NFL power rankings: A lesson on what to do — and what not to do — as head coach

Detroit Free Press

This is a power ranking of teams, not coaches, but if we were in the business of putting the NFL’s 32 coaches in order, the Baltimore Ravens’ John Harbaugh would be atop my list this morning, and the Houston Texans’ David Culley most certainly would not.

Harbaugh made the bold decision to go for a fourth-and-1 late in the Ravens’ 36-35 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night. The Ravens were at their own 43-yard line at the time, clinging to a one-point lead, in a situation where many coaches would punt, pin their opponent deep — even if that opponent had Patrick Mahomes — and hope like hell their defense could do enough to stop the best player in football.

Harbaugh, long on the cutting edge of analytics, decided to put the game in his best player’s hands, and when Lamar Jackson powered for 2 yards and a first down, the Ravens had an elusive win over the defending AFC champs.

BIRKETT: Packers have dominated NFC North for 3 decades. Here’s how Lions can end reign

REMEMBER WHEN: Why the Lions’ Monday night history features some stunning losses & some epic wins

According to EdjSports, that single coaching decision — to go for it rather than punt, regardless of the outcome — increased the Ravens’ likelihood of winning by 17%.

I like coaches with the, shall we say, gall, to take on risk, outcome be damned. Harbaugh did it Sunday; if Jackson was stopped on that play, the Chiefs were in field goal range and essentially guaranteed to win. And Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell did something similiar in Week 1, when he went for a couple early fourth-and-shorts rather than play more conventionally and kick field goals.

Those coaches could teach Culley, the first-year Texans coach, a thing or two about managing a game.

Culley made the weekend’s worst coaching decision — the worst non-personnel in-game decision I can remember, frankly — after the Texans gained 13 yards on a third-and-15 play in their loss Sunday to the Cleveland Browns. Culley declined a defensive offsides penalty on the play, preferring a fourth-and-2 to a third-and-10.

That decision in itself was fine, it was what happened next that left everyone scratching their head: The Texans punted on fourth-and-2.

So rather than try and convert a third-and-10, Culley took 8 yards and freely gave the ball back to the Browns. He chalked his decision up to frustration, but that play will forever go down as Houston’s version of taking the wind.

This week’s power rankings

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)

2. Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

3. San Francisco 49ers (2-0)

4. Arizona Cardinals (2-0)

5. Las Vegas Raiders (2-0)

6. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

7. Buffalo Bills (1-1)

8. Cleveland Browns (1-1)

9. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)

10. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)

12. Green Bay Packers (0-1)

13. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

14. Tennessee Titans (1-1)

15. Carolina Panthers (2-0)

16. Denver Broncos (2-0)

17. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

18. New Orleans Saints (1-1)

19. Washington Football Team (1-1)

20. Miami Dolphins (1-1)

21. New England Patriots (1-1)

22. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

23. Chicago Bears (1-1)

24. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

25. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

26. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

27. Detroit Lions (0-1)

28. Houston Texans (1-1)

29. Atlanta Falcons (0-2)

30. New York Jets (0-2)

31. New York Giants (0-2)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

Contact Dave Birkett at Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

Articles You May Like

Jared Goff is working with a quarterback guru again, he even brought two friends to catch passes for him
Detroit Lions News: Amon-Ra St. Brown WORKING Harder After Contract Extension, Joshua Paschal RISE?
Open thread: What position should Netflix feature in their next football reality series?
Every NFL team’s non-QB MVP heading into 2024 season
Detroit Lions Pre Training Camp 53-Man Roster Prediction Video

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *