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  • 4th Down Fangio

    4th down attempts are common at all levels of football. Sometimes on 4th & short, a team will line up in a tight formation and either attempt a play or try to draw the D offsides. The Giants attempted the latter once in their three 4th down attempts on Sunday. Hard to say what percentage of the 4th down attempts are from tight or spread formations. If anyone knows, would be interested to find out.

    During the 2020 Regular Season, NFL teams had 658 4th down attempts of which 362 were converted for a 55% average. The Eagles had the most 4th down attempts with 35, and the teams with the least were the Bills and Dolphins with 10 each, and they each converted eight for an 80% conversion rate. The Bengals had twenty-seven 4th down attempts with 19 conversions (most in league) for a 70.4% conversion rate.

    In 2020 the Broncos had 15 4th down attempts and converted four for a 26.7% conversion rate (league's lowest) During the 2021 preseason the Broncos attempted six 4th down conversions and converted three of them (0-2 at Vikings; 3-4 at Seattle) That was a significant departure from 2020. Some speculated that it may have been spontaneous on Fangio's part, since the decision is his. Shurmur calls the plays and OCs have personnel packages, formations and plays earmarked for certain 4th down situations, but Denver had attempted 4th down conversions less than one per game average in 2020.

    Against the Giants in Week 1, Denver converted all three of their 4th down attempts:

    ~ 2:10 1st quarter at +37/4th & 7 from 11 personnel spread/gun, pass to Tim Patrick kept drive alive which resulted in a FG;

    ~ :48 2nd quarter at +49 (took TO) 4th & 2 from Spread Empty, pass to Courtland Sutton kept drive alive which resulted in TD + XP;

    ~ 7:00 3rd quarter at +4/4th & 1 from 11 personnel Bunch Right gun, pass to Albert Okwuegbunam for TD.

    To be in Spread 11 personnel on 4th & 7 is understandable. The other two were short yardage and they could have been runs, but were completed passes.

    This seems to represent a noteworthy departure from last year. As the season unfolds, it will be interesting to see if this is a thing.

    The lack of hesitation on Fangio's part to make the decision seems to indicate that he has communicated to Shurmur to be ready to go for it on 4th down when that situation presents. Only one of the three attempts at NY was after a TO, and that was because there was less than a minute left in the half, which showed good clock management. Scouts of future opponents will note these things. One of the short yardage attempts had a RB in the backfield with Bridgewater, so a run could have been attempted, and QB Draw was a possibility from Empty. Spread formations can facilitate rushing attempts since D must align to the formation. Bridgewater is a threat to run as he showed in the game.

    The most noteworthy aspect of the three 4th down attempts at NY was that it represented a radical departure from 2020. Seventeen of Denver's twenty-seven points came on the three drives during which a 4th down was converted. That seems significant. Vic Fangio is three of three 4th down attempts at the moment. If this is a trend, it is inevitable that a future attempt fails. One of the attempts on Sunday was from midfield, but was under a minute, so the risk was diminished somewhat. The most daring one IMO was the 4th & 7 from the + 37 in the 1st quarter.

    A big change in philosophy like this seems to indicate serious evaluation of the previous season and a willingness to change habits. It's possible it is a result of analytics. The effect on future opponents remains to be seen. Since all three conversions were from Spread formations, future 4th down situations could see fewer defenders in the box vs. Spread, which could be exploited by a run play. Another possibility is to draw an overly aggressive defensive front offsides.

    We shall see.
    "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

  • #2
    I’m a big fan of it so far and like what I see. I’m wondering how much is attributed to a change in philosophy versus attributed to Teddy. It’s very possible he didn’t trust Lock or Driskel or Rypien to not make a major mistake in these scenarios. Or didn’t think they could convert so don’t risk field position.

    So far Teddy has given him every reason to be confident he can convert without total disaster.

    Whatever the reason I hope they keep it up.
    sigpic

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    • #3
      Originally posted by DenverBlood View Post
      I’m a big fan of it so far and like what I see. I’m wondering how much is attributed to a change in philosophy versus attributed to Teddy. It’s very possible he didn’t trust Lock or Driskel or Rypien to not make a major mistake in these scenarios. Or didn’t think they could convert so don’t risk field position.

      So far Teddy has given him every reason to be confident he can convert without total disaster.

      Whatever the reason I hope they keep it up.
      I agree. Teddy was the guy who made it happen, so maybe that's it. Gotta believe it is in the game plan and is part of situational practice. Teddy seemed pretty calm during the game. That demeanor has an effect on his team mates.
      "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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      • #4
        Fangio has stated a few times now that it is a "gut" feeling when he makes the call. I believe him. If things are going bad ....it's not a good time for a call like that .....when things are going well, but not perfect......that would be a good call. I believe our coach is growing up right in front of our eyes.

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        • #5
          The post title made me chuckle. .

