Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

26 Sep 2005

Bengals Fans Happy, Packers Fans Angry

ESPN has a fun little feature where they poll fans and ask them whether they approve or disapprove of the way their team's coach is handling his job. Marvin Lewis of the Bengals comes in first with a 97 percent approval rating. I would love to meet the 3 percent of Bengals fans who aren't happy with a coach who took over the most inept franchise in football and now has them at 3-0.

At the other end of the scale, only 12 percent of Packers fans approve of the way Mike Sherman is handling his job. I was a little surprised to see Brian Billick all the way down there at 17 percent approval. No, the Ravens don't look very good right now, but it's hard to argue with his overall success in Baltimore.

The median approval rating is 75 percent, so NFL fans are a lot happier with their coaches than I would have guessed.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 26 Sep 2005

24 comments, Last at 26 Sep 2005, 8:33pm by NFC Central Freak

Comments

1
by Rick "32_Footsteps" Healey (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 11:38am

I'm a bit curious as to when they gathered those numbers. I was surprised to see Cowler at under 70%, unless people were really upset about the Pats loss. Along the same lines, that Marty Schottenheimer is near 80% despite his coaching gaffes thus far.

2
by Harry (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 11:42am

I want to know who the 6% are who are unhappy with Belichick. No pleasing some people I guess. Or did Ron Borges and Tom Jackson get to vote a few hundred extra times?

3
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 11:47am

I hate to say it, but the Bengals (and Tampa Bay) are both early-season wonders. Go back and check out the Week 3 DVOA from last year, and look at who's on top: that's right, it's Seattle, with it's power -66% defensive DVOA. Yah, Seattle's uh... monster defense. Yah.

Not a knock on DVOA at all. It's just that there hasn't been enough games for everything to have settled, and both Cincinnati and Tampa Bay have only played teams with middling previous-year DVOA currently, with the exception of TB/BUF. (Cincinnati: CLE (-19.8%), MIN (1.5%), CHI (-32.0%), TB: MIN (1.5%), BUF (28.6%), GB (-5.0%)).

You only have to make a few changes to last year's DVOA - MIN is worse, BUF is much worse - and Cincinnati and Tampa Bay become average teams again.

4
by pawnking (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 11:49am

I'm guessing that the 6% who are "unhappy" with Belichick are really Colts' fans. Fisher at 75% is also a joke, as is Cowher. How can a fan be upset at these two highly successful coaches? On the other side, I can't see how Haslett has as high a score as he does. Nobody in the NFL does less with more talent than the Saints. Maybe it's a sympathy vote, I don't know. But Brooks could have been another McNabb, Horn another Owens, and McAllister has been potentially as good as any RB in the NFL in combined running and receiving skills. And yet the Saints have fallen short time after time.

5
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:12pm

The Bengals are certainly a good offensive team. As to defense, we'll see what happens when they play somebody with talent, particularly for running the ball, who also is not so helpful as to fumble a couple of times in the first ten minutes. I suspect that if the Bengals fail to jump out to quick two touchdown lead against a good rushing team, they'll have some large problems. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if they won ten or eleven games.

6
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:13pm

The Bengals are certainly a good offensive team. As to defense, we'll see what happens when they play somebody with talent, particularly for running the ball, who also is not so helpful as to fumble a couple of times in the first ten minutes. I suspect that if the Bengals fail to jump out to quick two touchdown lead against a good rushing team, they'll have some large problems. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if they won ten or eleven games.

7
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:36pm

The Bengals are certainly a good offensive team.

Well, I'm not so sure. The Bengals in the past two weeks have gotten more than 5 turnovers each game! They've been playing with really, really short fields, and that tends to make an offense look better than they are.

I wouldn't be surprised if Cincinnati ended up 8-8 again by the end of the year. Again: the Seahawks looked about as good as the Bengals do now last year.

8
by James Gibson (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:53pm

I've seen lots of people complain about Cowher over the years. I always thought he was good, but a quick browse through some fantasy message boards has people claiming that he cost the Steelers at least 1 if not 2 Super Bowl victories.

9
by Countertorque (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 12:55pm

There is a vocal contingent of Steeler fans who believe that Bill Cowher turtles too much, that he consistently gets outcoached on game day, and that he always underachieves in the playoffs. Some of them can be found at www.stillers.com

10
by MCS (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:13pm

I am not a Sherman defender, but I feel that his problems do not stem from his coaching ability. They stem from his inabiltiy to Draft players or get marquee FA's. He's already been fired from that job (too late though). Now GB is paying for his years of ineptitude as a GM.

11
by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:21pm

RE: Bengals compared to Seahawks

I'm a Bears fan, and after the beating we got yesterday I'm the last person to be defending the Bengals, but I do see one big difference between CIN and SEA. Seattle seems to work on the same phylosophy as the Vikings have the past few years, get a good start and make everyone chase you for the division, only to forget how to play football after about week 7. And in the event of a playoff appearance, just smile and endure your coach acting like he coaches pee-wee football. The Bengals on the other hand (atleast under Marvin Lewis) have been finishing strong, particularly last season. I think that may continue. Good coaching makes a big difference, and Lewis is a heck of a lot better coach than Holmgren.

