To kick or not to kick, that is the question

What were your thoughts about Bill's decision to kick a 56 yard FG in the rain with 50 seconds left?

  • Good decision

    Votes: 33 11.4%
  • Bad decision

    Votes: 69 23.8%
  • Preferred going for it but was ok with kicking

    Votes: 118 40.7%
  • Preferred kicking but would have been ok with going for it

    Votes: 19 6.6%
  • Either decision was acceptable - just too bad

    Votes: 50 17.2%
  • Other

    Votes: 1 0.3%

  • Total voters
    290

djbayko

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
17,752
Los Angeles, CA
Folk isn't the longest kicker, so to reach the uprights he had to kick the ball on a lower trajectory.

That's what a lot of the "hitting it from X in warmups" discussion misses. In warmups, there's no offensive or defensive line to kick over, so the kicker can make a kick that starts on a lower trajectory than he'll take in the game. In game, Folk has to make sure his ball doesn't get batted down at the line, so he has to take a higher trajectory. It's a tougher kick to make than in warmups.
Wouldn't the kicker also attempt some kicks with realistic game trajectory to get their target / stretch distances? I assume that's how the team makes their decisions, and not by looking at unrealistic warmup kicks.
 

Groovenstein

Member
SoSH Member
I suppose, in that context, every decision is a coin flip. Hail Mary vs Fake Punt? Could go either way,
I was being sarcastic, which I didn’t make clear. Your original post mentioned several possible outcomes but failed to account for the weighted probability of each. I was having a little fun with you by drawing on the same flawed logic from the world of poker.
 

moretsyndrome

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 24, 2006
1,199
Pawtucket
I was being sarcastic, which I didn’t make clear. Your original post mentioned several possible outcomes but failed to account for the weighted probability of each. I was having a little fun with you by drawing on the same flawed logic from the world of poker.
Me too. We might have hit a critical mass of sarcasm
 

streeter88

Member
SoSH Member
Apr 2, 2006
1,231
Melbourne, Australia
I think people are going way overboard on the decision to kick. I was surprised to see Folk out there, but he was hitting from 58 in warmups and he and BB felt confident in his ability to make the kick, which he missed by a couple inches. It's a shitty way to lose but I don't find it particularly egregious.
Reading this, I want to change my answer. Initial thought was there was no way Folk had the leg for it, and Mac had been moving the ball throughout the game.

There is a flip side - maybe BB didn’t want to overburden the rookie with the weight of the fourth down try. Several have made this point also - if he fails, it is a lot to carry and he has the postgame presser and the week in between. Mac already seems to take every loss personally - see him on the bench after a loss with his head in his hands. Either he is crushed by the defeat, exhausted by the pounding he took, frustrated by the mistakes he made, or all three - who can know? But he is very young, and BB is bringing him along as well as possible given the porous OL, mental mistakes being made by the team throughout each game etc. Amazing that he might have won this game, but for an all Pro play to bat down the previous pass and prevent a big gain.

Still, I absolutely preferred using more clock, going for it and obviously keeping the ball out of TB12's hands.
 

caminante11

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 17, 2006
2,767
Brooklyn, NY
EDJsports ranked the decision to kick the field goal as the third worst coaching decision of Week 4, reducing the Patriots chance to win the game by 10.1%. That is irrespective of the outcome. Going for the fourth down opens the possibility of killing the remaining time, getting a touchdown, or a last second field goal.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
14,000
EDJsports ranked the decision to kick the field goal as the third worst coaching decision of Week 4, reducing the Patriots chance to win the game by 10.1%. That is irrespective of the outcome. Going for the fourth down opens the possibility of killing the remaining time, getting a touchdown, or a last second field goal.
IOW, the statistical models are all over the place, given there are others that said kicking improved their chances by a similar amount.
 

Cellar-Door

Member
SoSH Member
Aug 1, 2006
24,343
Models are going to be all over the place because they are aggregating a whole bunch of scenarios that aren't really equivalent. (Weather, offensive personnel, defensive personnel, etc. etc.), they're not really that good for making single decisions in many situations (punts is maybe where it's best).
 

Pablo's TB Lover

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 10, 2017
3,044
I thought it was a fine call, Folk has been a great kicker, and if you feel good about his ability from 56 you take the points. The Bucs had struggled, poor weather, your defense is playing well.

I think part of it is... I don't at all buy the idea that the Patriots had a 52% chance of picking up a 4th and 2. I'd put the chance on a run at a good what.. 0%? So you're passing. You need your bad o-line to hold up, and not allow pressure or (like the play before) a tip. You need to get a guy open, he needs to catch it in the rain, you need to pick up the blitz, and/or get it out so fast you beat it. Also your line has to not commit a false start, or a hold or a hands to the face.