          Comment


          • #6
            I like our 5 wide set in any down and distance. The combo of AOK, Fant, Hamler, Patrick, Sutton, Jeudy(when healthy), and even Gordon or Williams is incredibly difficult to stop. We can roll out 2 TEs that are too big for safeties and too quick for LBs, 2 WRs that are bigger and excel at 50/50 balls and then have a choice of a RB (the 2 TEs make this impossible to go to dime and risky for nickel) a WR that can outrun anyone on the field, or (when healthy) a WR that can break down any CB in coverage. With a set like this I wouldn’t be surprised to see us continue going for it on reasonable 4th down attempts.

            Comment


            • #7
              I think it is clearly a change in philosophy/game plan ... I could be wrong. I think that after reviewing the situations last season and their failures it was time to change the philosophy towards gong for it more. I think that fits Fangio's approach to the game. It might have some to do with the QB, feeling safe to try and go for it but I think they intend to do that anyway.
              Good data Sam, I appreciate the insight/#s . It looks like the attempts in the preseason might have been testing their ability to convert on 4th down as opposed to being preseason and not mattering?
              I like ball control offense that scores, it gives the team the ability to be in the game late and having a chance to win ... every game, maybe.

              Just one game so far, interested in seeing how things go, one game at a time.
              sigpic

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              • #8
                Originally posted by beastlyskronk View Post
                I like our 5 wide set in any down and distance. The combo of AOK, Fant, Hamler, Patrick, Sutton, Jeudy(when healthy), and even Gordon or Williams is incredibly difficult to stop. We can roll out 2 TEs that are too big for safeties and too quick for LBs, 2 WRs that are bigger and excel at 50/50 balls and then have a choice of a RB (the 2 TEs make this impossible to go to dime and risky for nickel) a WR that can outrun anyone on the field, or (when healthy) a WR that can break down any CB in coverage. With a set like this I wouldn’t be surprised to see us continue going for it on reasonable 4th down attempts.
                I'm looking forward to it.
                "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by beastlyskronk View Post
                  I like our 5 wide set in any down and distance. The combo of AOK, Fant, Hamler, Patrick, Sutton, Jeudy(when healthy), and even Gordon or Williams is incredibly difficult to stop. We can roll out 2 TEs that are too big for safeties and too quick for LBs, 2 WRs that are bigger and excel at 50/50 balls and then have a choice of a RB (the 2 TEs make this impossible to go to dime and risky for nickel) a WR that can outrun anyone on the field, or (when healthy) a WR that can break down any CB in coverage. With a set like this I wouldn’t be surprised to see us continue going for it on reasonable 4th down attempts.
                  I don't like the 5 wide set ... too often. As you say going with Gordon and Williams won't be in the backfield and aren't an option to run. Yes, you can have the 2 TEs with the 5 "wide" set but again it takes the RB, running out of the picture. Don't get me wrong, I like 5 wide maybe ~15%, maybe a little more depending on the match up but I prefer having a RB in the formation the vast majority of the plays. I kind of think a 12 personnel is the better formation "most" of the time because it gives many options, the 5 wide eliminates the run play except for the QB running which I want to limit.
                  just my .02

                  sigpic

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by brianmcfarlane View Post

                    I don't like the 5 wide set ... too often. As you say going with Gordon and Williams won't be in the backfield and aren't an option to run. Yes, you can have the 2 TEs with the 5 "wide" set but again it takes the RB, running out of the picture. Don't get me wrong, I like 5 wide maybe ~15%, maybe a little more depending on the match up but I prefer having a RB in the formation the vast majority of the plays. I kind of think a 12 personnel is the better formation "most" of the time because it gives many options, the 5 wide eliminates the run play except for the QB running which I want to limit.
                    just my .02

                    Melvin's TD run was Tight Wing Right with Z right motion in, I believe. Saubert was the Wing and he made the key block on Inside Zone. Voila!
                    "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                    • #11
                      One of the worst calls last year was not going for it on 4th down around midfield against KC in the 4th quarter.

                      I’m glad Fangio was more aggressive and trusted the offense to hunt for 1st downs to start this season. I hope he maintains this level of trust and that our offense continues to execute the plays. This narrative could be a lot different if Teddy doesn’t place the ball perfectly for Sutton before halftime or if Teddy gets sacked before delivering that TD to Albert O.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by HDbroncos02 View Post
                        One of the worst calls last year was not going for it on 4th down around midfield against KC in the 4th quarter.

