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 (2017-Part 1)

Week 2: QC's 5 Best Bets

Week 2 of an NFL season is the hardest week of all the hard weeks to handicap. We only have one data point, which means we really have no data points. But we have seen performance on the field. The Colts stink. Hmm? The Rams are (maybe) good? The Vikings are great (at least against the Saints defense). Were the Steelers sleep walking against the Browns? Or are they perhaps not as good as we thought they were. So many questions. It's a nightmare. So we have to look outside the box.

We have to look for potential blowouts.

Since 2009, forty-one Week 2 games have been blowouts with one team winning by 14 or more points. in 95% of thos games, a team finished either in the top 10 or the bottom 10 of the NFL in play design differential. So we are looking for teams that are not likely to be well designed. In 83% of those games, the favorite won. In 75% of those games, the home team won. So we are looking for home teams laying points that are well-designed and, preferably, playing teams that are not well designed. Jacksonville has lost six times in this eight year period so we can eliminate the Jaguars from the start. This leads us to...


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1. Raiders -14 over Jets
This game checks all the boxes. There is little doubt New York will finish in the bottom 5 in the NFL in play design. Oakland looked improved over their 12-4 form in an impressive Week 1 win at Tennessee. Further, neither team enjoyed a turnover edge last week, but the Raiders were +16 in 2016 while the Jets were -20. Finally, Oakland's kicking game became suspect when Sebastian Janikowski went on IR, but rookie Giorgio Tavecchio was a perfect 4-for-4 against the Titans. All of this points to an easy win for the Raiders. Bookmakers like to joke if you lay two TDs, you will lose your "wiseguy card." But the true wiseguy is the one that can spot a massive design mismatch and a below normal risk of emergent, undesigned negative events.


2. Ravens -8 over Browns. Baltimore did not show much on offense against Cincinnati but it did not have to do so because the Bengals provided 5 turnover subsidies. So it is possible that the Ravens are not nearly as good as they appeared. On the other hand, with the acquisition of Tony Jefferson, Brandon Carr, and rookie Marlon Humphrey, suddenly DC Dean Pees as as much pass coverage depth as any designer in the NFL. Great pass coverage is always undervalued. Hue Jackson probably won't be able to run against Baltimore's twin monsters, Brandon Williams and Michael Pierce. So Jackson will have to put the game in the hands of rookie QB DeShon Kizer against that pass coverage and Kizer won't have had an entire off-season to prepare as he did for the opener with the Steelers. QC forecasts more turnovers in Baltimore.

3. Buccaneers -7 over Bears. This one makes QC a little nervous. Jameis Winston always has the potential to turn the ball over and the Bucs were out of their routine a bit because of Hurricane Irma. But it has been business as usual since Tuesday in Tampa. Moreover, Chicago was 0-8 on the road in 2016. Poor Mike Glennon has no WRs at all. It seems impossible for OC Dowell Loggains to design any kind of balanced attack until a WR--perhaps Tanner Gentry--emerges as a bona fide pass catcher. Chicago's defense is rugged, but it did not force any TOs in Week 1 versus Atlanta. The Bears simply must have turnovers to win. If Winston avoids the turnovers, DC Vic Fangio's stop troops probably will wear down in the second half and Tampa will win by at least two scores.

4. Bills +7 over Panthers. These teams are virtual mirror images of each other and not just because Buffalo HC Sean McDermott was Carolina's DC last year under Ron Rivera. Both teams want to run the ball. Both teams feature dual threat QBs. Both teams have capable run defenders. (Bills edge Shaq Lawson received the best run defender grade from Pro Football Focus in Week 1.) In 2016, the Panthers were just .0002 percentage points better designed than the Bills. Of the two, Cam Newton is more likely to turn the ball over than Tyrod Taylor. For all of those reasons, this looks like a great spot to ride the dog.

5. Redskins +2.5 over Rams. Los Angeles and its rookie HC Sean McVay looked awesome in blasting Indianapolis last week. Everything went right for McVay and second-year QB Jared Goff. It simply can't go that well two weeks in a row. And the Rams are probably feeling pretty good about themselves. That usually gets you beat in the NFL. Meanwhile, Washington is already desparate. The Redskins fell to Philadelphia, 30-17, in Week 1. But Washington was seeking the lead in Q4 when QB Kirk Cousins tossed a pick in the Eagles' end zone. Granted that is a signature Cousins play, but he also can produce. The Redskins were 6-2 ATS on the road in 2016 and historically HC who vastly exceed expectations in a debut are 5-13-2 ATS in their next game. This seems like a good spot to bet on the rebound.

