The Denver Broncos will try something new this year that, should it go well, will have fans in Denver spending a little less time shaking their damn heads at head coach Gary Kubiak. The team’s new Director of Analytics, Mitch Tanney, will have a say when it comes to in-game coaching decisions.
From the Broncos:
“If we’re moving the ball or we’re doing formatting, I’ve got Mitch with me because he’s going to be on the headset, so we’re trying to practice,” Kubiak said.
With Tanney nearby, Kubiak can receive a quick report on the statistical probabilities of almost any situation. Say that you have fourth-and-3 from the opponent’s 45-yard-line with four minutes to go. Do the large-sample-size percentages make the risk-reward ratio acceptable enough to go for it? Tanney’s analytics can provide insight to aid Kubiak’s decision-making.
The important thing here is Kubiak revealing his plans to give Tanney a headset during games this year. Hiring an analytics guy is one thing, but giving one the power to say things like, “Uh, coach, you definitely shouldn’t punt it from the opponent’s 38-yard line,” during the fourth quarter of a tie game is an encouraging gesture. Try to think of how many times you watched a game last year found yourself wishing that someone would just tell the coach to stop punting on fourth-and-short like an idiot. The Broncos appear to have that guy now.
Of course, how much of an impact Tanney’s presence has depends on Kubiak’s willingness to listen to him. It’s entirely possible that Kubiak will overrule Tanney’s advice and go on doing dumb things. Maybe he’ll listen, though, and maybe Broncos fans will spend a little less time feeling frustrated this season.
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