that if one head coach eschewed punts at the rate suggested by the research, just to give its inept offense another shot to be in a fourth down situation three plays later, would almost certainly have resulted in giving away multiple field goals and a comfortable loss.
   342. Spivey Posted: November 27, 2011 at 06:58 AM (#4001516)
Part of why these super high risk high reward strategies are more prevalent in high school and to a lesser extent college is because the offensive environment is so much different, and the yards per play, especially on runs, is so much higher. Teams that try to line up in 3rd and short in the NFL get stuffed a staggeringly high percentage than teams in college.
   343. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 27, 2011 at 12:11 PM (#4001545)
("never" apparently being shorthand for "not as often," who knew?)


It is shorthand for "not nearly as often," and anyone who is interested in a serious discussion "knew." Please stop with this nonsense. It is unseemly.

---

I do agree that HS is not the NFL. But I still think an ultra-aggressive strategy would work in the NFL.
   344. Tripon Posted: November 28, 2011 at 12:03 AM (#4001775)
The Broncos and Chargers game is a train wreck that I can't look away from.
   345. steagles Posted: November 28, 2011 at 12:07 AM (#4001778)
i know that he's pretty good, and that whoever we'd get to replace him would likely be worse, but i really don't think andy reid is the best person to coach this franchise anymore. it's inexcusable for lesean mccoy to carry the ball only 6 times in the first half, and he gets forgotten way too often considering how effective he is with the ball in his hands.
   346. Every Inge Counts Posted: November 28, 2011 at 12:26 AM (#4001786)
Why does Andy Reid hate LeSean McCoy so much....
   347. steagles Posted: November 28, 2011 at 01:09 AM (#4001798)
Why does Andy Reid hate LeSean McCoy so much....
that's kind of the thing. it's not about mccoy at all. if reid had peak barry sanders, he'd still throw the 65% of the time and forget about his HOF running back for entire quarters and entire halves at a time.

this was an issue with duce staley. it was an issue with brian westbrook. it's just how andy is.

and at this point, the team would probably just be better off trying to retool the coaching staff over the offseason and hope the fresh eyes will improve the results.


something that i think is interesting to note is that, of the coaches on andy reid's first eagles team (1999) 5 are current NFL head coaches (spagnuolo, frazier, rivera, harbaugh, shurmur), 1 was a head coach as recently as last year (childress), and 1 was an assistant who's talked about as a legitimate HOF candidate (johnson).
   348. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 01:32 AM (#4001806)
something that i think is interesting to note is that, of the coaches on andy reid's first eagles team (1999) 5 are current NFL head coaches (spagnuolo, frazier, rivera, harbaugh, shurmur), 1 was a head coach as recently as last year (childress), and 1 was an assistant who's talked about as a legitimate HOF candidate (johnson).


Yeah, but at least three of those coaches suck.
   349. Kurt Posted: November 28, 2011 at 01:51 AM (#4001818)
Whoops, looks like the LionoftheSenate signal just went up again.
   350. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 28, 2011 at 01:54 AM (#4001821)
God is calling.
   351. Every Inge Counts Posted: November 28, 2011 at 01:54 AM (#4001822)
All Tebow does is win. And apparently play defense.
   352. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 02:10 AM (#4001828)

I still think the wisdom of the never punting strategy ("never" apparently being shorthand for "not as often," who knew?) is highly questionable at the pro level. For example, I look at the Cleveland-Seattle game earlier this year that finished 6-3, and think that if one head coach eschewed punts at the rate suggested by the research, just to give its inept offense another shot to be in a fourth down situation three plays later, would almost certainly have resulted in giving away multiple field goals and a comfortable loss.


Well, I did propose 'never' (though I could be talked into punting when inside your own 20.

