Projecting Success for New Head Coaches

September 1, 2014 Coaches

In 1995, Football Outsiders graded the Eagles special teams as the worst in the NFL. The next two years, Philadelphia ranked 20th and 26th, respectively. In 1998, after hiring a new special teams coordinator, the team still finished just 25th. But, over the next eight years, the Eagles’ special teams flipped dramatically, ranking as the […]

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The Coryell Index

June 24, 2014 Coaches

Yesterday, we looked at the Billick Index, a measure of coaches who managed teams that were good at preventing offensive touchdowns and bad at creating them. Today, the reverse, which is appropriately named after Don Coryell. Coryell’s teams were slanted towards the offense even when he was in St. Louis, but the situation exploded when […]

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The Billick Index

June 23, 2014 Coaches

The 2004 Ravens were hardly Brian Billick’s most interesting team. But those Ravens serve as a shining example of what you envision when you think of Baltimore in the 2000s: terrible on offense and great on defense. The team went 9-7 despite the Kyle Boller-led offense producing just 24 touchdowns, tied for the second fewest […]

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Bill Belichick And Coaching Records Against The Spread

May 1, 2014 Coaches

Last week at Five Thirty Eight, Nate Silver noted that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich has produced an excellent record against the spread. He also checked in football’s version of Pop, Bill Belichick, and came to the same conclusion: Belichick hasn’t just been great, but he’s been great against the spread, too. My […]

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Head Coach Retention Rates

April 7, 2014 Coaches

In the footnotes (always read the footnotes!) to one of Neil’s posts at 538, he included a fun chart displaying the likelihood that a baseball manager would be retained by his team X seasons from now. That made me wonder: what is the NFL head coach retention rate? And, as is often assumed by the […]

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Bottom Five Scoring Offenses and the fates of the HC, OC, and QB

January 2, 2014 Coaches

It stands to reason that when a team has a bottom five scoring offense, they’re going to make some changes. But today we’re going to quantify what we all know. By definition, there were 55 teams to rank in the bottom five in scoring from 2002 to 2012. What changes did those teams make? 29 […]

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Where do teams find new head coaches?

December 31, 2013 Coaches

Within twenty-four hours of the end of the regular season, Rob Chudzinski, Leslie Frazier, Greg Schiano, Jim Schwartz, and Mike Shanahan were all fired. A couple of more head coaches may join them this week, but all these new openings lead to one question: who will replace them? From 1990 to 2013, 159 new head coaches […]

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How Often Do New General Managers Retain Inherited Coaches?

December 30, 2013 Coaches

Moments after the Jets defeated the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, it was announced that Rex Ryan would return as New York’s head coach in 2014. That was a surprising development: just one week ago, it was reported that Ryan told the team he believed he would be fired at the end of the season. Most […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 16, 2013

December 25, 2013 Coaches

Black Monday is just four days away. This week here. Tweet

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Will the Jets Fire Rex Ryan?

December 23, 2013 Coaches

On Sunday morning, Jay Glazer reported that the Jets head coach told the team that he believes he will be fired after the season. And a few hours ago, I noted that while the Jets have a 7-8 record, that’s not an accurate reflection of the team’s production this year. So one week from today, […]

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The Jets are 7-8, but have the points differential of a 4.5 win team

December 22, 2013 Coaches

The Jets beat the Browns 24-13 today, bringing New York’s record up to 7-8. With Rex Ryan on the hot seat — more on this in a few hours — some have defended the controversial head coach by lauding his work this season. After all, if the Jets are one of the least talented teams […]

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Key Fourth Down Decisions from Kelly, Riverboat Ron, and Belichick

December 17, 2013 Coaches

Chip Kelly, Bill Belichick and Riverboat Ron (née Rivera) are the three coaches most associated with aggressive fourth down decisions. In week 15, all three faced a key fourth down decision, and each situation provided a good teaching moment. Philadelphia goes for it on 4th and 1 on their own 24, down by 15, 3rd […]

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Marty Schottenheimer and his Quarterback Struggles

December 16, 2013 Coaches

Tomorrow night on NFL Network, the fantastic series A Football Life will look at the career of Marty Schottenheimer. Despite his many accolades, like Dan Marino, Schottenheimer is as often defined by his major shortcoming: never winning a Super Bowl. Did you know that Schottenheimer ranks 6th with 200 career wins? That places him behind […]

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Dear Pete Carroll

December 13, 2013 Coaches

At the end of Sunday’s game against the 49ers, the Seahawks had an opportunity to (attempt to) allow the 49ers to score. Following a  Colin Kaepernick gainof 8 yards on 3rd-and-7, the 49ers had the ball, down by 1, at the Seahawks 7-yard line with 2:39 remaining.  The Seahawks were out of timeouts, which meant […]

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Marc Trestman a Victim of Poor Logic, Fails to Call Timeout

November 24, 2013 Coaches

In week 11, the Bears led the Ravens by three with two minutes remaining. After the two-minute warning, Joe Flacco completed an 11-yard pass that brought Baltimore to the Bears’ 16-yard line. The Ravens next snap took place with 1:21 remaining, and Ray Rice picked up 11 yards to put the Ravens at the Chicago […]

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New York Times: Post-Week 11, 2013

November 20, 2013 Coaches

Eight teams fired their head coaches last year. How are those eight coaches doing in 2013? And will there be more firings next year because of the Reid effect? That’s what I’m writing about this week at the New York Times. Andy Reid may be the worst thing to happen to struggling coaches. In 2012 […]

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NFL Team Passing Identities Through Five Weeks

October 11, 2013 Coaches

I’ve been posting the Game Scripts numbers each week this season, and now have a full page dedicated to the results from every game at the top right of your screen. But the best use of Game Scripts is to adjust Pass ratios for teams to understand their true Passing Identity. Here’s how you do […]

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Trailing in the 4th quarter, send out the kicker!

