By HCR Staff | July 11, 2018
This is the fifth installment of a five-part series breaking down each of the five factors that make up our exclusive Head Coach Ranking. This week’s focus: Clock Management.
The use of time outs, play clock management and tempo changes – particularly on offense – are critical to proper game management technique by head coaches. These decisions can directly impact winning and losing, and we grade how well each coach performs in this area.
Here are HCR’s top-ranked clock managers from last season:
|2. Bill Belichick, Patriots||8.5|
|5. Doug Pederson, Eagles||7.8|
|3. Sean Payton, Saints||7.6|
|4. Mike Zimmer, Vikings||7.4|
Five coaches tied for fifth at 7.1
And here’s the complete 2017 ranking for Clock Management
A prime example of the importance of clock management occurred in the New England Patriots’ Week 3 win over the Houston Texans. The Texans took a 33-28 lead with 2:24 left to play. The Patriots got three plays in before the 2-minute warning stopped the clock. They completed a key first down coming out of the 2-minute warning and then went into no-huddle mode. After a sack and fumble, New England faced a third-and-18 from their own 48-yard line with 54 seconds left – and it was actually Houston that called a timeout. When play resumed, Tom Brady converted the long third down, then hit Brandin Cooks for the go-ahead touchdown one play later.
Bill Belichick did a fine job of not wasting his timeouts and forcing the Texans to burn one of theirs. The Texans got the ball back with 23 seconds. Deshaun Watson completed a pass to mid-field, but the Texans took too much time before calling their last timeout. With only 3 seconds remaining, Houston was forced to throw a Hail Mary, which was intercepted to end the game.
Sometimes, clock management is more about killing time as opposed to saving it. In Week 14, we gave Jacksonville’s Doug Marrone good clock management grades after the Jaguars executed a fourth-quarter scoring drive that took 7:30 off the clock in what turned out to be a 30-24 win over the Seattle Seahawks.