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SHOES: Hidden Yardage Was a Killer vs. Pats

Posted by jetsstaff on September 21, 2008 – 1:03 pm

Amidst all the hysteria of the play call second-guessing and the "did the Jets forget they have Brett Favre?" nonsense (and by the way, that is nonsense … the Jets are running many of the same plays Favre ran in Green Bay … but I digress), what seemed to be lost in the background noise after the Patriots game was the single biggest reason the Jets came up short. Field position was, by far, the single most important statistical story teller last week.

Bill Parcells always had a theory about "hidden yardage" inside the game. Too often when analyzing the stats it seems people look at total offense, total defense, etc., stats that can easily be rendered meaningless if field position is a big factor. Well, I don’t think I’ve ever done a game where it played as big a part as last week.

According to Parcells (and he’s not the only one to use this formula, he’s just the one that I learned it from), 100 yards of "hidden yardage" or field position is worth 7 points.

Put simply, Team A has 10 possessions in a game and they start all 10 at their own 30-yard line. Team B has the ball 10 times and they start their 10 drives at their own 20-yard line. So before either team even runs a play on offense, Team A has a 7-point advantage on Team B. The theory being that if you start 10 drives 10 yards further up the field than your opponent, you’re going to score a TD at some point your opponent won’t score simply because your drives are easier to execute, you’re starting a first down ahead on every possession, etc.

Well, apply this to the Jets-Patriots game and you’ll see why most of the hand-wringing over playcalling this week was completely misplaced. The Jets had nine possessions and the Patriots had nine possessions. The Jets’ average starting field position was their own 21-yard line. The Pats started on average at their own 42! New England had a 21-yard advantage PER DRIVE. They opened 5 possessions IN JETS TERRITORY!

That means that before either offense even ran a play in the game, by the hidden yardage theory, the Pats had a 189-yard advantage in the game and were up by 13 points. Look at the result, the Jets lost by nine.

Everything in this game fed off field position. Brett Favre never got the short field to get the Jets offense going. Matt Cassel never once had to deal with the pressure of the crowd, deep in his own end, up against his own goal line, needing to drive his team 75 to 90 yards. This wasn’t the only factor in the game, but it was without question the most important.


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Posted in Bob Wischusen | 56 Comments »


56 Responses to “SHOES: Hidden Yardage Was a Killer vs. Pats”

  1. By Drew on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Looks like the Dolphins went to the film room and studied everyplay that worked vs us last week. It’s fun cheering for Chad again. News flash Pats fans….this is what happens when teams have film on your young inexperienced QB. Like I said all week Jet fans. The Pats were fired up to play us and won the special team battle.Matt Cassel will stop them from winning games from behind.

  2. By Drew on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    WOW…It doesn’t help me when the Doplhins run 3 tricks plays at the goaline to score against the Pats to go up 21-6 at the half. Again, I was all for the 3 runs last week but the Dolphin coaching staff is taking the Patriots to school today. Maybe the Jet win week one was so easy after all.

  3. By 4Jets4Now on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Great points! But what fun is that? You can’t blame “hidden yardage” and demand that it be fired. You can not compare “hidden yardage” with Herm. You can not even make a comparison between hidden yardage today and hidden yardage when Nameth was QB. We Jets fans do not want logical answers to what happens in games….we want HEADS TO ROLL!!! Oh wait a minute….the punter was fired. OK

  4. By MG on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Outstanding article, Bob, and just what I’ve been screaming all week. As frustrating as it was watching the 3 handoffs inside the 3, the Jets lost this game on field position. There is no defense against Gostkowski kicking it through the end zone, but Graham KILLED them all day with poor punting. It truly was the difference in the game.

  5. By Xavion on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Wow Miami is dismantling NE Chad is having a field day and Ronnie Brown having a career Game and Some how I knew That the dolphins were gonna come in and Win never expected this though. So NE last loss was to Mia and there first loss since then will be vs mia The jets will def win next Game I guarantee it

  6. By Seawiz on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    the dolphins killed the patriots!good to see pennington have a good game.