October 3, 2013 Coaches

Through four weeks, there have been 28 cases where a team, trailing in the 4th quarter, sent in the kicker or the punter. In general, that’s a pretty low rate — it’s just under once every two games. But while going for it on 4th down isn’t always the right decision when trailing in the […]

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Chuck Pagano Went For 1 Up 12 With Under Five Minutes Remaining

September 27, 2013 Coaches

I can’t believe I’m writing this article. Everyone loves Chuck Pagano, but he made a pretty embarrassing blunder at the end of the Colts upset win in San Francisco on Sunday. The Colts led 13-7 when Andrew Luck scrambled for a six yard touchdown on 3rd-and-3 with just over four minutes left in the fourth […]

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John Harbaugh’s conservative 4th down decisions

September 7, 2013 Coaches

John Harbaugh is a Super Bowl-winning head coach. He might represent the new archetype for owners when it comes to hiring a head coach. He outcoached his brother in Super Bowl XLVII. But that doesn’t mean his fourth down decisions on Thursday Night were above criticism. 1) Punting is not the way to beat Manning […]

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Chip Kelly, Michael Vick, and the Eagles Tempo

September 2, 2013 Coaches

The number one storyline in the NFL in week one isn’t the health of Robert Griffin III, but the presence of two other men occupying FedEx Field that night. The football world is anxiously awaiting to see how Chip Kelly’s offense, piloted by Michael Vick, will work in the NFL. We don’t know much, but […]

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Julio Jones and Roddy White star in Stealing The Torch

July 31, 2013 Coaches

Randy Moss and Cris Carter. Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. From time to time, a franchise with a star wide receiver manages to draft another one. At that point, we just wait and see how long it takes the young pup to steal the spotlight. Everyone succumbs to age, and […]

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Who Will Win 2013 Head Coach of the Year

July 25, 2013 Coaches

Is there a harder award to predict in football? It would have been impossible to predict who would win the award this time last year, as eventual winner Bruce Arians wasn’t even a head coach until October. Of course, that doesn’t excuse my terrible selection. As I said last year, predicting in the pre-season which […]

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Cross-Post: Help Wanted! Help P-F-R Identify Historical Teams’ Offensive & Defensive Schemes

July 18, 2013 Bleg

(I originally posted this at the S-R Blog, but I thought it would be very appropriate here as well.) Here is a google doc containing every team-season in our database since 1957, including the Head Coach and offensive & defensive coordinators. It also specifies those coaches’ preferred offensive or defensive schemes (depending on which side […]

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Will Gus Bradley help fix the Jaguars defense?

July 16, 2013 Coaches

Last week, I examined the Chargers hiring of former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. What I found was that, on average, teams that go outside the organization to hire offensive coordinators saw no uptick in offensive production in the new coach’s first season. And in general, the list consisted of a lot of uninspiring names.  […]

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The Chargers Hired Mike McCoy — What Does That Mean?

July 8, 2013 Coaches

In 2011, Mike Mularkey and Joe Philbin were offensive coordinators for high-powered offenses. Those success seasons — on the backs of elite quarterbacks and wide receivers — were springboards for head coaching jobs in 2012. Mularkey’s work with Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones, and Tony Gonzalez got him the top spot in Jacksonville, while […]

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Trivia: NFL Head Coaches

July 7, 2013 Coaches

In light of Shattenjager’s great post yesterday about Marion Campbell, I thought we should do some NFL head coach trivia today centered around losing. Let’s start with a tough one. With 165 losses, which coach has lost the most games in NFL history? Obviously, there’s something to be said for losing a lot of games. […]

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How did Marion Campbell keep getting hired?

July 6, 2013 Coaches

Today you’re in for a treat, as frequent commenter Shattenjager has contributed an absolutely outstanding guest post. Introduction: Question Every time I have looked at Marion Campbell’s coaching career, a question has leapt to mind: How on earth did he keep getting jobs? When Chase Stuart recently revisited Doug Drinen’s Dungy Index to measure coaches’ […]

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The Dungy Index: Version 2.0

June 12, 2013 Coaches

Back in 2006, Doug Drinen came up with the Dungy Index, a way to measure a coach’s performance in the regular season relative to expectations. Because Doug understands regression to the mean, he was impressed by Tony Dungy’s ability to continue to string together 12-win seasons year after year.1 But Doug didn’t want to just […]

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Were The 49ers Using West Coast Offense Principles in the 1950s?

June 11, 2013 Coaches

Entire books have been written about the West Coast Offense. Friend of the program Chris Brown has an excellent primer on some of the principles of the system. Due to time constraints, this post is not going to dissect a voluminous playbook, translate Spider 3 Y Banana into English, or discuss the role of motions […]

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