Giants' risk aversion offense contributes record 4 to 8

In contrast, the Giants’ next opponent ranks first in the NFL to make highly leveraged decisions in fourth place, according to the Critic...


In contrast, the Giants’ next opponent ranks first in the NFL to make highly leveraged decisions in fourth place, according to the Critical Call Index. The Los Angeles Chargers attempted 21 conversions at third base, very few of them in desperate late-game circumstances. Brandon Staley, the team’s first-year head coach, clocked the Chiefs’ fourth and 9 points off the 35-yard line with the score tied and 48 seconds left in regulation in Week 3; the Chargers got their first down on the penalty spot and scored a touchdown to secure a 30-24 knockdown.

Conversions on the fourth and 7th and fourth and 8th with the Chargers within field goal range led to much needed touchdowns in a 47-42 win over the Cleveland Browns. The Giants’ special teams unit would likely have trotted the field uninvited in such situations.

The math of fourth-place decisions flies in the face of conventional wisdom, which in turn flies in the face of common sense. Old school coaches attempt field goals on fourth and two of the 5-yard line because they don’t trust their offense to gain 2 yards, never realizing that an offense unable to win 2. Critical yards are also unlikely to hit the 5-yard line again, making a touchdown an even higher priority. The same outdated illogical applies to midfield punters: what’s the point of “trusting the defense” to get the ball back after a punt if you can’t trust the punt. offensive to gain one or two necessary yards?

The fact that the Giants aren’t a good team in the first place is built into all of these calculations, as is the reliability of kicker Graham Gano. The “spreadsheets” do not assume that a team with Glennon as a quarterback will have the same probability of success as a team led by Tom Brady, rising star of the Chargers Justin Herbert or even the regular starter of the Chargers. Giants, Daniel Jones. In fact, the models would penalize the judge’s decisions even more severely if the Giants’ offense were more effective. The judge is scored on a curve based on his own team’s shortcomings, but always fails.

Third-string quarterback Jake Fromm is likely to start for the Giants on Sunday due to injuries to Jones and Glennon. The judge may be tempted to get even more conservative with Fromm under center, which could trap the Giants in a spiral of failure in which they give up whatever makes Fromm tick and give Herbert additional opportunities to beat them. This is what happens when a team is philosophically predisposed to surrender.

The judge rose through the ranks of the New England Patriots as special teams coordinator, and his kicking craze would be seen as a charming traditionalist quirk if the Giants showed any further signs of progress. Unfortunately, the franchise is approaching a new crossroads. General manager Dave Gettleman would consider retirement, decisions loom over Jones and other key players, and Jason Garrett has already been fired as offensive coordinator.

All the punters and field goal attempts not only prevent victory, but they also make Giants games sad to watch as the 4-point deficits seem insurmountable. Quantitatively incorrect fourth down decisions, which cannot be attributed to injuries, defective helmets or whatever else, reflects badly on Judge as the Giants organization enters a new period of transition.

That’s the problem with mocking the odds: by definition, the odds are always stacked against you.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Giants' risk aversion offense contributes record 4 to 8
Giants' risk aversion offense contributes record 4 to 8
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