  7. By sal cottone on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    What is the difference between D. Ward of the G-men and when he was a Jet, maybe just another one that got away?

  8. By zartan on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    I can go with the hidden yardage 2 some exstent but better game managment and exacution defeats it. We need a Joey Porter type on this team.some1 2 play with fire& passion.Ghostons not showing the will to go out and hit some1.

  9. By mike ex jet fan on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    we all knew Ne was ripe 4 the picking only problem penny & the fins with there 1st year rookie coach had to show us how its done amagine that — can’t wait to hear the lets give it 3 more years & see what happens R going to say ? maybe tony S will show us how he can punch it in — beat part of all is I don’t have to see that smirk on bills face this week YES

  10. By Vikram on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Makes perfect sense. You don’t need a formula to see that the dismal punting coupled with the Favre interception gave the Pats enough field position to ensure they put points on the board. Doesn’t matter who you’re playing, if you spot the opposition such good starting position you’re definitely giving up points.

  11. By wayner on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    You may be right Shoes, but that didn’t cost the Jets the game. Bonehead penalties by Vets, poor execution and overly conservative play call on both sides of the ball did…. It will be interesting to see if Chad Pennington ends ups with better stats by season’s end than Favre….That will place the focus squarely on Mangini’s grill… He’s so busy trying to outsmarting Bill he fools himself

  12. By shep on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Running the same plays Brett ran in Green Bay isn’t a fair comparison IMHO, because when he had a solid receiving corps they rarely ran 3 red zone run plays. Using a GREAT play-action passer in the red zone is time proven. With the men he has to throw to in NY, it’s smart to use him where he excells. Field position, I agree completely. But momentum from a touchdown may well have been a factor…

  13. By jet80 on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    I was cheerin Chad all the way!nice to see the pats be on the other side of the murder.But on the down side we had nothing on the pats D and the even with bill knowin what Chads goin to do their offense was steller.thats what happpens when coaching says alright Chad you run your show and do what you do.now imagine if our coach did the same with Bret.we all know his show

  14. By Frank on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Congrats to the Phins…that’s the way you play a football game…to win. I absolutely rest my case about Mangini and his staff. I thought it might take a year for the Phins to catch up with us however if Mangini stays the course and doesn’t make radical changes we will be battling the Phins for last place this season.

  15. By Drew on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Just watched S Payton and the Saints call 4 running plays inside the 3 yrd line down by seven w/ 30 seconds before the half in Denver. All 4 runs were stopped!!!! No motion, No Reggie Bush on the field…….Maybe S Payton should be fired….Bobby is right on with this article. We lost the field position big time against the Pats. Not because of goaline plays. Well get that fixed and bounce back

  16. By Jay on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    It’s funny, Joey Porter (who stinks) tells his Fins that NE is down, let’s attack boys- Fins rout Pats. Mangini blabs on about how dangerous NE is and we have to be “safe” and not make mistakes- Jets play awful and lose. When will we realize we have a top notch roster and as Herm said (but never did) “Play to win the game”. This cautious attitude sets a terrible tone. PLAY MEAN, EXPECT VICTORY

  17. By mike ex jet fan on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Before the communication starts this week heres some food 4 thought the bills-broncos-titans- steelers are very good . & miami -oakland-cincy played good games I still think we can beat them but if mangini doesn’t execute better gameplan this week- in the words of jim mora PLAYOFFS!!!!!!!!!! are u kidding me PLAYOFFS its plain & simple ok ye believers start the debates

  18. By BigEd on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    What does it say that the Dolphins were able to spank the Pats and we couldn’t muster more than 10 pts???

  19. By MikeMc on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Heres a shock, Frank is quitting on the season,You’ll eat your words Frank ,Mangini will prove his metal this year. Great point Drew,Payton knows how to score, Pats had a short field all day vs us.Mike the Ex , yes I want 3 more yrs of Mangini, I feel constant turnover w/ the coaches is the reason we have had little success building a program thats constantly in contention.No rolling heads 4jets4!

