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ESPN ranks Robert Saleh fourth in trending NFL metric

Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Ranking, Hired, Head Coach
Robert Saleh, New York Jets, Getty Images

Robert Saleh’s fourth-down management garnered praise from the Worldwide Leader

Robert Saleh‘s first year at the helm of the New York Jets has him ranked toward the top of an increasingly important NFL stat category.

With fourth down attempts more prevalent than ever in today’s NFL, the ESPN Stats & Information department ranked the league’s 32 coaches in terms of management on the do-or-die down. The rankings were determined through data gleaned from the past five seasons with the following metrics considered:

  • Total win probability sacrificed through fourth-down errors
  • Difference in expected fourth-down conversion rates vs. actual rates
  • Non-obvious fourth-down error rate

With these factors considered, Saleh ranked fourth among the league’s coaches in effective fourth down management. Saleh is best amongst first-year bosses (Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni is behind him in sixth) and he sits behind only Kliff Kingsbury, Matt LaFleur, and John Harbaugh.

Though Saleh could admittedly benefit from a small sample size, his Jets are at the top of the league’s “non-obvious fourth-down error rate” at 18.8 percent. His fourth downs have also sacrificed only 18.4 percent of win probability via errors, a list topped by Sirianni’s Eagles (10.2 percent).

It’s a metric that has likely gotten better as the season’s gone on as ESPN’s Jets correspondent Rich Cimini notes that Gang Green’s tough season got off to a sour start thanks to a fateful fourth-and-one attempt in their opener against Carolina. Tevin Coleman was stopped short of the first, leading to a Panthers touchdown and the Jets’ current 3-8 state.

Despite that, Cimini praised Saleh for showing an “aggressive side” in his metropolitan debut.

In more conventional stats, the Jets rank 21st in fourth-down conversion rate at 46 percent (7-of-15). Their 15 attempts are tied with Miami for eighth-most in the league.

New York returns to action on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium against the Philadelphia Eagles (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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