FanPost

Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: The Challenges

Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: Rookie Quarterbacks
Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: Rookie Wide Receivers
Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: Broncos Offense, a History
Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: Running Backs
Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: Time of Possession
Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: Coaches

The ball moves on, and as I continue to review the past season, a post I did last season with Brian Shrout dealing with each challenge the Broncos performed during the 2009 season, and I wanted to continue that tradition by review this season. Brian has graciously agreed to lend his eye to each situation and give his thoughts on how it all played out.

I will cover how McDaniels and Studesville did with their challenges, as well as look at the league as a whole. Now obviously each teams booth plays a big part in when a coach challenges, but after rewatching the games, the coach will act almost instantly or will consult with the players. So while it is true the booth comes into play, the coach is the one with the final call.

I realize there is a lot here, and it may not be something you've ever really known about, but it's pretty interesting and important. Plus a spoiler to keep you reading, our new head coach is among the worst in the league at challenges.

Preview:

During any given season, a coach may toss 32 challenge flags, two for each game, or if he is successful in the first two in a game he gets a third challenge, for a total of 48. The average coach challenged seven plays this season.

The League:

The Table:

Team

Coach

Successful

Failed

Total

Success Rate

Ari

Whisenhunt

6

5

11

0.55

Atl

M. Smith

3

5

8

0.38

Bal

Harbaugh

1

8

9

0.11

Buf

Gailey

4

3

7

0.57

Car

Fox

3

9

12

0.25

Chi

L. Smith

1

5

6

0.17

Cin

Lewis

4

4

8

0.50

Cle

Mangini

0

4

4

0.00

Dal

Phillips

2

4

6

0.33

Dal

Garrett

3

1

4

0.75

Den

McDaniels

2

2

4

0.50

Den

Studesville

1

2

3

0.33

Det

Schwartz

2

3

5

0.40

GB

McCarthy

3

3

6

0.50

Hou

Kubiak

2

3

5

0.40

Indy

Caldwell

4

3

7

0.57

Jax

Del Rio

1

5

6

0.17

KC

Hailey

5

3

8

0.63

Miami

Sparano

2

2

4

0.50

Min

Childress

2

4

6

0.33

Min

Frazier

1

3

4

0.25

NE

Belichick

3

4

7

0.43

NO

Payton

6

2

8

0.75

NYG

Coughlin

7

5

12

0.58

NYJ

Ryan

3

6

9

0.33

Oak

Cable

5

6

11

0.45

Phi

Reid

3

3

6

0.50

Pit

Tomlin

3

3

6

0.50

SD

Turner

1

6

7

0.14

Sea

Carroll

6

7

13

0.46

SF

Singletary

5

1

6

0.83

SF

Tomsula

0

1

1

0.00

St. L

Spagnuolo

4

4

8

0.50

TB

Morris

3

4

7

0.43

Tenn

Fischer

3

6

9

0.33

Was

Shanahan

2

5

7

0.29

Avg


3

4

7

0.41

 

 The coaches who had the greatest success rates were:

Pit

Tomlin

3

3

6

0.50

St. L

Spagnuolo

4

4

8

0.50

Ari

Whisenhunt

6

5

11

0.55

Buf

Gailey

4

3

7

0.57

Indy

Caldwell

4

3

7

0.57

NYG

Coughlin

7

5

12

0.58

KC

Hailey

5

3

8

0.63

Dal

Garrett

3

1

4

0.75

NO

Payton

6

2

8

0.75

SF

Singletary

5

1

6

0.83


And the least successful were:

Cle

Mangini

0

4

4

0.00

SF

Tomsula

0

1

1

0.00

Bal

Harbaugh

1

8

9

0.11

SD

Turner

1

6

7

0.14

Chi

L. Smith

1

5

6

0.17

Jax

Del Rio

1

5

6

0.17

Car

Fox

3

9

12

0.25

Min

Frazier

1

3

4

0.25

Was

Shanahan

2

5

7

0.29

Dal

Phillips

2

4

6

0.33


Review:

- The coaches who had the most challenges were Pete Carroll and our own John Fox. The coaches who had the least, and coached a full 16 games, were Sparano and Mangini. The coach who succeed the most times was Coughlin, while the coached who failed the most was, sadly, Fox.

- Out of the 19 who had a success rate higher then the average, 41%,  10 had winning records and eight made the playoffs. Of the 17 below the average, only five had winning records and four made the playoffs. Apparently winning challenges, at least partly, matters.

- Singletary and Harbaugh seem to be outliers, with Singletary having the best success rate in the league with 83% while Harbaugh had the third worst with 11%. Tomsula is acceptable because he only coached one game, but Mangini, how do you fail every time? As for Fox, his 25% doesn't look to bad, but his 9 failed challenges should say something, we need to reign in his challenges, because that's a lot of wasted timeouts.

