Response After Turnover

Posted: July 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 59 Comments »

Zach Berman of the Inquirer wrote a story today about Chip Kelly’s favorite stat: response after turnover.

“It’s not what you do in the turnover battle, it’s what you do (with the turnovers),” Kelly said. “Our defense can create four urnovers, if we go out and score no points, it doesn’t matter. You say, ‘hey, we were plus-4 in turnovers today. What did the offense do with it? It’s been the same exact thing as, we’ve turned the ball over, but our defense goes on the field and pitches a shutout.  They did a great job, they picked us up. We talk about that from a statistical standpoint. That’s a huge – that’s a metric that we look at because I think you can control that.”

This isn’t new. Kelly talked about this last September.

Kelly said, “It’s not about winning the turnover battle. It’s about what your response is after the turnover because if you’re defense can do an unbelievable job and put you at +4, but every single time the offense goes 3 & out, you didn’t do anything with what the defense created for you.  By the same token, just because you turn it over on the offensive side of the ball, if your defense can go out there and stop them, then that’s what it’s all about.

“So, for us, the only thing we talk about from a statistical standpoint is what is our response after a turnover.  Are we capitalizing when our defense creates a turnover, and if we happen to turn it over, does our defense go on the field and stop the opponent from doing something with it.  That’s what we talk about and I think that’s the one that has the biggest impact on games.”

An Oregon writer touched on this after reading that article. He’s got some interesting stats for you to check out. His article was written early in the 2012 season so he focused on 2011 data. Still, Oregon was excellent at coming up with turnovers and scoring when they did. The Ducks also defended well when they did turn it over.

* * * * *

No one questions the logic in Kelly’s thinking. The question is how you put the theory into practice. In other words, how do you make sure to score after a takeaway as opposed to getting the ball off a punt? Is this about playcalling? Is attitude the key?

Kelly isn’t likely to spill the beans here.

My guess is that Kelly puts a focus on this like you would Red Zone offense or 3rd/short plays. You might have special plays, but more important is just that you stress over and over to your players that these are critical situations, regardless of field position. This sounds odd to those of us who have never thought about this as a “key metric”.

The traditional focus is on getting turnovers. Obviously you want to turn them into points, but I can’t recall a coach either keeping track of that or making it a public talking point.

Whatever Kelly’s methods were at Oregon, they worked.

This will be another new part of the game to focus on.

_


  • Kevin Powell

    I like this. I think when the defense creates a turnover and gives the ball back to the offense, it is too often looked at as sort of a do-over for previous mistakes, or a second chance. This can lead to either taking unnecessary risks, being careless with the ball, or simply not executing well. Chip is not going to magically create points in ways that nobody has before. Instead he is looking to find where points are most often left on the board, and figuring out how to cash in on every scoring opportunity.

  • MediaMike

    I think this is where no-huddle will help out. If the O is ready to run right out there and blast through some quick plays, a cold D should yield some yards and points.

    • eagleyankfan

      I agree here MM. When reading the article, that was my first thought. The hope here isn’t to just throw a bomb either.

  • phillychuck

    This is the first thing I’ve read from Kelly that I think is grounded in irrationality. I think it’s like clutch hitting in baseball. “Response to turnovers” is a small sample size variation that looks meaningful in hindsight, but isn’t a persistent skill. What, aren’t you trying just as hard after a punt? Does the coach say, “Boys, play 100% all the time, but, when we get the ball after a turnover, play 110%”?

    Sorry, Chip; not buying it.

    • A_T_G

      I had a similar thought when reading this. Is it much different than RZ efficiency, though?

      • phillychuck

        You can work on Red Zone Efficiency in a lot of ways…customized plays, extra practice, changing player packages, etc. How do you work on converting turnovers? You’re using the same play packages, and, if you’re not, why are you reserving better plays for this situation anyway? You can try harder, but aren’t you supposed to be trying your hardest the rest of the game?

        My guess is that the best you can do is work on the psychology of being prepared to take the field at any time, and your offensive confidence level. And I don’t think there’s very much ‘edge’ there.

        I call BS.

        • GEagle

          I wouldn’t sneeze at the importance of a psychological edge…
          ..
          what’s BS about a motivational tool?

