News: A good article

Discussion in 'News Zone' started by Kangaroo, May 17, 2004.

  1. Kangaroo

    Kangaroo Active Member

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    Funny how we have one of the best in the game at clock management (The Tuna)

    The ticking of the clock in an NFL game can sound like a time bomb to a head coach. And at one time or another, almost every coach, with more possibilities to concern himself with than there are stars in a country sky, is caught off-guard by a clock-related situation.

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    One minute remaining in the half, your team has a lead. You have the ball, but the end zone is a long way away. When should you start trying to burn seconds so that, if your team can kick a field goal, you won't have to kick off? The coach in Green Bay might have a different answer from the coach in Jacksonville, and it's possible both ways will work. But both better have an answer. Now.

    It can be easier to manage a recalcitrant teen than to manage the clock. That's why sloppy clock management is commonplace in a league that otherwise has no tolerance for error.

    Jets coach Herm Edwards has made clock management an off-season priority.
    Getty Images

    Jets coach Herm Edwards is using these calm weeks to better prepare himself for those frantic minutes when games are ending and opportunities are melting. He reassigned assistant Dick Curl from tight ends coach to senior offensive assistant, and Curl, a 41-year coaching veteran and former head coach in NFL Europe, has spent the better part of three months on projects related to clock management. On game days, he will be assigned specifically to time issues.

    "We had some things that came up last year and the year before," Edwards says. "So many things happen so fast. You say, 'I kind of let that get away. We could have saved five seconds on the clock.' It didn't hurt us, but how would I have done it different? Sometimes, I'm into the game too much instead of watching the clock and saying, 'We need to do this at this point.' We'll be a lot better for it when the season starts."

    NFL games would be a lot cleaner if more teams were as concerned about the clock. Few teams devote an assistant to time management as the Jets have done. The truth is, many coaches wouldn't trust an assistant enough. But expecting a head coach to manage the clock flawlessly and single-handedly in the harried sideline environment probably is unrealistic.

    Patriots coach Bill Belichick has football research director Ernie Adams oversee clock management from the press box. "But a lot of clock management is done by play-calling," Belichick says. "You can say we want to run plays that stop the clock, but if you're running inside routes, it's going to be hard to stop the clock. You're going to have to have plays built into your system that are appropriate to what you're trying to do from a clock management standpoint."

    Preparation is probably three-fourths of effective clock management.

    Preparation begins now. Edwards and Curl have reviewed clock management mistakes from teams across the league. They are committing to paper what should be done in every conceivable situation and will carry those papers with them on the sideline.

    "Like in the last four minutes when you're trying to control the game when you're ahead, we know at this point we need six snaps when the other team has no timeouts and the game is over with," Edwards says. "So we have to make a first down. We know if they have one timeout, it's going to take us seven snaps before we can end the game. It's all on paper, and that helps you make a quicker decision."

    Bucs coach Jon Gruden and his assistants have offseason meetings to discuss hypotheticals regarding clock management. "We converse about it as a staff," Gruden says. "What do you do in this situation: They have a lead and the ball, 2:11 left, you get a stop. Take it to the two-minute warning or call a timeout? Get to 2:03, then what? I like to hear other people's feedback."

    Preparation continues in training camp. That's when the Patriots' coaching staff emphasizes that every player on the roster understands what needs to be done in every situation.

    "Even though I know what I want to do," says Belichick, "if I have to try to communicate to you during the game, or if I call a play and you don't understand why I'm calling it and what I'm looking for, it's never going to function as smoothly as if (everyone) understands this is what we're trying to do."

    The Patriots run situational drills for time management. They show players tapes from other teams. And they discuss the whys.

    Preparation continues into the actual games. As potential time crises approach, Titans coach Jeff Fisher tries to give his coordinators time to evaluate what they will need to do by informing them of his thought process.

    Says Fisher, "If the defense is on the field on second down, I could click (his communication device) over to offense and say, 'Look, you're going to get the ball back with one timeout and 20 seconds left on the clock if things go the way I think they are going to go.' I try to give them time to prepare for that."

    More coaches should, like Edwards, call a timeout to evaluate their clock management.
  2. jay cee

    jay cee Active Member

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    thanks for posting.

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