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Old 06-16-2007, 11:20 AM   #11
tony hipchest
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Default Re: Great News for our Turnover Woes

http://nfl.com/news/story/10226836 see link for actual breakdown of turnovers and sacks allowed for the bottom 4 teams in both categories the past 4 years. oddly enough, most of the teams worst in sacks got better the following year. keep in mind the steelers were 4th worst in turnovers and -8 in t.o. differential which is 1 away from being tied with detroit for 4th worst.
Quote:
Offseason's the time for problem solving

By Pat Kirwan
NFL.com Senior Analyst




(June 15, 2007) -- In the offseason, every head coach has to take a long look at his biggest problems and resolve to solving them one way or the other before the new campaign begins. The issues range from personnel changes, coaching changes, attitude adjustments, practice methods, and structural changes to the playbook, just to name a few.

For now, I'll focus on two critical areas for any football team -- turnovers and sacks -- and take a realistic look at what the worst teams in 2006 can do to turn things around. I spent a lot of time talking with members of the Oakland Raiders team and coaching staff this week while they were at a Raiders function to support the Special Olympics. Coincidentally, the Silver & Black was the worst team in the league last season in sacks allowed (72) and turnovers (minus-23 differential).

Can these two critical areas be fixed in a one offseason? What does recent history tells us about the difficulty of repairing these issues and what are the realistic goals for the bottom four teams in both areas?


New coach Lane Kiffin is busy trying to mend Oakland's issues before the new season begins.
I went back four seasons and looked at what the teams that finished in the bottom four spots in both categories did the following year. The results indicate that there is absolutely no reason a team can't totally change its fortunes around in the turnover battle and there's a great chance of fixing the sacks total as well. Before you take a look at the chart for the follow-up season, know that 100 percent of the teams improved in turnovers and 85 percent improved in sacks.

Head coaches Lane Kiffin (Oakland), Romeo Crennel (Cleveland), Jon Gruden (Tampa Bay) and Rod Marinelli (Detroit) can all stand in front of their respective teams and tell them there is no excuse for not having a turnover improvement of close to 20 in the turnover ratio. That has been the average improvement over the past four years.

For example, the New Orleans Saints were the worst in the NFL in 2005 with a minus-24, and improved to a minus-4 last season. That's right on the three-year average. Also in 2005, the Ravens were tied for third worst in turnovers with a minus-10. Last year, they led the NFL with a plus-17. In 2003, the N.Y. Giants and Buffalo Bills were the worst with a minus-16. A year later, the Giants were a plus-20 and the Bills were a plus-26.

Sacks are a little tougher, but Oakland only has to point to the worst team in the three previous years to get excited about what it can do in 2007. Back in 2003, Buffalo gave up the most sacks with 51 and came back in '04 with 38. In 2004, the Bears surrendered 66 and returned in '05 with a total of 31. In 2005, the Texans saw their quarterback on the ground 68 times and improved to 43 in 2006.

Oakland's Josh McCown says quarterback decision-making is going to make a big difference. JaMarcus Russell tells me the Oakland receivers look great and his head is buried in the playbook.

Here are the bottom four teams in turnovers and sacks and what they did the following year:

[see link]

Raiders players and coaches believe offensive line coach Tom Cable is going to fix the problems. Running backs coach Tom Rathman has really liked the attitude and the hustle on the practice field all spring. But of course, there is a new head coach in town. It's amazing how many teams that showed great improvements in turnovers and sacks had a new head coach the year they turned things around.

Every coach and player who is embarrassed by his team's sack and turnover totals know it's hard work -- the big emphasis is on improvement. But these coaches and players can't sit there and throw their hands up in the air and say it can't be done in such a short time.


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Old 06-16-2007, 11:59 AM   #12
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Default Re: Great News for our Turnover Woes

Thanks for posting the article, Tone

Things that spring to mind.

As I mentioned yesterday (and its pretty obvious) for every positive turnover, somewhere in the league there must be a negative turnover to balance it.

Now these teams in the bottom 4 can tell themselves that there is plenty of room for improvement but this improvement must come at the expense of other teams.

In other words, other teams must take their eye off the ball (literally sometimes) in order to give these teams back those turnovers.

It has been mentioned many times about the correlation between turnovers and a teams actual record - the 2006 Steelers are probably the best example of that (talented yet careless) -

So why are teams consistently diverting attention away from this aspect of the game if it is so important? (and according to Kirwan so easy to improve)

That is the next step for me - why are teams losing focus on such a key area?
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Old 06-16-2007, 01:02 PM   #13
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Default Re: Great News for our Turnover Woes

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Originally Posted by Livinginthe past View Post
Thanks for posting the article, Tone

Things that spring to mind.

As I mentioned yesterday (and its pretty obvious) for every positive turnover, somewhere in the league there must be a negative turnover to balance it.

