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Clock management in the NFL

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by adambr2, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    Is anyone else just in awe sometimes as to how horrible NFL coaches can be in clock management? Clock management is as "fundamental" to coaching as tackling is to playing. It's something that any guy at home with a brain can do, yet these guys who pour their lives into coaching these teams can somehow not do it.

    Some pointers for these coaches:

    - 45 to 60 seconds is PLENTY of time for an opposing team to drive into FG range, or sometimes, even score a TD. If you are planning on going up at the end of the game, it's in your best interests to leave as little as possible.

    - On the same token: If the other team is inside your 10, losing, but they just need to score to go up with the clock winding down, it is very foolish to leave timeouts in your pocket and let them drain the clock. This is called the "Ray Rhodes rule".

    - PLEASE stress to your players that if you are trying to run down the clock late, you absolutely, under no circumstances, can afford a penalty. If you have 1 minute left, up by 1, and the other team has no timeouts left, and you hand the ball off on 3rd and 5 and get called for holding, guess what, that's going to stop the clock and save 40 seconds for the other team. You'll be punting to them with 55 seconds left instead of 15. Enormous difference. It made all the difference in the Atlanta/Detroit game. You are better off taking a big loss than holding under any circumstances in this case.

    - Some of you like to wait until AFTER the 2 minute warning to use your timeouts on defense. WHY? This is needlessly burning time off your own chances. Mike Zimmer did it against us on Sunday. Let me explain:

    Coach A is down 28-21, with 2:20 left and 1 timeout, and opposing team has it 2nd and 5 on their own 40. The other team runs for a gain of 1 on 2nd down to set up 3rd and 4. Coach A waits until the 2 minute warning. The opposing team runs for another gain of 1 on 3rd down, and sets up a punt on 4th and 3. Coach A calls his last timeout with 1:52 left, and the punt goes into the endzone for a touchback at 1:43.

    Coach B has the exact same situation and the exact same sequence of plays happen. He calls timeout after 2nd down at 2:14. Then after the 3rd down run, the clock stops automatically at 2:00. The punt happens at 2:000 and the coach gets the ball back at 1:51 at a chance for the game-tying drive.

    Coach B has left himself 8 more seconds for a chance than Coach A. I can't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to wait. Yes, 8 seconds could make a difference.
     
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  2. El Guapo

    El Guapo Cheesehead

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    Denny Green essentially lost his job in Minnesota for poor clock management - and his drum playing.

    I've always thought that whatever pimple-faced kid is up in the booth telling the coach when to throw the challenge flag, should also have a choose-your-own-adventure book for advising the coach on clock management decisions. It sounds easy but is tough to think about all of the what-ifs when you're calling plays and/or immersed in the moment and surrounded by raging testosterone.
     
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  3. GoPGo

    GoPGo Cheesehead

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    Coaching football and managing a game is NEVER as simple as it appears on TV.
     
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  4. Half Empty

    Half Empty Cheesehead

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    If it was that simple, they wouldn't be paying people seven figures to do it. Since they are, they ought to do it right.
     
  5. GoPGo

    GoPGo Cheesehead

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    Unless you know exactly what a coach is thinking at any given moment, you're in no position to even know what is right. What team do you coach?
     
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  6. Half Empty

    Half Empty Cheesehead

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    I have to know what someone is thinking in order to be able to evaluate their results? In that case, I'd love to coach anyone's team. :)
     
  7. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    No, but a coach should still be knowledgeable enough about the clock situation to know that they are wasting precious seconds on defense by waiting until after the 2 to use their timeouts.

    There's a lot of nuances to clock management that make it a very important part of the game, and yes, it can cost you games. Ask Mike Smith, he's arguably cost his team 2 games with bad clock management just this season.

    If a coach can't do both, he needs someone on staff who can help him with it. It's well worth the investment of an extra coaching staff member.
     
  8. red4tribe

    red4tribe Cheesehead

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    I think there are so many different things going through the minds of head coaches that we, as fans, cannot fully understand it. Luckily for us, I think MM is solid at clock management.
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
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  9. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Cheesehead

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    It is truly baffling how often we see bad clock management. I totally understand that there's a lot of chaos happening at the end of halves and games, but if the coach can't manage it all he needs to get some help. No reason not to have an assistant coach up in the box who has responsibility for it.

    Classic example:

    Steelers @ Packers at the end of last year. Tied at 31.

    Steelers have the ball on the GB 5 with 1:30 to go. First down with the Packers having 1 timeout left.

    Bell runs for 4 yards to the GB 1-yard line. McCarthy calls timeout at 1:25. On 2nd down, McCarthy let's Bell score. Flynn drives the Packers down to the Pitt 6 yard line but they run out of time and the Packers lose by 7.

    By letting them score on 2nd down instead of 1st down, McCarthy cost the Packers 5 seconds and a timeout, which probably was the difference between a loss and overtime. When asked why he didn't let them score on 1st down, he answered that he just didn't think of it. If there's too much going on for him to think of these things, then he needs someone screaming in his ear.

