Ge­or­gia def­i­nitely on Win­ston’s mind

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS THURSDAY -

BUCS in sports psy­chol­ogy be­fore.

“There’s some­thing miss­ing when you have tal­ent and it doesn’t show up on Sun­day, “he said. “Or it’s a fo­cus is­sue.”

Here’s another pos­si­bil­ity: It’s a coach­ing is­sue.

Ari­ans is one of the worst de­ci­sion-mak­ers in the NFL, ac­cord­ing to a study by Ed­jS­ports. The an­a­lyt­ics firm re­leased its 2019 coach rank­ings Wed­nes­day, and Ari­ans placed 31st, above only the Ben­gals’ Zac Tay­lor.

The Ravens’ John Har­baugh tops the list, fol­lowed by the 49ers’ Kyle Shana­han and the Pa­tri­ots’ Bill Belichick.

As part of its anal­y­sis, Ed­jS­ports eval­u­ated ev­ery coach­ing de­ci­sion this sea­son, with a par­tic­u­lar fo­cus on plays (fourth downs, for ex­am­ple) in which there was a lot of win prob­a­bil­ity at stake. Of course, not all good de­ci­sions lead to fa­vor­able out­comes, so the firm as­sessed the process, not the re­sult.

“A lot of these de­ci­sions that come out as the best de­ci­sions by our met­ric, it em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of pos­ses­sion in the mod­ern NFL,” said Aaron Schatz, ed­i­tor of Foot­ball Out­siders, an Ed­jS­ports site. “Of­fen­sive lev­els in the NFL are so high that it makes pos­sess­ing the foot­ball far more im­por­tant than it’s ever been be­fore, and you do not want to punt the ball back to the other team and let them go on of­fense. You want to stay on of­fense your­self.”

The Bucs have been one of the league’s more con­ser­va­tive teams this sea­son. They have at­tempted a con­ver­sion in 40% of their fourth-and-short sit­u­a­tions, tied for the ninth-low­est rate. They have at­tempted nine to­tal field goals and punts in those sit­u­a­tions, tied for sev­enth-most.

Ari­ans’ worst fourth-down call, ac­cord­ing to Ed­jS­ports’ game-win­ning chance model, was in Week 3 against the Giants. With 3 min­utes, 24 sec­onds left and the Bucs lead­ing 31-25, he chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from the Tampa Bay 31. New York scored the game-win­ning touchdown on its sub­se­quent pos­ses­sion. The de­ci­sion cost the Bucs 12.5 per­cent­age points of win prob­a­bil­ity and, ul­ti­mately, the game.

His best fourth-down call was in the opener against the 49ers. With 13:07 left and the Bucs trail­ing 20-14, he went for it on fourth-and-goal from the San Fran­cisco 2. Though Jameis Win­ston’s pass to Chris God­win fell in­com­plete, it was the right de­ci­sion. Tampa Bay in­creased its chances of win­ning by 4.8 per­cent­age points.

JEFF HAYNES/AP

Tampa Bay Buc­ca­neers quar­ter­back Jameis Win­ston (3) said an an­kle in­jury won’t stop him from play­ing in Atlanta against the Fal­cons.

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