        • Mark Sitko

          you are missing the point entirely – you can work on this in hundreds of ways – but yes, it is primarily about making sure the whole team has the same mindset after a turnover – this is not a casual drive, we need to make them pay here…

      • Andy124

        I think so. The difference being field position. Because of the shortened field in the RZ, you’re playing a slightly different brand of football down there than you are out at your own 40, so you can practice that more and hopefully improve in that area.

        If you get the ball on your own 20 after a punt or after a pic, what plays are you going to run differently? And if you are going to do something after a pic that gives you a better chance to score, why wouldn’t you also do that after a punt? A touchdown counts for 6 points either way.

        I’m with chuck in that your points per drive from a given field position, over a large sample size, is going to be pretty close regardless of whether that drive starts with a turnover or not.

    • Mitchell

      I don’t think it’s possible for players to play 100% ALL of the time. I’m sure some players take plays off or don’t work as hard as humanly possible. It’s just human nature there is no way a human being can give maximum effort all of the time. You have to choose the areas/times you want your players going literally all out. Therefore, if you beat into a players psyche the most important times to give 100% (or close to) ie after a turnover or in the RZ, the team may be more likely to act in unison at full effort. Once a turnover is generated, the TEAM in is thinking WE MUST score on this opportunity or WE MUST not allow this TD in the RZ. After all what really matters in the game? RZ offense and defense and turnovers.

      • phillychuck

        You’re right if you’re talking about HS football, but in the NFL players play at or pretty close to 100% on every play or someone takes their job. Especially on offense, who takes plays off? How do they do that and not get caught on film? Does the tackle say I’m only really blocking 85% most of the game, but after a turnover I’l turn that up to 100%? Seriously?

        • Mac

          Cullen Jenkins?

          • phillychuck

            And you think a “motivational tool” like telling these guys they need to give 100% after turnovers would change their behavior? Again, seriously?

            I think Chip could have gotten more out of those players than Reid did, but not in specific circumstances (such as after turnovers). I think that’s magical thinking, with no basis in reality. Do the stats show that any teams CONSISTENTLY out-perform their offensive or defensive expectations (not league average, their team’s yearly average) in post-turnover situations? I don’t see it.

          • Mac

            Do I think that if Chip came over to Asante and said, “hey, I need you to go out there and make something happen” after a turnover that it wouldn’t be one of the times he tries to tackle a RB or step it up a notch on pass defense? Obviously you think it’s not possible, I think it is possible. A big part of being an effective coach is knowing what buttons to hit and when to hit them.

        • Mark Sitko

          It’s about more than effort – so many things change drive to drive – just play some Madden or coach a team and this will make more sense to you – NFL players do not go 100% in every game – are you kidding me? So if that is the case, why does playoff football look so radically different than regular football? The mindset of the players and coaches is adjustable and extremely important.

          • phillychuck

            “just play some Madden or coach a team and this will make more sense to you”

            I’ve played some low-level football and coached HS, but I’ve never played Madden, and it’s weird to use Madden as an argument about what happens on a real field. I completely agree about how this would play out in HS, but disagree about the pros. I think that we won’t be able to reconcile differences in this case, so I respect your argument, I just don’t agree with your conclusion. Sorry.

          • Mitchell

            If you have Megatron giving 85% it is still worlds better than Titus Young @100%. You can make up for lack of effort with just a naturally higher base in skill or stature. Sure someone may have not have blocked as hard as try could but would the next person do any better? Like I said it is physically/mentally impossible for humans to play 100%, 100% of the time. My 85 may be better than your 100. The 85 is still the better player.

          • xeynon

            Don’t you read Titus Young’s Twitter feed? He was run out of Detroit because he’s so talented he was stealing the spotlight from Megatron.

          • Mitchell

            Lolz. Sorry I dnt have twitter

          • Mark Sitko

            Got it…

          • Neil

            I can tell you from my own experience playing basketball as a kid that a few people have a singleminded intensity that results in 100% effort every single moment. Not many, though, but I think as you climb up the levels of a sport the concentration gets higher, not that it’s everybody in the NFL. And about playoff football, I really don’t think that’s a matter of players giving more effort, at least most of the time. I think it’s just the stakes drawing something out of the players they didn’t know they had.