I guess it comes down to.... I trust this team's PASS defense more than I trust the offense to execute on short-yardage/ red-zone type opportunities in a single play.
This is where I'm at with a potential 4th down play. Tampa was going to send the house and jump the short routes with absolutely no fear of a draw. Even with a base look they were hitting Mac all night as he released the ball. Mac would have to throw either a sideline fade or a "hail mary" downfield where you have to lob the ball and have faith the receiver can get under it. To put it differently, I had no confidence Mac was only going to have to throw the ball 5 yards in the air to convert that 4th down.

He has the poise to make shorter throws with rushers in his face, but he did not appear to take ANY deep shots last night that I recall. The 4th down conversion seems to be way under 50% to me.

If Folk misses they lose.

If Folk hits, they probably still lose.

If they go for it and don't make it, they lose.

If they go for it and make it, they probably win.

Go for it.
The bolded can't be taken for granted though. There would have been under a minute following a potential conversion (again as noted above, I can't believe this is going to be 50/50 to start with). With only one timeout and as the field shortens, I could see the drive dying maybe 20 yards later after running out of time, so in that case you are looking at a 36-yard FG. A very high chance of making it, but not 100%. Or alternately, the Pats could make the 4th down and then the Bucs blitz a few downs later, Mac takes a sack or the line gets a holding penalty, and the Pats wind up with a 48 to 50-yard attempt. Which is to say it is not a slam dunk that the high risk of the 4th down conversion is really worth the incremental field position for a moderately better FG opportunity.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
SoSH Member
Oct 1, 2015
15,483
I wind up defending almost every borderline Belichick decision, and for once I think it was almost definitively the wrong choice. Given that Folk ultimately had the distance, I was less angry after the miss than I was concerned when he lined up, but to me it was a far worse decision than not going for it to end the half.

It's been said already, but looking at every factor:
  • Folk is hurtish
  • Folk hasn't hit from that distance in a decade
  • It was pouring, and one would think that level of rain is more likely to affect a long kick than a short pass
  • The Bucs would have had almost a full minute and 2 time outs to go 50 yards in 4 down territory
I think there is a decent chance Mac would have gotten clobbered, or the pass batted down, or a good pass dropped...but comparing these two options, I take B every time:
  • A) Kick a 56 yarder in the rain with an accurate but low strength kicker then stop the Bucs from getting into field goal territory
  • B) Pick up 3 yards, then milk the clock as you pick up 10-15 more yards to put it in Folk's wheelhouse and kick roughly as time expires
I thought the coaching staff pitched an almost perfect game last night - the defense played fantastically on the scariest WR trio in the league and McDaniels called some of his best drives in literal years - but I think kicking there was objectively wrong unless you think Mac would crumble if he blows it, which doesn't at all fit with what we've seen from him (and would be a problem in its own right).
If you could guarantee that you pick up another 10-15 more yards then the calculation makes sense. Here were the last 8 actual pass attempts by Mac though (not counting penalties):

- Incomplete short left to Smith
- Incomplete short middle to Smith
- Complete short right to Bolden for 0 yards
- Complete short middle to Henry for 9 yards
- Complete short right to Bolden for 7 yards
- Incomplete short right to Meyers
- Complete short left to Meyers for 7 yards
- Incomplete short right to Meyers

So in his last 8 actual pass attempts, he went 4-8 for 23 yards. Four incompletions.

In that 4th down situation, if I'm Tampa, I'm playing press coverage and sending the house and making him get rid of the ball in 2 seconds, not worrying about anything deep. Sure, they could get burned that way, but there's very little chance that Belichick or Mac would try a deep ball in that situation. So I am not at all confident that they'd have gotten the first down. But even if they had, they hadn't shown much so I'm not sure they'd have picked up those additional yards. And even if they had, we're still talking about a long (though obviously not AS long) field goal attempt.

So again, in order for going for it to be the right move, the Pats would have had to (1) convert a 50/50 fourth down attempt, (2) not go backward on a sack or penalty, and (3) make a long field goal anyway (Folk is, career, 72.8% from 40-49).

I think this is just one of those things that could go either way and it's crazy for anyone to crucify BB over this call. (not that you're doing that, but some are)
 

speedracer

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,822
If you could guarantee that you pick up another 10-15 more yards then the calculation makes sense. Here were the last 8 actual pass attempts by Mac though (not counting penalties):

- Incomplete short left to Smith
- Incomplete short middle to Smith
- Complete short right to Bolden for 0 yards
- Complete short middle to Henry for 9 yards
- Complete short right to Bolden for 7 yards
- Incomplete short right to Meyers
- Complete short left to Meyers for 7 yards
- Incomplete short right to Meyers

So in his last 8 actual pass attempts, he went 4-8 for 23 yards. Four incompletions.

In that 4th down situation, if I'm Tampa, I'm playing press coverage and sending the house and making him get rid of the ball in 2 seconds, not worrying about anything deep. Sure, they could get burned that way, but there's very little chance that Belichick or Mac would try a deep ball in that situation. So I am not at all confident that they'd have gotten the first down. But even if they had, they hadn't shown much so I'm not sure they'd have picked up those additional yards. And even if they had, we're still talking about a long (though obviously not AS long) field goal attempt.

