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Things NFL coaches Should be WAY Better At

I watch enough NFL games to have picked up on a lot of observations and trends - in fact, I'm kind of an NFL junkie and will will games whenever it is on TV. Over the last few years, I have consistently noticed that NFL head coaches could improve their strategies around a few things, things that are constantly losing games. It drives me mad as I see it happen over and over again, and it is usually losing teams that are falling into these traps - shocker. I'm talking about coaches mismanaging the clock and timeouts at the end of the game, and not passing the ball enough on first down.

I feel like I could write an entire book about my observations on clock mismanagment by NFL coaches, and it drives me crazy to see over and over again. The biggest head scratcher to me is coaches not be aggressive or up tempo enough if they are trailing by more than 1 score in the 4th quarter. It's a point in the game when the clock is not on your side, and you need to be doing whatever you can to maximize points and possessions - throwing the ball more downfield, and running plays quickly without bleeding the clock. Yet so many teams and coaches are terrible at this - I'll see teams that are down 10 points with 7 minutes to go in the game, just plod their way down the field with seemingly no regard to the ticking clock. They throw so many short passes and run the ball, but worst of all they use nearly the entire 40 second play clock every play, bleeding the clock. It's brutal and doesn't make it seem like the coach or team cares at all about winning. These teams more often than not end up losing. The other one along these lines is coaches not using their timeouts aggressively and trying to get the ball back at the end of the first half. Too many times coaches are content to pack it in and head to the locker room without using all of their timeouts - what the hell, try and get the ball back and be aggressive. There are a very small amount of offensive possessions you can in an NFL game, and you have to try and maximize the amount you get.

Along the lines of always being aggressive, coaches really need to pass the ball more on first down. So many times you see teams run the ball straight into the middle of the line for 1 or 2 yards and all of a sudden they they are behind schedule of down and distance. You have to be very aggressive on second and third down, and in all likely hood you will be having a third down. The other approach, passing the ball on first down consistently, allows you to (ideally) pick up big chunks of yards and have short yardage situations on second down, which opens up the playbook to try and run anything. It also can allow you to skip third downs completely, and what's better than that? The analytics are easily on the side of "passing the ball on first down" - these plays average more than twice the yards per attempt than run plays do. This should be obvious to coaches but seemingly isn't. Again, in a game when each team may only get 10-11 possessions in an entire game, 3 and outs are absolutely terrible. You have to try and be aggressive and avoid punting the ball at all costs.

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