Son Of Sun Tzu

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Tuesday 3 July 2018

Gareth Southgate looking to other sports and areas for tactics and ideas

Just a brief summary of the articles I've found showing that Gareth Southgate has sought knowledge outside of his specific area:

BBC 26th June 2018 - - interesting that the Seahawks and the use of set-pieces are specifically mentioned.

Telegraph 26th June 2018 - - a useful summary of just how many other sports Southgate has referred to, notably the way NFL stars are presented to the media.

See also this from the Guardian ; this from MyNorthwest in the USA ;

Hopefully the England team does well enough that I can use this quote from Southgate: "One of the reasons some of our guys have travelled is to see how the NFL operate because we don't have to do things the way they've always been done, we can try different things that work" ( my emphasis ) - from

And a note to myself, if I rewrite my current presentation with more soccer references, Sir Bobby Robson is very quotable: ; this from Alan Shearer:

As a player, I always knew there would be opportunities at set-pieces, if not for me then for one of my team-mates.

At Newcastle, Sir Bobby Robson would tell us "there is always one dope who falls asleep" and we would try to pick out the defender who would let his side down.

Saturday 9 April 2016

Do the Seahawks need a good offensive line?

There's been a lot of consternation over the apparent lack of talent on the Seahawks Offensive Line. For example this article states it "may just be the worst position group in the entire NFL".

But, as squeaky as their playoff games were, the Seattle Seahawks were one score away from taking their Divisional playoff game into overtime, and did go 10-6 for the season; whereas the offensive lines I hear the most compliments about are the Browns and the Cowboys, who went 3-13 and 4-12 respectively.

So, do offensive lines matter? It's interesting to compare the 32 NFL team's successes against the quality of their offensive line and see if there's a match. I'm taking the quality of the offensive lines in the 2015 season from Pro Football Focus's rankings at the end of the season here: ; and my analysis... well, my quick look at some stats... is inspired by Shell Kapadia's article on ESPN: .

So, comparing offensive line rank to the most important statistic first, did the team make the playoffs or not?

Rank Team Playoffs?
1 Dallas Cowboys yes
2 Carolina Panthers yes
3 New Orleans Saints yes
4 Atlanta Falcons yes
5 Cleveland Browns yes
6 Oakland Raiders yes
7 Green Bay Packers yes
8 Cincinnati Bengals yes
9 Buffalo Bills yes
10 Pittsburgh Steelers yes
11 Washington Redskins yes
12 Philadelphia Eagles yes
13 Baltimore Ravens yes
14 Minnesota Vikings yes
15 Indianapolis Colts yes
16 Chicago Bears yes
17 Arizona Cardinals yes
18 Houston Texans yes
19 Jacksonville Jaguars yes
20 New York Giants yes
20 Denver Broncos yes
22 Kansas City Chiefs yes
23 Tampa Bay Buccaneers yes
24 Detroit Lions yes
25 New England Patriots yes
26 New York Jets yes
27 San Francisco 49ers yes
28 St Louis Rams yes
29 Tennessee Titans yes
30 Seattle Seahawks yes
31 Miami Dolphins yes
32 San Diego Chargers yes

So, apart from showing that tables are hard.... there is a pretty even spread of playoff teams across all levels of offensive line play quality.

How about teams versus wins? The X axis below is decreasing in offensive line rank from left to right, so you'd expect a general trend of wins to go down from left to right...


Same again, I see no trend by wins.

But how about a more realistic rating of how good a team is than wins, FootballOutsiders' offensive DVOA ranking? Lower numbers are a higher rank.


Again, all over the place.

Originally I planned some kind of scatter graph with team or helmet logos, but that's not something I can put together in a reasonable amount of time. So while it's something I've thrown together using online resources, and arguably some of the the axis should have been the other way around... I think the complete lack of any trend shows something. Especially as the offensive line is about half of one side of the team, and key to every play, I think the results are a little surprising; maybe of all the positions for the offensive line their team play is more important that a collection of individual statistics?

And maybe, in relation to the Seahawks, it shows that a philosophy of having an Offensive Line that is just good enough, rather than exemplary, especially considering the apparent lack of talent at the position, is the way to go?