So again, in order for going for it to be the right move, the Pats would have had to (1) convert a 50/50 fourth down attempt, (2) not go backward on a sack or penalty, and (3) make a long field goal anyway (Folk is, career, 72.8% from 40-49).

I think this is just one of those things that could go either way and it's crazy for anyone to crucify BB over this call. (not that you're doing that, but some are)
If somebody runs a slant route against that sort of all-or-nothing defense, there’s a pretty good chance that the Pats pick up a bundle of yards on the play, take 3 knees and kick a 35-ish FG.

If the DBs back off a little bit, it’s easier to pick up the first down.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
13,538
Mansfield MA
If you could guarantee that you pick up another 10-15 more yards then the calculation makes sense. Here were the last 8 actual pass attempts by Mac though (not counting penalties):

- Incomplete short left to Smith
- Incomplete short middle to Smith
- Complete short right to Bolden for 0 yards
- Complete short middle to Henry for 9 yards
- Complete short right to Bolden for 7 yards
- Incomplete short right to Meyers
- Complete short left to Meyers for 7 yards
- Incomplete short right to Meyers

So in his last 8 actual pass attempts, he went 4-8 for 23 yards. Four incompletions.
They were also 2 of 9 on third downs. The passing offense has not given Belichick much reason to trust it this year.

In that 4th down situation, if I'm Tampa, I'm playing press coverage and sending the house and making him get rid of the ball in 2 seconds, not worrying about anything deep. Sure, they could get burned that way, but there's very little chance that Belichick or Mac would try a deep ball in that situation. So I am not at all confident that they'd have gotten the first down. But even if they had, they hadn't shown much so I'm not sure they'd have picked up those additional yards. And even if they had, we're still talking about a long (though obviously not AS long) field goal attempt.

So again, in order for going for it to be the right move, the Pats would have had to (1) convert a 50/50 fourth down attempt, (2) not go backward on a sack or penalty, and (3) make a long field goal anyway (Folk is, career, 72.8% from 40-49).

I think this is just one of those things that could go either way and it's crazy for anyone to crucify BB over this call. (not that you're doing that, but some are)
To be clear, neither of the options are good. NextGen stats has the Pats with a 24% chance of winning kicking the FG (45% chance of making it and a 52% chance of holding on D after) and a 35% chance of winning going for the first down (52% chance to make the first and a 65% chance of winning if they get the first). So it's less than 50/50 either way. But I side with the stats here (note that ESPN has different figures: 42% for the FG and a similar 35% going for it; that 42% doesn't pass the smell test for me).

The larger issue is that this is the latest in a long line of Belichick decisions that are conservative nearly to the point of cowardice. They punted on 4th and 2 near halftime and, despite pinning Tampa back, left enough time for a FG drive. They punted twice late against the Titans in the last playoff game while losing. Belichick has gone from one of the most aggressive 4th down coaches to middle of the pack or worse.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
14,000
The 52% chance of getting the first seems high given the context here. The utter lack of talent on the Pats offense is such that it would be very easy for Tampa to defend that 4th-and-3, and I think that was a big part of Bill's calculus. And I would give the D a better than 52% chance of holding on given the weather, but that's probably a minority viewpoint.
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
29,436
Hingham, MA
The 52% chance of getting the first seems high given the context here. The utter lack of talent on the Pats offense is such that it would be very easy for Tampa to defend that 4th-and-3, and I think that was a big part of Bill's calculus. And I would give the D a better than 52% chance of holding on given the weather, but that's probably a minority viewpoint.
Yeah hard to see how 2-9 on 3rd down translates into a > 50% chance of converting.

Man it's too bad the 3rd down pass was batted at the line. That would have gotten them around the 30.
 

simplyeric

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 14, 2006
13,954
Richmond, VA
I might be wrong about this but my guess that the Pats (like many other teams) have a process in place where they talk to the kicker at some point in the game (or maybe multiple times) to get a target yard from the kicker. The kicker tells the coaches where they need to get the ball, and if they get the ball to that spot, then the team kicks the field goal.

I'm sure the decision was made long before 4th down came up. You have to, err, trust the process.
I'm sure they talk to the kicker, but in the end I think they make their own analysis of where they think they need to be for a realistic FG try, and that it obviously varies depending on the game situation (time of game, down and distance, etc.)
I'm sure they kicker might tell a coach his thoughts, but I doubt Folk went to BB and said "I can make it from the 46" and BB said "ok". That was a desperation, damned if you do/don't, attempt.

I suppose, in that context, every decision is a coin flip. Hail Mary vs Fake Punt? Could go either way,
The Red Sox should bunt more.


The thing I didn't get is, at least run your offense out there and see if you can get a weird matchup, or do a hard count to try for a desperation off-sides. Maybe BB wasn't sure that McCorkle, and more importantly the o-line, had the discipline for it.
 

