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 Post subject: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:24 pm 
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Atlanta's By-the-Book Blues

The Falcons need to learn when to toss their playbook, and the rest of the Week 10 news
By Bill Barnwell on November 12, 2012PRINT

Poor Mike Smith just can't get it right. No matter what he does at the end of the game in critical situations against the Saints, it goes wrong for him and his Atlanta Falcons. Last year, Smith was aggressive on fourth down in overtime, and when Michael Turner got stuffed, it set the Saints up with game-winning field position. That move earned him plaudits from some critics (or maybe just me), but he mostly took heat for doing something unconventional, and that heat came entirely because his decision didn't work out.1 That criticism reappeared when the Falcons went for it repeatedly on fourth down against the Giants in the wild-card round, getting stuffed each time.

On Sunday, the pendulum swung to the other side. With the game hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter against the Saints again, Smith tightened up. He got conservative in a pair of situations where he could have chosen to be aggressive. It didn't cost his team the game by itself, but combined with a lack of execution when the Falcons were forced to be aggressive over time, the conservative decisions made it more difficult for his team to find a path to victory.

First, Smith played by the book in a situation where the book should be lit on fire. When the Falcons scored on another absurd touchdown catch by Tony Gonzalez (whom teams should really start covering in the end zone), they brought themselves within five points of the Saints, 28-23, with 13:27 to go. The value proposition for going for two here is pretty obvious: getting within three points means that you'll likely be able to tie the game up if you can trade a stop with a field goal, and even if the Falcons were able to just hold the Saints to a field goal of their own, they would have been able to take the lead with a touchdown on a subsequent drive. The value in going down four is marginal; you can still tie the game if you only allow a field goal, but you still need to score a touchdown on a subsequent drive to take the lead. This footballcommentary.com chart estimates that it's worth going for two in that situation if Smith thought his team would succeed about 23 percent of the time. It's one of the most obvious situations in which a two-point conversion is a strong play.

Teams are normally hesitant to go for the two-point conversion because there's an arbitrary rule around football that teams shouldn't consider the two-pointer until the beginning of the fourth quarter. Smith takes that rule to another level, though: He said after the game, "You don't even start looking at the two-point chart until there's seven minutes to go." Had Smith looked at the two-point chart, he would have found that the Falcons were in one of the most clearly productive and meaningful two-point situations in the game.

The stupid thing about the fourth-quarter rule is that it goes against every reason coaches aren't supposed to make their decision by the percentages. Coaches don't coach games in a vacuum and players don't play the game on paper, so taking the average percentages of a particular situation and applying them to the specific game being played at that moment is naive. Coaches know their teams, and they know when to be aggressive. Right? Well, what can be more stodgy and unaware of the game situation than not even considering an opportunity until the clock hits a certain time? You should absolutely adjust your decision-making to account for the situation at hand in your specific game, but dismissing an opportunity out of hand because it doesn't fit an arbitrary context just isn't a wise decision to make. It makes some sense to avoid chasing a particular point total until the end of the game is relatively close, but there are definitely situations where the upside to picking up a two-point conversion are so obvious that it's worth taking the risk. This was very clearly one of them.

Smith's decision to kick the extra point put his team down four and created difficult choices for them the rest of the way. After the Saints punted and Matt Ryan hooked up with Julio Jones for a 52-yard completion, the Falcons got a first-and-goal on the 5-yard line and failed to move the ball. Now, they faced fourth-and-goal from the 2-yard line with a four-point deficit and 9:08 left. They had few appealing options. Going for it from the 2 was the decision they had avoided minutes earlier, and while it trapped New Orleans with bad field position in the case of a stuff, the Falcons would also be out of the game if they missed and the Saints came back with a touchdown to go up 11. Instead, the Falcons were stuck kicking an unsatisfying 20-yard field goal to come within one point. You can argue that the Falcons should have gone for it, but it was the mistake at the end of the previous drive that compounded the problem. A successful two-point conversion would have seen them happily kicking a field goal for the tie; even with a failed two-pointer on the previous drive, the field goal would have represented a virtually identical proposition, a chance to come within a field goal of taking the lead while still trailing.2