Last Week: 3-2
Season 3-2

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QC's Week 1 Thoughts

Better coached/designed finished Week 1 15-0. It is rare for such teams to win all the games in any week. It has only happened twice since 2009. Better coached/designed teams win about 75% of all games. For this reason, in the coming weeks, expect to see some chaos as turnovers and special teams correct the market. This will make handicapping particuarly difficult for those who rely heavily on quantitative methods driven by statistics like yards per play, etc. Until the market shows some correction, focus on teams that are sound, but not spectacular play designers, and have shown they can win the turnover battle and be solid in the kicking game. The Raiders, Ravens, and Chiefs look like they could be such teams for the first month of the season.

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QC's not ready to buy into the Eagles hype after Philadelphia's 30-17 win over Washington. Philadelphia got off to a good start when Carson Wentz misread a coverage, escaped a sack, and found Nelson Agholor for a deep TD. Greg Cosell of NFL Matchup later showed how Agholor was not even supposed to be part of the progression read. The Eagles also denied the Redskins a score when they intercepted Kirk Cousins in their own end zone and scored a defenseive TD when DT Fletcher Cox returned a controversial fumble for a score. The Eagles' defensive numbers were good. But this win may not be as impressive as a 13-point margin indicates.

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Who needs design experience? Three of four new HC won in their deput (Sean McVay, Vance Joseph and Sean McDermott). The oldest, Joseph, is just 44 years-old. It is just one game. But if their teams compete for a playoff spot all year it will be interesting to see if NFL owners try to get younger at this postion.

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10 Reasons the 40-1 Bears To Win the NFC North is the Best Bet of 2017 NFL Pre-Season

QC was in Las Vegas last week and while he was there he stopped in on his friend Chris "Mr. Peabody" Andrews' joint--the sports book at the South Point Casino & Hotel--to place a bet he has been itching to make for months:

Bears to win the NFC North at 40-1.

The so-called experts have been crushing Chicago. Not only did the Bears finish an abysmal 3-13 in 2016, they signed Tampa Bay backup QB Mike Glennon to a big bucks FA deal and then turned around and traded multiple picks to San Francisco to move up one spot and draft QB Mitchell Trubisky. The moves left the "experts" scratching their heads and thinking Chicago at best is unsure of what it is doing and at worst, in the words of Colin Cowherd, a "dysfunctional dumpster fire."

This is sweet music to QC's ears.

Here is what Mr. Peabody, Cowherd and the other experts are missing:

1. NFL bottom feeders rebound to win division championships much more frequently than 40-1.
Of the 59 NFL teams that finished a season 4-12 or worse since 2005, 7 rebounded the next year to win a division title. In other words, teams like Chicago go from worst-to-first 11.86% of the time. That is far more often than the 2.44% chance that the South Point's 40-1 odds imply. The Jaguars, Browns, Rams and 49ers also fit this description, but, as will be shown below, only Jacksonville might be considered to have comparable potential to the Bears and Mr. Peabody's 5-1 odds on the Jags is nothing to dream on. If 11.86% is Chicago's true chance to win the divisions, their odds should be far closer to what Mr. Peabody is dealing on Jacksonville, (i.e., between 7-1 and 8-1) not 40-1.

2. Chicago actually was pretty well coached and designed in 2016.
The Bears +.0050 play differential ranked 15th in the NFL in 2016, well ahead of 2016 division champ and 2017 favorite Green Bay (-.0178, 24th). Since 2008, 6 of 11 NFL teams (54.5%) that finished with a losing record despite being positively designed rebounded the next season to post a winning record. As the Packers won the division in 2016 at just 10-6, a winning record should put Chicago right in the thick of the divisional race. The Chargers (+400) and the Bengals (+450) also fit this description, but, again, Mr. Peabody's San Diego and Cincinnati odds have no sex appeal.

3. Vic Fangio and Dowell Loggains
Chicago HC John Fox is fairly uninspiring, but the same should not be said for his play designers. DC Fangio is from the same zone blitz family that produced master designers Dick LeBeau, Dom Capers, and Marvin Lewis. The Harbaugh Brothers have kept him on staff for most their careers. Loggains is a rising star as an offensive play designer. The Bears ranked 13th in QCYPA in 2016 (7.349) despite a grab bag at QB of Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkely. Trubisky is a sponge who will soak up Loggain's designs quickly and assume the starting role if Glennon cannot demonstrate that he can at least minimize TOs and produce at middle of the NFL rate of efficiency.

