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Should We Stop Going For It On 4th Down?

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  • #73

    I notice we punted a few times yesterday....and won the game. I think you need to pick your spots about going for it on 4th down. To me...it seems that the defense takes it as an insult, and they are really motivated to stop it. If you are going to do it by the goal line...do something unexpected. Not try to pass to Keenan Allen which the eagles expect. Maybe a fullback pass...or lineman as a receiver..or just a QB run...not Keenan. I would be looking for Parham right over the line every time.

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    • #74
      No punts yesterday. Long had the day off
      Like, how am I a traitor? Your team are traitors.

      Comment


      • #75
        Originally posted by Heatmiser View Post
        No punts yesterday. Long had the day off
        You are correct...hmm..I thought there was one...just paranoid about 4th down i guess. :>)

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        • #76
          Originally posted by Steve View Post
          I could do without the toss sweep/bunch crunch as being one of the plays being called on 4th down.

          Lombardi is keeping the family tradition of spreading teams out horizontally and making them defend the whole field, but maybe 4th down isn't the best time to try spreading a defense wide that. He needs to try them, just not 4th down.
          I thought those four play calls before the second 4th down stop were terrible. All were short throws - one a WR screen to Allen; Cook was pretty much the same, the short one to KA and finally the toss to the worst RB on the roster.

          Better play calls

          I think there will be times this year that STaley may need to take the points. And I think if its a 7 point game - and a FG makes it 10, he tries for the points if a reasonable attempt. But the last drive - totally agree going on 4th down

          I still have no clue with Jerome B and the NFL didn't review the Ekeler run - he clearly made it on 3rd down

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          • #77
            Originally posted by Heatmiser View Post
            No punts yesterday. Long had the day off
            we should cut Long and just carry an extra DB on the roster. kidding.....

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            • #78
              Originally posted by Xenos View Post
              I don’t think going for it on 4th down was meant to be unpredictable. A fake punt is unpredictable. But what we’re doing is like any other down that an opponent has to stop. You still need to have the right plays and execute. That’s something analytics can’t predict.
              Exactly
              Imho
              Staley is changing how the game is being coached.
              Perhaps there is some numbers that could support (or debunk) this but ive noticed a lot of coaches going for it more often since Staley started.
              either way, he's changing how teams have to defend us on 2nd and 3rd down because they have to assume 4th down is almost always an option.
              Staley is also giving our offense a lot of experience in converting these high pressure situations, anyone else think that might come handy in the playoffs??
              FA:
              RT Cornelius Lucas
              RB Leonard Fournette
              DT Sebastian Joseph-Day
              DE Jadeveon Clowney

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              • #79
                Here’s the Albert Breer article again explaining Staley’s reasoning for going it on 4th downs.
                https://www.si.com/nfl/2021/10/11/mm...rs-fourth-down

                Of course, that really starts with the slew of fourth downs that Chargers coach Brandon Staley went for, and we’re going to break those down in a minute. But before we jump into Staley’s reasoning, it’s important to know that, for a group of players that’s seemed cursed at points over the last few years, the simple act of a coach’s going all-in on their ability to deliver in the biggest spots means more than a little.

                Simply put, there’s a reason why the Chargers looked like an inspired team on Sunday.

                “Man, he believes in us, and he shows us from the get-go that he’ll take our guys over anybody,” receiver Mike Williams said, after his eight-catch, 165-yard, two-touchdown performance. “He told us, there are going to be situations like that, whether its fourth-and-10, fourth-and-1 on our own whatever yard line or their yard line, where we gotta just go for it. He believed in us to go out and make the play; he trusts us. And we trust him to put us in a position to be successful, so we just get the play call and make plays.”

                And make the plays, the Chargers did—going three-for-three on fourth downs, with Williams’s drawing a pass interference on another to move the chains, though that one didn’t go down in the box score as a conversion.

                But it wasn’t just going for it on fourth down. It was the actual situations that the Chargers were in as they went for it, situations that don’t often call for these types of gambles. Three of the four were with four yards or more to gain, and other was from the Chargers’ own 24-yard line early in the third quarter.

                “You gotta start with the premise that when you see it as an advantage situation, it makes it a lot, I think, easier,” Staley told me after the game. “We’re not gonna gamble. That’s not what we’re doing. We’re seeing it as an advantage situation for us. “

                The first one, though, even to Staley, was a little different—a fourth-and-2 from the Chargers’ 24, with the Browns up 27–13 and 10:34 left in the third quarter. Failure to convert there would’ve put Cleveland in position to put the Chargers three touchdowns back, and make it pretty tough, based on how the Browns can run the ball, to come back.