As is their wont, the Saints drove down the field and scored themselves, eventually picking up a 31-yard field goal to restore their four-point lead. Then the Falcons were stuck. They responded with a 78-yard drive of their own, but when they moved the ball to the 1-yard line and failed to pick up a touchdown on second and third down, they finally had to go for it. Smith had basically put that decision off on each of his previous drives by kicking field goals, but because he had neglected to look at his two-point sheet when he should have, the Falcons now had to try to convert from the 2-yard line with far more pressure on them to succeed. Had they picked up the two-pointer earlier, Smith could have chosen to kick a field goal and tie the game here; if he had failed, the Falcons would still have been in the exact same spot. When Ryan was unable to find an open receiver, the Falcons were left to rue what could have been.

We didn't learn a ton about this year's Falcons with this loss.3 Truthfully, their level of play wasn't that much better or worse than it had been in, say, Atlanta's close win over Carolina several weeks ago. The difference between those two games, of course, was how the Falcons (and their opposition) executed on one or two key plays at the end of the game. Carolina fumbled away their game-winning conversion, punted, and then allowed Roddy White to make a circus catch to set up the winning score. This time, the Falcons made some poor decisions to end their final drives, and when they got White open deep on the desperate final drive after their fourth-and-short stuff, he came up two yards short of making a would-be touchdown catch. Wins and losses are what matter, but they don't always do the best job of explaining how a team played. The 8-0 Falcons were 5-0 in games decided by a score or less, but they were inevitably going to end up playing a game like this, where they delivered a similar effort and had the breaks come out against them at the very end.

Mike Smith's an excellent head coach. He's good enough, in fact, that I'm tempted to try to find excuses to figure out why he wouldn't have been more aggressive with the game on the line. Does he have such little faith in Michael Turner that he (and offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter) didn't think that the Saints would honor play-action or a possible run? Was he really afraid that the Saints would score a touchdown and put the game out of reach with a nine-point lead? Did he have last year's failures ringing around in his head? Honestly, from his quote after the game, it just sounds like he has a simple rule that's antiquated and doesn't consider how meaningful a given situation can be. That's really disappointing, and on Sunday, it played an enormous role in ending Atlanta's undefeated season.


http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/862 ... ek-10-news

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 7:05 pm 
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Honestly, reading this was the first time that whole scenario about the 2-point conversion even entered my mind.

But Barnwell is right, I think the idea that you only go for with 7 minutes to go is fairly arbitrary and weak as a rule. I can understand if a coach says, wait until the 4th quarter before going for 2, but pretty much in the last 15-20 minutes of a game, you can count on one hand how many possessions you're going to get the rest of the game, and thus pass that do/die threshold much earlier than 7 minutes to go, especially in a game where your defense hasn't put forth its best effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:18 pm 
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What makes anyone think our chances of converting on a two point play with one try are any better than being unable to get one yard on 3 plays with the game on the line? Years ago I recall June Jones telling a reporter he referred to that chart and they sawed him to bits as being, what, bookish or something?

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:08 pm 
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Yeah, this was a bonehead move on Smith's part. I said it at the time, "it's a mistake to not go for 2 here." My dad said, "nah, there's plenty of time left."


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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:04 am 
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backnblack wrote:
What makes anyone think our chances of converting on a two point play with one try are any better than being unable to get one yard on 3 plays with the game on the line? Years ago I recall June Jones telling a reporter he referred to that chart and they sawed him to bits as being, what, bookish or something?

A lot has changed in the past 15 years. And the point is there is a certain point in the game where the downside of not converting a 2-pt conversion does not outweigh the upside of attempting it. Mike Smith needs to reassess his cost/benefit analysis.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:08 am 
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Yes, I get that but I wouldn't feel any better about losing by five than four. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:11 am 
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backnblack wrote:
Yes, I get that but I wouldn't feel any better about losing by five than four. :lol:

See, if we make the the two point conversion, then when we got stopped at the goal line, we could have taken the field goal to tie the game. If we had missed it, we would still have needed a TD. The math was simple, it was a mistake by Smith.


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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:37 am 
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RobertAP wrote:
backnblack wrote:
Yes, I get that but I wouldn't feel any better about losing by five than four. :lol:

See, if we make the the two point conversion, then when we got stopped at the goal line, we could have taken the field goal to tie the game. If we had missed it, we would still have needed a TD. The math was simple, it was a mistake by Smith.