As for your example, it basically argues my point. First, with 4 downs (and an offense designed to use all 4 downs), you would pick up many more first downs. Your offense would be asked to do less on any individual play, and so would be less inept. Meanwhile, after giving it up on 4th down, your opponent's inept offense would still struggle to score.
   353. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 02:14 AM (#4001830)
All Tebow does is win. And apparently play defense.


Broncos are giving up 12.2 points per game in their five wins, with a high of 15. So basically just get a TD and two FGs and you win. Even Mark Sanchez can manage that.
   354. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 28, 2011 at 02:24 AM (#4001833)
Broncos are giving up 12.2 points per game in their five wins, with a high of 15. So basically just get a TD and two FGs and you win. Even Mark Sanchez can manage that.



Anyone remember when Kyle Orton gained a "winner" label while playing for a Bears team with an excellent defense and Devin Hester as a returner? I wonder what happened to him...

Actually, if the Broncos defense played this well to start the year, they'd be something like 8-3 and in contention for a first round bye in the playoffs. And everyone would be laughing at the calls for Tebow to start.
   355. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 28, 2011 at 03:01 AM (#4001843)
Actually, if the Broncos defense played this well to start the year, they'd be something like 8-3 and in contention for a first round bye in the playoffs.
Oh, right. As if that defense could be inspired to play that great if Orton were QB. Intangibles, man! Intangibles!
   356. stanmvp48 Posted: November 28, 2011 at 03:08 AM (#4001846)
and missed field goals by the opponents
   357. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:34 AM (#4001909)
Actually, if the Broncos defense played this well to start the year, they'd be something like 8-3 and in contention for a first round bye in the playoffs. And everyone would be laughing at the calls for Tebow to start.


How has Tebow not played considerably better than Orton did this year?

Yes, he has a lousy completion percentage. In every other way, he's been superior to Orton. He can obviously run the ball, an element that Orton (and most other QBs lack). He has a higher yards per completion. And he doesn't turn it over (1 INT on the season). He already had a higher QB rating than the neck-bearded one going into today's game (when, statistically, he had a pretty damn good game), and that doesn't even factor in the running dimension.

I'm sure, somewhere, there are hordes of people saying what a great QB Tim Tebow is. I don't encounter these people, but they must be out there to inspire such exaggerated rebuttals I see in the places I do frequent.
   358. Dan The Mediocre Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:44 AM (#4001924)
How has Tebow not played considerably better than Orton did this year?

Yes, he has a lousy completion percentage. In every other way, he's been superior to Orton. He can obviously run the ball, an element that Orton (and most other QBs lack). He has a higher yards per completion. And he doesn't turn it over (1 INT on the season). He already had a higher QB rating than the neck-bearded one going into today's game (when, statistically, he had a pretty damn good game), and that doesn't even factor in the running dimension.

I'm sure, somewhere, there are hordes of people saying what a great QB Tim Tebow is. I don't encounter these people, but they must be out there to inspire such exaggerated rebuttals I see in the places I do frequent.


Well, his yards per attempt is lower than Orton, his sack rate is higher, and his completion rate is lower. As a passer, he only has a clear lead in INT rate (his rating is all of 2.7 points higher). He does add a running dimension, but it hasn't actually translated into more points per game.
   359. Tripon Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:45 AM (#4001925)
Kyle Orton also doesn't literally run in circles at times like Tim Tebow. People keep on saying that Tebow is a great runner, but I'm not seeing it. He's not that fast, (Especially compared to say, Michael Vick), and his route running is not good, and he really will run in a 360 pattern from time to time. Yet he's a starter of a NFL team, its just hilarious.
   360. Rear Admiral Piazza Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:47 AM (#4001927)
I think the big thing is that, whatever Tebow is spiking the Kool Aid with, it is working. Orton seems like the type of guy you would quit trying for.
   361. Tripon Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:09 AM (#4001947)
Left unsaid, but noticeable in the game is that Phillip Rivers does not look right. I personally think he's hiding an injury, and he's been injured for most of the season.
   362. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:13 AM (#4001949)
WRT Tebow... why have a quartback at all? Just snap it to the runningback and let him hand off or run.

