The Redskins and Two-Point Conversions: Reason or Madness?
After I wrote about Jim Zorn's explanation for going for two against the Lions the other day, and about Zorn's feelings about The Chart, I got a call from a friend who has an intense interest in the Redskins. He wanted to know whether I got the sense that Zorn actually understands what goes into The Chart, or whether he's just blindly reading off numbers. More on that later.
First, some comments from Redskins players, when asked for their feelings about going for two vs. going for one.
"There's supposedly some chart," Todd Yoder said. "It's like a mythical beast of a chart that I've never seen and I don't know if anybody [has], but it's supposed to tell you, 'Go for two, not go for two.' I've never seen this chart."
"They say only go for two if you have to," Chris Cooley said.
"I like that approach," Yoder said.
"Like, if you're playing Madden, if I'm coaching my team on Madden and I want to go for two and I need points, I just go for two," Cooley said. "Like, big deal. Think if you went for two ever time. You're probably gonna get 50 percent of them."
"I don't know when we're supposed to do it," Randy Thomas said, offering an opposing perspective. "I just take a point if I can get it. If you're down by two and you need to go to overtime, of course you've got to go [for two], but if I'm up, I'm going for points."
"Supposedly there's a chart and all that stuff," Pete Kendall said. "I don't really pay attention to the chart. I've never seen one of them. I don't think it's real hard, you know what I mean? Add one or add two."
"I wouldn't follow the chart, I'd just go by gut feeling," Yoder said. "I would just look at the scoreboard and be like, 'You know what, we should go for two.' "
"I just thought they go off the score, that's what I thought," said Antwaan Randle El, who had never heard of The Chart.
I asked Shaun Suisham if he had memorized The Chart.
"Jeez, you're giving me too much credit, man," he said. "I know the chart, but I don't think anybody has it memorized, do they? I just look for coach to say one or two, I don't try to make things more complicated than they need to be....I'll tell you what, the less I have to think about it, the better off I am."
And going for it early in the fourth, up 12, on the road? Thoughts?
"I'm not touching that. that's coach's decision," Suisham said.
"I will agree with you that I think you could make a rational argument both ways in that instance, no doubt," Kendall said. "A lot of times you can do that. it seems to be me that the conventional wisdom has been boiled down to now, go for two only when you have to. And I'm not necessarily sure that that's right in all circumstances."
"I figured we should," Randle El said. "I didn't know if we were, that's their call. Something happens, [they] get a kick return for a touchdown, [they're] down seven, and then if they score it's tied up instead of up two."
"The other day I think we should have went for two, I loved the call," Yoder said. "Why not? With the way our defense plays, I would rather be up two touchdowns, you know what I mean?"
I explained that if way things actually happened--if the Lions got a TD, if the Skins got a FG, if the Lions got the ball back--then Detroit would be left with a chance to tie.
"What I'm saying is there's too many ipso factos there," Yoder said. "Just look at the scoreboard and say, 'Go for two.' Done."
Coming up, we'll learn that things aren't so simple for the decision makers.
(And speaking of Cooley, I left Redskins Park right behind him yesterday. A few minutes later, we wound up at the same gas station. "Did you see what Clinton did at that traffic light????" he asked me. I hadn't seen.
Apparently, when we were all stopped at the same light, Clinton Portis got out of his car, ran three cars ahead to where Cooley and his wife were stopped, jumped on the hood of Cooley's car, pressed his face into the windshield, and then ran back to his own car. While I was fiddling with my BlackBerry. Which is fine, because no one would have been interested in a photo of Clinton Portis jumping onto the hood of Chris Cooley's car at a traffic light.)
October 30, 2008; 1:21 PM ET
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