Gary Kubiak will have director of analytics on headset during games

AP

The Broncos hired Mitch Tanney as their director of analytics this offseason and coach Gary Kubiak said Sunday that Tanney’s work won’t be confined to analysis of the team’s performance after games are over.

Kubiak said that he has had Tanney by his side while simulating game situations in training camp practices so that the two men can get comfortable working with one another ahead of the regular season. When September does roll around, Tanney will be in Kubiak’s ear during games to offer opinions about strategy.

“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, via the team’s website.

One of the ways that teams use analytics is to come up with expected outcomes based on down, distance and past performance and that’s likely to be the role Tanney is playing on the headset for Kubiak during the season. It’s a relatively new approach in the NFL so it’s hard to say what kind of impact it will have on the way games are coached, but it’s a copycat league and we’ll likely see more of it if Denver shows a knack for making the right calls on gut decisions this season.

20 responses to “Gary Kubiak will have director of analytics on headset during games

  1. I wish more teams would try stuff like this, each little decision matters so much in a game like football where you only have a 16 game season and a single elimination playoff, why wouldn’t you want as much information as possible before making a decision like this?

    Just think if Mike McCarthy would’ve used this kind of thought process in the NFCCG when choosing to kick while on the goal line with Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy and Jordy Nelson on his team, that decision is still so mind-boggling to me. John Fox used to be similarly frustrating in similar situations, you have Peyton Manning on your team, the odds are in your favor to pick up a yard or two and get the first down.

  2. Mitch: Gary we need to get noodle-arm out of there before any of these plays will work.

    Gary: Not gonna happen, Horse-Face won’t allow it. He hired me to be a yes man and that’s what I’m going to be. So deal with it!

  3. Too bad Pete Carroll didn’t have a guy like that in his ear in the Superbowl he would of told him to hand the ball off to Marshawn Lynch!!!

  4. I think your quarterback needs to be the director of analytics at the line off scrimmage, not someone in the head coach’s ear. It is one of the reasons why Brady and Manning have been so good for so long.

    If a team is calling plays with expected outcomes based on down, distance and past performance in mind they will be easy to game plan against.

    That should only be one element. Even more important is the flow of the game, matchups at that point in the game, and setting the defense up for something they don’t expect.

    Last year, the Packers beat the Patriots when Jordy Nelson ran a sideline pattern on Revis but instead broke it inside for a touchdown. I expect Belichick to mix up tendencies against Revis this year because you can use a player’s smarts and anticipation against him if he reacts consistently.

  5. Years ago one of the guys in senior management came into my office and asked me to flowchart what I did in working out broken deals. He just didn’t understand it is an art, not a science. He also thought I had too much autonomy. Kubiak and a technocrat in Peyton’s ear is just going to screw him up.

  6. “I wish more teams would try stuff like this, each little decision matters so much in a game like football where you only have a 16 game season and a single elimination playoff, why wouldn’t you want as much information as possible before making a decision like this?”

    I agree that more teams should push the envelope on stuff like this. But analytics rely on large sample sizes to show trends. The NFL Season is “short”, which leads to a lot of volatility. In baseball a team can get hot or cold and it won’t affect the final standings that much. In the NFL a team can play above itself for a third of the season before regression takes over. And at that point they’re 5-0, and people are talking playoffs only to have them fade in November & December. Happens every year.

  7. elyasm says:
    Aug 10, 2015 10:23 AM
    Sounds like an Ernie Adams type role, 20 years after he and Bill pretty much invented the concept.
    ____________________

    Ding ding ding, we have a winner!
    It only took 13 posts for someone to point out the only thing new here is the team doing it.

  8. BB has had trusted football mind Ernie Adams on his headset forever. They rely on their half century plus of football knowledge to make field decisions and I think the results speak for themselves. To base your decisions on some Madden like computer algorithms is a little bizarre, but more power to him I guess. This is Peyton’s last stand.

  9. jake6879 says:
    Aug 10, 2015 9:53 AM
    I assumed teams were doing this years ago. Why haven’t they?
    ~~~~~~~~~
    Competent coaches/coordinators have been doing this for decades. It just wasn’t called analytics and didn’t rely heavily on computers to remember everything for them. Coaches used to (some still do) analyse strengths vs weaknesses and identify tendencies and trends and call the game accordingly by actually remembering those little nuggets of information. Some of the best at that were Tom Landry, Don Shula and Belichick today. Now it seems to me that too many just rely on their own system and ignore the other team’s actions until they are beat over the head by failure. They often downplay that philosophical deficiency as ‘dictating the action’ or some similar phrase.

    If what Kubiak is doing works, great but it is simply delegating a specific responsibility to someone else.

  10. When a player in Foxboro is asked what Ernie Adams does most reply, “I have no idea, but he sure must be important.” BB and Ernie go all the way back to Prep School and it is not surprise most fans around the league do not know of the partnership. The Bronco’s took notice.

  11. This is a kind way of saying that Kubiak is a crappy game manager (like most NFL head coaches) so he will have a guy in his ear advising him on things like when he should go for the two point conversion, how he should use timeouts, if he should challenge a call, etc. It’s actually not a bad idea…god knows Herm Edwards and his ilk could have used one of these guys. It’s stunning how many head coaches in the NFL have zero grasp of game management…or the rules.

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