Can you guys explain it to me a few more times? I just don't understand.


Seriously, it is somewhat hindsight. I know. You said he should have gone for it earlier and your Dad said not to. I think we have pretty much proven that making two yards when we absolutely have to is impossible. At what point in the game do you begin using this numerical reasoning. All of it? If not, why?

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:01 pm 
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iF you make the plays everything always works out great. When you don't they don't. I like his going for one, what I don't like is TURNER even dressed. Although as a disclaimer I don't like Rogers running the ball either; he doesn't get many running yards; unless not touched.

I love Rodgers out of the backfield for the pass; and with that in mind I think he should be starting so we can throw him the ball more.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:40 pm 
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Ok, this will be the last time that I do the math...

We score a Touchdown that puts us within 5 points with most of the 4th quarter to go.

If we go for one point, we will be down by 4, which would require us to score a TD or two field goals to win.

If we go for two points, and we don't make it, we will be down by 5 which would require us to score a TD or two field goals to win.

If we go for two points and get it, we will be down by 3, meaning that we could tie the game with a field goal, or win it with a TD or field goal.


5 is the magic number in the 4th quarter. If you are down by 5 in the 4th and it's time for a conversion, you should go for it EVERY TIME. There is absolutely nothing to lose. Even if you don't make it, and the other team goes down the field and kicks a field goal, it's still a one score game.

The same is true if you are up by 5. There's no point in going for one point in that situation. 2 points means that the other team needs a TD to tie you. 1 Point means that the other team will win with a TD.

If you are up by 5 or down by 5 in the 4th quarter, you go for two.


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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:24 pm 
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RobertAP wrote:
Ok, this will be the last time that I do the math...

We score a Touchdown that puts us within 5 points with most of the 4th quarter to go.

If we go for one point, we will be down by 4, which would require us to score a TD or two field goals to win.

If we go for two points, and we don't make it, we will be down by 5 which would require us to score a TD or two field goals to win.

If we go for two points and get it, we will be down by 3, meaning that we could tie the game with a field goal, or win it with a TD or field goal.


5 is the magic number in the 4th quarter. If you are down by 5 in the 4th and it's time for a conversion, you should go for it EVERY TIME. There is absolutely nothing to lose. Even if you don't make it, and the other team goes down the field and kicks a field goal, it's still a one score game.

The same is true if you are up by 5. There's no point in going for one point in that situation. 2 points means that the other team needs a TD to tie you. 1 Point means that the other team will win with a TD.

If you are up by 5 or down by 5 in the 4th quarter, you go for two.

Get it now BNB? :rofl:

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:25 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
RobertAP wrote:
Ok, this will be the last time that I do the math...

We score a Touchdown that puts us within 5 points with most of the 4th quarter to go.

If we go for one point, we will be down by 4, which would require us to score a TD or two field goals to win.

If we go for two points, and we don't make it, we will be down by 5 which would require us to score a TD or two field goals to win.

If we go for two points and get it, we will be down by 3, meaning that we could tie the game with a field goal, or win it with a TD or field goal.


5 is the magic number in the 4th quarter. If you are down by 5 in the 4th and it's time for a conversion, you should go for it EVERY TIME. There is absolutely nothing to lose. Even if you don't make it, and the other team goes down the field and kicks a field goal, it's still a one score game.

The same is true if you are up by 5. There's no point in going for one point in that situation. 2 points means that the other team needs a TD to tie you. 1 Point means that the other team will win with a TD.

If you are up by 5 or down by 5 in the 4th quarter, you go for two.