...Or throw. Tebow is completing 45% of his passes, for the love of god.

If your quarterback doesn't have the ability to pass and wants to play runningback instead, you might as well have a real runningback there.
   363. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:15 AM (#4001951)
Left unsaid, but noticeable in the game is that Phillip Rivers does not look right. I personally think he's hiding an injury, and he's been injured for most of the season.


I agree. He's having a bad year by his standards (and in some regards by anyone's standards), and since he's used to the hamstringing that Norv Turner and AJ Smith do to him I can't chalk it up to the talent around him or the playcalling, as they've always been problematic.
   364. Ray (RDP) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:24 AM (#4001957)
Chiefs... does anyone notice how far Palko drops back before passing? It's a good 8 or 9 yards. I was watching Roethlisberger and he only seems to drop back 3 or 4. Same for Brady.
   365. Norcan Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:11 AM (#4001986)
Chiefs... does anyone notice how far Palko drops back before passing? It's a good 8 or 9 yards. I was watching Roethlisberger and he only seems to drop back 3 or 4. Same for Brady.


Maybe it's because he's only 6'1 while those other two are both 6'5 and don't need a cushion from behemoth lineman to throw? I don't know if it's the same for Brees. Tough for Palko since, with his lack of arm strength, he needs to be closer than anyone else. He's the quarterback version of Jamie Moyer with the belligerent on-field demeanor of John Lackey. I've never seen an quarterback with less talent and no track record throw so many hissy fits on the field. Good grief his teammates must hate him.
   366. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:12 AM (#4001987)
Well, his yards per attempt is lower than Orton, his sack rate is higher, and his completion rate is lower. As a passer, he only has a clear lead in INT rate (his rating is all of 2.7 points higher). He does add a running dimension, but it hasn't actually translated into more points per game.
It's translated into about five minutes more of possession time per game, though. I think it's reasonable to suppose that the Broncos under Tebow have been eating more clock, and THAT has helped the defense play better.
   367. Tripon Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:18 AM (#4001988)
Well, Palko's only in there for a week. Its Kyle Orton's show for the rest of the year.
   368. Norcan Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:30 AM (#4001992)
The extra rest that all the running with Tebow at quarterback gives the defense could help to explain the stout performances that unit has strung together lately. I would wager that Dumervil finally playing like a stud DE again to go with the unbelievable Von Miller has played a bigger part though. On paper they have a ton of great defensive players: Dumervil, Miller, D.J Williams, Bailey and even Dawkins has played very well again and they're tiered at the three levels of defense. They should be a great defense with all the talent they have.
   369. JuanGone..except1game Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:30 AM (#4001993)
Well, Palko's only in there for a week. Its Kyle Orton's show for the rest of the year.


I will miss those Palko throws when he's gone. I've never seen a QB with John Franco's throwing motion.
   370. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:33 AM (#4001995)
Well, his yards per attempt is lower than Orton, his sack rate is higher, and his completion rate is lower. As a passer, he only has a clear lead in INT rate (his rating is all of 2.7 points higher). He does add a running dimension, but it hasn't actually translated into more points per game.


Well no, as LAP notes, a run-based attack is going to consume more time, reducing scoring for both teams.

And your numbers are out of date. His rating is nearly 6 points higher than Orton's after today's game.

All things considered, it looks to me like he's performed at about an average level thus far (19th in passer rating among quarterbacks with substantial playing time, for instance). He obviously hasn't taken the most conventional route there, but his performance has exceeded what many NFL analysts thought he'd ever be capable of, and much better than you'd gather if you just read this thread.
   371. puck Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:45 AM (#4002000)
One surprising thing about Orton this season was how many turnovers he had. Before, it seemed you could at least count on him to limit the turnovers. The change to Tebow has mostly fixed that, probably by running such a risk-averse offense. (That's part of Tebow's inaccuracy...he's taken a page out of McNabb's bk by aiming passes to avoid danger of interceptions...and most receptions.) Not sure why they couldn't have moved to that under Orton, though the change to the run offense w/Tebow as a participant has surely helped the team's overall rushing performance. (That stats guys note that running QB's help the efficiency of the other runners.)

