Vince Lombardi

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WELCOME to QuantCoach.com, the only site on the world-wide web that provides meaningful professional football coaching statistics. QuantCoach.com's revolutionary coaching statistics are derived from a peer-reviewed and generally accepted theory of competition known as Growth Theory. Veteran coach Bill Parcells once said, "If they want you to cook the dinner, at least they ought to let you shop for some of the groceries." But Growth Theory teaches us that success "springs from better recipes, not just from more cooking." In professional football, those "recipes" are the plays that coaches design. Simply, QuantCoach.com's coaching statistics separate the contribution of plays to pro football success from the contribution of players.

THE ARCHIVES (2015-Part 1)

QC's Week 11 Thoughts

After Tampa Bay destroyed Philadelphia, 45-17, behind rookie QB Jameis Winston’s 5 TD passes, Eagles HC Chip Kelly said flatly, “We got out-coached.” He was right. Two areas where design and coaching can be particularly impactful are in pass protection and pass coverage. HC Lovie Smith and his staff have been juggling personnel in both areas most of the year. But, as rookies Ali Marpet and Donovan Smith have gained experience on the offensive line and rookie Jude Adjei-Berimah has emerged at corner, things have started to come together in Tampa. At 5-5, the Buccaneers clearly are in the mix for a wild-card playoff berth. That’s good coaching.

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Notwithstanding that QB Tony Romo returned from injury and Dallas broke its 6-game losing streak with a 24-14 win over Miami that drew the Cowboys within 2 games of the NFC East leading Giants (5-5), everything is not fixed in Dallas. The Cowboys again lost the turnover battle, 2-1. For the year, Dallas is -9 TO. Only Detroit (-10 TO) has subsidized its opponents more. If the Cowboys do not become less generous, it is unlikely they can make up the ground even in a weak division.

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Denver QB Brock Osweiler performed gamely in the first start of his 4-year pro career, a 17-15 win over Chicago. Osweiler tossed 2 TD passes and did not commit a turnover. He was sacked 5 times. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. Historically, Peyton Manning has never been one to take sacks and his reluctance to do so sometimes has lead to turnovers. The Bears defense is coordinated by Vic Fangio, who presents a tough exam for QB, much less one with as little on-field experience as Osweiler. Under the circumstances, Denver HC Gary Kubiak had to be pleased. If Osweiler continues to avoid turnovers, Kubiak probably will stick with Osweiler. The test this week is even stiffer: Belichick. Given the quality of DC Wade Phillips’ defense, sticking with Osweiler at least until he proves he cannot avoid turnovers is the right decision.

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Houston seems to be regaining its 2014 form and may have a chance to save the AFC South from becoming just the second division to send a team to the playoffs with a losing record. The last two weeks, the Texans have used tough defense to beat teams that have spent most of the year in the Top 10 in play design +/- (Cincinnati and NY Jets). And they have done so mostly without starting QB Brian Hoyer. While he is a journeyman stop-gap, Hoyer is (mostly) a competent plug-in. If J.J. Watt and company can continue to throttle opposing attacks, Bill O’Brien’s team has a pretty good chance to dethrone Indy has division champs and may still have a big upset or two left in them.

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QC's Week 10 Thoughts

Arizona's 39-32 win over Seattle offered vintage Carson Palmer. For significant stretches of the game--those stretches when the Cardinals O-line was stoning the Seahawks pass rushers--Palmer carved up Richard Sherman and company. But he also committed 3 crucial TOs--2 fumbles that gave Seattle 14 points and an interception in the Seahawks end zone that denied Arizona 7 points. When Palmer protects the ball, Arizona is probably the most complete team in the NFC. The loss putts 4-5 Seattle in a very tough place trailing Atlanta and Green Bay by 2 games in the loss column in the race for final NFC playoff berth. Inexeplicably, it was the third time the Seahawks suffered defeat this year while holding a +2 TO advantage.