4. Hedge Value
Of course, even if Chicago's true odds are between 7-1 and 8-1 that is still quite a bit of risk. So while in Vegas QC bought a little insurance on Minneota and Detroit. If the Vikings or Lions end up taking the divisional flag, then Mr. Peabody has only borrowed QC's money, not won it. Combining Minnesota's and Detroit's odds to win the NFC North yields a +860 figure. The only divisions where you can get better value is the AFC East (where you would have to topple New England) and the NFC West (where you would have to best Seattle), which are the only divisions with bigger favorites than Green Bay. In addition, your third choice in those divisions is a 15-1 shot (Buffalo) and 12-1 (LA Rams) whereas your third choice in the NFC North--Detroit--is a more respectable 6-1. A division that is more competitive top-to-bottom increases the odds that a holder of a wooden spoon (an Australian Rules Football team for last place) can rise to claim a golden spatula (just made that up).

5. Packers and Vikings backers will pay almost all of Mr. Peabody's margins for you.
QC calculated that the South Point book's margin on betting the winner of the NFC North is 17.84%. If you allocate that margin on a pro rata basis, each team bears 4.46% of the margin. The Packers (13.08%) are carrying 285% of their pro rata share of the margin. The Vikings are carrying 111% of their pro rata share of the margin. The Lions are carrying 57.2% of their pro rata share of the margin. And the Bears are carrying 10% of their pro rata share of the margin.

6. Somebody in the NFL almost always goes worst-to-first.
In 7 of the last 8 years, a team has won a division after finishing last the year before and in 2011 two teams turned the trick (Denver and Houston, albeit the Texans tied with the Titans for last in the AFC South in 2010). So it is almost a sure thing that somebody is going to go from worst-to-first in 2017. Here are the candidates: Jets (forget about it), Browns (worst designed team in NFL in 2016), Jaguars (a possibility), Chargers (a possibility), Eagles (a possibility), Panthers (a possibility), 49ers (2nd worst desiged team in the NFL in 2016), and Bears. If we conservatively say worst-to-first occurs in 87.5% of all years and that there are 5 genuine candidates to go worst-to-first, then Chicago has a 17.5% chance to win NFC North (.875 x .2). In addition, of the 5 genuine candidates, only San Diego was better designed than the Bears in 2016 and Chicago's 40-1 odds are far more attractive than next best offer of the 5-1 Jaguars.

7. Turnovers tend to turnover.
What destroyed the Bears in 2016 was their ghastly -24 TO differential. On average, the 7 teams that rebounded from 4-12 or worse to win a division averaged -12.85 TOs when they bottomed and improved by about +19 TO when they triumphed. Jettisoning Cutler and Barkley should create addition by subtraction (of turnovers). In addition, Fangio's defenses in San Francisco excelled in creating TOs. It is highly likely Chicago will provide fewer and receive more subsidies in 2017. In addition, Bill Barnwell pointed out that in 2016 opposing NFL kickers nailed 94.3% of their field goals against the Bears, the highest percentage against any team in the league. The Bears also lost the most points due to field position according to Barnwell's source. As Barnwell acknowledged, "[t]here's no evidence that teams can pull this off deliberately from year to year...."

8. Chicago has some players ready to emerge.
Almost everybody knows that RB Jordan Howard (1313 yards) finished second in the NFL in rushing in his rookie year in 2016. But probably not as many know that WR Cameron Meredith was the highest graded receiver by Pro Football Focus over the final 5 games of the season. Or that LB Leonard Floyd flashed the second most productive pass rush pressure for 4 weeks before he suffered a concussion. Or that PFF graded Jerrell Freeman as the best past coverage and overall LB in the NFL in 2016. Or that PFF found DT Akiem Hicks to be the third-best pass rusher on third-down in 2016. Or that PFF graded the Chicago O-line led by rookie C Cody Whitehair to be the NFL's 5th best. Or that solid S Adrian Amos will be joined by all new personnel in the secondary, including CB Prince Amukamara, who was a Top 25 corner in Jacksonville in 2016. The cupboard is not bare. If Glennon or Trubisky can manage the game and not turn the ball over, there is enough talent in Chicago for the Bears to compete.