As for the comment re. defensive talent, I don't follow the team closely but everyone around here notes their weakness at defensive tackle. That was a big need going into the draft but they felt they couldn't pass on Miller.
   372. Tripon Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:46 AM (#4002002)
Isn't 6 points between Orton or Tebow statistically irreverent?
   373. Tom Nawrocki Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:46 AM (#4002003)
The absolute best thing Tebow does, even better than his running, is to avoid turnovers. He hasn't thrown an interception (or fumbled the ball away) in four straight games now. With that Broncos defense, as long as the offense can avoid making big mistakes that give the other team a short field, they're going to win a few games.
   374. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 28, 2011 at 06:59 AM (#4002004)
Isn't 6 points between Orton or Tebow statistically irreverent?


I don't know the precise degree of irreverency involved, though I suspect if KO was leading Tebow by that amount the gap would be considered more meaningful (and less humorous).

It just seems any objective assessment (which seems damn near impossible when it comes to the dude) would show that he's done a decent job managing the Broncos offense. He's not great by any stretch, but he's made enough plays with his legs and arm, while avoiding mistakes, to keep the team in each game. That, to me, spells an average QB.
   375. tshipman Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:13 AM (#4002009)
QB rating seems like a really bad way to measure the two quarterbacks in question.

Footballoutsider's DYAR (which has issues of its own) has Tebow and Orton at 30 and 31 going into today's game. If you include rushing, which you obviously probably should, Tebow jumps all the way up to 27th in the NFL entering this week's action.

That vision of Tebow--slightly worse than Orton as a passer, better when you include his running--seems accurate to me.
   376. smileyy Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:16 AM (#4002010)
I think the big thing is that, whatever Tebow is spiking the Kool Aid with, it is working. Orton seems like the type of guy you would quit trying for.


Given the pervasivness of evangelical Christianity in the NFL, I can see Tebow being popular in the clubhouse.
   377. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:22 AM (#4002011)
Not only that, but Tebow's universally considered a really nice dude, his work ethic is considered outstanding, and he's been able to seemingly pull wins out of thin air. I'm guess that'd make him pretty popular with his teammates, yeah.
   378. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:24 AM (#4002014)
If Tebow actually threw the ball 25 times a game,his QBR might be relevant. As is, it's like declaring the guy with 3/0 SB/CS a better baserunner than the guy who is 40/5, because look at the SB%!!! It's complete nonsense.


It just seems any objective assessment (which seems damn near impossible when it comes to the dude) would show that he's done a decent job managing the Broncos offense.

How about points per game?
   379. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: November 28, 2011 at 07:57 AM (#4002019)
If Tebow actually threw the ball 25 times a game,his QBR might be relevant. As is, it's like declaring the guy with 3/0 SB/CS a better baserunner than the guy who is 40/5, because look at the SB%!!! It's complete nonsense.


If anything, passer rating should undervalue Tebow, since running is a bigger part of his game. In his case, his rating is still adequate, because he's compiled decent yardage totals and he's only thrown one INT.

How about points per game?


Not a terribly good way to measure him. As has been noted, the Broncos have been run-heavy under him. That takes up more clock, leaving both teams less time (and fewer possessions) in which to score. That the Broncos defense has played better when Tebow has been the QB is his good fortune, but not entirely.

Footballoutsider's DYAR (which has issues of its own) has Tebow and Orton at 30 and 31 going into today's game. If you include rushing, which you obviously probably should, Tebow jumps all the way up to 27th in the NFL entering this week's action.


And after this week's contest, he's probably gone up a little bit more in this metric.

