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Thank you for not coaching

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My earlier thread about incompetent coaching in Week 2 was such a hit, I thought I'd make it a standing thread. Title is an homage to a recurring feature in Bill Barnwell's weekly NFL wrap-ups back when he was at Grantland, before the ESPN suits forced him to stop running it.

The point is for people to post when coaches make in-game decisions that are obviously -- and quantifiably -- dumb. Note that the emphasis should be on process, not results. Just because a decision doesn't work out, that doesn't make it wrong.

Anyway, I'll kick things off with a decision by Pete Carroll in tonight's TNF. Seahwaks had the ball up 14-6 with 1:38 left in the first half, 4th and 1 and the LA 30. Wilson went up to the line, tried the hard-count maneuver to draw the Rams offside, and then called time out before Seattle settled for a FG try.

Now, I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, but I feel pretty confident that they support going for it on 4th down. But even without the numbers, basic logic suggests it, too. Consider:

  • A 48-yard FG is no gimme (and indeed, Myers missed the attempt)
  • Even if the FG had gone through, Seattle would be giving the ball back to LA with 90 seconds and two TOs. If they go for it -- and again, their odds of converting were almost certainly greater than 50% -- they have the chance to run the clock down much further, possibly even until the end of the half. Instead, Rams took the ball down the field and scored a TD just before halftime.

It's not as egregious as when teams do it in the second half. I remember a game a few years ago when Houston was beating the Pats by a point or two at around the two-minute warning. O'Brien kicked the FG, which meant it was still a one-score game, and then Brady drove down and scored the winning TD. It's like, why in the world would you voluntarily give the ball back to any QB, much less the GOAT, with a chance to win the game?

My theory is that these types of decisions are driven by loss aversion, where the coaches focus more on the downside of failure, even if the chance of failure is below 50%, and not nearly enough on the substantial benefits they'll get if they're successful.

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The real dumb play was running that half ass option play at the end of the game instead of pounding Carson for two yards. If there were any justice in this world Carroll would pay for that stupidity, but Zuerline misses a kick he makes in his sleep. Carroll hasn't learned his lesson,  obviously. Losing a Super Bowl in much the same fashion wasn't enough. 

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Not sure if this is on McVay or Goff, but last night we saw yet another team take an inexcusable delay-of-game penalty shortly before attempting a potential game-winning FG.

Rams had 3rd and 10 on the Seattle 30 with 20 seconds left and no timeouts. Delay pushed them back to the 35, and then they picked up 9 on the next play before Zuerlein missed a 44-yarder.

On the one hand, they clearly got the ball within a range that Z should have hit. But even for him, 44-yarders are no gimmes. Also, no way to tell what would have happened on a 3rd and 10. They would have run a different play that might have gotten the first down and allowed them to get even closer. Point is, they wasted five yards when they didn't have to.

On the bright side, at least McVay didn't pull an Arians and try to claim he did it on purpose :rolleyes:

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That dumb gimmick play from Pete was ridiculous, just pound the rock. Then delay of game was inexcuseable from the Rams. Just pound the rock and get at least a couple more. I swear I could call plays better with no experience just using common sense.

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1 hour ago, tanatastic said:

That dumb gimmick play from Pete was ridiculous, just pound the rock. Then delay of game was inexcuseable from the Rams. Just pound the rock and get at least a couple more. I swear I could call plays better with no experience just using common sense.

Petey and that offense are unimaginative. Then when they should just pound the rock, they dont. Why is it so difficult? Wilson is the same caliber as Mahomes, which means he masks a lot of Peteys short comings. 

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15 hours ago, zftcg said:

My earlier thread about incompetent coaching in Week 2 was such a hit, I thought I'd make it a standing thread. Title is an homage to a recurring feature in Bill Barnwell's weekly NFL wrap-ups back when he was at Grantland, before the ESPN suits forced him to stop running it.

The point is for people to post when coaches make in-game decisions that are obviously -- and quantifiably -- dumb. Note that the emphasis should be on process, not results. Just because a decision doesn't work out, that doesn't make it wrong.

Anyway, I'll kick things off with a decision by Pete Carroll in tonight's TNF. Seahwaks had the ball up 14-6 with 1:38 left in the first half, 4th and 1 and the LA 30. Wilson went up to the line, tried the hard-count maneuver to draw the Rams offside, and then called time out before Seattle settled for a FG try.

