During his first season as head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, Brandon Staley became widely known for his aggressive fourth-down decision-making.
No team in the NFL went for it on fourth down at a higher rate than the Chargers, who did so 31.5 percent of the time. The Chargers were also quite effective on those fourth-down opportunities, converting them at a 64.7 percent clip — tied for the fourth-best mark in the league. The aggressiveness helped the Chargers secure some early-season wins against the Browns and Chiefs, but late in the season, Staley was criticized when his aggressiveness did not work out quite as well.
Fast forward to 2022, and Staley has apparently become much more conservative. Against the division rival Chiefs on Thursday night, Staley chose to kick in several places where he typically would have gone for it a year ago. After going for it at a 54.5 percent clip on fourth-and-4 or shorter last season (and converting those chances 62.5 percent of the time), Staley chose to punt or kick a field goal on five of seven such opportunities on Thursday night. According to at least one calculation, the kicking choices cost Los Angeles percentage 11.6 points of win probability. Some, but not all of that (10.1 percentage points) was made up by two choices to go for it in similar situations.
Explaining his decision-making, Staley said, “Just wanted to give our defense a chance to compete. I loved the way we were playing. I felt like that was the formula — to flip the field there. I feel like we were aggressive when we needed to be tonight. We converted all four of our fourth downs. Just felt like, with who’s over there (Patrick Mahomes), and the way our defense was playing, I felt like the field position would be a big edge for our defense to be able to pin them back there. And I like the way our defense competed tonight.”
It’s striking to hear Staley talk about…
Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/chargers-brandon-staley-explains-surprisingly-conservative-fourth-down-decisions-in-loss-to-chiefs/
Author : Jared Dubin
Publish date : 2022-09-16 12:56:09
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