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Minnesota beat Oakland 30-14 largely on the strength of two explosive plays: An 80-yard Adrian Peterson TD run and a Cordarelle Patterson 93-yard kickoff return for a TD. If the NFL draft ever offers a prospect named Pitterson, Potterson, Putterson or Pyterson, look for Vikings GM Rick Spielman to snap him up. Peterson finished with 203 yards, his 6th career 200+ yard game, which tied the NFL career record to 200+ yard games held by O.J. Simpson.

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It was also a record-setting day in Kansas City where Peyton Manning got the 3 passing yards he needed to break Brett Favre's record for most career passing yards. But the P-rex did not get much more, throwing for just 32 more yards (1.3 QCYPA) and 4 interceptions in a 29-10 loss to the field-goally Chiefs (K Cairo Santos kicked 5. He kicked 7 in a game against the Bengals earlier in the the year.) It was not the first time the P-rex suffered a day not fit for a predator accustomed to being at the top of the NFL food chain. In 2001, he threw 4 picks in a 40-21 loss to the 49ers that sparked the famous Jim Mora "Playoffs?! Playoffs?!" rant. In a 41-0 playoff loss to the Jets in 2002, he averaged 4 QCPYA and threw a couple of more picks. But this time he was so bad one has to wonder if the final meteor smashed into the P-rex's world some time ago and we now seeing the final dust settle .

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Chicago is not a contender even after a 37-13 beat down of St. Louis, but its decision to hire John Fox is looking like more and more like a good one. The Bears were a soap opera under Marc Trestman in 2014 and the focal point of the drama was Jay Cutler. Ex-OC Aaron Kromer even went so far as to anonymously rip Cutler in the media, which blew up in his face when Kromer was outed. Fox has eliminated the drama and Cutler is quietly enjoying a solid year. He was fantastic against the Rams (11.417 QCYPA and 3 TDs).

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QC's Week 9 Thoughts

Don't look for Cleveland HC Mike Pettine to follow a recent trend and dismiss DC Jim O'Neil despite the fact this defense ranks with San Diego and Baltimore at the bottom of the AFC. In recent weeks, Detroit HC Jim Caldwell and Indy HC Chuck Pagano have canned offensive coordinators (Joe Lombardi and Pep Hamilton, respectively) as scrutiny of their underachieving teams has increased. But O'Neil came to Cleveland with Pettine, a fact that likely saved Teryl Austin in Detroit. Morevover, Pettine sounds like he is distancing himself from the wreckage in Cleveland by refusing to name Johnny Manziel the starting QB for the rest of the year even though the Browns have fallen far out of the playoff race at 2-7. It is professional suicide for an HC in Pettine's difficult position to throw his GM or espectially his owner under the bus. By resisting a switch to the organization's potential "QB of the Future," he can communicate to the rest of the NFL that he was not the executive chef of this toxic soup.

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Week 9 was like "'70's Week" of the 2015 season with several matchups reflecting conference rivalries from that decade. The Vikings and Rams played a game that would have made Bud Grant and Chuck Knox proud. The teams combined to run the ball 71 times for 305 yards. And neither QB threw a TD pass. It was like Fran Tarkenton and Chuck Foreman were battling Pat Haden and Lawrence McCutcheon as Minnesota prevailed in overtime, 21-18.

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In another '70's throwback, Pittsburgh edge Oakland, 38-35, on a Chris Boswell field goal with 0:02 to play. In four dramatic, rough-and-tumble playoff meetings during the '70s, the Steelers and Raiders averaged a combined 6 turnovers. The signature play of the rivalry was a turnover, the Immaculate Reception, which gave the Steelers' victory in 1972. On this Sunday, the teams again combined for 6 turnovers, including a devastating fumble on a kickoff return by the Raiders' Taiwan Jones that vaulted Pittsburgh to a 35-21 fourth quarter lead.

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Carolina moved to 8-0 and took firm command of the NFC with a 37-29 win over Green Bay that was not as close as the final score indicated. The Panthers pounded the Packers on the ground and QB Cam Newton struck deep, averaging over 10 QCYPA. On defense, Carolina sacked Aaron Rogers 5 times. Still, Rogers kept firing and finished with 4 TD passes. But a Thomas Davis interception thwarted Rogers' final bid to force overtime and gave the Panthers essentially a 3 game lead over the Pack in the race for the top seed in the NFC, which is critical because nobody beats Rogers in Lambeau Field.