9. Green Bay is in decline.
The Packers resurrection and stunning playoff win over Dallas masks the fact that Green Bay has been getting old and declining for several years. This year, Green Bay will be without DE Julius Peppers--who drew most of the attention of opposing OCs--and C J.C. Tretter and G T.J. Lang--who both received fairly nice pay days on the free agent market. Without them, Green Bay will be without its most feared defender and the interior core protection that is critical to preventing gut pressure from quickly getting to QB Aaron Rogers. Furthermore, since blowing the 2014 NFC Championship Game, the Packers play design differential figures have fallen precipitously and HC Mike McCarthy has come under fire. Only Rogers' red zone magic has kept the Pack from falling out of the playoffs the last two years. Green Bay won the NFC North last year despite a negative play design differential. It was just the sixth team since 2008 to win a division with negative play design. Only 3 of those teams (50%) came back the next year to repeat as division champions. So it seems like at best the Packers should be even money to win the division, not -250 (implies 71.43% chance of NFC North title).

10. You probably can hedge against Green Bay after Week 6 cheaper than you can today.
The Packers first six games of the season are against teams that were positively designed in 2016. That is a tough stretch for any team and rarely do any teams emerge from such a stretch better than 3-3. The Packers do get 3 of their first 4 at home including a Thursday night visit in Week 4 from Chicago, which seems like too tall a mountain for a new QB to climb. And superstar RB Ezekiel Elliott may or may not be on the field when the Packers take the field against the Cowboys in Week 5. But the home opener is Seattle, who was embarrassed last year in Lambeau Field, and all 3 of the road games are difficult (at Atlanta, at Dallas, and at Minnesota). Unless McCarthy and Rogers can regain their past play design excellence, it is probable that the Packers will be even money or at worst a short favorite to win the division after this stretch and you can hedge your exposure to the Packers at this time at discount to Mr. Peabody's current -250 price.

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QC's Draft To Design 2017 NFL Mock Draft (1RD)

The reason it is so hard to know if drafting a highly touted college QB high in the NFL Draft will pay off is that a QB is a parlay bet.

As QC's 4th Commandment states, a QB is both a play designer and a playmaker. Once a generation or less, a QB--John Elway, Peyton Manning--comes along who presents obvious value on both sides of the proposition. But more frequently, a QB prospect's playmaking skills (Tom Brady) or play designing skills (Ryan Leaf) do not look up to NFL caliber.

Such is the case with the 2017 NFL Draft. Mitch Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, Pat Mahomes II, and Deshaun Watson have all flashed playmaking skills, but their play designing body of work is thin. With no clear expected value on the QB bets, the best draft to design strategy that a team holding a Top 5 2017 pick can follow is identify one of a handful of players with the "potential to be great" and select that player, regardless of position, or to trade down and increase its number of picks.

Here is how the 2017 NFL Draft 1RD would play out if QC drafted for every team:

QC's 2nd ANNUAL DRAFT TO DESIGN MOCK DRAFT

No.

Team

Pick Position

College

Comments

1

Cleveland

Myles Garrett

DE

Texas A&M

New DC Gregg Willams turned Jevon Kearse into the "Freak" (14.5 sacks; 8 forced fumbles) in his rookie year in 1999.

2

San Francisco

O.J. Howard

TE

Alabama

New HC Kyle Shannahan is a brilliant play designer and a generational TE is too tasty an ingredient to pass up.

3

Chicago

Reuben Foster

LB

Alabama

DC Vic Fangio did wonders in SF with multi-talented LBs Patrick Willis and Navarro Bowman.

4

Jacksonville

Ryan Ramczyk

OL

Wisconsin

New HC Doug Marrone knows blocking design and Ramczyk is a versatile player with big upside. (Howard is the pick if he is still available otherwise Jags should try to trade down and take Ramczyck.)

5

Tennessee

Jamal Adams

S

LSU

DC Dick LeBeau is a master with fast, aggressive, versatile safeties.

6

NY Jets

Marshon Lattimore

CB

Ohio St.

HC Todd Bowles' blitz designs only work if he has at least one lock down corner.

7

LA Chargers

Malik Hooker

S

Ohio St.

New DC Gus Bradley's designs require a rangy centerfielder at the back end.

8

Carolina

Fabian Moreau

CB

UCLA

Panthers HC Ron Rivera starts with D and the secondary is the area of his D that needs the most attention.