Now, I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, but I feel pretty confident that they support going for it on 4th down. But even without the numbers, basic logic suggests it, too. Consider:

  • A 48-yard FG is no gimme (and indeed, Myers missed the attempt)
  • Even if the FG had gone through, Seattle would be giving the ball back to LA with 90 seconds and two TOs. If they go for it -- and again, their odds of converting were almost certainly greater than 50% -- they have the chance to run the clock down much further, possibly even until the end of the half. Instead, Rams took the ball down the field and scored a TD just before halftime.

It's not as egregious as when teams do it in the second half. I remember a game a few years ago when Houston was beating the Pats by a point or two at around the two-minute warning. O'Brien kicked the FG, which meant it was still a one-score game, and then Brady drove down and scored the winning TD. It's like, why in the world would you voluntarily give the ball back to any QB, much less the GOAT, with a chance to win the game?

My theory is that these types of decisions are driven by loss aversion, where the coaches focus more on the downside of failure, even if the chance of failure is below 50%, and not nearly enough on the substantial benefits they'll get if they're successful.

I agree, Pete emphasizes the run WAY too much ALL the time. Wilson's a great QB and Seattle would score alot more if Pete let him! He was damned lucky to win that game last night. He holds them back.

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22 minutes ago, Frozenbeernuts said:

Petey and that offense are unimaginative. Then when they should just pound the rock, they dont. Why is it so difficult? Wilson is the same caliber as Mahomes, which means he masks a lot of Peteys short comings. 

Wilson is not the same caliber as Mahomes. He's very ordinary and sometimes bad in the pocket, all world outside of it.  If the Seahawks don't run the ball he won't have as much room and time to operate and teams would find it easier to contain him.  

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51 minutes ago, Hardcore troubadour said:

Wilson is not the same caliber as Mahomes. He's very ordinary and sometimes bad in the pocket, all world outside of it.  If the Seahawks don't run the ball he won't have as much room and time to operate and teams would find it easier to contain him.  

Maybe you just don't watch him enough. He has played behind one of the worst pass blocking lines for years. He has been in run first offenses since he got into the league. His deep ball placement is consistently accurate. Not even just accurate, but flat out perfect throws that only Mahomes can match. 

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17 minutes ago, Frozenbeernuts said:

Maybe you just don't watch him enough. He has played behind one of the worst pass blocking lines for years. He has been in run first offenses since he got into the league. His deep ball placement is consistently accurate. Not even just accurate, but flat out perfect throws that only Mahomes can match. 

Absolutely. Outside the pocket. Now imagine the defense not having to worry about up the gut runs? They spread out more and  contain. He's much less effective in the pocket.  This isn't a secret. Are you sure I'm the one who hasn't watched him enough? 

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30 minutes ago, Frozenbeernuts said:

Maybe you just don't watch him enough. He has played behind one of the worst pass blocking lines for years. He has been in run first offenses since he got into the league. His deep ball placement is consistently accurate. Not even just accurate, but flat out perfect throws that only Mahomes can match. 

Rodgers has been doing those throws in his sleep for the last 13 years. You guys need to stop acting like Mahomes and Wilson are the only quarterbacks doing that.

Rodgers is the QB all other QBs wish they were.

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20 minutes ago, EternalShinyAndChrome said:

Rodgers is the QB all other QBs wish they were.

Mahomes is the QB that Wilson wishes he was Rodgering.

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56 minutes ago, EternalShinyAndChrome said:

Rodgers has been doing those throws in his sleep for the last 13 years. You guys need to stop acting like Mahomes and Wilson are the only quarterbacks doing that.

Rodgers is the QB all other QBs wish they were.

Rodgers is good for Sure, but he seems too bitchy all the time. He will never be as great as Brady, not even close, plus Wilson and Mahomes will pass Rodgers as far as greatness. 

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2 hours ago, Matt Mueller said:

Wilson for my $ is the 2nd best real life QB in the league behind Mahomess pretty easy 

I don't have him on my team, I live in the great northwest but have always (52 years now) been a Packer fan, but will add that whoever dreams that Wilson is not one of the top 3 QBs (he reminds me of Fran Tarkenton-look him up children) obviously hasn't seen him play. He has a stupid coach who let's him throw ONLY in obvious situations and a zhitty o-line in front of him. Put him on NE Patriot team and he'd be "greatest ever", but any team or player out on the west coast doesn't (college or NFL) get over-pubbed like east coast teams or players do. Let the east coast/sec dreamers keep telling themselves what the biased writers tell them "back there'.

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On 10/4/2019 at 12:43 PM, AxeElf said:

Mahomes is the QB that Wilson wishes he was Rodgering.