Get it now BNB? :rofl:

Not especially. Why the 4th quarter?. I understood the "math" all along. It is basically saying that this applies only when you have only a single likely chance of scoring, it seems. The "math" holds true the entire game. Seven minutes, 4th quarter, half time...it is all about your perception of the likelihood of your scoring.or the other team. You miss it and go down by five and the other team kicks a FG. You are down by 8. You mak eit and go down by four and they kick a FG and you can tie with a FG and force OT. I just don't see it as being some iron clad rule that makes contrary logic obsolete. I especially don't see it as being iron clad for a team like ours esp against the Saints where gaining a a lone yard has been pretty hard. Once along time ago I saw a trailing team score twice in the 4th quarter.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 5:19 pm 
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http://www.advancednflstats.com/2010/12 ... point.html

Basically going for 2 is about half as successful as kicking the PAT, which would then mean that if you went for 2 after every TD, it would over the course of time result to be about the same, if not slightly more. But of course that is more of an overall general strategy, and in the case of individual games, it could be highly detrimental.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8 ... the-fourth

Lombardi's piece tends to be the right approach, as he explains due to the # of possessions. A typical NFL game will have anywhere between 10 and 15 possessions for either team (12 is a nice average), and your aveerage team is going to only score on 3-5 of those anyway. Thus waiting until the 4th makes the most sense due to the fact that you have a dwindling number (2 or 3?) of possessions left. At that point, youd be lucky to score just once more, thus the extra point is much more beneficial than it would be earlier in the game. It's sort of like poker (but with obviously lesser stakes) where going all in on an early hand is frowned upon because it's unnecessarily risky.

It's better to wait til later in the game, where the cost/benefit analysis is much easier to assess.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 7:28 pm 
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Head coach Mike Smith said Julio Jones and Sean Weatherspoon were again held out of practice Thursday, but is pleased with the progress both are making in returning from ankle injuries.

Smith said that a decision on whether each will play could come down to the last possible moment, which would be kickoff of Sunday’s game against the Cardinals at the Georgia Dome.

“These guys are so close and moving in the right direction that we’ll make a determination as late as we possibly can,” Smith said. “We can do it as late as we possibly can. They’re working hard to get back and we’re hoping that they’ll continue to progress (Friday), Saturday and Sunday morning.”

Smith said he doesn’t have a rule where if players don’t participate in Wednesday and Thursday practice that they won’t be available for the following game.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 9:07 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
http://www.advancednflstats.com/2010/12/almost-always-go-for-2-point.html

Basically going for 2 is about half as successful as kicking the PAT, which would then mean that if you went for 2 after every TD, it would over the course of time result to be about the same, if not slightly more. But of course that is more of an overall general strategy, and in the case of individual games, it could be highly detrimental.

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8 ... the-fourth

Lombardi's piece tends to be the right approach, as he explains due to the # of possessions. A typical NFL game will have anywhere between 10 and 15 possessions for either team (12 is a nice average), and your aveerage team is going to only score on 3-5 of those anyway. Thus waiting until the 4th makes the most sense due to the fact that you have a dwindling number (2 or 3?) of possessions left. At that point, youd be lucky to score just once more, thus the extra point is much more beneficial than it would be earlier in the game. It's sort of like poker (but with obviously lesser stakes) where going all in on an early hand is frowned upon because it's unnecessarily risky.

It's better to wait til later in the game, where the cost/benefit analysis is much easier to assess.

Moneyball, more or less. It still comes down to perception, game situation, evaluation of your own talent and chances in a given situation. Not a right or wrong slam dunk. There is probably a reason Mike Smith is where he is and we are where we are and it isn't because we know how to manage the Atlanta Falcons on November 11th, 2012 better. If you insist on playing the law of averages I would think figuring our avg success rate on short yardage in pressure situations might be of interest. It has not in recent history been a strong suit.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:06 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
Moneyball, more or less. It still comes down to perception, game situation, evaluation of your own talent and chances in a given situation. Not a right or wrong slam dunk. There is probably a reason Mike Smith is where he is and we are where we are and it isn't because we know how to manage the Atlanta Falcons on November 11th, 2012 better. If you insist on playing the law of averages I would think figuring our avg success rate on short yardage in pressure situations might be of interest. It has not in recent history been a strong suit.

You're not wrong, but that sort of reasoning is basically a cop-out. Mike Smith is not the God of Football, so therefore there are areas where he can be wrong.

He should have gone for 2. He didn't. It was a mistake. Does it make him a bad coach? No. But hopefully he learns from it. If he's going to have a rule about going for two, it should not be limited to just the final 7 minutes of the game, it should instead be expanded to the last 15-20 minutes of the game. Within that span of time, then you can have the flexibility to make the decision based on game decision/perception, etc.