  20. By Ray on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    First off, great article, you can’t give a team the starting field position we gave them all day and expect to win. To think we only gave up 19 points is pretty amazing. Jay, I might agree with you if Joey Porter didn’t spout off EVERY week. My take on that game is if you flip the schedule so Miami played NE last week they would have lost and we would have been better facing them this week.

  21. By Row on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    When was the last game we dominated? When did we outscore our opponents by a good margin? When did we not have trouble in the redzone? Someone coach this team because I want to win, it seems everyone else wants to not lose.

  22. By Ray on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    I know that sounds like an excuse, but think about it. Last week, national game, a bunch of people saying they are done and the Jets are the team to beat. So they circle the wagons and go out to prove everyone wrong. Then, it’s the lowly Phins coming to town. They act like they have two bye weeks in a row and don’t show up. And Miami blindsided them. Cassell or no Cassell you think Miami….

  23. By MikeMc on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    JAY I agree with you on the fact that we are not playing mean. We are playing tough “D” but not nasty like Philly’s “D” was today, we need to deliver some pain without the penalties. Monday night will reveal our character, because if we don’t score , it will get ugly in a hurry around here. I can’t keep beating back the wolves.Drew we are clearly out-numbered.

  24. By Ray on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    … has improved that much? They executed a great game plan, that included better pressure on Cassell than we got. mike ex jet, my opinions haven’t changed, because we can’t worry about what everyone else does, we have to worry about taking care of our own business. BTW I really wish AZ had beaten Wash. And Randy (or Bob), is AZ staying here this week or travelling back and forth?

  25. By TomTorres on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    I cannot believe I saw MIAMI do to the Pats at THEIR stadium what the Jets should have done. Shame on the entire Jets organization. I’m glad Chad got out of this mediocre garbage. Jets have all the pieces and lost their heart. How dare Jets ownership even think of PSL’s with the way the fans have been treated over the years? Shame on the entire organization!

  26. By BIG AL on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    this tells me is the jets could learn alot from MIA for tomorrow and the heart miami played with today the jets need for MNF. ronnie brown was god like they beat the living crap out of NE and we barley got away with the only win so far ? this goes back to heart do the jets have it or not? we will see24hrsfrom now a playoff shot or sweet dreams mangini is on the hot seat shottie next in line

  27. By BIG AL on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    SD ranked 30th in the league on defense that tell me JETS need to score points qick or there dead in the water and if they cant then this is an indicator of our o-line guys faneca woody mangold on down need to step up and allow the Ofense to do there jobs joey porter for mayor is the word in maimi LOL GO JETS

  28. By tommyo on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    u said it jay! we gave NE too much respect. GLAD 4 CHAD but im sorry. 3 runs up the gut killed our chances. @ NE…even with bretts INT , we still wouldve been in the game!!! look at griese today! he threw a couple INTS but went over 400 yds W A FEW TDS!!!!! thats playing to win! lettin the ball go!! big ben lost today cuz he cant throW with his shoulder. USE BRETTS ARM BE4 ITS TOO LATE!!!

  29. By UConn-Jet on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    What killed us was field position? Perhaps. I agree, Gostkowski was 5 out of 6 for kickoff touchbacks. However, we did not play the same plays that the Packers run. The Packers run a spread offense, and utilize their personnel effectively. Keller had one catch for 19 yards. Unacceptable. Gholston needs to be in the game, at least place him in a sub package. What killed the Jets was conservatism.

  30. By Bob Wischusen on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Ray, the Cardinals are staying in the Washington, D.C., area this week before traveling to North Jersey on Saturday.

  31. By johnloop on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Field position was a huge factor. I’m sorry but Ben Graham was simply awful. You’re not gonna win many games when you punt from your own 25 yard line and the other team ends up with the ball on the 50. He must punt better.