🤔🧐🤯

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On 10/3/2019 at 7:18 PM, zftcg said:

My earlier thread about incompetent coaching in Week 2 was such a hit, I thought I'd make it a standing thread. Title is an homage to a recurring feature in Bill Barnwell's weekly NFL wrap-ups back when he was at Grantland, before the ESPN suits forced him to stop running it.

The point is for people to post when coaches make in-game decisions that are obviously -- and quantifiably -- dumb. Note that the emphasis should be on process, not results. Just because a decision doesn't work out, that doesn't make it wrong.

Anyway, I'll kick things off with a decision by Pete Carroll in tonight's TNF. Seahwaks had the ball up 14-6 with 1:38 left in the first half, 4th and 1 and the LA 30. Wilson went up to the line, tried the hard-count maneuver to draw the Rams offside, and then called time out before Seattle settled for a FG try.

Now, I'm too lazy to look up the numbers, but I feel pretty confident that they support going for it on 4th down. But even without the numbers, basic logic suggests it, too. Consider:

  • A 48-yard FG is no gimme (and indeed, Myers missed the attempt)
  • Even if the FG had gone through, Seattle would be giving the ball back to LA with 90 seconds and two TOs. If they go for it -- and again, their odds of converting were almost certainly greater than 50% -- they have the chance to run the clock down much further, possibly even until the end of the half. Instead, Rams took the ball down the field and scored a TD just before halftime.

It's not as egregious as when teams do it in the second half. I remember a game a few years ago when Houston was beating the Pats by a point or two at around the two-minute warning. O'Brien kicked the FG, which meant it was still a one-score game, and then Brady drove down and scored the winning TD. It's like, why in the world would you voluntarily give the ball back to any QB, much less the GOAT, with a chance to win the game?

My theory is that these types of decisions are driven by loss aversion, where the coaches focus more on the downside of failure, even if the chance of failure is below 50%, and not nearly enough on the substantial benefits they'll get if they're successful.

I heard Pete has a huge portrait of Rich Kotite hanging in his office........................................

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22 hours ago, huskyhater75 said:

I heard Pete has a huge portrait of Rich Kotite hanging in his office........................................

LOL  Probably an oil painting.

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This wasn't a slam-dunk bad decision, but I really didn't like Dallas kicking the FG on their final drive, and not just because of how it turned out.

The setting: 1:44 left in game, Dallas has 4th and 5 and the GB 10, trailing 34-24, no timeouts. Yes, they needed two scores, and yes, the new onside kick rules meant they were probably screwed no matter what, since if they scored and failed to recover one the game was over. Still, I feel like teams in that situation are too often tempted to "take the easy points". But driving the ball all the way down to the 10 yard line is really hard to do, and if you've gotten that close you should try to take advantage of it by scoring a TD. Even if you get the ball back, you probably won't be in that good of a position to score a TD again.

There's also the fact that, although we all have a strong bias in that situation to focus on scoring 10 points to tie the game and send it to OT, your odds in OT are still only 50% (slightly higher in the Cowboys' case since they were at home). If you score the TD early and then get the ball back, you have a chance to score a second TD and win the game in regulation. Whereas if you kick the FG the best you can hope for is to tie.

Now obviously, there are some situations where your chances of converting the fourth down are so low that you're better off kicking the FG. In the Chiefs-Colts game last night, KC faced a similar situation but it was 4th and long, so I thought it made sense to kick. As I said, 4th and 5 isn't an automatic go-for-it situation, but I still think on balance going for it would have been the smarter move.

As it turned out, Dallas got a false start penalty and then Maher missed the chippy. Game over. But that's not why it was a bad decision.

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On 10/4/2019 at 10:32 AM, tanatastic said:

That dumb gimmick play from Pete was ridiculous, just pound the rock. Then delay of game was inexcuseable from the Rams. Just pound the rock and get at least a couple more. I swear I could call plays better with no experience just using common sense.

I know, How many times in that situation do you see the RB bust through the line and score a TD? A lot. That late in the game. DEF's are tired!

Also spread was 1-1/2 points. So Seattle didn't cover! 🤬

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Shurmur just punted on 4th and 2, down 14, with 7 minutes left in the game. Yes, it was from their own 33, but you absolutely have to go for it there. 

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18 minutes ago, zftcg said:

Shurmur just punted on 4th and 2, down 14, with 7 minutes left in the game. Yes, it was from their own 33, but you absolutely have to go for it there. 

After declining to go for it on 4th and 2 down 14, the Giants go for it on 4th and 10 down 21.