Now these teams in the bottom 4 can tell themselves that there is plenty of room for improvement but this improvement must come at the expense of other teams.

In other words, other teams must take their eye off the ball (literally sometimes) in order to give these teams back those turnovers.

It has been mentioned many times about the correlation between turnovers and a teams actual record - the 2006 Steelers are probably the best example of that (talented yet careless) -

So why are teams consistently diverting attention away from this aspect of the game if it is so important? (and according to Kirwan so easy to improve)

That is the next step for me - why are teams losing focus on such a key area?
the answers to these questions go hand in hand with why the average life expectancy a head coach has with a particualr team in the nfl is 3 years. you would have to ask that question to one of the dozens of head coaches who have been fired in recent years. if crennell doesnt figure it out do you really think he will be in cleveland in 08? art shell obviously didnt figure it out. neither did denny green.

you always here the cliche "getting back to fundamentals in practice". the "tackle" and holding on to the ball are 2 of the most fundamental aspects of the sport, yet you would be suprised how few teams actually practice tackling. of course coaches dont want to get their multi million dollar players hurt. there is a risk/reward factor.

also, there are only so many hours in a workday for an nfl player. it is up to the coach to manage this time. some coaches may use 2 hours to practice 200 offensive plays every day and maybe only use 115 of those plays throughout the year. in the meantime they set aside only 15 minutes for special teams and maybe 5-10 minutes for some fundamental drills. doesnt seem too balanced. there are actually coaches out their that dont believe that special teams is 33% part of the game because in a 60 minute game the special teams are not on the field 33% of the time. it all boils down to a coaches philosophy.

there is no nfl mandate that specifies what coaches do with their time. i was not suprised at all with the article in whichs steeler players warned fans at camp to expect less flash on offense and defense (scrimmaging) and more focus on boring special teams.

one must also look at ownership. are players gonna bitch and whine about doing drills and windsprints to build fundamentals and endurance? will they go to ownership and have them step in and tell the head coach to cool it?


so in the past 4 years the 16 worst teams have turned it around and gained 320 in the turnover differential off of the better teams. this makes sense. the ravens think they got it figured out so naturally theyre not going to spend as much time in practice focussing on it. it has been a trend with them. the year before the bungles lead the league in interceptions and just like clock work were not able to maintain that level of excellence.
the steelers have always been on the + side of the turnover margin. last year was obviously a fluke, and theres a reason cowher, grimm, and wiz arent the head coach. like it has been said, tomlin presented the rooney with a plan that they saw was going to work. with almost 4 decades of being a top team they obviously recognize a working plan. those expecting tomlin and the team to struggle are in for a suprise.

kirwan is not pushing a theory, but merely pushing statistical fact. i dont think its too comlex. the poor teams with good coaching will focus more on their mistakes, and the good teams with poor coaching will rest on their laurels and get sloppy.
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Old 09-01-2007, 02:18 PM   #14
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Default Re: Great News for our Turnover Woes

preseason is good for guaging fundamental play such as holding on to the ball and creating turnovers.

through 5 games the steelers were +6 in t.o. differential.

they threw 2 interceptions and coughed up the ball 2 times. the only alarming thing is 3 of the 4 were committed by ben and willie, but i attribute this to sack pressure on ben as opposed to not knowing the playbook or being prepared. i attribute willies fumble to lack of carries and getting used to the speed of the game again.

regardless, the best thing about tomlin is he quickly addresses a problem and "makes it dissappear". seplulveda and w. reid had plenty of opportunities to shank or muff a punt in the game after the eagles game. however the problems looked to be quickly rectified.

i think we will see the exact same in the games this year as (far as turnovers are concerned).

preseason shows we are on the right path and i never take heavilly, fact based, kirwan research and predictions lightly.

we can make the turnovers disappear, but our team would really suck if we terminated all those who caused them. the steelers will be fine in 07.
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Old 10-12-2007, 04:47 PM   #15
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Default Re: Great News for our Turnover Woes

i gotta give props again to some excellent research in kirwans article. this type of info is a gamblers dream.

heres the steelers #'s through 1/3 of the season:

Quote:
Digits
2 - More turnovers than takeaways the Steelers had through their first five games last season.

4 - More takeaways than turnovers the Steelers have through their first five games this season.
+6 = same t.o. differential as in the preseason (noted in prior post). i see a pretty steady trend, by both the steelers and kiwan.

+6 through roughly 1/3 of the season extrapolates to +18

+18 this year over -2 last year would be an increase of 20. kirwans premis confirmed!

i havent looked yet but im willing to bet detroit, oakland, and cleveland are on the same curves. their records and recent climb from the bottom suggests as much.

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the point is we will not be getting worse and can look at getting better by 20.
so not all blind faith is total homerism
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Old 10-13-2007, 03:29 AM   #16
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Default Re: Great News for our Turnover Woes

You don't turn the ball over, you win. What a novel idea.
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