Secure data on your opposition.
Assess the data.
Discover the habits and tendencies of yourself, the other competitors and the grand settings.
Understand the strengths, the weaknesses, the opportunities and the threats of each competitor is not enough.
With the "strategic assessment" module of our Compass AE process, you will understand the opposition's strategic position from the different views of the grand settings.
The more you learn about yourself, your competitors and your grand settings from the different views, the better your chance of understanding yourself, your opponent and the grand settings.
With our Compass AE process are your guide, you will find the critical path of least resistance.
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Copying, posting and reproduction in any form (without prior consent) is an infringement of copyright
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November 23, 2008
Titans' Against-the-Grain DefenseBy JUDY BATTISTA NASHVILLE
It was not long after Jim Schwartz began an unpaid internship with the old Cleveland Browns, driving scouts and players to the airport, and buying cigarettes for the coaches, that he bumped up against football's poured-in-concrete conventional wisdom.
Schwartz, now the defensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans, had an economics degree from Georgetown University, an abiding fascination with statistics and a preference for watching game film over television. That made him a kindred spirit with his first N.F.L. boss, Bill Belichick. But when Schwartz told Belichick his findings from an early N.F.L. research project almost 15 years ago, Belichick said he did not believe him.
"Fumbles are a random occurrence," Schwartz said he told Belichick. "Being able to get interceptions or not throw interceptions has a high correlation with good teams. But over the course of a year, good teams don't fumble any more or less than bad teams. Bill didn't agree. He said, 'No, good teams don't fumble the ball.' But actually, they fumble just as often as bad teams."
With the Titans, Schwartz once encouraged the former offensive coordinator Norm Chow to run more on third-and-short because his research indicated that it was more effective than passing. Unorthodox thinking like that has earned Schwartz, 42, a reputation as one of the N.F.L.'s leading practitioners of statistical analysis "Moneyball" for the shoulder-pad set using them in coaching the defense for the league's only unbeaten team.
In Schwartz's eighth season as the coordinator, the Titans' defense is ranked sixth entering Sunday's game here against the Jets (7-3). The ranking is based on yards surrendered. "Who cares who is leading in yardage?" Schwartz said, pointing out that allowing a 12-yard run raises the total but is meaningless on a third-and-20 play. No statistic matters more to coaches than fewest points allowed, and by that measure, no team comes close to the Titans (10-0). They are giving up 13.1 points a game, 1.4 points fewer than the second-ranked Pittsburgh Steelers. But Schwartz, perhaps more aware than most of how numbers can be manipulated, did not embrace that figure without explanation.
The Titans gave up their most points of the season, 21, to Indianapolis. But the Colts scored 7 points with little time remaining, when the Titans were leading by 17. Against Kansas City, the Titans allowed 10 late points after the starters were pulled in a 34-10 victory. So the Titans average fewer than 13.1 meaningful points allowed. With an offense that relies on the run, not downfield passing, the Titans are built to win close (read playoff) games. That leaves the defense with little margin for error. The Titans are defined by multitalented players who are effective in different styles. The Titans used eight-man fronts to stop Jacksonville's running game in the season opener, then played a cover-2 defense to thwart Cincinnati's passing the next week.
With a line featuring Albert Haynesworth, perhaps the league's best defensive player, the Titans generate pressure on quarterbacks with minimal blitzing. (An addendum to Schwartz's fumble analysis: good teams sack the quarterback, and forcing a quarterback to fumble is a lot easier than taking the ball from a running back or a wide receiver.) Players credit the defensive coaches for their ability to correct mistakes quickly the Chicago Bears converted three consecutive third-down attempts on their opening drive against the Titans, but none the rest of the game and for the detailed preparation that dovetails with what linebacker Keith Bulluck called Schwartz's "little hobbies." Kyle Vanden Bosch said: "Especially from a defensive lineman standpoint, we don't usually pay attention to formations and down and distance. He has that broken down for us. We know what to expect out of certain formations, and what plays they can run. It's unusual for a defensive line. But we have a quiz in front of the whole defense on Friday, and he expects everybody to know that." Belichick regards Schwartz as one of the smartest coaches he has been around, and in recent years, Schwartz has become a candidate for several head coaching jobs. He is almost certain to be a front-runner as positions open this year. But being known as a "stats guy" is not necessarily a compliment, because statistics do not hold the romantic place in football that they do in baseball.
Although every coach uses plenty of data the Titans' Jeff Fisher tracks how long his team takes to break the huddle football is unlikely to bestow statistics-driven celebrity on anyone the way the baseball book "Moneyball" did on Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics.
Schwartz has met with the developers of a computer program to analyze difficult play-calling decisions, and he has watched film with Aaron Schatz, an author of "Pro Football Prospectus," who uses unusual statistics to analyze the game. But at the same time, Schwartz shuns the impression that creates, stressing that statistics are just another tool in game preparation.
"Sometimes, that's an easy thing for people in the media to use against you," Schwartz said. " 'Oh, yeah, he can't adjust; he's just a stats guy. They don't really understand the game.' That's why sometimes, the whole stats thing is a dirty word.
"If you ask me, Would you rather have a great fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants guy on Sunday, a guy who can dial up plays and he'd be the best in league, or a guy who is best in the league from Monday to Saturday preparing, I respect the guy who prepares. You're not always going to be rolling 7, 7, 7 and be hot every week. But if you prepare well during the week, you'll be consistent from week to week."
Numbers have long threaded through Schwartz's thinking. His father was a police officer, and when they watch television together and see a news report about a murder, his father will mention what percentage of women are murdered by their husbands. When Schwartz was growing up in Baltimore, the Dallas Cowboys were the best team in football. They used a computer analysis of prospects as part of their forward-thinking draft preparation.
"They used that not to press a button and have the computer say, 'This is your draft pick,' " Schwartz said. "It was more to guide them — these are important traits to look for. That's the way we use it."
The 16-game season provides a small sample, a shortcoming of football statistics. So Schwartz breaks down each drive as if it were its own game. Twelve drives, say, multiplied by 16 games is a much bigger sample.
/// Micro-assessing the grand situation.
Yet Schwartz rejects one Beane quirk revealed in "Moneyball" — that he does not like to watch games because he cannot stand how random events may influence the outcome. Schwartz, a former college linebacker, calls the defensive signals from the sideline rather than the press box, so he can look at his players and gauge their physical feedback. The Titans' attacking style — what Vanden Bosch called "forcing the issue" — seems to run counter to the by-the-numbers image that makes Schwartz uncomfortable.
"This guy is a football coach who motivates players," Schatz said, "and he also happens to have a very open mind and interest in statistics. But he's not like me on the sidelines."
Still, with Tennessee on the way to the playoffs, the Titans' pounding defense — and the mind that directs it — figure to get plenty of attention. Schwartz cringes when he thinks others perceive him as a numbers geek, an odd concern for an avid amateur chess player who uses Bobby Fischer and Garry Kasparov analogies.
"People talk about the chess match between coaches and coordinators," Schwartz said. "Anybody who plays chess knows your rook never falls down, your rook never stops one spot short. There's human nature to football that will never make it into a game of numbers."