FanDuel - WFBC

September 26, 2006

It doesn't pay to punt: Once again this weekend the NFL landscape was littered with Preposterous Punts. Trailing 24-3, San Francisco punted on fourth-and-1 on the Philadelphia 40. Even the great Bill Belichick ordered a punt from the Broncos' 35.

posted by lex2000 to football at 02:28 PM - 25 comments

I'm glad I'm not the only one who was thinking about this.

posted by lex2000 at 02:29 PM on September 26

When did Gregg Easterbrook find his way back to ESPN?

posted by rcade at 02:41 PM on September 26

From Wikipedia: "On April 24, 2006, it was announced that Easterbrook would be brought back to ESPN's website after a two-year absence. His return column, a preview of the 2006 NFL Draft, appeared the following day."

posted by Venicemenace at 02:46 PM on September 26

I was watching the 49ers when Nolan refused to go for the 4th-and-1. I was incensed. This is a guy who, according to all sources, is tough on his players if they aren't giving an all-out effort. Where in the world was his? I feel like he threw in the towel on the whole game at halftime with that call. To their credit, the Niners didn't quit. Alex Smith threw his 3rd TD pass (tripling his total of his rookie season) with :06 on the clock. This brought SF to within 14 pts of the Eagles, making the thrashing a mere rout. But then Nolan did something absolutely insane; he called for an onside kick. That's right -- an onside kick with six seconds on the clock. Even Joe Montana couldn't lead two scoring drives with six seconds left! The 49ers are getting better, but only because they can't get worse. I don't know if Nolan deserves any credit for that, because he's coaching like an imbecile.

posted by L.N. Smithee at 02:59 PM on September 26

I think the NFL would be way more exciting if they got rid of the punt. Just imagine the scores that would be put up. Punting is like quiting. I know purists will be like, "oh, its all about the battle of field position." BS. Football is about big hits and scoring, bottom line, thats what packs the stadiums and brings in the TV ratings that the league wants. They've already given the offense the advantage with all the penalties on quarterbacks and what-not, it seems like a logical step in the evolution of the game.

posted by LaKeR4LiFe at 03:52 PM on September 26

Christ, dude ... feel free to watch the games, but don't ever coach. Field position is a huge part of the game, and if you have a solid defense, pinning the opposition inside the 10 could result in a turnover, a safety, or a blocked punt if you get a three-and-out. Are some coaches too conservative? Yes. I agree with L.N. -- I would have gone for it. Does that mean every fourth down is a time to take the chance. No, it doesn't.

posted by wfrazerjr at 04:21 PM on September 26

Watching the Patriots game vs Denver,I couldn't help but to feel bad for Tom Brady. As an avid Pats fan, I have to start wondering what the hell management ,and even owner Bob Kraft are thinking. They take away Brady's top receivers, replace them with rookies(besides Watson)and then wonder why he looked bewildered on the field Sun. night. Heres a guy who took less money to keep this team as good as possible,not thinking about himself. All though they are still a good team,one has to wonder how much longer the Pats can stay competitive paying these players at bargain basement salaries. They are well under the cap,so come on Bob Kraft,start opening the pocket a little and get Brady some help with some receivers. Maroney is going to turn into a great back,in which he has shown already this year so far. I think Dillon has still got a good year or 2 left.(Injured this past Sun?) Now that we all got a taste of winning here in New England Mr Kraft, lets not go and follow in the footsteps of the likes of the Sullivans and Red Sox. I know the season is only 3 games old, and I'm not pushing the panic button...yet... lets righten the ship and fix these problems. We can't keep on loosing players like Branch,Patten,Vinatieri,and other players we lost that we could have kept by spending a little or alot,dependind on how you look at their value to the team. The schedule isn't getting any easier having to go to Cincinnatti,and some other tough games coming up. Luckily we play in the AFC East

posted by starrider at 04:43 PM on September 26

starrider quote "Luckily we play in the AFC East" Exactly! That's why you won't have any trouble making it to the playoffs, and I'm a Dolphins fan saying this! Now once you're in the playoffs.....

posted by BigTallChris at 05:29 PM on September 26

The Pats punt could be excused because the Pats' rookie kicker has had field goals blocked two weeks in a row. But it's not excusable, first because Bill knows better (previous Spofi links on the economic value of going for it on 4th down always mention BB's interest in the studies), second because they needed 10 points to tie. No reason not to kick or go for it (well, as Madden said, it should have been a FG and onside kick). Worst ending to a Pats game in a while. Worst Pats game in a while.

posted by yerfatma at 05:51 PM on September 26

Worst ending to a Pats game in a while. Worst Pats game in a while. Since January 14th, I'd say. At least this time I didn't have to get up at 5:30 am, with a hangover, and drive to work in a snowstorm.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 06:50 PM on September 26

Nah, at least they competed in that one.