Denver:

McDaniels was actually lower then average with only four challenges during his 12 games. Studesville on the other hand had three challenges in four games. So as a team, we were right on average. The team as a whole succeed three out of seven times, or 43% success rate. McDaniels was the more successful of the two, succeeding two our of four times, while Studesville only succeeded once out of three times.

McDaniels:

Week 1: Jacksonville

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 2: Seattle

- McDaniels first challenge of the season came late in the 4th quarter against Seattle. On 4th down with 3:02 remaining in the game, the Broncos punt it on 4th  and 5 to Seattle rookie, Golden Tate. This challenge I believe was acceptable, we didn't want to allow Seattle good field position to try and make a comeback, and we had two time outs left. While it may have failed, it  was a low risk, low reward situation, where you don't have much use of your remaining time outs considering you are going to want to run out the clock, so this challenge cost little, but would have set Seattle further back in terms of field position. Brian's thoughts on the challenge:

Seattle was going to need 2 touchdowns and a field goal just to tie. The defense had been playing well throughout the game, so the likelihood of that happening in 3 minutes seems like a long shot. So, unless there was some pressing need for a few extra moments to prepare the defense to come back on the field, the challenge seems to be rather pointless.

I agree with Brian, this challenge was pointless, but because the cost was so low, it really had no negative impact on the game considering we never used our remaining time outs anyways.

Week 3: Indianapolis

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 4: Tennessee

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 5: Baltimore

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 6: NY Jets

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 7: Oakland

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 8: San Francisco

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 9: Bye

Week 10: Kansas City

- The first challenge took place in the 3rd quarter. Denver was up 42 to 10, with 6:42 remaining in the 3rd quarter. Chiefs had just led a very long drive, and were getting into a groove. Matt Cassel throws a 24 yard pass to Dwayne Bowe, to reach the Denver 1 yard line. Bowe fumbles and then recovers the ball, and McDaniels challenges whether it was a completion. The play is upheld. Now for me, this is a smart play, anytime you can stop a team from finding a rhythm, especially on a play that gets them into the red zone, is very key. Especially after the defense was tired from such a long drive. Smart call, and after rewatching the play, it was a close call. Brian has this to say:

Chiefs had driven from their own 16 to the Denver 25. Cassel threw a 24 yard strike to Bowe at the Denver 1, Bowe fumbled and recovered the ball. Denver's challenge lost. On the surface this would seem to be another pointless challenge. However, it would have made the difference between a 1st & Goal at the 1 yard line and a 2nd 10 from the 25. As it was, it gave the defense a chance to catch their breath & reset. The defense then stopped the Chiefs on four straight plays (3 runs 1 pass) and denied them the touchdown, so in overall effect it proved to be a good challenge.

- The second challenge came in the 4th quarter, with 11:55 remaining. The Broncos had just finished driving most of the field in a drive that took almost seven minutes, and were at the Chiefs 15 yard line. Orton goes to the end zone and hits Brandon Lloyd. It is originally ruled an incompletion, but after the challenge, the ruling on the field is overturned. Brian's thoughts were short and sweet:

This was a challenge of a play which was ruled incomplete on the field. The play was overturned on the challenge and resulted in a completed pass for a touchdown. IMHO, any challenge that was won was a good challenge -- especially if it results in points.

This was a great challenge, it was obvious that Lloyd got his feet in, you could see Lloyd run to the sidelines and talk to McDaniels. Plus, like Brian said, we got points out of it, no down side either way, it was only 2nd down, if we got the touchdown, great, if not, we still had 3rd down and the field goal option.

Week 11: San Diego

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 12: St. Louis

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 13: Kansas City

- So this challenge came during the 1st quarter. It was still a scoreless game, and Kansas City was starting their 2nd drive.On 1st and 10, Cassel throws to Bowe for nine yards. Now this was similar to the Orton to Lloyd touchdown, rather then playing a key strategic role, the challenge was done because the ruling on the field was obviously wrong. I rewatched the play, and it was easily seen the pass was an incompletion. The play was overturned, sadly they went on to score. It was an interesting challenge, easy to win, but it was early in the game, Kansas City was still on their own 30, and it was only for 9 yards. He may have done it out of principle, knowing the ruling was wrong, and the play was overturned, but still a strange call. Brian seemed to have similar thoughts:

Pass play - Cassel to Bowe for 9 yards. Denver challenged the completion ruling & won, the play was reversed. As I mentioned above, any challenge you win should be considered a good one, though I'm not really sure why McDaniels chose to challenge it at that point in the game.

