Monday, October 13, 2008

Squib is a Four-letter word.

It seems I just can't shut about yesterday's game... There's lots of talk out there about how stupid it was for the Bears to squib at the end of the game, therefore, the argument goes, Lovie Smith is a terrible coach and should be fired. Then there's defenders of the decision, a defense most articulately described in Rahula Strohl's thing today. I think both sides are wrong.

King Kaufman's little ditty about the squib kick being a horrible decision comes closest to being right, I think, although he still comes to the conclusion that Lovie Smith is an idiot. What I think is right about Kaufman's article is that a lot of it is an argument about how stupid squib kicks are in general. That, I think, is the crux of the thing. I honestly cannot think of a time a squib kick makes sense. I just don't understand what is supposed to be gained by squibbing the thing. Usually teams to it do prevent a big return, but (I don't have stats here or anything, so I don't know for sure) it seems like more squib kicks end up with the other team taking over somewhere around the thirty-five or so than traditional kicks do. The squib is just one of those things that for some reason is a given in the basic coaching handbook. If you are trying to prevent a big return: squib it. And it just seems completely wrong to me. And dumb. It's not Lovie Smith himself who's extremely dumb for making the decistion. It's a decision most coaches would have made in that situation. It's just a stupid thing to do in general. It's a general stupidity that Lovie Smith was only symptomatic of yesterday. That's what I think.

The only case I can think of where squibbing it marginally makes any kind of sense is when people squib to avoid Devin Hester, but that's because (at least until this year) by squibbing to the Bears, you were just basically calculating that giving up field position was better than the (likely) possibility of Hester burning you for six. I don't think any returner aside from Hester (and I'd even be willing to entertain arguments there) has ever been so dangerous that the squib is strategically better. (Or tactically better? I can't remember the difference between tactics and strategy right now... sad...)

It wasn't that the squib didn't work or that it was a bad decision in that specific case. Squibs are always a bad decision. I hope the Bears never do it again.

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