Jimbodandy

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 31, 2006
6,439
around the way
If somebody runs a slant route against that sort of all-or-nothing defense, there’s a pretty good chance that the Pats pick up a bundle of yards on the play, take 3 knees and kick a 35-ish FG.

If the DBs back off a little bit, it’s easier to pick up the first down.
That's pretty much what happened on the previous play...the one that didn't work.
 

Super Nomario

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 5, 2000
13,538
Mansfield MA
The 52% chance of getting the first seems high given the context here. The utter lack of talent on the Pats offense is such that it would be very easy for Tampa to defend that 4th-and-3, and I think that was a big part of Bill's calculus. And I would give the D a better than 52% chance of holding on given the weather, but that's probably a minority viewpoint.
If you take the other numbers for granted (24% chance of win on a kick, 65% chance of winning given you make the first down), then the break-even point is about a 37% chance success rate. If you think you have better odds than that, you should go for it; if you think they're worse, you should kick.
 

moretsyndrome

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 24, 2006
1,199
Pawtucket
If you take the other numbers for granted (24% chance of win on a kick, 65% chance of winning given you make the first down), then the break-even point is about a 37% chance success rate. If you think you have better odds than that, you should go for it; if you think they're worse, you should kick.
Yep. They were completing 78% of their passes, with no running game or play action threat, so you'd have to discount quite a bit for game context to get under 40%. Although, to be fair, they hadn't been faring well on 3rd down, and certainly BB was factoring in the cumulative damage of the beating that Mac had been taking, which was definitely starting to have an impact on his effectiveness .

It was a close call, just wish that the results were different.
 

Zincman

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2006
302
New London
I said this in the goat thread, but the possible plays that the Pats could run at 4th-and-3 were quite limited. No chance of a running play. Highly unlikely that they go downfield at all. Basically, the Tampa D is playing for a pass in a 5 yard window around the sticks. Pats were 2-9 on 3rd down during the game; the chances of a conversion there are definitely lower than the stat sheets.

As for the practice kicks: the main purpose of the warmups is to get a feel for how the kicker's leg looks. The coaches have the best info in terms of any nagging (and unreported) injuries their kicker may be dealing with. In Folk's case, it was known he was dealing with an issue with his plant leg. But if he is booming them in warmups, it's safe to conclude that the injury was less of an issue than feared, and that he could be counted on to at least make an honest attempt at a long kick. Given that it missed by inches, I fail to see how it would be the "best outcome"; a made try was well within the error bars given the fact that it hit the upright. As, to be fair, was an outright miss.

Finally, can Brady drive the team downfield for a FG with 50 seconds left in a driving rain? Sure. Is it guaranteed? Definitely not.

I also would not have been upset if they went for it and failed. As noted elsewhere, the pass deflection at 3rd down was where the game was essentially decided.
To me this is the most lucid and most likely explanation of what BB might have been thinking. What were the play options facing both the Pats and TB. This was essentially the same setup as a two point conversion in that TB was defending a very small space with the knowledge that there was little likelihood of having to defend the run. This cuts the odds of success substantially. The success rate of 2-pt conversions league wide is about 48.2 %. How much does this drop absent a run threat? Did anyone think Jones might go deep? Neither did Tampa. Given all that Lex outlined, it's really hard to criticize the decision made in the moment.
 

JM3

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 14, 2019
1,203
Yeah hard to see how 2-9 on 3rd down translates into a > 50% chance of converting.

Man it's too bad the 3rd down pass was batted at the line. That would have gotten them around the 30.
That's not apples to apples because they didn't need 3 yards in those situations.

Also, that stat is wrong unless penalties don't count as conversions.

3rd & 9 - fail
3rd & 14 - fail
3rd & 10 - fail
3rd & 3 - make (15 yards)
3rd & 5 - make (PI)
3rd & 4 - make (7 yards)
3rd & 17 - fail
3rd & 12 - fail
3rd & 9 (goal) - fail
3rd & 3 - fail (knocked down at line)

So they were actually 3 for 4 on 3rd & 8 or less technically if you want to really make the stats look nice.

In the moment I thought kicking the fg was awful & in hindsight I think it was pretty bad.

If you can't trust your QB to get you 3 yards there, what are you really winning this season anyway?

Folk did his best, but that was too big of an ask with too much downside even if he hits.
 

Mystic Merlin

Member
SoSH Member
Sep 21, 2007
39,328
Hartford, CT
That's not apples to apples because they didn't need 3 yards in those situations.

Also, that stat is wrong unless penalties don't count as conversions.

3rd & 9 - fail
3rd & 14 - fail
3rd & 10 - fail
3rd & 3 - make (15 yards)
3rd & 5 - make (PI)
3rd & 4 - make (7 yards)
3rd & 17 - fail
3rd & 12 - fail
3rd & 9 (goal) - fail
3rd & 3 - fail (knocked down at line)

So they were actually 3 for 4 on 3rd & 8 or less technically if you want to really make the stats look nice.