Smitty's rule is arbitrary and makes no intuitive sense. The "science" behind it suggests that Smitty is only open to going for 2 on his last or second to last possession. And I don't need to know as much as Mike Smith to know that doesn't really make any sense to have that as a rule.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 9:19 pm 
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Whatever, Pudge. Like Cyril says, if it works you are right and if it doesn't you are wrong. Seven minutes, fifteen minutes...it's all arbitrary. The speed with which you might think your opponent might score is a factor. The saints can score right fast. Playing the Jags...might be a dif matter. Regardless, I know Mike and TD cruise these forums for elightenment so I am sure this discussion has been helpful to them.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:26 am 
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Sorry bnb, I don't really understand your stance here. Are you defending Smitty's rule? Why? It was clearly the wrong decision.

The article that fun gus posted written by Bill Barnwell's premise is basically to show why Smitty's rule (waiting until the last 7 minutes of the 4th quarter until you attempt a 2-point conversion) is pointless. What occurred in the Saints-Falcons game shows exactly why making that rule is/was wrong.

Not going for 2 at the outset of the 4th quarter was the wrong decision. Hindsight clearly shows this. If the Falcons had gone for 2 and made it, they wouldn't have had to go for it on 4th down later with the throw to Roddy. Had Turner gotten stuffed on that 3rd & 1 play, then Bryant trots out on the field on 4th down and has a 98% chance of tying the game.

It's pretty straightforward.

But maybe you're saying there shouldn't be any rules, and a coach should judge it solely by circumstance. Okay fine. But even then, Smitty got it wrong. Before that point in the game where the Falcons should have gone for two, they had run 3 pass plays inside the 2 yard line. They scored touchdowns on two of them. They had run 2 run plays inside the 2-yard line, and they scored on neither of them.

At worst, you then figure that the Falcons based solely off the circumstances of the Saints game, the Falcons have a 40% chance of converting a 2-point conversion (2 in 5). If they chose to pass, then they would have a 67% chance of converting the 2-pointer (2 in 3).

Now if you're wondering why should there be a rule to go for it in the 4th quarter vs. the 3rd quarter, then I don't disagree with you. There is a school of thought that says go for 2 every time. The first link I posted suggested that.

But again, one a game to game basis that is risky. Over the course of a 16-game season, that strategy would probably work out for you. But in an individual game, it might not. You might have a game where you score 5 TDS, but fail to convert on all but 1 2-pointer, and then the next week you score 5 TDs, and manage to convert all 5. Now that applied over 16 games, and you might come out better for it. But on an individual game basis, it's highly risky.

Waiting until the 4th quarter is not arbitrary because the limited amount of possessions. If you go for 2 in the 1st quarter, you potentially have another 10 possessions in which you and your opponent can score. Missing that 2-point conversion that early in the game, there is a much higher potential that the 1 point could come back and bite you because you have no clue what the next 10 possessions are going to be. However if you wait until the 4th quarter, where you might only have 2 or 3 possessions, you can use the first 9 or 10 possessions to then make a much more accurate guess as to what your actual chances of success are. You also know there are a finite number of possessions, and thus can more accurately gauge whether losing that single point is going to come back and bite you in the butt.

The "math" doesn't really hold true for the entire game when you think of it like that. Here's a hypothetical...

The Saints get the ball to start the game, but John Abraham sacks Brees in the endzone for a safety. Falcons up 2-0.

The Saints kick to the Falcons, they go down the field, but are halted in the redzone and settle for a FG. Falcons up 5-0.

Then the Saints go down the field and kick a FG. Falcons up 5-3.

Falcons next drive stalls and they punt.

The Saints then get the ball and then go down the field and kick another FG. They are now up 6-5.

Then the Falcons offense kicks in and goes down the field and scores a TD just as the 1st quarter ends. They are now up 11-6. Should they go for 2? They make it, they push the lead to 7 points. They miss it, and the Saints are still down 5. They kick the PAT, and the Saints are down 6, and thus there is some potential that they score a TD and can take a 1 point lead with a 99% likely PAT.

Go for 2 right? No, there are way too many unknowns. Let's say the Falcons score 20 more points the rest of the game, and let's say the Saints have the ball with 3 minutes left on the clock at their own 40.