    On the flip side, Tomlin would have been much better off taking a knee three times and then kicking a 25-yd field goal with no time remaining for the win. Instead, he has Bell score, and then has to sweat out the Packers drive. Had Bell scored on first down, that game probably goes into overtime rather than a regulation win the Steelers.

    Two great coaches, both bungling the clock. No excuse for it.
     
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  10. GoPGo

    GoPGo Cheesehead

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    Has anyone ever heard the expression not to judge a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes? NOBODY on this forum has ever walked 2 steps in an NFL coach's shoes. Until you do so, any criticism of what a coach should be doing is from a position of ignorance. Memory research has shown that the average male brain is only capable of tracking 2 or 3 simultaneously occurring events at a time (for females, the number is 3-5). Even if a coach is exceptional in that regard and is capable of tracking 4 or 5 event, he still has to consider: 1)what the next play should be, 2) substitutions, 3) what play will he call if the current play is successful, 4) what is the other team expecting you to do? 5) time remaining, 6) timeouts remaining, 7) etc...

    Once in a while, optimal clock management is going to fall to the wayside. Nobody is perfect in this regard, including Lombardi, Shula, or any other great coach. For each time you point your finger and scream, "WHY DIDN'T HE CALL A TIMEOUT!" consider the last time YOU forgot about something.
     
  11. RustyShackleford

    RustyShackleford Cheesehead

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    Histrionics aside, I think that's basically correct. There's a lot going on during end-game type scenarios and it's understandable that things get missed.

    However, they still have the responsibility to get whatever help is necessary if they're going to be unable to do it on their own. If they decide to go it alone and they screw it up, then they've got no excuses and should be subject to criticism.
     
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  12. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Perhaps you. All that experience you have sitting on your couch would impress alot of GM's. You seem to have the whole clock management in the heat of battle thing down. Can you coach?
     
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  13. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Zeey shoult all be shotz!
     
  14. GoPGo

    GoPGo Cheesehead

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    Poppycock. Show me ONE coach who has a guy standing around whose sole purpose is to interrupt everything the HC is managing in the final minutes to tell him how much time is on the clock. That position does not exist on any team, ever.
     
  15. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    It doesn´t matter if there are guys like that in the NFL as of now. Taking a look at how many coaches mess up the clock management at the end of the half or game, they should bring in someone capable of doing it correctly all the time.
     
  16. GoPGo

    GoPGo Cheesehead

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    Not gonna happen, nor should it. The last thing a HC needs is yet another voice clamoring for his attention in the waning moments of a game. It would be more of a distraction than it would be worth. Besides, the coach's strategy might be different that the "clock guy's" strategy. There can often be more than one strategy for timeout usage in a game, each with its own risk/reward and it is the coach's job to determine which strategy he wants to use.
     
  17. captainWIMM

    captainWIMM Cheesehead

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    Strategy back and forth there´s no denying that both McCarthy and Tomlin mismanaged the clock in last year´s game vs. the Steelers. Once again, a guy being capable of managing it better would help the head coach tremendously.
     
  18. Half Empty

    Half Empty Cheesehead

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    I think he can. Now prove me wrong. Just because he, or anyone, doesn't get paid to do a job or chose to go a different career route doesn't mean the couldn't have been successful.
     
  19. Half Empty

    Half Empty Cheesehead

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    And you know this how? Besides, that's not what he said. He said the HC should make sure he's got help, if needed - not that it has to be someone who does what you said.
     
  20. GoPGo

    GoPGo Cheesehead

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    Hindsight...
     
  21. GoPGo

    GoPGo Cheesehead

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    "If a coach can't do both, he needs someone on staff who can help him with it. It's well worth the investment of an extra coaching staff member."

    This whole notion is just asinine.
     
  22. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    Why not elaborate on that and actually explain your position, instead of just insulting the idea?
     
  23. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Possibly. I just have an issue with someone in the comfort of their living room ripping a guy who has spent his whole life working to the position he is in. When you are under fire in front of 70K screaming people and all the crap going on along the sideline, it's a whole different world. I tend to cut people slack for not being divine.
     
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  24. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    So I bring up a legitimate point about clock management in the NFL, and talk about how it can be improved and how it has literally cost coaches games (and possibly their jobs).

    You respond with a snide sarcastic post about me sitting on my couch. Actually, I don't get to watch more than about half the games live as I get only one weekend off a month -- I work 3 out of 4 weekends a month to support my family. I'm fine with the job I have, thanks. Did you forget to add in the part about me living in my mom's basement?

    You're all class, aren't ya?
     
  25. realcaliforniacheese

    realcaliforniacheese A-Rods Boss

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    Aww, come on, have a thick skin. You give a dissertation on how coaches should under ideal condition's manage the clock. Generals have a saying. Once the battle starts, the battle plan goes out the window.
     

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