          • Andy124

            Could also be a hightened state of excitement on the part of the observer affecting their perception.

    • GEagle

      it’s just a motivational tool used to get players to turn it up a notch…It’s not uncommon for teams to hold up 4 fingers(Friday night lights style) at the beginning of the 4th quarter, symbolizing the need to buckle down and step your game up. .would you say that the teams were trying any less during the pervious 3 Quarters? Of course not…it’s just a motivational tool used to increase focus, and buckle down…I don’t see the problem with it. I like that he puts an emphasis on making the most of turnover opportunities…Every team values turnovers, he is just taking it a step forward…what’s the problem?

    • Mark Sitko

      You are making a very poor assumption, that all drives are the same. There is nothing further from the truth – the strategy, play calling, and NEED TO SCORE alters for every drive. The easiest proof is a game winning 4th quarter drive…clearly those dries are totally different than most drives, right? You go for 4th everytime, you throw the ball more than run, and everyone is on their A fucking game – all Chip is saying is that drives after turnovers need to feel and look more like final drives in a game – rather than any old attempt to get yards…do you understand? Chip is totally sane and logical in this analysis…

      • phillychuck

        Final drives are different strategically, but not because everyone is “on their A-fucking game”. Defenses play more prevent when ahead, and go for the ball more when behind. Offenses run more conservative plays when leading, and more aggressive plays when trailing, leading to more conversions but more mistakes, too. Most pros don’t take downs off–the fact that we can single out examples from last year’s out-of-contention, miserable team is the exception that demonstrates the general validity of the rule.

        Again, look at the stats. Teams do not show year-to-year consistency on post-turnover conversion or defense, which they would if it were a coachable skill.

        • Mark Sitko

          My point is that ALL drives are different strategically – do you agree?

          And I am sorry – but lots of players take plays off, and not even totally slacking, just the edge – when you watch football do you think every player is consistent on every play? when a team is 0-6 are they playing 100% every game? Of course not.

          Explain to me how teams showing year-to-year consistency on post-turnovers would prove your point? No stats are consistent year to year, that is very rare for many teams on any level…and YOU show me the stats – don’t say go check them, the burden is on you buddy…

          • phillychuck

            The burden isn’t on me just b/c you say it is. I’ve looked at the stats and I can’t find any evidence for persistent skill. If you can, I’d be glad to look at it, honestly. It looks to me that this is a perfect example of “post hoc” analysis. One year you play better after turns, and you were “clutch”. The next year you don’t, and you were “choking under pressure”. Yeah, that might be it, but it also might just be small sample size variation. I tend to favor the small sample size, random fluctuation explanation.

            If it were that easy, why doesn’t every coach do it?

          • Mark Sitko

            The burden is on you because you brought up the stats – I do not understand how you can make a statistical argument about this issue…unless you looked at teams that scored after turnover and those who didn’t – are you saying they would be just as successful?

            I also never said anything about anything being easy – all I am saying is that it is important to score after turnovers and that fact should emphasized if you re coaching a team – do you agree? I think our argument is getting semantic…we are probably more on the same page than it seems…

          • Jack Waggoner

            I think it’s more a matter of when bigger risks are best taken. Not a matter of taking off plays, but a matter of when to play it more safe and when to take shots down the field.

        • Michael Winter Cho

          PC, I like how do didn’t write and use “the exception that proves the rule” incorrectly. I also agree that this is essentially BS and you can’t do much to change your effectiveness after a turnover, any more than you can sustainably be a great 3rd down team or that getting your running back over 100 yards is going to win you the game.

      • Mark Sitko

        PS – playing “all out” or 100% on every drive is actually a bad strategy – often it is better to go easy early on in games, take what the defense is giving you and wait for your moment to break a big play…it is very similar to boxing – football has a pace and a emotional struggle – and you have to choose when to attack – all Chip is saying is that drives after turnovers are times to go “all out” and do whatever you can to get some points – it’s kinda like gambling with house money, a bonus drive – even if you turn the ball back over you were not supposed to have the rock anyway…

        • phillychuck

          Nobody “goes easy” on the football field in the pros, except in pre-season (or, as Eagles fans saw last year, in meaningless out-of-contention games). Plays are strategically different. And if Chip Kelly is saying he’s going to call more aggressive plays after turns, then, “duh”. Every coach in the NFL does this.