Studesville:

Week 14: Arizona

- The first challenge of the game came in the 2nd quarter. The Broncos were down 6-3 with 10:34 remaining. The Broncos were looking to build some momentum and had just gotten a penalty to help them get a 1st down. Orton passes to the left and hits Eric Decker for eight yards. Decker then is hit and fumbles the ball and it is recovered by the Cardinals. After the review, the play is upheld, Arizona ball. This is a smart call by Studesville and the booth, it's a close game, the offense is gaining momentum, and we need this play to make it 3rd and 1. Brian's view of the play is along the same lines:

Denver had moved the ball from their own 25 to their 42. On 2nd and 9 on the Denver 42,  Orton passed to Decker for 8 yards. Decker fumbled & it was recovered by Arizona at the Arizona 41. Denver challenged the ruling of a fumble & lost the challenge. This was a good challenge in that it tried to keep Denver from losing possession of the ball in a close game.

I agree, close game, need momentum, got to challenge.

- The second challenge of the night came during the 4th quarter, 14:47 remaining. The score is 22 to 3, and Denver has just allowed a field goal. On1st and 15, after a false start, Orton goes to Jabar Gaffney deep right, which is ruled incomplete due to being out of bounds. This was a key challenge for me, it was an iffy call, but could have gone either way. If it was overturned, it would have resulted in a huge gain, and momentum for a struggling offense. If it had lead to a score, Denver would only be down by 12 instead of 19. But the play was upheld and the ruling stayed an incompletion. Brian seems to think this call was an interesting one as well:

Arizona had kicked a field goal to open the 4th quarter and take a 22-3 lead. Denver had a false start penalty give them a 1st and 15 on the Denver 29. Orton threw a long pass to Royal that was ruled incomplete. Denver challenged the ruling and lost. I wasn't sure what to think about this challenge. On the one hand, a completion would have resulted in a long play and perhaps built up some momentum for the Broncos -- had they been able to sustain the drive & score a TD, they would have only trailed by 12. As it was, it ended up costing them a valuable time out.

Due to it being 2nd and 15, we decided to run it, a call that left the team with a 3rd and 11, a hard situation. The offense isn't able to convert, and the drive stalls.

Week 15: Oakland

- Tied 7 to 7 in the 1st quarter with 7:46 remaining, Denver has just been blessed with a rare turnover, granting them great field position on the Oakland 33. On 2nd down, Tim Tebow goes deep to Brandon Lloyd, and it is ruled an incomplete pass just out of the end zone. The resulting challenge was able to overturn the call and led to a 14-7 lead. This call had to be made, the defense had just created a turnover, the team needed to capitalize. Smart call, because if we got it, we scored, if not, we could still position ourselves for a field goal. Brian also seemed to think this was a good challenge:

Moreno lost a yard on the first play.2 and 11 on the Oakland 33, Tebow passed deep for Lloyd, play was ruled incomplete. Denver challenged and won. Result of the play was a 33 yard touchdown pass Tebow to Lloyd and gave Denver a 14-7. This has to be considered a good challenge. It not only reversed the ruling on the field but gave the Broncos a touchdown as well.

Sadly it was the last touchdown that the offense scored.

Week 16: Houston

- No challenge flags thrown

Week 17: San Diego

- No challenge flags thrown

Review:

- McDaniels only challenge four plays compared to nine last season and a league average of seven, but he also only coached 12 games. Studesville fared much worse with three challenges in four games with only one success.

- If anyone questions if McD felt the rivalry with any team in this division, Kansas City was the best example. Most thought he didn't feel that rivalry, but even before HandShakeGate, he seemed bent on breaking the Chiefs, with three of his four challenges coming against Kansas City. And go back and watch McD throw that challenge flag, he wanted to beat the Chiefs.

- Of McDaniels four challenges, three were used defensively, while one was used for the offensive side of the ball. Studesville was the opposite, with all three of his challenges coming from the offensive side of the ball.

- Of the four offensive challenges, all four came on passing plays dealing with whether or not it was a completion. Of those four, Brandon Lloyd for a touchdown was two of them.

- Overall, I'd say McDaniels did a better job, he challenged plays he either knew were correct, or he felt that the play was key in giving Denver the advantage. Studesville seemed to challenge more often, and on plays he might lose, but would play a key part in maximizing the drive.

- McDaniels came in above average, actually doing very well. He had fewer challenges, but seemed to make the most of the ones he had. Studesville was below average, and seemed to have a higher challenge to game ratio then most coaches. McDaniels seemed to be playing it much safer then last season, four challenges to nine, and was more successful this season, 50% to 33%.

 

Next time on Some Clarification is in Order - Off-Season Stats: Coaching Part 2

This is a Fan-Created Comment on MileHighReport.com. The opinion here is not necessarily shared by the editorial staff of MHR

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