9

Cincinnati

Solomon Thomas

DE

Stanford

DC Paul Guenther likes to play a lot guys up front and they are starting to show their age.

10

Buffalo

Jonathan Allen

DT

Alabama

New HC Sean McDermott saw what loading up on the D-line can do when he was in Carolina.

11

New Orleans

Derek Barnett

DE

Tennessee

If DC Dennis Allen's designs are going to stop anyone, he needs super pass rushers (and Sean Payton loves a D that forces TOs).

12

Cleveland

DeMarcus Walker

DT

Florida St.

Quick gut pressure from Walker inside could make QBs easy targets for outside rushers Garrett, Ogbah and Nassib.

13

Arizona

Pat Mahomes II

QB

Texas Tech

HC Bruce Arians likes a gunslinger and Mahomes seems to have more 'slinger in him than any other QB prospect in this class.

14

Philadelphia

Dalvin Cook

RB

Florida St.

Sophomore QB Carson Wentz needs weapons and HC Doug Pederson saw what Zeke Elliott did for Dak Prescott in Dallas.

15

Indianapolis

Forrest Lamp

G

Western Kentucky

OC Rob Chudzinski is a Norv Turner disciple who wants to throw deep routes; he needs solid core protection to do so and not get Andrew Luck killed.

16

Baltimore

Haason Redick

LB

Temple

Ravens pass rush is not what it was so DC Dean Pees gets an ingredient to soup up pressure.

17

Washington

Tra-Davious White

CB

LSU

Former Wash LB Greg Manusky is now the DC and he will need some cover corners if his D designs are going to slow anyone down.

18

Tennessee

Jabrill Peppers

S

Michigan

Doubling down on versatile safeties for Dick LeBeau is a great way to play your cards.

19

Tampa Bay

Garrett Bolles

T

Utah

QB Jameis Winston is lethal when he has protection... and a TO-machine when he does not, so HC Dirk Koetter should beef up the OL.

20

Denver

David Njoku

TE

Miami

New OC Mike McCoy has to fix an offense that fell apart at the end of 2016 and a TE that can threaten the middle of the field is a good place to start.

21

Detroit

Leonard Fournette

RB

LSU

As QC said last year when he recommended Darrick Henry to the Lions: How would Matt Stafford look if he had a RB who a D had to respect on first down?

22

Miami

Marlon Humphrey

CB

Alabama

New DC Matt Burke is an design unknown, so a cover corner taught by Nick Saban seems like a good idea.

23

NY Giants

Cam Robinson

T

Alabama

HC Ben McAdoo designed around poor O-line play in his first year; Robinson could help mitigate the need to do so in YR2.

24

Oakland

Zach Cunningham

LB

Vanderbilt

HC Jack Del Rio took over D design early in 2016, but he still needs improved ingredients in the middle of the field for the Raiders to improve.

25

Houston

Mitchell Trubisky

QB

North Carolina

A low maintenance (he sat his first 3 years in college), accurate, NE Ohio grinder is just the antidote for Bill O'Brien and the Texans' failed Brock Osweiler experiment.

26

Seattle

Gaeron Conley

CB

Ohio St.

HC Pete Carroll is a master designer, particularly with rangy, tall cover corners.

27

Kansas City

Christian McCaffrey

RB

Stanford

How excited woud you be to see this guy in Andy Reid's screen game? Yeah, QC too!

28

Dallas

Taco Charlton

DE

Michigan

Remember what DC Rod Marinelli did with Julius Peppers in Chicago? Charlton (6-5+) is the tallest pass rush prospect left on the board.

29

Green Bay

Mike Williams

WR

Clemson

With Jordy Nelson getting older, HC Mike McCarthy and OC Tom Clements need to start breaking in a new No. 1 WR for Aaron Rogers.

30

Pittsburgh

Budda Baker

S

Washington

DC Keith Butler still remembers how Tom Brady and Chris Hogan shredded his back end in the 2016 AFC Championship Game.

31

Atlanta

Adoree Jackson

CB

USC

HC Dan Quinn is committed to making the Falcons D faster and more athletic and dangerous; no ingredient in this draft checks all the boxes in that recipe more than Jackson.

32

New Orleans

Corey Davis

WR

Western Michigan

It is hard to image that HC Sean Payton would not see the big and fluid Davis as an upgrade from the diminutive Brandin Cooks who was traded for this pick.

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