          • Mark Sitko

            All coaches do not do this, but I agree that a lot of them do and this is not that special of an idea – you just seemed to think it was ludicrous, but yes, we agree – it is a smart thing to do and a lot of coaches in the NFL do it…

            As for “going easy” – I just mean putting the offense in a lower gear – and YES, every teams does this in every game…it is about pacing – you love to argue semantics

      • OregonDucker

        Chip has a different package for turnover opportunities. He will take more chances, trick plays, and bombs. Like a vampire, when he smells blood he kills.

        When Chip’s fangs are revealed, players respond and great plays happen. This is Duck football, and now it’s Eagles ball.

    • eagleyankfan

      I think you’re missing the point.

      Maybe Chip has a different plan after turnovers(like no huddle). Maybe he brings in a different offensive package. Who knows. Chip never hit the nail more on the head than this. Baseball analogy — why compare earned and unearned runs? Bottom line it doesn’t matter in the end game score. Sybermatrics(sp?) in football. Nothing wrong with that. Chip never said his team will try harder after a turnover. He’s simply saying you have to do something with it. Back to baseball — two outs and the defense has an error so a running goes to second base on a hit. First words from the offensive team is “let’s make that error hurt”. Doesn’t mean the offense wasn’t trying hard to begin with or the defense will not try harder to NOT let that run score….

    • sawyer29418

      I could not disagree more. This is about stepping on the other opponent’s throat and inflicting a potentially lethal shot. Here is an example. The Eagles put together a long drive and score a touchdown, wearing down the opponent’s defense. On the next play or two, the Eagles defense intercepts a pass around mid field. The Eagles in three or four plays reach the end zone against a tired defense. That is a quick strike 14 point swing. If it is stressed all the time off the field, when the opportunity arises, the offense’s energy goes to a new level. This is about play calling and creating the mentality to take advantage of critical opportunities. Anyone who has played the game for any length of time knows how the wind can come out of the sails if you are on the wrong end of this and how a game can quickly get out of reach. This is only irrational if teams are not prepared mentally and physically to take advantage of an opportunity when it present itself. Think about all the great teams that put away inferior teams when they have a chance to take the kill shot. It is hard to remember when we used to have that in Philly. Expectations are tempered, but I am optimistic about the Eagles future.

  • austinfan

    Interesting point on the Eagle OL, while they have three starters who are 31-32, they have stockpiled young OTs, Kelly, Johnson, Parcell, Bamiro, Tobin, even Wang is only 26. It is much easier to draft interior OL in the middle rounds, so if they can find a couple young OTs to develop, that makes it easier to maintain the OL, and also provides the option (if they can negotiate a suitable contract extension) of moving Peters inside in a couple of years (imagine a 33 year old Peters replacing Herremans at RG in 2015).

    • GEagle

      I wonder if Barbre has already leap frogged Watkins as the first OG off the bench? the backup center spot still worries me.
      ..
      where are we weakest in terms of depth? I would have to say ILB(an injury to Meco and Kendrick’s would really hurt), Center, and Outside CB(My guess is that Boykin would move outside and Poyer would replace him in the slot).

      • Mitchell

        I would like to see more of Marsh as well.

      • Anders

        It is hard to say about Barbre vs Watkins.

        I do like what we have heard of Quin in terms of skills for the backup center job

        • GEagle

          Wasn’t he cut for Bamario?

  • ian_no_2

    I question the logic. The importance of a possession relates to the score and not how you got the ball. If you recover a fumble, go three and out, and punt it, then you have at least helped your field position.

    The good news is the coach doesn’t really have to be logical. If this point of emphasis makes the team covert on turnovers better as the Ducks did than it’s a good thing.