In the moment I thought kicking the fg was awful & in hindsight I think it was pretty bad.

If you can't trust your QB to get you 3 yards there, what are you really winning this season anyway?

Folk did his best, but that was too big of an ask with too much downside even if he hits.
The QB trust thing is red herring. They didn’t trust the protection to handle what was almost certainly gonna be a cover 0 blitz so Mac could actually deliver a catchable pass to a receiver dealing with press man. I sure wouldn’t want that game to come down to Mac chucking up a downfield pass - since the Bucs were gonna live with getting beat deep in that spot - or rushing a throw with guys in his face into a jammed receiver.
 

JM3

Member
SoSH Member
Dec 14, 2019
1,203
The QB trust thing is red herring. They didn’t trust the protection to handle what was almost certainly gonna be a cover 0 blitz so Mac could actually deliver a catchable pass to a receiver dealing with press man. I sure wouldn’t want that game to come down to Mac chucking up a downfield pass - since the Bucs were gonna live with getting beat deep in that spot - or rushing a throw with guys in his face into a jammed receiver.
The Bucs had no healthy secondary players & the Pats have a huge array of play designs to pop people open immediately.

I could phrase that more generally "where are we going if we can't trust our offense to get 3 yards there", but yeah, it's just the wrong call with a minute left in that spot imo.

But BB can still keep his job, nbd.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
22,498
I'm sure they talk to the kicker, but in the end I think they make their own analysis of where they think they need to be for a realistic FG try, and that it obviously varies depending on the game situation (time of game, down and distance, etc.)
I'm sure they kicker might tell a coach his thoughts, but I doubt Folk went to BB and said "I can make it from the 46" and BB said "ok". That was a desperation, damned if you do/don't, attempt.
I suspect they knew already how far Folk could kick it. If the answer was "53," they'd have gone for it. "56" or more is a necessary condition, but it's obviously not sufficient for BB's decision. As others have outlined, there's several other considerations
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
24,867
I'm sure they talk to the kicker, but in the end I think they make their own analysis of where they think they need to be for a realistic FG try, and that it obviously varies depending on the game situation (time of game, down and distance, etc.)
I'm sure they kicker might tell a coach his thoughts, but I doubt Folk went to BB and said "I can make it from the 46" and BB said "ok". That was a desperation, damned if you do/don't, attempt.
It's not an up or down but it's a confidence level based on distance, conditions, etc. Even before the drive starts, BB has an pretty good idea of where they need to go. My point it's not a decision that just happens on the last drive.

Here's how the Panthers do it: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article247142556.html. I know the Ravens have a similar process.

Prior to games, kickers will warm up and test the wind from all over the field and different distances. Slye will talk with Blackburn often about how things feel and the current conditions in different areas of the field. Games are partly prepared for by watching the weather and determining the right cleats to wear. Come game time and during the game, Blackburn will give Panthers head coach Matt Rhule the percentage of accuracy he thinks a kick will have.
“(Coach Rhule) will ask me for a percentage on the kick (based on) where we’re at on the field and where my confidence level is,” Blackburn said. “I give him what I think the percentage of kick is based upon everything that’s going on.”
 

speedracer

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 19, 2005
2,822
I sure wouldn’t want that game to come down to Mac chucking up a downfield pass - since the Bucs were gonna live with getting beat deep in that spot
That’s an entirely self-imposed limitation, and yeah if I were the D and I knew that was O’s thinking, go, I’d go cover 0 blitz and maybe even send a slot corner as well.

If it were 4th-and-goal to win from 3 yards out, you wouldn’t run 5 stick routes, would you?
 

Big McCorkle

Member
SoSH Member
May 9, 2021
228
That’s an entirely self-imposed limitation, and yeah if I were the D and I knew that was O’s thinking, go, I’d go cover 0 blitz and maybe even send a slot corner as well.

If it were 4th-and-goal to win from 3 yards out, you wouldn’t run 5 stick routes, would you?
Nah, you go naked bootleg. Always go with a naked bootleg.
 

simplyeric

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 14, 2006
13,954
Richmond, VA
Did anyone think Jones might go deep?
Going deep would have been a baller move.
I sure wouldn’t want that game to come down to Mac chucking up a downfield pass - since the Bucs were gonna live with getting beat deep in that spot - or rushing a throw with guys in his face into a jammed receiver.
He had shown some success in throwing over top of the blitz...Honestly I don't think I would have minded it. Snap, step, toss. All or nothing. It's probably a bigger risk that they fake the blitz, and then he throws an interception. But it's just a timing play.
(there's a reason I'm not a head coach)
I suspect they knew already how far Folk could kick it. If the answer was "53," they'd have gone for it. "56" or more is a necessary condition, but it's obviously not sufficient for BB's decision. As others have outlined, there's several other considerations
That's basically what I was saying: they know give or take at the beginning of the game based on their assessment of the pre-game kicking, probably a convo during warm-ups with the kicker, and then all the in-game circumstances. I doubt that once the game starts, they ask the kicker at all.
It's not an up or down but it's a confidence level based on distance, conditions, etc. Even before the drive starts, BB has an pretty good idea of where they need to go. My point it's not a decision that just happens on the last drive.