                So why go for it there?

                “We needed to go for that because defensively we weren’t playing well,” Staley said, bluntly. “And we needed time to make some adjustments, to get our composure, and I felt like we get a first down there, now we get some more time to make things happen defensively. And then certainly our goal is to score, so when it was a two-score game, I thought keeping our offense out there was the best strategy for both sides of the ball.”

                Also, he continued, “I liked the down-and-distance against that team and kinda how they played, because we knew what they like in that particular down-and-distance and felt good about the calls that we had up in that circumstance.” Sure enough, Austin Ekeler cut off left guard for nine yards, and nine plays later, Staley and his staff were at it again on a fourth-and-7 from the Browns’ 22—with phenom Justin Herbert hitting Keenan Allen for 12 yards to move the chains again.

                Two plays later, Herbert scrambled for a nine-yard touchdown to complete a 14-play, 84-yard drive and, naturally, the Chargers went for two and converted to make it 27–21.

                That set up an absolute shootout in the second half, during which, on one 11-play, 75-yard fourth-quarter drive, the Chargers converted two more fourth downs—one being the fourth-and-4 on which Williams drew pass interference and the other a 20-yard connection to Keenan Allen on fourth-and-8. And that was the precursor to a couple of scores late for Ekeler, one on the ground, the other through the air, to seize the lead for good late in the fourth quarter.

                And while all this sounds really great to talk about just as a premise, there’s another piece of the puzzle that Staley can fit into that “advantage situation” category. Basically, every snap that Herbert takes, at this point, feels like an advantage situation for his team, and that’s given his coaches a lot of leeway to do these things.

                “A lot [of it is having Justin],” he said. “Because on some of those shorter ones, we’re trying to give him a lot of options, whether we have a run tagged with an RPO. Or an advantage look where he has the option to throw it. And then in some of the passing game, the longer fourth downs, the other thing that he has going for him is that he has his legs. Like if it’s a tight pocket, he can get out of trouble and make something happen if it’s maybe not within the rhythm and timing of the play.

                “So if the design is there, I know that he can make the throw and that we have got a bunch of guys who can win in the passing game. And then at the same time, if we don’t have that design come to life, then he can make stuff happen with his legs, and that’s what happened a couple times today. Justin is the best player on the field.”

                He certainly was Sunday, and maybe the best player on any field in the league.

                But this, of course, was about more than just him. It’s about a team that’s quickly taking on the personality of its coach and playing smart football across the board. We’re going to further illustrate that in MAQB too, in explaining how the Chargers’ situational play down the stretch, in working the clock, was a pretty good indicator of how sharp and aware the group here has become.

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                • #80
                  Once again, thank you Xenos. With all the complaining and hand wringing some of us do on this board, I think we forget some of the blessings we now have with this coaching staff and team.

                  1. Staley manages the clock, timeouts, challenges and 4th downs extremely well. We all felt the pain of NOT doing this well in the past.
                  2. Our team does not make the absolutely stupid, mind numbing mistakes they were known for under Lynn. Other than the penalties on not being properly set early in the season it is just not happening.
                  3. We have an aggressive mind set that plays to win vs plays not to lose.
                  4. This staff does not have 'favorite' players who play when they should not be on the field and is willing to develop and play young talent. And for all the accusations by some here in the past, it does not appear that Telesco, John Spanos or the ghost of Gene Klein are pressuring the coaches to put players on the field just because they like them or are paying them a lot. Mike Vato Davis has been splitting time pre injury, with a street FA.
                  5. I would say the players we kept were the right ones and the ones we let go were the right ones. And the FA we added to replace players just let go (HIll, Viz) were good calls. This does not mean we have the ultimate roster, rather it means based upon the cards we had in our hand, we did the right things with them.
                  6. This team does not have their shoulders slumped, waiting to lose or find a way to lose
                  7. This coaching staff seems to work to find the best players, put them in positions to be successful, and then depend on them
                  Like, how am I a traitor? Your team are traitors.

                  Comment


                  • #81
                    If your watching for entertainment, there is no more entertaining play than going for it on 4th down. Especially on you own side of the field.
                    Now, if you excuse me, I have some Charger memories to suppress.