    • Mark Sitko

      By your logic turnovers are no different than forcing a punt, and that is silly. Of course there is a huge difference – watch a team after they turn the ball over, their moral is ALWAYS lower than if they punt, even if they punt after going 3 and out on their own 20. This is a game of confidence and emotion, you take advantage of your opponent when they are weak – either physically or emotionally – Chip makes all the sense in the world with this…

      • Mac

        Agreed. Football players are not automatons. Actually, from what I’ve seen they are far from it. Many of them are not much more mature than your average high school or college kid. The team leaders can only do so much, and if those guys are the least bit deflated, the rest of the team will likely slump as well.

        The effect may not be as dramatic as it can be on a girls H.S. volleyball team, but the principle is the same.

        How many of the great comebacks engineered by Farve could have been done with say… Chad Pennington? Pennington was a good NFL qb (quite underrated) but there was just something about Farve and his ability to lift the team at the end of a game. He got into the huddle and the guys around him just “knew” something was going to happen (and I actually don’t like Farve at all).

        Until we start playing football with robots, psychology will play a role.

      • ian_no_2

        I never said turnovers are no different than forcing a punt.

        • TommyLawlor

          Ian…you kinda did.

          ” The importance of a possession relates to the score and not how you got the ball. ”

          Turnovers are different.

          • ian_no_2

            Turnovers are better than punt receptions because the ball has not been advanced 40 yards for the other team. Never said otherwise. And whatever psychological factors enter into this are not what what I was talking about.

  • Mark Sitko

    I follow this rule in Madden – and even if it is a fieldgoal – ALWAYS GET POINTS AFTER A TURNOVER. I learned this from Reid actually – if you go back and watch us when we had JJ running the D, often when we got the ball back on turnover Reid would start throwing deep right away. The idea is that if the other team turns it over they are discouraged, (especially if you are leading) – if you can then score in an instant (or less than a minute) it can devastating to the other team…completely kill their moral – and in Madden terms, hopefully force the sissy to quit the game…

    • ACViking

      Long passes after a turnover have been around since Johnny Unitas and Dutch Van Brocklin were behind center.

      • TommyLawlor

        Absolutely.

        There is a slight difference, perhaps. Most teams are trying to score quickly, to catch the defense off guard.

        Kelly seems to be focusing on making the most of the opportunity, almost as a reward to the defense for getting the ball.

      • OregonDucker

        Van Brocklin led the Oregon Ducks to a 16-5 record as a starter. Another Oregon contribution to the Eagles!

      • Mark Sitko

        totally ACViking – I was not watching back then, but I would assume the strategy has been around a long time

  • HipDaDip

    The point of emphasizing the reaction to turnovers might be a little less obvious than just to “make sure to score after a takeaway.” I think that if the defense knows that the offense will be held accountable to score after a defensive turnover, the defensive players will be more motivated to force that turnover. That is to say, defensive players may be more motivated to get an interception if they believe the offense is supposed to score because of it. On the other side, if the running back doesn’t simply think of the fumble as 7 points for the opponents, but sees it as a burden for his defensive teammates because they are expected to stop it, it might be a motivator to hold on to the ball.

    I know the players want to force turnovers and not fumble for their own stats, but I think knowing the head coach appreciates your hard work and will hold the other part of the team accountable is a big motivator. This seems like yet another way for Kelly to build team unity.

  • eagleyankfan

    I wonder if there is any correlation with winning teams and “chip’s thoughts”? T-Law — get your statistical team on it! People that doubt… it sounds like you’re assuming Chip is just spouting some garbage. I’ll take the other side of it and assume Chip did his homework and did some number crunching. Otherwise, he’s wasting his own time. Until proven otherwise — in Chip I trust. Writers

  • eagleyankfan

    having read the link on Oregon’s stats. I don’t believe in the “14 point swing”. Assuming that other team doesn’t score a TD(and not a FG?) and Assuming you DO score a TD(and not a FG). If you stop them and go down the field and score a FG, than it’s a 6 points swing. A lot of “assuming” by saying a 14 point swing…

    • TommyLawlor

      Yeah, that comment was a bit presumptive.

  • Neil

    I think another thing to consider with this is enemy morale. It’s worse to give up a touchdown after a turnover than not and uplifting when a turnover doesn’t result in points.

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