On Wasting Timeouts
The conventional wisdom is that the Redskins must surely be close to the league lead in wasted timeouts. Yesterday we were treated to an agonizing display of timeout profligacy, with four timeouts being spent for virtually no reason at all, that being a season high. The response from the mediablogorama was immediate.
Mister Irrelevant: "Gibbs burns timeouts like [edited edited edited]."
Wash Times: "Q: How can a Hall of Fame coach be so inept at clock management? A: It's pathetic the Redskins are still having these issues four years into Gibbs' second tenure."
FanHouse: "It's all very weird and makes you wonder if this timeout rule is a new one; maybe teams had an unlimited ability to stop the clock in the '80s and early '90s. Or maybe the game has just passed Gibbs by."
Mike Wise: "[Part of] the blame certainly goes to Gibbs and the clock mismanagement that continues to plague his comeback era."
Boswell: "You're going to excuse the way Gibbs wasted a timeout at the Eagles 5-yard line in the third quarter because his field goal team couldn't get organized? This is the replay age. Hoarding timeouts is vital. You take a five-yard, delay-of-game penalty. You don't call a timeout. Then you kick your chip-shot field goal from 28, not 23, yards."
Paul Woody: "Gibbs' decision to call a timeout in order to get the field goal unit on the field, with 9:17 left in the third quarter, was a waste....The Redskins could have used that timeout later in the game. If those five yards mattered so much that they were worth a timeout, if the Redskins field goal unit is so easily flustered, then the Redskins need a new kicker and new field goal unit."
In general, I've always thought you should save your timeouts until the final three minutes of both halves, unless someone's life is in danger, because your regret about not being able to stop the clock at crunch time will always be more acute than your regret about taking some five-yard penalty in the first quarter. But I wanted to see some hard numbers comparing Gibbs's blatant disregard for timeout frugality with other teams around the league. The surprising results, and Gibbs's comments, after the jump:
I looked at every game this year for the Redskins and the four bestish teams in the league: New England, Indianapolis, Dallas and Green Bay. This was my definition of a wasted timeout: a failed replay challenge, or a timeout taken outside of three minutes in either half (unless an earlier timeout was obviously being used to stop the clock). The rankings:
New England 18
Green Bay 12
Games with multiple wasted timeouts
New England 7
Green Bay 5
Which leads to the conclusion....jeez, I have no idea. I guess some good teams waste timeouts, and some good teams don't, and Washington's timeout profligacy probably wouldn't be considered such a glaring problem if the team were undefeated.
Joe Gibbs on the lack of timeouts at the end:
"One of 'em we had a timeout on the field, Jason felt like....I can't go back right now and re-trace all of 'em. But then I challenged one because I thought a challenge there was worth taking. So we wound up without timeouts there towards the end."
On the pre-field-goal timeout:
"[We were] late getting people in, people tried to decide exactly how far it was and everything and so I decided that what I'd rather do there is take the timeout, make sure we're squared away and kick the field goal."
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