Friday, October 17, 2008

Debating the squib...

Bad boot

Everyone (here, here, here, and even this moron) has spent the past week ripping into Lovie for calling the squib kick that gave the Falcons good field position to set up the game winning FG last week. 

Not only is most of the criticism arm-chair coaching at it's most uneducated worst, but it's wrongly directed.

Quick recap: Neckbeard led a heroic 77 yard TD drive to give the Beards a 1 point lead (20-19) with 11 seconds left in the game. The defense is banged up, especially in the secondary with Vasher and Tillman out and the special teams unit missing half their regulars. Jerious Norwood took the last punt back 85 yards and is one of the more dangerious PR's in the NFL.  Rather than give Norwood a chance to bring it back, Lovie decides to squib kick,  taking a few more tics off the clock.

In hindsight, this looks like a terrible deicison. The Falcons start with the ball on the 34 and Ryan completes a huge 26 yard pass to set up the game winner with 1 second left and everyone wants to blame Lovie for the field position. 

Things to note:
1) Our depleted special teams unit STILL gave up 10 on the return, letting them start at the 44.
2) We were 5 DB's deep on the depth chart by the end of the game. The big throw from Ryan was right over practice squad signed Marcus Hamilton's head. This dude was cut from the Bucs last year and was basically an emergency option.
3) The special teams unit was "tired" and again, without Manning, McBride, Roach, etc.

Lovie admits that the squib was a mistake here, but I think he's just caving to heavy media criticism. 

The truth is that the squib was the right call. It was poorly executed (a good squib should land within the 20 yard line, not at the 34) and poorly covered but that doesn't make it a bad decision. If we kick it right, and they get the SAME return and the SAME pass they're still 15 yards outside of field goal range and Lovie is a hero. With the brutally thin special teams corps and the 3 subs in the secondary, this is definitely the right decision.

My last thought on the game: Kyle Orton looks like an NFL quarterback. I'm desperately waiting one more week before I have to write a retraction (if you don't recall, I predicted he'd be a useless sack of shit and I was the conductor of the Grossman bandwagon).


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