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Frank Frigo knows Jets fans might think he is nuts.
Frigo is the co-founder of Edj Sports, an analytics modeling site that has a feature in which it ranks the NFL coaches 1-32.
Jets fans probably figure Adam Gase would be ranked 33rd, but would be surprised to see Edj ranking Gase 20th. He is above Super Bowl-winning coaches like Bill Belichick (25), Pete Carroll (22) and Doug Pederson (21).
That looks puzzling on the surface, but when you examine Edj’s methodology, it makes more sense — even if it makes you think that methodology has flaws.
Edj has two main components to its coaching rankings. The first is its Critical Call Index, a measure of fourth-down decisions made by coaches. Edj simulates games to see how these decisions increase or decrease a team’s win probability. Gase fares well in this part of the equation, ranking No. 6. This is a measure of the decision made based on information available pre-snap, not on the result of the play.
Frigo said Gase’s decision-making in these critical situations is not the reason the team is 0-11.
“I know Adam Gase. I can tell you that he gets analytics,” Frigo said. “He’s got a [bad] team. He’s got a really [bad] team.”
That leads to the second component of the rankings. The Edj Power Indexes (EPI) is an average of a team’s passing offense, rushing offense, passing defense and rushing defense based on Football Outsiders’ DVOA rankings. This index is heavily influenced by how strong a team’s roster is and how they execute.
“It’s one thing for a coach to be a good decision maker,” Frigo said. “It’s also important for the coach to execute well in the context of the game state.”
Not surprisingly, the Jets are 32nd in the EPI rankings, an indication of how well the team has performed.
“What I would tell people is if you think the Jets are terrible, so do we,” Frigo said. “You can see we’ve got them 32nd. But as a play-caller, Gase actually does OK. He’s in the top tier in these fourth-down decisions. Now, that’s not everything these coaches do. They do make other decisions in games. This is what we focus on because it’s in the sort of sweet spot of our technology.
“The reason most people think Gase should be last is exactly what you see in [EPI].”
Gase finished 24th in Edj’s rankings last year. He was No. 14 in CCI and No. 30 in EPI.
This year’s rankings are just through the first 12 weeks and will change each week, with Edj naming a Coach of the Year at the end of the season. Chiefs coach Andy Reid is currently No. 1 in the rankings. John Harbaugh was Coach of the Year last year.
This year’s rankings have some surprises with Belichick all the way at No. 25 and Saints coach Sean Payton at No. 16. Giants coach Joe Judge is No. 27.
“People can look at this and go, ‘It’s sacrilegious to put Belichick where he is,’ ” Frigo said. “But Belichick has not been a particularly great play-caller and he just doesn’t have the team this year. It’s evident.”