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