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I'll add one from Sunday.  Tomlin/Fichtner having Jaylen Samuels throw a pass 10 yards downfield out of the wildcat formation on the 2nd drive of the game down 3-0 from their own 12.  I'm ok with the wildcat formation and doing runs/shovel passes out of it.  Jaylen Samuels is not Antwan Randle El or Hines Ward,  former college QBs.  Trying to chuck it down field is one thing (though I doubt Samuels has the arm to do that and shouldn't be the guy to do that even) because it's like a long punt if it does get picked.  Having him loft it 10 yds downfield when the receiver wasn't even behind the safety is idiotic.  That ball hung in the air for so long, I could have driven from my house in Ohio to the stadium and picked it off.

Result of the play:  Intercepted leading to 7pts for the Ravens.  Pittsburgh lost 26-23.

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Yet another example of a coach willingly giving the ball back to the other team along  with a chance to win/tie the game. Get the one yard and put the game away!

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1 hour ago, zftcg said:

 

And if that's not strange enough, the punter actually wasted a few seconds before stepping out.

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Two more examples yesterday of coaches driving for a potential game-winning FG deciding they were "close enough" and not trying to make it an easier kick. Colts had 1st and 10 at Denver 34 with 1:29 left and two timeouts. They took a one-yard sack and then ran the ball twice before attempting a 51-yarder, which Vinatieri hit. Good results, bad process.

Bears had 1st and 10 at the LAC 21 with 43 seconds left and one TO. Trubisky kneels, they run the clock down and then Piniero misses a 41-yarder.

Colts may have burned more time and been further out, but I think Nagy's decision-making was dumber there. I mean, even if you don't trust Trubisky, at least try to advance the ball!

 

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Don't know if college counts, but Appalachian State just lost their undefeated streak to bad coaching.

Down 10 points with 8:22 (!) to go in the game, Appalachian State elects to go for an onside kick, rather than kicking it deep, giving Georgia Southern the ball on the plus-40.

Georgia Southern returns the field-position favor by going for it on 4th & 3 rather than punting to pin Appalachian State deep, fails, and App State scores on the ensuing drive.

Now down by 3 points with just under 5 minutes to go in the game, App State kicks off "deep," but the ball goes out of bounds at the 15 yard line, and gives GA Southern the ball at their own 35.

The defense holds again, forcing a three-and-out, but after App State drives to the 50, they go for it on 4th & 4 with 2:20 to go and 2 timeouts--rather than punting to pin GA Southern deep.

The defense holds again, forcing a three-and-out, but since GA Southern got the ball at midfield instead of inside their own 20, their punt goes to the App State 16 instead of say the App State 40.  Now they have to drive something like 50-55 yards in the final 1:10, instead of a much more manageable 25-30 yards.

App State gets off 9 plays, gains 34 yards and fizzles out at midfield for the loss.

They had plenty of time left in both circumstances, their defense had been holding GA Southern's efforts to run out the clock--why attempt an onside kick with 8:22 to go?  And why not punt on 4th & 4 at midfield, when you have 2:20 and 2 timeouts and you only need a FG?

Terrible coaching decisions.

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On 11/1/2019 at 1:41 AM, AxeElf said:

Don't know if college counts, but Appalachian State just lost their undefeated streak to bad coaching.

Down 10 points with 8:22 (!) to go in the game, Appalachian State elects to go for an onside kick, rather than kicking it deep, giving Georgia Southern the ball on the plus-40.

Georgia Southern returns the field-position favor by going for it on 4th & 3 rather than punting to pin Appalachian State deep, fails, and App State scores on the ensuing drive.

Now down by 3 points with just under 5 minutes to go in the game, App State kicks off "deep," but the ball goes out of bounds at the 15 yard line, and gives GA Southern the ball at their own 35.

The defense holds again, forcing a three-and-out, but after App State drives to the 50, they go for it on 4th & 4 with 2:20 to go and 2 timeouts--rather than punting to pin GA Southern deep.

The defense holds again, forcing a three-and-out, but since GA Southern got the ball at midfield instead of inside their own 20, their punt goes to the App State 16 instead of say the App State 40.  Now they have to drive something like 50-55 yards in the final 1:10, instead of a much more manageable 25-30 yards.

App State gets off 9 plays, gains 34 yards and fizzles out at midfield for the loss.

They had plenty of time left in both circumstances, their defense had been holding GA Southern's efforts to run out the clock--why attempt an onside kick with 8:22 to go?  And why not punt on 4th & 4 at midfield, when you have 2:20 and 2 timeouts and you only need a FG?

Terrible coaching decisions.