You want to call him a below-average starting QB, have at it (though about average seems more realistic to me). Anything below that seems far-fetched.
   380. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 28, 2011 at 09:17 AM (#4002029)
If anything, passer rating should undervalue Tebow, since running is a bigger part of his game. In his case, his rating is still adequate, because he's compiled decent yardage totals and he's only thrown one INT.

You don't just get to cherry pick the component of QBR that would be helped by including his running stats. If you are going to adjust his INT rate, you also have to adjust the Y/A, and TD%, which would go down.

Anyway, the point was actually that defenses are not defending the pass like they would against a pocket QB, because the threat of the pass is much less severe. This makes it easier when he does pass, inflating his rate stats. But the rate stats are simply not worth very much, when the attempts are so low, decreasing the actual value contributed.

Not a terribly good way to measure him. As has been noted, the Broncos have been run-heavy under him. That takes up more clock, leaving both teams less time (and fewer possessions) in which to score. That the Broncos defense has played better when Tebow has been the QB is his good fortune, but not entirely.

Fair enough, running does shorten the game. How about points per drive then?* In Tebow's 6 starts, the Broncos have averaged a whopping 1.24 points per drive. Hey, that's better than the Jaguars, Rams, and Colts! They are still good on offense right?
Maybe you think that's unfair too though? How about yards per drive then? That's at 23.4. Better than only the Seahawks and the Jags again. The Jags really aren't good on offense, are they?

*Had to compile the stats for Tebow manually, since I couldn't find a breakdown by QB.
   381. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: November 28, 2011 at 12:53 PM (#4002044)
If Tebow actually threw the ball 25 times a game,his QBR might be relevant. As is, it's like declaring the guy with 3/0 SB/CS a better baserunner than the guy who is 40/5, because look at the SB%!!! It's complete nonsense.


A better example: judging a pitcher by his batting average.
   382. McCoy Posted: November 28, 2011 at 01:55 PM (#4002053)
TOP vs SD: basically 50%
TOP vs NY: 46%
TOP vs KC: 55%
TOP vs OAK: 53%
TOP vs DET: 50%
TOP vs MIAL 51%

TOP vs SD: 33%

TOP vs GB: 45%
TOP vs TEN: 48%
TOP vs CIN: 50%
TOP vs OAK: 46%

All Tebow's running has done is basically keep the offense on the field for about 2 to 3 minutes more per game than it did with Orton on the field and I'm willing to bet that the turnovers have more to do with that than Tebow's running.
   383. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 02:22 PM (#4002059)
I remain surprised at Chicago's offensive gameplan yesterday. You have a great running back, a fine defense playing on the road with a qb making his first start and you come out throwing willy-nilly? I get maybe some early passes or two but by mid-first quarter don't you hunker down and run the ball more often?

I don't understand how a team with Matt Forte only gets the ball in his hands 18 times including receptions. And hooray for Marion Barber but does anyone really believe the guy is as good as Forte? That's silly. And yet he gets 10 carries to Matt's 12.

Is Forte hurt? Otherwise, this another in a long line of reasons why Mike Martz should be kicked to the curb and Lovie Smith smacked side of the head for not taking control of things. How do you watch this for entire game? By the second quarter don't you go over to Mike and TELL HIM to knock it off with all the passing bullsh*t? Or send him to the clubhouse while you take the headphones? Or give control to another assistant with the explicit instructions to run at least half the time or he can spend Monday looking for a job as well?

This is a microcosm:

Oakland leading 9-7. Knox returns the kickoff to the Oakland 35. 2:30 left in the half. Here is the play sequence:

Hanie goes to pass and you can say he's sacked or tackled for no gain.

2 minute warning

Forte for 3 yards

Let the clock run

Hanie pass for 16 yards

Hanie pass to Forte

timeout

Penalty on Oakland

Hanie gets rushed, lobs one in the air falling backyard which is intercepted. Oakland ends up with a field goal.