                    Comment


                    • #82
                      When you punt, you give away the possession.
                      It's a turnover.
                      Downs, fumble, interception or punt.
                      All give the ball away.
                      If your defense is gassed and you are falling way behind on the scoreboard.
                      The 3 and out then punt is not going to get you back in the game. And it won't give your defense a breather. So you make a big bet on JH10 when you line your odds and make your opponent sweat the next down. Or like he did last game, he just won't give you the ball or momentum back at the end of the game, you have to call his bet and hold up. Staley is raking it in on most of his bets. The dude has calculated the percentages and knows scared money makes no money. So he confidently makes the bet and lives with the results.
                      Draft
                      1.K.Green-RT, 2.K.Gordon-CB, 3.J.Domann-LB
                      Free Agency

                      JC.Jackson-CB, Chandler.Jones-Edge

                      Comment


                      • #83
                        Originally posted by Heatmiser View Post
                        Once again, thank you Xenos. With all the complaining and hand wringing some of us do on this board, I think we forget some of the blessings we now have with this coaching staff and team.

                        1. Staley manages the clock, timeouts, challenges and 4th downs extremely well. We all felt the pain of NOT doing this well in the past.
                        2. Our team does not make the absolutely stupid, mind numbing mistakes they were known for under Lynn. Other than the penalties on not being properly set early in the season it is just not happening.
                        3. We have an aggressive mind set that plays to win vs plays not to lose.
                        4. This staff does not have 'favorite' players who play when they should not be on the field and is willing to develop and play young talent. And for all the accusations by some here in the past, it does not appear that Telesco, John Spanos or the ghost of Gene Klein are pressuring the coaches to put players on the field just because they like them or are paying them a lot. Mike Vato Davis has been splitting time pre injury, with a street FA.
                        5. I would say the players we kept were the right ones and the ones we let go were the right ones. And the FA we added to replace players just let go (HIll, Viz) were good calls. This does not mean we have the ultimate roster, rather it means based upon the cards we had in our hand, we did the right things with them.
                        6. This team does not have their shoulders slumped, waiting to lose or find a way to lose
                        7. This coaching staff seems to work to find the best players, put them in positions to be successful, and then depend on them
                        I think that the vast majority of your post is correct.

                        However, I disagree regarding part of your take in item 5. We kept Pipkins, Stick, Hill and Webb, but cut Johnson. If we were going to keep an ST only PR in Hill, then we should have kept 6 WRs and not 5. Historically, we have generally kept 6 WRs. Our deep passing game absolutely has not been as good this season. Johnson's primary strength, as with Guyton, is the deep passing game. I think this point is even clearer now than it was when Johnson was cut (when I first made this point). Cutting Johnson was a mistake.

                        The two new additions both appear to be upgrades as you noted.

                        Comment


                        • #84
                          Originally posted by Critty View Post
                          When you punt, you give away the possession.
                          It's a turnover.
                          Downs, fumble, interception or punt.
                          All give the ball away.
                          If your defense is gassed and you are falling way behind on the scoreboard.
                          The 3 and out then punt is not going to get you back in the game. And it won't give your defense a breather. So you make a big bet on JH10 when you line your odds and make your opponent sweat the next down. Or like he did last game, he just won't give you the ball or momentum back at the end of the game, you have to call his bet and hold up. Staley is raking it in on most of his bets. The dude has calculated the percentages and knows scared money makes no money. So he confidently makes the bet and lives with the results.
                          Turnovers aren't just important because of who gets the ball, or who is denied possession. When a team gets a turnover, it usually involves a big swing in field position too, making it a twofer (field position and possession). But going for it on 4th down and failing can set up the other team pretty good well too. Punts may not be a fan's favorite play, but name another that NET'S 40 yards per play. Mike Scifries won several games for the Chargers, including huge roles in playoff games vs the Colts (2007 and 2009).

                          Some of what makes Staley's going for it important seems to be a taking the other "intangible" parts of the game into account. Flow of the game, momentum and jus the relative strength. I don't think we would be going for it nearly as often if Herbert wasn't the QB. Herbert is a top 5 QB, and he gives us a lot better odds than a lot of other QB would. if we improve the OL and the running game, then I think the odds go up even more in many situations.

                          Our D is also not that great. I know it is going to continue to improve and get better under Staley, but I think part of why we are going for it is to keep the D in good situations. Sometimes it is about field position, but sometimes it is about game situation and that is about scoring and clock management.

                          We don't have a punter or ST that are anywhere near as good as we used to, back in the day. I would argue that if we had Mike Scifries, and top notch ST in from that period, then Staley would punt more than we do now. But we have Long, who is at best a solid punter, but not all that special. And our coverage teams are still kinda shaky, and how much do we trust the D to pin a team deep in their own end late in a close game?

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