Here's how the Panthers do it: https://www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/article247142556.html. I know the Ravens have a similar process.

Prior to games, kickers will warm up and test the wind from all over the field and different distances. Slye will talk with Blackburn often about how things feel and the current conditions in different areas of the field. Games are partly prepared for by watching the weather and determining the right cleats to wear. Come game time and during the game, Blackburn will give Panthers head coach Matt Rhule the percentage of accuracy he thinks a kick will have.
“(Coach Rhule) will ask me for a percentage on the kick (based on) where we’re at on the field and where my confidence level is,” Blackburn said. “I give him what I think the percentage of kick is based upon everything that’s going on.”
Right. That's basically what I was saying. It's not like they suddenly start thinking about it at the end of the game, but my guess is that "what the kicker says" is not as important as several other factors. I was replying to your post about "talking to the kicker".
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
24,867
Right. That's basically what I was saying. It's not like they suddenly start thinking about it at the end of the game, but my guess is that "what the kicker says" is not as important as several other factors. I was replying to your post about "talking to the kicker".
I guess I don't understand what you are trying to say. I assume the kicker said to BB, "I'm very confident I can make it from 56" at some point during the game. At that point, BB is going to run him out there.

If the kicker had said, "I think I can make it but I'm not quite as confident from 56 due to rain and wind" (or other conditions), that would lead BB to make a different decision.

If we can agree on this, that's what I was trying to say in my first point. Apologies for any lack of clarity.
 

simplyeric

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 14, 2006
13,954
Richmond, VA
I guess I don't understand what you are trying to say. I assume the kicker said to BB, "I'm very confident I can make it from 56" at some point during the game. At that point, BB is going to run him out there.

If the kicker had said, "I think I can make it but I'm not quite as confident from 56 due to rain and wind" (or other conditions), that would lead BB to make a different decision.

If we can agree on this, that's what I was trying to say in my first point. Apologies for any lack of clarity.
Ok...I mean, we're pretty close. I just figure it's like this, give or take in order of importance (not in order of occurrance, obviously):

- BB and Special Teams coach observe pre-game kicks, make their own assessments
- BB assesses game-time decision at various points in the game. At the point in question, it's "near end of game, long kick to take the lead", etc. etc.
- BB confers with special teams coach, if he has time (before the drive even starts, because they know why might be playing for a FG)
- Kicker has conversation with Special Teams coach, before the game even starts

Basically, I doubt that at any point during the game does BB ask the kicker's opinion. Your quote about the Panthers kindof reinforces that. Special Teams coach talks to kicker, kicker doesn't talk to HC.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
24,867
Ok...I mean, we're pretty close. I just figure it's like this, give or take in order of importance (not in order of occurrance, obviously):

- BB and Special Teams coach observe pre-game kicks, make their own assessments
- BB assesses game-time decision at various points in the game. At the point in question, it's "near end of game, long kick to take the lead", etc. etc.
- BB confers with special teams coach, if he has time (before the drive even starts, because they know why might be playing for a FG)
- Kicker has conversation with Special Teams coach, before the game even starts

Basically, I doubt that at any point during the game does BB ask the kicker's opinion. Your quote about the Panthers kindof reinforces that. Special Teams coach talks to kicker, kicker doesn't talk to HC.
Oh. I didn't realize you were hung up on the idea that BB literally talked to the kicker. I thought the idea that the kicker told the coach who told BB was sufficient. My bad.

My original post was made in response to someone who asked whether the FG was at the edge of Folk's range, and I replied that based on what I know about other teams' processes, it was pretty likely that the kicker, through his coach, had let BB know he was pretty confident of making it from that spot.

And looking into it more, Folk did tell his ST coach he was good from the 40 yard line and in (58 yard FG) prior to the drive (which I presume was relayed to BB) so I'm sure that's why BB didn't have a second thought about the FG: https://www.bostonherald.com/2021/10/04/did-bill-belichick-consider-a-fourth-down-try-instead-of-a-56-yard-field-goal-against-the-bucs/.

I also didn't realize that Folk had made 36 consecutive FGs up to then. Kind of have to trust your kicker on that decision IMO.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

Member
SoSH Member
Jan 13, 2021
2,615
How accurate, historically, are kickers assessments of how long a FG they think they can make? Are guys like, nah I can’t do 54, but can nail a 52?
 