                        I’m glad Fangio was more aggressive and trusted the offense to hunt for 1st downs to start this season. I hope he maintains this level of trust and that our offense continues to execute the plays. This narrative could be a lot different if Teddy doesn’t place the ball perfectly for Sutton before halftime or if Teddy gets sacked before delivering that TD to Albert O.
                        That was one of the great jobs Teddy did evading the rush. Another one was that scramble to his right sideline to throw across his body to the middle of the field for a 1st down. On the GL series Albert O was the inside off receiver in Bunch and was blocking when he looked back and saw Teddy scrambling. He left his block and got open making that incredible dive to touch the flag with the ball for a TD. Awesome!
                        "Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes." ~ Publilius Syrus

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                        • #13
                          My sphincter tightened on that first one. Gotta admit. But my inner chaos demon smiled and laughed. Just another great Bronco memory. Remember Shanny going for 2 against SD? Not quite that dramatic but memorable for sure.
                          Adopt-A-Bronco: Jonathon Cooper

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by samparnell View Post
                            4th down attempts are common at all levels of football. Sometimes on 4th & short, a team will line up in a tight formation and either attempt a play or try to draw the D offsides. The Giants attempted the latter once in their three 4th down attempts on Sunday. Hard to say what percentage of the 4th down attempts are from tight or spread formations. If anyone knows, would be interested to find out.

                            During the 2020 Regular Season, NFL teams had 658 4th down attempts of which 362 were converted for a 55% average. The Eagles had the most 4th down attempts with 35, and the teams with the least were the Bills and Dolphins with 10 each, and they each converted eight for an 80% conversion rate. The Bengals had twenty-seven 4th down attempts with 19 conversions (most in league) for a 70.4% conversion rate.

                            In 2020 the Broncos had 15 4th down attempts and converted four for a 26.7% conversion rate (league's lowest) During the 2021 preseason the Broncos attempted six 4th down conversions and converted three of them (0-2 at Vikings; 3-4 at Seattle) That was a significant departure from 2020. Some speculated that it may have been spontaneous on Fangio's part, since the decision is his. Shurmur calls the plays and OCs have personnel packages, formations and plays earmarked for certain 4th down situations, but Denver had attempted 4th down conversions less than one per game average in 2020.

                            Against the Giants in Week 1, Denver converted all three of their 4th down attempts:

                            ~ 2:10 1st quarter at +37/4th & 7 from 11 personnel spread/gun, pass to Tim Patrick kept drive alive which resulted in a FG;

                            ~ :48 2nd quarter at +49 (took TO) 4th & 2 from Spread Empty, pass to Courtland Sutton kept drive alive which resulted in TD + XP;

                            ~ 7:00 3rd quarter at +4/4th & 1 from 11 personnel Bunch Right gun, pass to Albert Okwuegbunam for TD.

                            To be in Spread 11 personnel on 4th & 7 is understandable. The other two were short yardage and they could have been runs, but were completed passes.

                            This seems to represent a noteworthy departure from last year. As the season unfolds, it will be interesting to see if this is a thing.

                            The lack of hesitation on Fangio's part to make the decision seems to indicate that he has communicated to Shurmur to be ready to go for it on 4th down when that situation presents. Only one of the three attempts at NY was after a TO, and that was because there was less than a minute left in the half, which showed good clock management. Scouts of future opponents will note these things. One of the short yardage attempts had a RB in the backfield with Bridgewater, so a run could have been attempted, and QB Draw was a possibility from Empty. Spread formations can facilitate rushing attempts since D must align to the formation. Bridgewater is a threat to run as he showed in the game.

                            The most noteworthy aspect of the three 4th down attempts at NY was that it represented a radical departure from 2020. Seventeen of Denver's twenty-seven points came on the three drives during which a 4th down was converted. That seems significant. Vic Fangio is three of three 4th down attempts at the moment. If this is a trend, it is inevitable that a future attempt fails. One of the attempts on Sunday was from midfield, but was under a minute, so the risk was diminished somewhat. The most daring one IMO was the 4th & 7 from the + 37 in the 1st quarter.

                            A big change in philosophy like this seems to indicate serious evaluation of the previous season and a willingness to change habits. It's possible it is a result of analytics. The effect on future opponents remains to be seen. Since all three conversions were from Spread formations, future 4th down situations could see fewer defenders in the box vs. Spread, which could be exploited by a run play. Another possibility is to draw an overly aggressive defensive front offsides.

                            We shall see.
                            We also have a qb now that completes far fewer passes to the opposing team than we had last year.
                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by beastlyskronk View Post
                              I like our 5 wide set in any down and distance. The combo of AOK, Fant, Hamler, Patrick, Sutton, Jeudy(when healthy), and even Gordon or Williams is incredibly difficult to stop. We can roll out 2 TEs that are too big for safeties and too quick for LBs, 2 WRs that are bigger and excel at 50/50 balls and then have a choice of a RB (the 2 TEs make this impossible to go to dime and risky for nickel) a WR that can outrun anyone on the field, or (when healthy) a WR that can break down any CB in coverage. With a set like this I wouldn’t be surprised to see us continue going for it on reasonable 4th down attempts.
                              I agree, with one caveat. That WR that can outrun anyone, has a hard time catching the ball.
                              sigpic

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