Chiefs & Titans Success? It's "Fisherball"

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by TitanJeff, Oct 3, 2013.

  1. TitanJeff

    TitanJeff Kahuna Grande Staff

    I'll merge this with the game thread but found it interesting how much these two teams are similar and how both are playing like those Titans teams when "Fisherball" was at its prime.

    The term "Fisherball" was a stigma around here for a long time. Even while the Titans were putting up 13-3 seasons, many fans were critical of how the team rarely went for the throat—relying on a late score to put the game away or going into a total prevent defensively and allowing a 17-point lead be whittled down to a 3-point win.

    On the most part, it was boring football. Many of us in the stands could call the plays. And when the Titans found themselves down a couple of touchdowns, they rarely had the ability to come from behind.

    This season, the Titans are currently 3-1 because they are playing "Fisherball". The 4-0 team they are playing also has seen success for the same reasons. (Note how Chiefs coach Andy Reid's career almost mirrors Fisher's)

    Here's the formula for those unfamiliar and how the two teams reflect that style of football:

    The goal is to run well, limit risks in the passing game, take care of the football and grind out long drives by stringing together first downs. The goal isn't necessarily to score quickly so the defense can rest. Avoiding penalties is also key.

    Both teams are run-first teams. Jamaal Charles has 289 yards and a 4.1 ypc average. Chris Johnson has 277 yards but only a 3.3 ypc average. Obviously, the Titans need to be more efficient running the football but, even with the low average per carry, Johnson has succeeded in taking care of the football and eating clock. Jake Locker and Alex Smith have both taken the opportunity to pull down the football and run. Smith has a 5 ypc avg to Locker's 6.5.

    Both teams have been conservative passing the football as both average roughly 10.5 ypc. This directly impacts the low interception numbers both teams have as well. Smith goes to Charles often. Locker had been using Kendall Wright in a similar fashion—low risk passes with the hope with big gains after the catch.

    The Chiefs have averaged 33:42 in time of possession per game which ranks them third in the NFL. The Titans are 9th with a 31:53 average. They both achieve this despite a very low yards per play average with the Chiefs at 5.1 and the Titans 4.8. That equates to some long drives.

    Both the Titans and Chiefs could improve in the area of penalties as they both average around 7.5 per game.

    It's all about QB pressure, not giving up the big play, being stout in the red zone, open-field tackling, minimal penalties and getting turnovers.

    Both teams are +9 in turnover ratio which has gone a long way towards the success of both teams. The Chiefs already have 18 sacks this season to the Titans' 14. Both teams have 5 interceptions. The Chiefs hold the edge on forcing fumbles 4-2.

    The Chiefs only allow teams to score a touchdown 25% of the time an opponent reaches the red zone. That leads the league. The Titans allow 77.78% which is close to last and must improve.

    Field position is always a key component in this style of football. The Titans have had issues here with poor judgement by Darius Reynaud or penalties putting the offense deep into their own end. The Chiefs average 35 yard per kickoff return due, in part, to a 57-yarder. Dexter McCluster leads the league in punt return average at 15.4 after a 89-yard TD last week.

    Both Ryan Succop (75%) and Rob Bironas (77.5%) have had their accuracy issues so far this year. For a punter, net yards is key and Brett Kern is 4th in the NFL in this category. So far, Dustin Colquitt is near the bottom.
    GoT and JMB54 high five this.
  2. Ten_Titans

    Ten_Titans Pro Bowler

    Fisherball in and of itself was not the problem. It was the staffs absolute refusal to change or adjust that made it nearly impossible to watch.
    avvie, Ryno, GoT and 5 others high five this.
  3. Scarecrow

    Scarecrow CEO of PPO Tip Jar Donor

    We have the weapons to pass the ball downfield now. While we still play 'Fisherball' but have the tools to air it out now.
  4. TitanJeff

    TitanJeff Kahuna Grande Staff

    When you're winning, why adjust?

    The Titans took the occasional shot then as they did last Sunday.
  5. Childress79

    Childress79 Loungefly ® Tip Jar Donor

    I kind of agree that we're playing Fisherball Jeff. I just don't think that you should use the term Fisherball to describe it. Can we call it old school? High percentage conservative offence and pressure defence was the prototypical 'Fisherbal'l but at its best it wasn't boring. It was brutally effective. We had maybe 3 good years of it under Fisher at best.

    Fisher went away from that so much so that I now associate the term Fisherball to Fishers shortcomings. Run,run,run punt cover2/zone hybrid bend dont break was death by a 1000 cuts. Fisherball was a playbook the size of a postit note. I'm not going to go off on a Fisher rant.

    They only time I've seen us run prevent crap was vs the Steelers in week1.
    We've recently tried to run the clock down by running the ball but have had the sense not to use CJ for that. We turtled a lot when Fitzpatrick came in for Locker but it was for don't eff this up reasons rather than because we wanted to do it.

    The main thing is that our defence is not letting up when we get a lead. Thats how it should be. Never be conservative on defence. Don't blitz too much but don't let up.

    The offence has been progressively less conservative as Locker has grown in confidence. We actually been making adjustments at half time which I'm just not used to at all.

    We're not running the ball well at all but keep trying new wrinkles with the passing game to compensate.
    GoT high fives this.
  6. TitanJeff

    TitanJeff Kahuna Grande Staff

    You go way back here so you should remember how, in 2000, members were complaining about the style of football the Titans played. That's was "Fisherball" in its prime, IMO.

    I probably should not use "Fisherball" as he certainly didn't create that style of football. But it was what he embraced so much during those years it somehow got that name.

    We can call it "Old School" but, in a day where we're seeing QBs with 400 yard days passing, it's definitely still a way to win in the NFL.

    They played from behind against the Chargers so it wasn't an option. They didn't do that against the Texans and some have said it was a reason the Texans were able to come back in that game because they didn't get pressure on Schaub on those final drives.

    I think the plays are somewhat the same but Locker is taking the deeper option over the checkdown. Remember, he was forced to air it out on the final Chargers drive. I doubt Loggains would have done it otherwise.
  7. Alex1939

    Alex1939 Space Invaders Champion Tip Jar Donor


    Post sucks. What part of last game makes you think we were playing Fisherball? Was it Fisherball when we were still throwing deep late while we already had a good lead?
  8. xpmar9x

    xpmar9x The Real Slim Shady

  9. Smash

    Smash Soccer God

    Going for it on 4th down in FG territory is not Fisherball.

    That's Munchieball!
    GoT and Alex1939 high five this.
  10. xpmar9x

    xpmar9x The Real Slim Shady

    That's awful. I was trying to locate red zone stats, couldn't find them -- anybody know where I can locate them?

    I'm wondering how many red zone apperances our D has even had.