Fishercat

Svelte and sexy!
SoSH Member
May 18, 2007
6,894
Manchester, N.H.
It's interesting to me that teams and apparently we will take a kicker at their word as to the field goal range they can make. Like if anyone here said Grady was fine because he left Pedro in because Pedro thought he could get through the 8th they'd be laughed off the board. I think it's really likely that Folk may be a bit rosy on his abilities or can't mentally estimate distance in rapidly changing conditions and that's not a criticism.
 

SMU_Sox

queer eye for the next pats guy
SoSH Member
Jul 20, 2009
7,763
Dallas
Models to make these decisions are useful but directional at best. It comes down to the team, the context of the players on the field, and many other factors. Directionally it was a close decision either way. Mac and the offense had finally been moving the ball at that point and TB’s secondary was in shambles. But on the other hand the pass protection was still struggling and Todd Bowels was absolutely going to dial up a blitz. Given that the pass pro had struggled for 4 games in a row with blitzing I can understand why Belichick opted to kick. They had also just almost sacked Mac and batted down a pass. It’s an exercise in which unlikely option is the best. I probably would have gone for it as Jon Jones was injured and even if you make the kick Brady has enough time to drive down the field into FG range. The defense had been bending not breaking but in this case even bending loses the game. And yet if Bill trusted his kicker from that range from pregame kicks and in his defense which has been playing like a top 10 unit over his offense which is not performing well I can’t blame him.
 

simplyeric

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 14, 2006
13,954
Richmond, VA
Oh. I didn't realize you were hung up on the idea that BB literally talked to the kicker. I thought the idea that the kicker told the coach who told BB was sufficient. My bad.

My original post was made in response to someone who asked whether the FG was at the edge of Folk's range, and I replied that based on what I know about other teams' processes, it was pretty likely that the kicker, through his coach, had let BB know he was pretty confident of making it from that spot.

And looking into it more, Folk did tell his ST coach he was good from the 40 yard line and in (58 yard FG) prior to the drive (which I presume was relayed to BB) so I'm sure that's why BB didn't have a second thought about the FG: https://www.bostonherald.com/2021/10/04/did-bill-belichick-consider-a-fourth-down-try-instead-of-a-56-yard-field-goal-against-the-bucs/.

I also didn't realize that Folk had made 36 consecutive FGs up to then. Kind of have to trust your kicker on that decision IMO.
I was indeed taking you literally.
but as a subtlety, I still think it’s more about the coaches assessment of the ore-game kicking, and less about what the kicker says about it.
It's interesting to me that teams and apparently we will take a kicker at their word as to the field goal range they can make. Like if anyone here said Grady was fine because he left Pedro in because Pedro thought he could get through the 8th they'd be laughed off the board. I think it's really likely that Folk may be a bit rosy on his abilities or can't mentally estimate distance in rapidly changing conditions and that's not a criticism.
Yeah I don’t think the coaches are asking the kicker how they feel about it. Do you even want a kicker who is like ‘no way man, you gotta go for it on 4th’?
they don’t ask the QB if they can make a certain play work. They call the play
(Yeah a qb can audible out based on reads, but that doesn’t really apply to a kicker)
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
22,498
I was indeed taking you literally.
but as a subtlety, I still think it’s more about the coaches assessment of the ore-game kicking, and less about what the kicker says about it.

Yeah I don’t think the coaches are asking the kicker how they feel about it. Do you even want a kicker who is like ‘no way man, you gotta go for it on 4th’?
they don’t ask the QB if they can make a certain play work. They call the play
(Yeah a qb can audible out based on reads, but that doesn’t really apply to a kicker)
They also aren't asking in real time (like a mound visit). BB already knows how far Folk (and some coaches) thinks he can kick it at the time he has to make a decision.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
24,867
How accurate, historically, are kickers assessments of how long a FG they think they can make? Are guys like, nah I can’t do 54, but can nail a 52?
Well I think a kicker has got to be pretty accurate in his assessment because if he misses a couple of kicks that he says he should make, he's not going to have a job.

The only point I have been trying to make is that BB isn't making the decision in a vacuum. He has been told that the kicker is confident from inside the 40. He's got to be pretty confident in his 4th&3 play to not kick the FG.
 

simplyeric

Member
SoSH Member
Feb 14, 2006
13,954
Richmond, VA
Well I think a kicker has got to be pretty accurate in his assessment because if he misses a couple of kicks that he says he should make, he's not going to have a job.

The only point I have been trying to make is that BB isn't making the decision in a vacuum. He has been told that the kicker is confident from inside the 40. He's got to be pretty confident in his 4th&3 play to not kick the FG.
Just to be pedantic:
I’m drawing the distinction between ‘BB has been told the kicker is confident of his own ability to do X’
As compared to
‘BB is weighing the ability of of his kicker’s ability to do X (regardless of what the kicker says, to anyone really)’

like, yesterday Cora took Eovaldi out of the game, while E was telling Cora he was able to keep pitching, based on his (cora’s) own assessment of the situation.

it’s a minor distinction, of course.
 

