The San Francisco 49ers will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7, and it will feature two new head coaches. Chip Kelly will lead the 49ers against Dirk Koetter. The Bucs quickly fired Lovie Smith this offseason, and then promoted Koetter into the head coach position. It was an odd sequence of events, but I suppose not entirely shocking given the context. The Miami Dolphins expressed interest in Koetter, and the Bucs quickly responded with the Smith firing. Well then....
Last week, Koetter was discussing the idea of going for two-point conversions after every touchdown. He told a radio station that it makes sense to go for it every time, but then gave an odd reason for not going for it.
"We’ve studied it, and mathematically, it does make sense," Koetter said of going for a two-point conversion every time.
"The hard thing is, you know, it’s like 48 percent," Koetter said. "Say we go out there that first game, and we score three touchdowns and we don’t make any two pointers and we lose 21-18. Who’s going to get killed? You’re going to be on 620 [radio] and you’re going to be dog-cussin’ me the whole time.
Ummm, radio host criticism is a reason to not go for it? Maybe he was just making the point because he was on the radio at that point, but it still seems a little odd. And it seems a bit conservative coming out of the gates for a new head coach. This does not mean he will be unsuccessful as the Bucs head coach, but it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.
Our friends at Bucs Nation discussed the many logical reasons to consider going for two and consider just kicking extra points. Depending on team context, you can make a lot of decent arguments. And as Emily Kaplan pointed out in today’s MMQB, the team did invest a second round pick in a kicker. Field goals are the important thing there, but they’ve got a guy they think will be a great kicker for them.
The Bucs would not be the first team to attempt more two-point conversions. The Pittsburgh Steelers led the NFL with 11 two-point conversion attempts last season, and Ben Roethlisberger wants them to attempt even more in 2016.
Chip Kelly is a coach who believes in pushing the envelope, and trying new things. In his first season with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team led the NFL with 8 two-point conversion attempts. What’s odd though is the team did not attempt a two-point conversion in 2014 or 2015. I have no idea what the reasoning was, but I do still wonder if we see the 49ers attempt more than they have in the recent past. The team attempted two last year (converted one), and one during the Jim Harbaugh era. Coaches in generally seem overly conservative when the numbers suggest going for what some might view as an overly aggressive strategy. Will we see changes in year two of the longer extra point attempt?