posted by yerfatma at 05:59 AM on September 27

Personally, I think the problem with the Pats is not the recievers but the offensive playcalling. This whole Branch-and-Givens thing is WAY overrated. The Patriots have been "losing" players for years, it's the nature of the NFL -- if you try to hang on to everyone on a good team, eventually you crash and burn to a 2-14 season. However, there's no denying that the offense doesn't look good; it looked pretty terrible last season too. It's not really the talent, though, but the way it is being utilized. Remember, NE won their first Super Bowl with MUCH less offensively than they have now. Antowain Smith, anyone? I think the large number of Patriots fans who now enjoy watching Notre Dame is testament to the creativity and skill of Charlie Weis' playcalling, elements that have been sorely lacking since his departure. Josh McDaniels has shown NOTHING to indicate he is a worthy successor. Barring a vastly improved offensive effort as the season progresses, I would like to see McDaniels shown the door and replaced with someone competent. (Incidentally, anyone who talks trash on the Krafts as a result of a few offensive struggles is really missing the point. The Patriots were beyond irrelevant before they bought the team.)

posted by Venicemenace at 07:43 AM on September 27

When did this become a column for the Patriots? The subject is about the question of punting in the NFL. I personally believe that in a situation on 4th and 1, depending on the field position, go for it!! We are all arm chair quarterbacks here but let's get one thing clear, our opinions may not mean much to the coaches who make these calls but we are the fans and our voices should be heard. They may never actually listen to us but for pete's sake, grow some balls and I'm sure a lot of players will agree. I been friends with a few players from my hometown of Trenton, NJ players (no need to name drop) and they actually agree with this: 4th and 1, why aren't we going for it?

posted by BornIcon at 08:11 AM on September 27

Ooooh, wait, you qualified that one, BornIcon. Depending on the field position? Only on that? C'mon, let's get this back on track.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 09:27 AM on September 27

(Incidentally, anyone who talks trash on the Krafts as a result of a few offensive struggles is really missing the point. The Patriots were beyond irrelevant before they bought the team.) That's true, but do you think it is too much to ask that they actually use the money under the salary cap to improve the team?

posted by bperk at 10:16 AM on September 27

I'll agree, the salary cap space thing is weird, although they claim they were holding money aside for Branch and Ty Law, who chose to sign for more elsewhere. Also, that's really Scott Pioli's domain, not Kraft's. But where were we - punting! PUNTING!! Ah yes. I do think that teams should go for it on 4th-and-short much more often than they do. (Easterbrook is probably right that the reason this doesn't happen is that the coach always gets blamed when things go awry on a 4th down try.) Many times a simple QB sneak will do, but with a good push from the O-line, a running back should always be able to grab a few yards from scrimmage. I like to see my team go for it on 4th down if the ball is in the other team's territory, 3 yards to go or fewer, unless of course we are holding a very slim lead in the final minutes, or need a field goal desperately. There is something to be said for the increased ability of NFL punters to use backspin and pin teams inside the 10, so I'm not ready to jettison the punting unit just yet.

posted by Venicemenace at 10:39 AM on September 27

Thanks for the link, lex -- I've missed Easterbrook.

posted by redsnare at 12:25 PM on September 27

They should just get rid of all kicking, except for kickoffs. Those are actually exciting. Send all the kickers back to the empty soccer fields that they came from.

posted by LaKeR4LiFe at 12:42 PM on September 27

Ooooh, wait, you qualified that one, BornIcon. Depending on the field position? Only on that? C'mon, let's get this back on track. U damn right its about field positioning when it comes to punting, LBB. Do u honestly think any coach in his right mind would go for it on 4th and 1 on the opositions 10 yard line? Think about it?

posted by BornIcon at 02:08 PM on September 27

Do u honestly think any coach in his right mind would go for it on 4th and 1 on the opositions 10 yard line? Um, yeah, I do. Think about it for a second: you're down six points with 20 seconds left and you've got the ball on your opponent's 10-yard line, fourth and one. You gonna kick the field goal? If you coach like that, in the immortal words of Jerry Glanville, "NFL" stands for Not For Long. Perhaps you meant to say "from his own 10 yard line?"

posted by The_Black_Hand at 03:18 PM on September 27

If you are playing the Steelers and Ricardo Coclough is returning the kick, anywhere on the field is a good place to punt. Any down too. Oh Randle El where are you?????

posted by FriarDuck at 03:33 PM on September 27

There ya go, that's my point. Field position is one consideration. So's the score, so's where you are on the clock, so's who you're playing. In other words, BornIcon: 4th and 1, depending on a whole lot of things, go for it.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:45 PM on September 27

And I disagree. Then again, I guess that's why neither of us are NFL coaches now are we? Perhaps you meant to say "from his own 10 yard line?" U know what I meant. LOL

posted by BornIcon at 08:14 AM on September 28

And I disagree. Then again, I guess that's why neither of us are NFL coaches now are we? Well, one of us, at least, would look at things other than field position when deciding whether or not to "go for it". Are you seriously saying that field position would be your only consideration?

posted by lil_brown_bat at 08:33 AM on September 28

U know what I meant. Actually, no, I didn't. We have over 15,000 members here, and not all of them know what the hell they're talking about, so I take nothing for granted.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 08:37 AM on September 28

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