BuellMiller

lurker
Mar 25, 2015
369
Not sure if this was brought up in the game thread...but why not line up and try to draw them offsides, and call a timeout if they don't budge? If you're kicking, and given the time left, the timeout doesn't really matter. I guess the downsides are that maybe someone on the OL jumps even when told that there's no way they're going for it, or you're essentially icing your own kicker by putting it on hold after telling him you're going for it unless the Bucs jump offsides.
 

axx

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
7,501
The only point I have been trying to make is that BB isn't making the decision in a vacuum. He has been told that the kicker is confident from inside the 40. He's got to be pretty confident in his 4th&3 play to not kick the FG.
This sounds stupid, but how up to date was his info? The field was likely in much better shape during warmups.

I think Bill didn't really trust the offense, especially when he has the option of a Folk FG that very likely wins the game. Which I totally disagree with. I really think they needed 7-10 more yards for it to be realistic.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
14,000
This sounds stupid, but how up to date was his info? The field was likely in much better shape during warmups.

I think Bill didn't really trust the offense, especially when he has the option of a Folk FG that very likely wins the game. Which I totally disagree with. I really think they needed 7-10 more yards for it to be realistic.
None of the options were good. The pre-game assessment is based on how the kicker's leg feels. And Folk had the distance, so the assessment was indeed accurate. It was the kick that wasn't.
 

Captaincoop

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
12,919
Santa Monica, CA
This sounds stupid, but how up to date was his info? The field was likely in much better shape during warmups.

I think Bill didn't really trust the offense, especially when he has the option of a Folk FG that very likely wins the game. Which I totally disagree with. I really think they needed 7-10 more yards for it to be realistic.
The ball literally struck the post. He had the leg, he just missed it.
 

axx

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
7,501
The ball literally struck the post. He had the leg, he just missed it.
Accuracy is as much of a problem as the actual distance when you get that far out. Plus bad footing from the rain. You kind of have to be perfect and that's tough with the bad weather.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

Member
SoSH Member
Mar 26, 2005
24,867
This sounds stupid, but how up to date was his info? The field was likely in much better shape during warmups.
From the article I posted upthread (bold added): "Folk claimed he was '100 percent' confidence in connecting, having practiced in rainy conditions in New England before and told the coaches he was good from 58 yards away before the drive started." My inference is that "prior" means "just before" and not "three hours ago" as that is information the offensive coaches would need to know to call plays.

Sorry to beat a dead horse but my point (again) is that this is the process that happens every game and I know with other teams and I bet with every decently-coached team in the league. The coach will consult with special teams coach (and the kicker either directly or through the special teams coach) what distance the kicker has confidence making.

If the coach doesn't trust the kicker and/or the ST coach, the coach is going to get a new kicker and/or ST coach.

If Harbaugh gets an indication from Justin Tucker and/or the special teams coach that Tucker is good from the 55 yard line, once Harbaugh gets to the 55 yard line, he's going to strategize as if Tucker is going to make that. He's not going to wonder if Tucker took into account conditions or the condition of the field (etc.). And Tucker apparently is always correct.

As a short aside, that's why the numbers upthread don't make any sense. Maybe there's a 50% chance overall throughout league history that someone would make the kick; but I'm sure BB was thinking that there was a high probability - maybe not 100% as Folk said but close to that number and much higher than 50% - that Folk is going to make it.
 

lexrageorge

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 31, 2007
14,000
Accuracy is as much of a problem as the actual distance when you get that far out. Plus bad footing from the rain. You kind of have to be perfect and that's tough with the bad weather.
He was actually quite close, so close that it was well within the realm of possibility that he could have hit it. I would not have said the same thing if the kick hit the bottom crossbar, or if it sailed wide of the goalposts altogether. Tells me that Bill's assessment, along with that of the coaching staff and Folk, that it was a difficult but achievable kick was accurate. The alternative course was no where near as easy to convert as some in the media (cough, cough, Volin, cough, cough) make it out to be.
 

Captaincoop

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 16, 2005
12,919
Santa Monica, CA
Accuracy is as much of a problem as the actual distance when you get that far out. Plus bad footing from the rain. You kind of have to be perfect and that's tough with the bad weather.
You're arguing that it wasn't realistic that he could make it. He missed it by several inches. I guess it was a miracle that he came that close?
 

tims4wins

PN23's replacement
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
29,436
Hingham, MA
The reality is that we don’t really know if the kick was in the top 10% or bottom 10% of possible outcomes, although we can take an educated guess. Difficult but makeable is probably the right way to word it as @lexrageorge put it. Whether that means 60%, 80%, or what, I dunno. But clearly both BB and Folk thought it was > 50%.
 

Bowhemian

Member
SoSH Member
Nov 10, 2015
3,953
Bow, NH
Forget the kick, I was actually hoping that they would just chuck it downfield, Flacco style. Could have been a sweet PI penalty.