The Jaguars have shocked the NFL after starting the year 7-3, thanks in large part to their outstanding defense. But while that side of the ball has deservingly gotten a lot of the credit for their success, there’s another interesting aspect of their front office that had contributed to the team’s sudden rise to the top of the AFC South, opines Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated.
As a part of his Friday column, the veteran reporter made note of the expanded use of analytics in the team’s decision making process because of the department headed up by Jacksonville’s owner’s son, Tony Khan. Khan’s group supplements the work done by Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone through more advanced statistical and technological methods, something that isn’t as rampant in the NFL as with other sports, like basketball or baseball.
However, Breer pointed out the Jaguars have used data in their decision to keep their offense on the field a full 10 percent more times on fourth down than last season, as well in their acquisitions of running back Corey Grant and saftey Jarrod Wilson, who have each made big plays over the course of the season. Breer’s article provides an interesting look at another aspect of perhaps the league’s most surprising team through some pretty cool examples of more analytical evaluation when making football decisions.
- Marvin Lewis is the second longest tenured head coach with one franchise in the league today, ranking right behind Bill Belichick. It’s a notable comparison as the Pats head coach has been able to win multiple Super Bowls with New Engalnd, while the Bengals have not won a single playoff game under Lewis’ leadership. However, the 59-year-old has maintained a number of crucial relationships throughout the league that has helped him fight through a lot of criticism, opines Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. Terrell mentions the likes Hue Jackson, Dirk Koetter, Bill Cowher, Mike Zimmer, Vance Joseph and Jay Gruden as guys who the Bengals head coach considers some of his closest friends in the league. Obviously, Cincinnati has had it’s tough moments under the guise of Lewis, but this piece shows just why he has survived as a head coach in this league for so long, despite the lack of playoff success.
- Marshawn Lynch has never really gotten things going with the Raiders this season, but offensive coordinator Todd Downing mentioned after practice on Friday that he wants to “feed” the veteran running back this Sunday vs. the Broncos, reports Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle. Head coach Jack Del Rio echoed that sentiment after the team’s final practice this week. “Could be a little more,” Del Rio said of Lynch’s workload. “Like to push him, get him a little more.” Lynch has consistently managed single-digit carries with his new team, but it appears that the coaching staff is on board in wanting to get the former All-pro more involved in the Raiders offense in the weeks ahead.
- In some good injury news, Browns defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah tweeted out a photo this afternoon showing that he had a successful surgery on the foot he broke during the team’s game last Sunday vs. the Jaguars. The 24-year-old was having a solid sophomore campaign up until the injury, but it’s certainly great news that his recovery has gotten off to a good start.