12
by Theo (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 1:32pm

I would love to meet the 3 percent of Bengals fans who aren’t happy with a coach who took over the most inept franchise in football and now has them at 3-0.

Maybe it means that 3% of the voters are fans of other teams that try to screw up the ratings.

13
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:08pm

#7:

Yes, the Bengals have been getting a short field, but they've also been gaining a lot of yards themselves. Take a look at the FO drive stats (linked in my name). They are only through week 2, but hey, if that's all I got to work with, then that's all I got to work with.

Yes, they have the best field position in the league, averaging a start on their own 40 (the median is own 29.3). But they also have the third most yards per drive at 36.4 (the median is 27). I did a quick calculation to figure out the percentage of possible yards gained by each team. In other words

(yds/drive)
--------------
100 - (starting field position)

They rank second by this measure at 61% (the median is 38%), so while they have good field position, they are also still gaining boatloads of yards.

14
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:20pm

Figured I would go ahead and list all the percentages, just for reference.

team, ave starting field pos, yds/drive, % of possible yards gained

PIT......31 47 68%
CIN.....40 36 61%
NO......31 37 54%
KC......32 34 50%
CLE....29 34 47%
PHI.....29 33 47%
DAL....35 29 44%
CAR...30 29 42%
STL....29 30 41%
JAC....34 27 41%
NYJ....28 29 41%
SEA....21 32 40%
GB......22 31 40%
WAS...21 31 39%
IND.....28 28 39%
DEN...37 24 39%
TB.......28 27 38%
TEN....37 24 38%
NYG...38 24 38%
MIA.....28 27 37%
NE......29 26 37%
OAK....29 26 36%
CHI.....36 23 36%
SD......28 24 34%
DET....31 23 34%
BUF....34 22 33%
ARI......26 24 33%
ATL.....32 21 32%
MIN.....24 24 32%
BAL.....23 20 26%
SF.......29 18 25%
HOU...24 16 22%

more precise numbers for the first two columns are found on the FO drive stats page linked above

15
by DavidH (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:21pm

Those numbers lined up a lot better in the preview.

16
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:27pm

DavidH,

If you want to preserve formatted data, just put (pre) and (/pre) before and after the data (but with <> instead of ( ).)

17
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:28pm

Should have listened to my own advice

DavidH,

If you want to preserve formatted data, just put (pre) and (/pre) before and after the data, but with <> instead of ().

18
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 2:29pm

Okay, guess it doesn't work here.

19
by Carl (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 3:45pm

The one I liked was the 75 percent rating for the 'Skins, a team that didn't play because of a bye.

The less they see 'em, the more they love 'em!

20
by Gatts (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:15pm

Try (code)(/code) and line them up in courier new.

21
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 4:30pm

Gatts:

Can't use multiple spaces in code to line things up.

line 1 2 3 4 5 6
line 10 20 30 40 50 60

Those should be lined up on the first number of each.

22
by Jim A (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:03pm

DavidH, that's an interesting way to compile the data, but let me caution that on average, an offense getting better starting field position will rank higher by your measure (% of available yards gained) even though they will rank slightly lower in raw yards/drive. This is because yards/drive doesn't fluctuate much based on the usual range of starting field positions. But DSR varies even less with field position, and that's another area where the Bengals look strong through two weeks.

I usually wait until after the MNF game to generate the drive stats, so look for an update on Tuesday or Wednesday.

23
by Ryan Mc (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 6:08pm

Dom Capers with a predictably low ranking (given the Texans record), but does anybody have a good read on what this guy's like as a coach?
I'm trying to figure out if his record has been hurt by coaching two expansion teams, or if he's been given too much of a break because of coaching two expansion teams.
Carolina made the Championship game his second season there, so it seems unlikely that lack of talent can explain his disappointing subsequent two seasons there.

24
by NFC Central Freak (not verified) :: Mon, 09/26/2005 - 8:33pm

The Bengals are a legitimate playoff contender. On offense the only suspect element is Willie Anderson's back. If he goes down for any length of time that could have a significant negative impact.

Defensively I see lots of effort and folks being where they are supposed to be. Think that should be understood? Ha! Misunderstandings and missed assignments are commonplace among NFL defenses. Good teams minimize them and the REAL good teams have players who can quickly adjust to compensate for someone scr*wing up.

And Pat, the Bengals schedule is pretty reasonable. Jags, Steelers, and Chiefs are the tough road games. Steelers and Colts at home are a challenge. Ravens? Please. Titans on the road? Not EASY but certainly winnable. And the Bengals have beaten the Steelers when they were BAD.

As for Green Bay, this team is officially toast. The guards are bad to dreadful, Mike Flanagan (center) has clearly lost it, and the defensive line can't rush the passer.

Favre will throw 20-30 picks this year and many will gloat he is "washed up". Of course, they will conveniently ignore that he has one NFL quality receiver (Driver), that he will have guys in his face all season thanks to the subpar O-line, and that the Packers will be playing from behind all season. It's a pretty d*mning indictment of the talent base when the best player on the team is the 36 year old quarterback.

Ahman Green? Can't run when the interior line is being engulfed at the point of attack.