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On Running The Ball on 2nd Down, Ticket Prices, and Bad Free Agents

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HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 09: Ahman Green #30 of the Houston Texans runs against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 9, 2007 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Texans defeated the Chiefs 20-3. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 09: Ahman Green #30 of the Houston Texans runs against the Kansas City Chiefs on September 9, 2007 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Texans defeated the Chiefs 20-3. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

One of my least favorite plays in football is the run on 2nd down after an incomplete pass on 1st down. Doesn't the opponent know it's coming? Why wouldn't a team run on 2nd down to make the distance on 3rd down more manageable?

However it turns out there's another good reason to call a running play on 2nd down, according to Football Outsiders: it works. Teams average just under 4.5 yards per run, and actually are more likely to pass again on 2nd down anyway. However, this is not a situation that the Green Bay Packers often found themselves in last season. From FO:

The Packers faced just 60 second-and-10 situations all year, the lowest total in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers' completion percentage on first down was 71.6, so the Packers produced many positive plays on first down. They also ran on first-and-10 49 percent of the time, and while they averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, it kept them out of second-and-long.

Also on Football Outsiders, Aaron Schatz gives Roger Goodell a well deserved piece of his mind after Goodell tells a group of season ticket holders that the owners are locking out the players to lower ticket prices for the fans.

Their writers have a series of posts at ESPN.com (Insider required) about the 10 most disappointing things on various topics. Fortunately the Packers have been rarely mentioned, but two former Packers made the list of most disappointing free agent signings. The Texans signing of RB Ahman Green in 2007, and the Raiders signing of WR Javon Walker in 2008.