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QC's Week 7 Thoughts

It is early, but 2015 is starting to look like bumper crop of rookies. The first week of the season when Tennessee's Marcus Mariota looked all-world and Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston threw a pick-6 on his first NFL attempt seems a lifetime ago. Since that first throw, Winston has tossed 9 TD passes and only 6 Ints and 4 of those picks came in a single game. Moreover, he is sporting an impressive 8.1 QCYPA after leading the Buccanneers to 30 points, which his teammates waste when the D collapsed in what became a 31-20 loss. On the other hand, Mariota has been undistinguished and the 1-5 Titans are in the hunt again for the first overall pick in the 2016. Tennessee HC Ken Whisenhunt held Mariota out of Sunday's 10-7 loss to Atlanta, ostensibly because Mariot hurt his kneed the week before against Miami. But Whisenhunt is notorious for his lack of patience with young passers, so he might have really been trying to get another look at strong-armed Zach Mettenburg. If so, he could not have liked what he saw. The Buccanneers may only have one more W than the Titans, but at this point the future of Love Smith and Winston looks much brighter than that of Whisenhunt and Mariota.

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Unless something drastic changes, the battle between Oakland WR Amari Cooper and St. Louis RB Todd Gurley for NLF Offensive ROY should be something to watch. Both turned in outstanding performances on Sunday. Cooper caught 5 passes for 153 yards and a TD, pushing his number on the season totals to 33-519-3 TDs. He is having the best rookie season of any receiver since Randy Moss in 1998. Meanwhile, in St. Louis, the Rams Gurley battered Cleveland for 128 yards on 19 carries and 2 TDs. Since his debut in Week 2, Gurley has averaged 110.5 yards per game. If Gurley had not missed all of the first game and most of the second while recoverying from a knee injury, Gurley might have had a shot at Eric Dickerson's rookie rushing record of 1,808 yards.

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The defensive rookies have not been as flashy, but there has been a lot of production. NY Jets DE Leonard Williams, who was considered the most NFL ready player in the draft, has not dissppointed anyone. Williams has been a starter since Day 1 and the Jets are yielding only 71.5 yards per game on the ground, which is an improvement of over 20 yards per game over the last year of the Buddy Ryan regime. On Sunday, New England did not even try to run the ball, netting 16 yards on just 9 attempts.

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While everyone expected big things from 1RD picks Winston, Cooper, Williams and Gurley, Minnesota looks like it found the best third day 2015 bargain in WR Stefon Diggs (RD5). Since being activitated three weeks ago against Denver, Diggs has caught 19 passes for 324 yards and a spectacular diving TD in Sunday's 28-19 win over Detroit. Anybody who saw Diggs turn All-Pro CB Aquib Talib completely around late in the loss to the Broncos knows Diggs is for real.

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QC's Week 6 Thoughts

After suffering a 38-10 loss to reeling Miami in the debut of Dolphins interim HC Dan Campbell, Titans HC Ken Whisenhunt should soon be back on the hot seat, if he is not already. Tennessee is now a miserable 3-19 under Whisenhunt. After the game, the Whiz criticized the Dolphins for the play on which QB Marcus Mariota was injured. Whisenhunt should stay focused on the play of his own team, which yielded 6 sacks to a team that had taken down the opposing QB just once in its first 4 games.

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The Jets look like a completely different team under Todd Bowles than they did under Rex Ryan. Despite giving Washington 3 first half turnovers, New York rolled the Redskins. Bowles' D minimized the damage from those miscues and the NY ground game got rolling in the second half. For the game, Bowles' D kept Kirk Cousins' productivity beneath the JaMarcus Cable and limited Washington to just 34 rushing yards. It is hard to believe that NY can make a deep playoff run with Ryan Fitzpatrick at QB, but Jets fans have to love what they have seen so far from Bowles.