It's 2nd and 1 from the 7, you have 40 seconds and a timeout left. The best player on offense after Cutler is Forte and one could argue Forte is THE guy on offense. I don't know why you don't just fire off the ball with that guy carrying the load.

It's just weird
   384. McCoy Posted: November 28, 2011 at 02:50 PM (#4002066)
Barber looked to be better suited against the Raiders than Forte. For all the hype about Forte he really isn't that great of a pure RB. The Raiders did a very good job containing the edge and getting to the ball quickly. For the most part the Bears only had real success running the ball when they took it inside with Barber. Forte gets his yards by occasionally breaking one on the outside for a big gain. He got one in this game but couldn't get anything else. If the Bears had simply given the ball to Forte a bunch of times they weren't going to go anywhere.

The offensive showed their flaws again this week and were able to get to Hanie while the secondary did a pretty good job protecting. When you have a new QB on the field and do those things you will force him to make mistakes and he did. Personally I thought Hanie should have run more and they should have given it to Barber more often than they did but that is Smith for you. He's probably the worst coach I've seen at making adjustments.
   385. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 03:01 PM (#4002073)
Agreed they should have run the the ball more often. If folks thought Barber was the better option that's fine. Just don't ask Hanie to make a slew of decisions. That's just silly.
   386. Misirlou has S.C.M.O.D.S Posted: November 28, 2011 at 03:15 PM (#4002078)
Just don't ask Hanie to make a slew of decisions.


Like how and when to spike the ball.
   387. McCoy Posted: November 28, 2011 at 03:16 PM (#4002079)
I thought one of the critical mistakes was the Bears going for the 53 yarder in the 4th quarter. I think they should have tried to convert the fourth down and get a TD. Smith had to have known that at the very least Oakland was going to chew up a ton of time and pin the Bears deep in their own territory. I know Gould has been perfect from over 50 this year and the weather was ideal for kicking but there is still a chance he'll miss it and the Bears still are going to need a TD to win the game or tie it should the Raiders get a FG as well. Plus after the kickoff the Raiders got the ball at the 27 so if they had failed to convert the 4th down we're only talking about a 6 to 8 yard difference in the spot of the ball whereas if they had missed th FG the Raiders would have taken over at the 43.
   388. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 03:25 PM (#4002084)
Carson Palmer did make some fine throws in the second half. His arm appears better than when he was in Cincy.
   389. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:11 PM (#4002114)
Teams should simply just go for two all the time then.

I seem to recall Bill Belichick experimenting with this theory back with the Cleveland Browns and apparently coming to the conclusion that it didn't make sense, at least for his team.

Though you would think it might make sense for an offensive juggernaut team like the Patriots a few years ago or the Packers now. I'm surprised one of these teams doesn't try it again.
   390. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#4002118)
Fair enough, running does shorten the game. How about points per drive then?* In Tebow's 6 starts, the Broncos have averaged a whopping 1.24 points per drive. Hey, that's better than the Jaguars, Rams, and Colts! They are still good on offense right?
Maybe you think that's unfair too though? How about yards per drive then? That's at 23.4. Better than only the Seahawks and the Jags again. The Jags really aren't good on offense, are they?


And this is where ball security comes in. He's not making mistakes, which means that he's not giving the other team a short field (or worse yet, no field). One TO in his last four games (running or passing).

In this string of starts, Tebow has become a standard, if unorthodox, game-manager type (the Super Bowl-winning Dilfer being perhaps the classic example). He makes a few plays, avoids the mistakes, and, with a good defense behind him, keeps his team in the game.

In other words, "he's done a decent job managing the Broncos offense."
   391. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#4002119)
I know that he's pretty good, and that whoever we'd get to replace him would likely be worse, but i really don't think andy reid is the best person to coach this franchise anymore. it's inexcusable for lesean mccoy to carry the ball only 6 times in the first half, and he gets forgotten way too often considering how effective he is with the ball in his hands.

