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View Full Version : Should we ever punt?



flippy
11-18-2009, 07:27 AM
I've heard a lot about the odds being in the Pats favor to go for it on 4th and short from their own 28. Makes me wonder why even punt during a game? Maybe we could do better if we always went for it on 4th down even on our side of the field.

Here's something I came across suggesting this strategy would work:
http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-a ... er-punting (http://www.footballoutsiders.com/stat-analysis/2006/never-punting)

Now it makes me wonder if we should even try to kick field goals? Maybe we should always go for it on 4th downs.

SteelAbility
11-18-2009, 07:53 AM
4th and 9 from your own 1? :wft

Ok, I get the point. Personally, I think there is much merit to the idea of going for it on 4th more often than teams do. In general, if there is a lot of time left in the game, I am a huge proponent of going for it on 4th and goal with 2.5 yards or less to go.

Historically, the 2PAT has converted at about 45% (or so) since the NFL has instituted it. So if you look at it from that perspective, going for it on 4th from the 2.5 is worth 7 x 0.45 = 3.15 points (statistically). However, it's better than that because a miss, though it results in 0 points, pins your opponent (assuming no turnover) and that has value. So, the misses, are worth field position, which statistically translate into points. So the makes are worth 7 points and the misses have increased delayed point value.

Since your opponent is pinned, a number of things work to your favor statistically. The chances of getting a safety just improved. The fact that the safety is there generally forces your opponent into predictable up-the-middle running plays on 1st and 2nd down, so the odds of 3-and-out just went up. Of course there is the ever-present turnover which has more value when your opponent is pinned than when he's in your half of the field.

IMO, in that situation going for it is a statistical win.

steelblood
11-18-2009, 08:44 AM
4th and 9 from your own 1? :wft

Ok, I get the point. Personally, I think there is much merit to the idea of going for it on 4th more often than teams do. In general, if there is a lot of time left in the game, I am a huge proponent of going for it on 4th and goal with 2.5 yards or less to go.

Historically, the 2PAT has converted at about 45% (or so) since the NFL has instituted it. So if you look at it from that perspective, going for it on 4th from the 2.5 is worth 7 x 0.45 = 3.15 points (statistically). However, it's better than that because a miss, though it results in 0 points, pins your opponent (assuming no turnover) and that has value. So, the misses, are worth field position, which statistically translate into points. So the makes are worth 7 points and the misses have increased delayed point value.

Since your opponent is pinned, a number of things work to your favor statistically. The chances of getting a safety just improved. The fact that the safety is there generally forces your opponent into predictable up-the-middle running plays on 1st and 2nd down, so the odds of 3-and-out just went up. Of course there is the ever-present turnover which has more value when your opponent is pinned than when he's in your half of the field.

IMO, in that situation going for it is a statistical win.

Considering the issues we have running the ball on 3rd and short, I'd say that going for it on 4th down more is a risky proposition for this team.

I remember one game (SD, I believe) that we used Legursky as a FB. I've seen him out there as a third TE lately, but not as a FB. He looked good to me as a FB and has the right attitude. I say stick him back there again. I'd like to see him meet Ray Lewis in the hole in two weeks.

SteelAbility
11-18-2009, 09:17 AM
4th and 9 from your own 1? :wft

Ok, I get the point. Personally, I think there is much merit to the idea of going for it on 4th more often than teams do. In general, if there is a lot of time left in the game, I am a huge proponent of going for it on 4th and goal with 2.5 yards or less to go.

Historically, the 2PAT has converted at about 45% (or so) since the NFL has instituted it. So if you look at it from that perspective, going for it on 4th from the 2.5 is worth 7 x 0.45 = 3.15 points (statistically). However, it's better than that because a miss, though it results in 0 points, pins your opponent (assuming no turnover) and that has value. So, the misses, are worth field position, which statistically translate into points. So the makes are worth 7 points and the misses have increased delayed point value.

Since your opponent is pinned, a number of things work to your favor statistically. The chances of getting a safety just improved. The fact that the safety is there generally forces your opponent into predictable up-the-middle running plays on 1st and 2nd down, so the odds of 3-and-out just went up. Of course there is the ever-present turnover which has more value when your opponent is pinned than when he's in your half of the field.