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Even after a stunning 27-23 home loss to Carolina, it is way too early to give up on 2-4 Seattle. The Seahawks have won both the design and turnover battle in 3 of their 4 losses, which indicates Pete Carroll's team has been abnormally unlucky. Moreover, the teams that have been the Seahawks are a combined 19-3 and all of those losses belong to St. Louis. In contrast, Arizona, which lost to Pittsburgh to fall to 4-2, has scored its wins against teams that have been amongst the worst designed all year: Detroit, San Francisco, New Orleans and Chicago.

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San Diego fell to 2-4 when it could not score from the 3-yard line in the closing seconds. Chargers QB Phil Rivers passed for over 500 yards, but the last sequence was a microcosm of why San Diego has never been able to get over the hump with Rivers at QB. On first down, Rivers badly overthrew a covered Antonio Gates in the deep corner of the end zone while RB Danny Woodhead stood all by his lonesome by the front pylon. Rivers impatiently made up his mind to go to Gates and did not let the play come to him. After a second down run went nowhere, Rivers came back to the first down play. This time Green Bay was ready and rookie DB Damarious Randall swatted the ball away just before it reached Woodhead. If Rivers had been more patient on first down, San Diego likely would have forced the game into overtime and possibly won. It is unlikely that Rivers will ever be patient enough to take a team to the Super Bowl.

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QC's Week 5 Thoughts

Long-time followers of QC know that better coached/designed teams win 75% of all games and when they lose it more often than not they lose the TO battle. So WK5 of the 2015 was highly unusual in that Chicago, Seattle, Washington, and Tennessee all won both the design battle and the TO battle and still lost. The Bears and Titans fell by 1 point while Seahawks and Redskins lost in overtime. Better coached/designed teams had been winning at better than an 80% pace, so some correction was expected. Still, for more than a quarter of WK5 NFL games to go against well-established expectations made this week one of the stranger weeks QC has ever seen.

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New England probaly will poke its head into the Top 10 in play design after lighting up Dallas 30-6 in WK5. While Bill Belichick is the unquestionably the best designer in the NFL and has been througout the time QC has been tracking coaching stats, it is fairly typical for the Patriots to be in the top half of the NFL in design, but not in the Top 10. Of course, no team wins the turnover battle more than New England does under Belichick. During his tenure, the Patriots are on average +1 TO. Some might say the fact that Belichick does not dominate play design discredits play design. But that is not the way QC sees it. No other coach wins the way Belichick wins. QC finds coaching stats' inability to define Belichick, while capably defining nearly every other coach to whom the statistics have been applied, confirms Belichick's matchless inscrutability. And, when you think about it, inscrutability is probably the most important trait a coach can possess.

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Belichick's nemsis, P-rex Manning, has frequently played like a fossil in 2015. But the Broncos are 5-0 in part because of another dinosaur team president John Elway excavated during the off-season, DC Wade Phillips. As the incomparable Chase Stuart, @footballperspective, pointed out on Sunday, the "Son of Bum's" D has allowed 6 TDs and scored 3 TDs of its own during 2015. Phillips was out of football in 2014 after finishing 2013 standing over the smoldering hulk that was the 2-14 Houston Texans. He is the essence of well-traveled. But you cannot argue with results and if the Broncos keep playing D like they have so far in 2015 this unit might be mentioned in the same breath with the deified 1977 "Orange Crush."

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It looks like it will a season for "firsts in the John Harbaugh era" in Baltimore. And not in a good way. A 33-30 overtime loss to the Browns in which Cleveland's journeyman QB Josh McCown set a franchise record for passing yards in a game dropped the Ravens to 1-4. Since taking over in 2009, Harbaugh's teams have won as consistently as any team in the NFL. But the loss to the Browns dropped Baltimore 3 games below .500 for the first time ever in the Harbaugh era. Moreover, other than a single week in 2009, a single week in 2014 and 6 weeks in 2013, Harbaugh's teams have always been .500 or better. That is an incredible run of consistency. Blame Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who predicted the Ravens would represent the AFC in Super Bowl 50. Right now, that forecast is looking as bad as when King tabbed then Kansas City HC Romeo Crennel to win the 2012 COY. (The Chiefs finished 2-14 and Crennel was fired.)

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