It also doesn't help that Desean Jackson has apparently decided to go on a mini-strike and now refuses to make any effort to catch a pass that might open him to the slightest possibility of getting hurt until he gets the mega-contract he wants.
   392. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:30 PM (#4002130)
Ted Thompson took a lot of grief from a subset of Packer fans who insisted the team should have taken Jackson over Jordy Nelson

Jackson has had the better career to date but all factors considered I don't think Ted is second-guessing himself these days
   393. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:41 PM (#4002141)
I think it's reasonable to suppose that the Broncos under Tebow have been eating more clock, and THAT has helped the defense play better.


Few more minutes a of possession time a game is certainly going to help, but I think it's reasonable to assume that a team with a new coaching staff, new defense (3-4 under McDaniels, 4-3 under Fox), and new starters and no off-season would take some time to sort things out is a bigger reason.

Denver's defense averages under each QB:

Orton: 385.8 yds, 28 points
Tebow: 329.8 yds, 20 points

Going by football outsiders defensive DVOA, during Orton's starts they were 21st, now they're up to 18th. Offensively they went from 22nd to 23rd.
   394. DA Baracus Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#4002145)
It also doesn't help that Desean Jackson has apparently decided to go on a mini-strike and now refuses to make any effort to catch a pass that might open him to the slightest possibility of getting hurt until he gets the mega-contract he wants.


DeSean Jackson publicly said in training camp that his #1 goal this season is to stay healthy.
   395. Joey B. has reignited his October #Natitude Posted: November 28, 2011 at 04:45 PM (#4002149)
DeSean Jackson publicly said in training camp that his #1 goal this season is to stay healthy.

He wasn't lying, that's for sure!
   396. Adam M Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:00 PM (#4002158)
Norv Turner is going to get fired at the end of this year, right? There aren't many coaches who have done less with more the way he has.
   397. ColonelTom Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:17 PM (#4002177)
I can't believe I'm defending DeSean Jackson here, but Vince Young isn't doing his receivers any favors with the lollipops he throws over the middle.
   398. Fancy Pants Handles lap changes with class Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:21 PM (#4002181)
And this is where ball security comes in. He's not making mistakes, which means that he's not giving the other team a short field (or worse yet, no field). One TO in his last four games (running or passing).


Well yes, except no. Median line of scrimmage for the NFL is at the 27.8 yard line. Under Tebow the Broncos defense have on average taken over at the 26.5 yard line. So, yay I guess. If that moves the needle, it's not by a whole lot.

And of course, the Broncos by FO have a top 10 special teams unit. And if the defense is playing well, they set the offense up with good field position, which in turn potentially sets the defense up with better field position the next time. Which gets rather recursive.
   399. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:36 PM (#4002196)
Relevant to the discussions of NFL risk-taking:

Eagles are down 31-13 with a minute left in the third quarter. They have a 4th and 10 somewhere around the Patriots' 48-yard line. They punt the ball. I understand they have 10 yards to go for the first down, but how can you possibly punt the ball there? You're down by 3 scores with 16 minutes to go in the game and you're already on the other team's half of the field.
   400. SoSH U at work Posted: November 28, 2011 at 05:43 PM (#4002206)
Well yes, except no. Median line of scrimmage for the NFL is at the 27.8 yard line. Under Tebow the Broncos defense have on average taken over at the 26.5 yard line. So, yay I guess. If that moves the needle, it's not by a whole lot.


But the Broncos are handicapped by having the league's crappiest quarterback leading their offense, so shouldn't their opponents enjoy starting positions well above average? (-:

Which brings me back to: The Broncos have a good defense (and apparently good special teams). They have a quarterback who makes a few plays and hasn't been making any major gaffes, which allows them to stay in games. You know, just don't go out there and lose it for us.

A guy described as a game manager when it's anyone other than the polarizing Tebow.
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