IMO, in that situation going for it is a statistical win.

Considering the issues we have running the ball on 3rd and short, I'd say that going for it on 4th down more is a risky proposition for this team.

I remember one game (SD, I believe) that we used Legursky as a FB. I've seen him out there as a third TE lately, but not as a FB. He looked good to me as a FB and has the right attitude. I say stick him back there again. I'd like to see him meet Ray Lewis in the hole in two weeks.

Yeah, I was talking in general there. We have short yardage issues so it's not as good for us. But I would still hazard a guess that it's about break-even for us. For teams that don't have obvious short-yardage issues, I think it's a total statistical win.

Agreed about Legursky. I'm even a proponent of letting a guy like James Harrison do the running right up the middle inside the 1 if we can establish that his fumble likelihood is low. I'd love to see Harrison plow into Ray Ray, drive him straight back and make a tame little pu$$y cat out of him.

RuthlessBurgher
11-18-2009, 10:30 AM
I don't mind going for it on 4th down when you are in the opponent's territory. I had no problem with Tomlin going for it on 4th and short inside the red zone against Cincy last game (although the penalty on the next play kind of screwed us). I also don't mind when coaches go for it when they are in the high 30's where it is too long for a field goal but too close for a punt.

I hate going for it in your own territory, though. Tomlin did it once this year so far, and I thought it was stupid even though we made it. Belichick did it twice this year, and I thought it was stupid both times, when he made it and when he missed it.

I find it interesting that many people in the media are analyzing and justifying this 4th and 2 decision, when it was plain and simply dumb. They think it must be some kind of genius move that just backfired this one time simply because it was Belichick who did it. Imagine if it was Tom Cable or Jim Zorn that made the same decision instead of Belichick. No one would be debating the decision like they are now...they would just call him an idiot and move on.

flippy
11-18-2009, 12:08 PM
The article was from a couple years back and it advocates for going for it all the time and it will give you an overall net advantage.

But if you pick and choose where you punt, the averages are against you.

I'm not sure I buy it completely. But if you know you're going for it on 4th down, that would really change what you could do on 3rd downs which would be a big advantage. That should really get you to 4th and manageable distances.

I would even guess that if you treated 3rd down like 2nd down that you'd be more in more manageable 4th downs than teams are in 3rd downs today and you'd convert a higher percentage of 4ths than 3rds currently.

I wouldn't mind seeing someone try this.

Maybe you could try only punting when you don't reach your own 30 or 40 yard line or when you're protecting a lead later in the game and want to force the use of time.

This could also have the impact of keeping a great defense fresh.

SteelAbility
11-18-2009, 02:06 PM
The article was from a couple years back and it advocates for going for it all the time and it will give you an overall net advantage.

But if you pick and choose where you punt, the averages are against you.

I'm not sure I buy it completely. But if you know you're going for it on 4th down, that would really change what you could do on 3rd downs which would be a big advantage. That should really get you to 4th and manageable distances.

I would even guess that if you treated 3rd down like 2nd down that you'd be more in more manageable 4th downs than teams are in 3rd downs today and you'd convert a higher percentage of 4ths than 3rds currently.

I wouldn't mind seeing someone try this.

Maybe you could try only punting when you don't reach your own 30 or 40 yard line or when you're protecting a lead later in the game and want to force the use of time.

This could also have the impact of keeping a great defense fresh.

I have heard about that article. I never actually saw it though. I think an "across the board and no-matter the circumstances" policy is stupid. Like I said, I think going for it on 4th is not used as well as it could be in the NFL today.

It's a bit similar to that basketball scenario. If you are down by 2 with 5 seconds to play and inbounding the ball, which is the better strategy, drawing up a play for a 2-pt shot or for a 3-pt shot? The answer is that 3-pt shot ends up being the statistically better scenario. The 2-pt shot converts at roughly 50%. But if you draw up the 2-pt shot, your odds of winning are 0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25 (make the 2-pt shot AND win in overtime, two independent events). The 3-pt shot converts at roughly 40%. If you make it you are out of Dodge with the victory.