I don't follow college football closely, and I follow Appalachian State not at all, so I know there may be different considerations at that level of play (for example, punts traveling a shorter distance). So let's assume that an NFL team did all the things you describe here. I might be critical of the onside kick, but it sounds like the decision to go for it was absolutely the right call.

The onside kick is mostly a function of the new NFL rules (again, not sure what the rule is in college) that prevent the kicking team from bunching on one side of the field or running up to the line of scrimmage pre-kick. Non-surprise onside kicks have basically become impossible (I think the Bears were the first team all season to pull one off when they did it against the Saints a couple weeks ago). That said, it's hard to criticize a surprise onside kick because it may have been based on the kicking team noticing a trend that they thought they could exploit.

As for going for it on 4th and 4 from midfield, I don't have the exact numbers in front of me*, but that certainly sounds like a reasonable decision. Historically, football teams have been way too conservative on fourth down. Particularly with the offensive explosion over the past decade, possession is far more valuable than field position, so pinning your opponent deep doesn't help as much in terms of expected win percentage.

It sounds like in this case it didn't work out for Appalachian State. But that doesn't mean the process was wrong. They needed to score in order to win, and the best way to do that was to retain possession.

* Interestingly, I found this link, from a 2013 NY Times article by Brian Burke, discussing 4th-down conversion decisions. If you scroll down to the section entitled "But what about late in the game?" they discuss a specific situation not too different from the one you describe (though again, in an NFL context):

Quote

Say your team is down by 5 points with two minutes remaining. It is fourth-and-8 on the 50. Here is the table of expected points for that situation:

OPTION EXPECTED POINTS
Punt –0.26 points
Go for it –0.30 points
Field goal –2.49 points

Punting and going for it are nearly equal options here, and if you only cared about point maximization, you might consider them as roughly equivalent. But in reality, if you do not score again, you lose. You need to go for it. NYT 4th Down Bot thinks so, too.

Notice that it describes going for it on 4th and 8 from the 50 down five as a situation where you should definitely go for it. From that it is reasonable to conclude that, facing 4th and 4 from the 50 down three, you should also go for it.

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I'm going to venture out on a limb and talk about Tomlin's horrible coaching.  The man has ZERO concept of challenges.  You can't make this up, he is 1-13 in his last 14 I believe.  He pulled two of them yesterday, challenging a defensive passing interference call on one play against his team and an offensive pass interference call on the Colts that wasn't made on the field.  Both occurred in the final 2 minutes of the game yesterday with the Steelers clinging to a 2 point lead with Indy driving.  If not for a great play by his defense on 3rd and 1 to stop the drive, and Vinatieri shanking the FG attempt, this would have been a textbook example of how to lose while blowing 2 challenges and 2/3 of your timeouts and place immense pressure on your clearly not-ready-for-the-moment 2nd year QB.  By NOT challenging he could have had the EXACT same outcome and if Vinatieri hits the FG, nearly 2 minutes AND 3 timeouts left...but no...he has a complete inability to effectively discern a good challenge from one doomed to fail.  :wall:

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1 hour ago, jgcrawfish said:

I'm going to venture out on a limb and talk about Tomlin's horrible coaching.  The man has ZERO concept of challenges.  You can't make this up, he is 1-13 in his last 14 I believe.  He pulled two of them yesterday, challenging a defensive passing interference call on one play against his team and an offensive pass interference call on the Colts that wasn't made on the field.  Both occurred in the final 2 minutes of the game yesterday with the Steelers clinging to a 2 point lead with Indy driving.  If not for a great play by his defense on 3rd and 1 to stop the drive, and Vinatieri shanking the FG attempt, this would have been a textbook example of how to lose while blowing 2 challenges and 2/3 of your timeouts and place immense pressure on your clearly not-ready-for-the-moment 2nd year QB.  By NOT challenging he could have had the EXACT same outcome and if Vinatieri hits the FG, nearly 2 minutes AND 3 timeouts left...but no...he has a complete inability to effectively discern a good challenge from one doomed to fail.  :wall:

I think Tomlin is a way better coach than most people give him credit for — I would bet there are 20-25 teams whose fans would swap him out for their current coach in a heartbeat — but you’re right about him having this weird blind spot when it comes to challenges. It’s like Andy Reid with clock management. You’d think these guys would recognize their own weaknesses and put someone on staff whose sole job was to manage these issues, but I guess NFL coaches are such control freaks they can never cede any responsibilities. Which is ridiculous. Andy Reid with slightly better in-game management is probably a multiple-Super Bowl wining coach.

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