The 4th and 7 play and the Seau Vrabel Package

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by PatsFaninAZ, Sep 24, 2007.

  1. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

    What was up with the Seau/Vrabel goal line package? It looked like a disaster twice yesterday, although Seau did get a great lead block on the first play, they just couldn't take advantage.

    I don't really get the fascination with playing linebackers in these sets. I know Vrabel has done well in this situation, but we have two quality tight ends now and guys we pay alot of money to be O linemen. What's up with this?

    Also, what do we make of the Patriots' decision not to try a 40 something yard field goal when they were losing by 4? Can't be great for our kicker's mental state, which is probably already getting a bit fragile. Any chance maybe he's nicked up or has a secret injury?
  2. cstjohn17

    cstjohn17 Supporter Supporter

    #54 Jersey

    The first formation was a disaster, bad play call. The Patriots lined up 11 men, no one was in motion, no one lined up outside the hash marks. Then they hand the ball to Evans. The Bills had 11 guys in the box, this play will never work in the NFL, it has some small chance of success in Pop Warner but not the bigs.

    Don't talk about the 'secret' injury... 4th and 7 was strange but maybe they knew that if they get one more field goal it would be very hard to end up with 38 points.
  3. PatsWickedPissah

    PatsWickedPissah Supporter Supporter

    Disable Jersey

    As long as BB doesn't use Big Sey at FB again this season, I'm happy.
  4. WhiZa

    WhiZa Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    The pats have the best 4th down percentage in the league. That's why we go for it every time on 4th and short.
  5. Patsfanin Philly

    Patsfanin Philly Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract

    #95 Jersey

    The 4th and 6 with about 6 minutes left was a mercy call. A straightahead handoff to Evans was an intent not to run it up. If they succeeded, fine but if not, they were not trying to rub the Bills faces in it. BB supposedly has a relationship with Jauron and there's no need to run it up.
    Just my $0.02,
  6. PatsWSB47

    PatsWSB47 Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    They wanted to score with it of course but I think they were also creating game film for future opponents to ponder on. They may cross them up by running other plays off that formation.
  7. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

    I was actually talking about the 4th and 7 in the second quarter, when we were losing by a 7-3 to score. I think the play started from about the 30 or 31, which would have been a long field goal, but one an NFL kicker has to try.

    I don't have a problem with going for it on 4th down and short on the opponent's side of the field early in the game, but 4th and 7 is not really short. And, we were losing at the time.

    Seems like a very low percentage play. Even if you make the first down, you're still not even in the red zone. I guess in that situation, the consequence of a missed field goal -- giving the Bills great FG position -- made it worth it for Belichick. But it's not exactly a ringing endorsement for your kicker.

    As sure as I'm sitting here, we're going to need to make some 40 to 49 yarders this year to get where we want to go. In the national parity league, it's where a lot of close games are won and lost.
  8. Gwedd

    Gwedd Supporter Supporter

    #11 Jersey


    As much as I really dislike him, Greg Easterbrook wrote a column that laid out the math for 4th down conversion rates. In short, the closer you are to the opponents goal, the better your odds of making the 4th down rather than punting or attempting a field goal. Easterbrook ran a whole slew of scenarios and numbers he had some company crunch for him that backed up his claims. Pretty interesting read. He also commented about how often (and how succesful) the Patriots are in converting 4th downs.

    It had nothing to do with concerns for the kicking game. It was BB playing the percentages, knowing that he has a good chance of converting and continuing the drive.

  9. TruthSeeker

    TruthSeeker Supporter Supporter

    It's easy. The percentages favor going for it in that situation, particularly when you have an explosive offense.

    The fact that few coaches actually do go for it reveals that the Patriots are on the leading edge of the coaching curve. (Not exactly a surprise, right?)

    See recent TMQ articles for details.
  10. kurtinelson

    kurtinelson In the Starting Line-Up

    #37 Jersey

    Yet another example of BB's hubris. ;)
  11. PatsFaninAZ

    PatsFaninAZ In the Starting Line-Up

    I saw that and thought it was woefully incomplete and did not take into account many factors. First, it basically assumed that a team that makes a first down on fourth down in field goal range is going to score a TD. There are a whole host of scenarios in which making the first down works out worse. For example, you pass a 45 yard attempt on 4th and 2, make the first down, and then throw a pick or get a hold.

    It also didn't take into account that by far the most common result when you try on 4th down just barely inside field goal range is that you'll end up trying a field goal anyway on your next series or two. That makes score and situation, and clock, incredibly important. How often have you seen a team down by 4 pass up a long field goal late in the game, only to end up with a 4th and 8 on the 20, and kick anyway. Now you've burned up 2 minutes to be in the same spot and maybe have to use time outs to try to get the ball back where you wouldn't have before.

    The other major factor nobody ever mentions, but is the most significant factor for red zone conversion, is where you begin a series. 4th and inches on the 11 yard line is a kicking situation in my mind, unless you're going to go for the TD. If you run the QB sneak and pick up a yard, you're basically first and goal on the 10, which has a very low conversion rate. So you've basically inreased your chances of scoring a touchdown only modestly, and you've risked (1) turning it over on downs, (2) even if you make it a turnover, (3) even if you make it a penalty increasing the difficulty of the FG you have to attempt.

    And I don't think you can ever say that not kicking a field goal doesn't have at least something to do with your confidence in a kicker.

    If you're really going to go mathematical, you look at reward and risk. The risks of missing a field goal are easy -- block and missing it with the corresponding field position you give up. Reward is easy too. Figure out the chance of the player making the kick times the number of points you receive. A good kicker in good conditions should make that kick about 70 percent of the time or so, which makes the attempt worth 2 points. I don't believe that going for it on 4th and 7 leads to a bigger expected reward that 2 points. Not even close, when you bring the additional number of risks into the equation.
  12. Gwedd

    Gwedd Supporter Supporter

    #11 Jersey


    The British SAS have a motto that I believe applies well here: "He Who Dares, Wins".

  13. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    That makes no sense. I suspect you meant to say "more advantageous" than "better ... odds"
  14. Fencer

    Fencer Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal

    #12 Jersey

    Let's restrict ourself to that majority of cases (including the one originally in question) where clock isn't a major consideration.

    Then the main issues are points scored (0, 3, or most likely 7) and subsequent field position for the opponent. I'd say the expected value of points scored after a successful FG conversion is surely higher than the expected value from taking the kick. And especially if you're outside the 30, expected field position is better too.

    But how much higher on the points? Factor of 2? I think in most cases not. So unless the play has a lot more than a 50-50 chance of succeeding, why try for the conversion?
  15. All_Around_Brown

    All_Around_Brown In the Starting Line-Up

    what a great point! well done

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