  32. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    “Hidden Yards” theory looks good on paper but if you look at today’s Pats’ game you’ll see that Miami had 10 drives with avg starting position at 28.1 yard line. Pats had 12 drives, avg. start at 39.25 yard line, that’s 133.68 “Hidden Yards” in Pats’ favor. “The Patriots kept getting fooled by the same trickery: six direct snaps resulting in four touchdowns.” Trick plays beat the Pats. GO Jets!

  33. By Jesse on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    The Miami-Patriots game just won me $50. I knew they were going to take our film and fix the mistakes. You’re right about about the special teams Bob, Leon couldn’t get his mojo going last week on special teams. Hopefully, everything is straight now big game Monday. Great Article!

  34. By Andrew in Tucson on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Flipper killed the pats and we could not do a thing against the pats. Doesn’t that concern anybody. If the Jets look like they did last week it is going to be a long season! Unleah the hounds schotty and stop being scared! Being scared will only cost the Jets a LOSS! Stop the running game D! It looked liked the same old Jets only they got 7 sacks in 2 games!

  35. By Tom Spicer on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    The Phins win today makes our coaching staff look even worse we had them & we gave it away the D only gave up 1 TD 7 the O drove 80 yards on them 3 times the game was lsot cause of punting, kicking & bad coaching

  36. By Xavion on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Im telling you. That game against the patriots by the Jets & Dolphins was a wake up call to the Jets coaches. We have so many versitile weapons yet we dont use them. B. smith has yet to touch the ball. Keller has 1 catch, Leon is not touching the Ball enough & Brett is still limited We have to open up & use Our mismatches Play calling must improve. on O and D Blitz more. Jets win scoring 30+ pts

  37. By Charles F on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    Wow were still talking about this we need to move on and worry about SD. Sure that game was a heartbreaker and was a tough loss. I just hope the Jets realize there playing on MNF and need to win this game and make a statement to league. I’m sick of the Bills fans thinking there taken division because there 3-0. I’m glad that Penny got a win. It’s always a good day for me when Pats get blown out.

  38. By Charles F on Sep 21, 2008 | Reply

    What a great day to see the Pats get spanked by are arch rivals. LOL Glad to see Penny get a win and R.Brown run all over the Pats. I just don’t understand why we couldn’t do that. This article is true but it sounds like more excuses move on already. Play mean and expect victory best statement I heard yet. I enjoy reading what you guys have to say each week and I’m glad I can vent with you.Go Jets

  39. By Ray on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Ed in Tucson, I think you misunderstood the hidden yards theory. It didn’t mean that NE should have beaten Miami. It meant that they scored a touchdown that Miami didn’t because of the better field position. So really, in effect it is saying they got beat even worse!

  40. By Pete on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Can you believe it? Miami a 1 & 15 team can beat the PATS, but JETS with MANGINI who was Belichick’s wing man, & should know the PATS almost as good as Belichick, CAN’T beat the PATS at home with NO TOM BRADY. But a 1 & 15 Miami team can beat the PATS by more than 20 points! The JETS should be ASHAMED of themselves. & the 3 tries in a row, JETS offensive line should be ASHAMED of themselves!

  41. By Mark C on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    This article is spin for the the waiving of Ben Graham and nothing more. I agree that we should be looking towards SD and not trying to create any more excuses about the loss last Sunday. I am also glad that Miami beat the Pats and shows that we can look forward to playing them again later in the season.

  42. By michael perosi on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    hidden yardage my eye!!….the reason the jets lost is two fold…they still canot stop the run in critical situations…and the much hyped offensive did not perform up to expectations…that being said…i think once they iron out those couple kinks we will be much better…i predict a win tonight at SD 24-19….GO JETS!!

  43. By Blinka on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    You make it sound like the poor field position was given to them.

    And Pete your right, The OL should have punched it in. And could someone throw water in my face because I don’t get it. What’s so good about Mangold! Mawae was all over the field on running plays. Seem like with Mangold is always on the ground.

