A look at the impact of special teams play

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by DaBruinz, Aug 7, 2007.

  1. DaBruinz

    DaBruinz Pats, B's, Sox PatsFans.com Supporter

    Feb 8, 2005
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    #50 Jersey

    I have to thank the Chicago fan who was slamming Wesley because it made me delve into just how many special teams plays there are in a game.

    For the Pats, last season, they had the following special teams plays:
    26 field goal attempts, 44 extra points, 69 punts, 58 kick off returns, 36 punt returns, 14 fair catches, 68 kick offs, 26 extra points attempts by opponents, and 30 field goal attempts by opponents. That is 371 plays. The offense had 1025 plays (526/499) while the defense had 906 plays (518/388). So the team had a total of 2302 plays last year, of which special teams accounted for 16% of them. Not a lot.

    So, while special teams plays are only a small minority of the plays, we know that they have a huge impact on everything. Good kick and punt coverage leads to poor field position for the opposing team, making them have to go farther to score. Good punt and kick returns means your offense has to work less to get into scoring range. Good field goal units get the team points when the offense couldn't get it done. Good field goal coverage units force the other team into mistakes.

    One could almost say that special teams has a greater impact than either the offense or defense because there are so many fewer plays that occur.
  2. BradfordPatsFan

    BradfordPatsFan In the Starting Line-Up

    May 7, 2006
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    I would say that it is somewhat more important than that, for a reason you state. It has a direct impact on the other two facets of the game. It dictates where the offenses get the ball. To that end, it can dictate how much each unit is on the field and how fresh they are when key moments of the game come around.
  3. BHSL2

    BHSL2 Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    May 15, 2007
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    Our special teams played such a big role in our first superbowl run. Hell, special teams and defense. The '01 Pats had the 24th ranked overall defense, but led the league in defensive touchdons with 7. I haven't seen a team play defense and special teams like that since 2003. Situationally saavy. Actually, the closest a team has come to that is the 2005 Colts. Boy, I hated waching that lucky team. But now I know how other fans feel about the Pats. The little things really do count.
  4. Pats726

    Pats726 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    Sep 13, 2004
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    I agree it's key..and I HOPE this year's teams will do a great JOB!! The returners stepped up nice last year...booming punts..Gut's long field goals and some kamikaze tacklers that will hem returners in.
  5. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

    Jun 12, 2006
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    #54 Jersey

    DaBruinz, at one point you had broken down the ST units compared to the rest of the league. If you have it available can you re-psot please?

    It was good stuff. If I remember correctly the Pats had a pretty good year on special teams, after a couple of years of being not so hot.

    It is very topical these days as the last 4-5 roster spots will be heavily based on versatility and special teams.
  6. Vern

    Vern Practice Squad Player

    Mar 3, 2007
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    Think of it like this, EVERY special teams play is either:
    - a score
    - a change of possession (i.e. a scripted turnover)

    Last time I checked, points and turnovers are usually pretty good indicators of victory.

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