Now if the Saints only scored 10 points between now and then, that 2-point conversion decision won't matter much because the Falcons would be up at least 15 points with 3 minutes left in the game, and basically the Saints would have to score a quick TD, kick and onside, probably throw a hail mary, and then go for 2 just to TIE the game.

But what if the Saints had scored 21 points between the end of the 1st qtr. and this 3-mins to go situation?

If the Falcons had just kicked the PAT at the end of the 1st, they would now be up 4 points (32-28), and thus the Saints would have to drive 60 yards and score a TD in the final 3 minutes. If they had converted the 2, they'd be up 5, and the situation would be the same (thus the 2-pt in this scenario gave them no significant advantage). If they had attempted the 2 pointer and failed, then they would only be up 3 points. And thus Brees would only have to drive the ball 25-30 yards to get within Hartley's range, and thus tie the game and potentially send it into OT where it becomes anybody's game.

The point is that to have a rule that says you don't even consider going for two in the first 53 minutes is downright stupid.

If you're going to have a rule, then that time period shouldn't just be limited to the last 7 minutes of the game. Now we can sit here and debate what that time period should be, but clearly from what actually happened in the Saints game, it should at least be the last 13:32 minutes of games, because clearly the Falcons should have gone for two!

But again, I'm not even sure if that long diatribe is necessary. I'm not sure of what you're saying here. From re-reading your posts, it seems to me that you're saying that since it wasn't a forgone conclusion that we would have converted the 2-pointer with 13:32 to go, then it wasn't necessarily the right move to go for it.

Of all things to argue that is the oddest point to make. Being down 4 points or 5 points with 13 minutes left in the game really makes no discernible difference. Being down 3 however does potentially make a huge difference.

Because you know with some certainty that you're going to get at least 1 possession the rest of the game. Even if the Saints have an unusually long possession on the ensuing series (7 or 8 minutes, their longest of the game thus far had been 5:23), it's still going to leave you plenty of time to score. Now you don't know if you'll have 2 or 3. It's likely you'll get at least a 2nd. Three is possible, but probably not likely.

And knowing that you may only be limited to 1 possession, it behooves you to put yourself in the best possible position for that possession by trying to be down 3 points rather than 4. Again, there is no downside for a failed attempt because there is no discernible difference between being down 4 or 5 points in a potentially one-possession ball game. Even if you think you'll get 2 possessions it still makes no difference.

And whether or not they glean it from this board, Grantland.com, or some other source doesn't really matter, Smitty & Co. should at some point realize they made a mistake and adjust accordingly.

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 10:00 am 
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can I weigh in here? An example I would use is when the Saints played in the Superbowl. They onside kicked to start the 2nd half. The Saints were not getting 'blown out' so nobody expected it. Nobody ever opened a SB half with the OK.

If they dont get the ball back, I expected them to lose out. But, when they got the ball back and scored that was the game. Now, there was an unwritten 'rule' : never onside kick, but S Peyton ignored this rule and that's why they hoisted the Lombardi.

Smitty does gamble and 'go for it' but never to score, only to convert a 4th and 1. And I think all the other coaches know this as well. And these 'rules' may come back to bite us..If were going to make that 'next step' then it's time to become more unpredictable. Running Turner up the gut for a loss is not unpredictable. Going for a 2 point conversion using TG,Roddy and Julio in the end zone: is.

does that make sense?

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:29 am 
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After wading through another "War and Peace" reply I humbly suggest that being down 5 as opposed to 4 in a one possession game--that, is, one for each team--is different. Down 4, kick off and the other team scores you can tie with a TD or even go for the win if you think you can convert 2 pointer. Down 5 and the other team kicks a FG you must convert a 2 pointer to tie. I think my overall point is there are no hard and fast rules. From marketing to politics to sports we are in a culture obssessed with "metrics" or whatever you want to call the bow down to stats. But the freakonomics of statistical analysis can be paralysis by analysis. FG's point about the OK is probably a good example of--excuse me for using the shop worn expression--thinking outside of the box working out. I get that this is a different sort of strategical maneuver somewhat. I understand your point or the point and find the attitude that Smith "made a mistake" kind of smug. I don't think he--or you or I--is infallible nor do I think because he is a successful NFL coach with a rep for attention to details he becomes infallible. I do think he becomes relatively infallible to after-the-fact armchair QB opinionating. Above and beyond all that, I just don't see logic on prognosticating what two teams may or may not do on the scoreboard in a given span of time being any more of a science than the stock market. It's all a gamble and the odds may be debatable. You may be feeling pretty haughty for trumping TD on the Edwards signing but I'll stick with the Falcons brain trust on this one. :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:31 pm 
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And being down 3 if the other team kicks a FG, you can win it with just a PAT.