  44. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Ray, my point, hard to make adequately with the word limit, was that imaginative play calling can overcome bad field position. Miami’s 1st 7 drives started at their 26 or worse yet they managed to pile up the points. CP lined up as WR and Bellichik’s bullies were befuddled. Our coaches use the jumbo package, which limits BF’s options, on 3 straight plays; the Pats were ready for that.

  45. By Anthony on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Yea Green Bay and the Jets both have West coast offenses.. Except you got to see a lot more down the field plays while Favre was in Green Bay. This is more of an excuse thread. HOnestly if Favre threw to the tight end a little bit more and even passed on that three and out in the Redzone.. I gaurantee we would have been down only by two points at the end of that game . The Jets should have won.

  46. By Johnny C on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Yeah, I buy this story. Its kind of like passing people in your pit stops in nascar. Your kicking game is just like your pit crew, and can really make all the difference.

  47. By r on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    your aricle points out that “thinking” beats :physicality in football..The team that is mentally prepared will win..Jets have a way to to it seems…Obviously the talk about OL and Dl improvemnt neglected to count Special Teams as also a critical need to improve…Hopefully we will get it right in time to squeak out a third place finish

  48. By Johnny C on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    I think the JETS D softened Cassel up last week, and derailed his beginners luck train. We roughed him up pretty good, and I think he was still shell-shocked vs miami. Think about it… He was playing real hot coming off the bench for Tom, all the way until the JETS started hammering him and getting in his face. Then it was downhill for him, and he started playing different.

  49. By OriginalJetFan on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    On the article, I think you’re right on on field position being the deciding (if not the only) factor in the NE loss. punting was oneweakness, but why is it that Nugent or anyone else the Jets have kick-off NEVER get it into or beyond the endzone? get a kicker with a leg!!!

  50. By ddh on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    while I agree with this article, the only way to change bad field position is to mount an effective offensive drive, to continually allow field position to be a factor in the game is not the problem but a symptom of a much larger problem, poor execution and ineffective play calling.

  51. By Old Rogue on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    sal cottone Said:

    “What is the difference between D. Ward of the G-men and when he was a Jet, maybe just another one that got away?”

    Well, yeah. Not to mention that John Abraham is having a career season at Atlanta.

    tommyo Said
    “we gave NE too much respect.. 3 runs up the gut killed our chances. @ NE…”

    Uh, Tommyo? The Dolphins won last night’s game by RUNNING THE BALL against the Pats.

  52. By Patrick from PA on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Yes, field position was in NE’s favor throughout the game because of bad punting, but we lost that game because we were out coached. Miami clearly doesn’t have the talent we have and managed to destroy NE. They were creative on offense and we were not. The dude from tucson pretty much put that hidden yardage theory to rest.

  53. By Ray on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Ed in Tucson, I don’t disagree with you, we didn’t do very well in the play calling dept. But apply that same theory to our game and flip the teams, think it still would have been 19-10 had we started every drive around our 41? And remember, Chad has been in that offense before. And btw guys, how many TD’s did CP throw for? Coincidence? I think not.

  54. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Say Ray, let’s not forget that missed FG and LC dropped a couple passes. We could have won that game despite the field position difference. I responded to Shoes’ main thesis which was: “Field position was, by far, the single most important statistical story teller last week.” To answer your question, yes, it could have still been 19-10 if our guys missed FGs, dropped passes and ran dumb plays.

  55. By Ken on Sep 22, 2008 | Reply

    Bob Wischusen I like you. But YOU are a GAINT fan. You talk about HIDDEN YARDS. I really wonder if you would have been so understanding if it were YOUR GAINTS losing to a PATS team playing at home with no TOM BRADY. I still remember Bob Wischusen screaming at the top of his lungs when the GAINTS lost to the 49ERS in the playoffs when they messed up the place kick. Remember that Bob Wischusen?

  56. By CD on Nov 16, 2008 | Reply

    I agree completely! Field position was key in this game. 10 yards here and there can make a difference in pts on the board. There is only so much time and if you don’t answer every score by the opponent, you might come up short in the end. The wise parcells knows and that is also why Chad P. is doing so well in Miami.

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