The difference between being down 4 or 5 is inconsequential relative to the difference between being down 3 or 4. Because if you're down 4 or 5, regardless of what the other team does, you have to score a TD. Which obviously has a higher degree of difficulty.

Again, as I said in my original post, the idea of going for 2 never even crossed my mind until I read this article, 26 hours after the fact. So it's never been about trumping myself as smarter than Mike Smith or anybody.

To me what is at issue is the fact that Smith defended his decision by saying that you don't consider going for 2 until the final 7 minutes of the game. It basically operates under a principle that there will never be a valid reason to go for 2 in the first 53 minutes of a football game, and I think that clearly is a very flawed viewpoint because clearly we had an instance where going for 2 with 13:32 left in the game could have potentially been very beneficial to the team.

You mention metrics driving the bus, and clearly metrics played some part in the creation of the "sheet" that Smitty mentioned as making his decision for him. Again, this is another instance where it's really less about the results of a decision made, and more about the process of a decision made. The Falcons have a flawed process, by consulting a sheet that says at the top "Only Consult if the Scoreboard Reads 6:59 or Less."

Doesn't mean if the sheet instead says 14:59 instead of 6:59, means that Smitty goes for 2 in that instance vs. New Orleans. But he should have at least had the option to do so. If the craftsman has flawed tools, then it's no wonder he produces flawed work from time to time...

As for thinking myself smarter/better than Mike Smith/TD, contrary to popular belief, I do not believe that is the case. But that doesn't mean they are above criticism. Just like people don't stop criticizing the President despite 98% of Americans not being able to do his job.

I don't have the pretension that I would make a better coach than Mike Smith. I'll criticize Smitty for perhaps being too aggressive or conservative, but generally speaking I keep my criticisms of coaching to a minimum. Smitty has played/coach football teams for 30+ years, while I have done so for zero. But again, it doesn't make all of Smith's decisions infallible.

As for thinking myself a better GM than Dimitroff, that is also not the case. He too has been surrounded by the game of football his entire life and been in the scouting game for 20+ years. There are things he probably forgot 15 years ago, that I will probably never learn. Again, I don't have the pretension that I'm better than him. I do however have the pretension that I'm probably a bit more aware of personnel stuff than your average fan.

And thus while your average fan may always defer to TD in this area, I don't because I know enough that I can make up my own mind.

Not to mention that TD has yet to accomplish anything in the same way that say Bill Belichick, Ted Thompson, Jerry Reese, etc. have that earns the level of deference/reverence that many Falcon fans tend to give him... :so:

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:15 pm 
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P, I'm just sweating you. It's all good. You have always been a pretty even handed and unpretentious fellow. Next time I will add :wink: My only criticism is wishing you would be able to make your point with more brevity! :shock:

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:36 pm 
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The funny thing (or maybe not so funny depending on your viewpoint) is that I do work on cutting out some of the fat by previewing my posts and editing them before posting them.

But I make soooo many great points, that I wind up leaving most of it in.

:king:

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:12 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
The funny thing (or maybe not so funny depending on your viewpoint) is that I do work on cutting out some of the fat by previewing my posts and editing them before posting them.

But I make soooo many great points, that I wind up leaving most of it in.

:king:



:rofl:

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 Post subject: Re: Coach Smith's 'rules'
PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:01 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
The funny thing (or maybe not so funny depending on your viewpoint) is that I do work on cutting out some of the fat by previewing my posts and editing them before posting them.

But I make soooo many great points, that I wind up leaving most of it in.

:king:

Break them into multiple posts? I appreciate your conscientiousness...esp considering I rarely even check for typos, etc. :oops:

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