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Sunday, April 17, 2011

NFP Might Have The Wrong Idea

National Football Post has had some excellent content lately, from Andrew Brandt ( @adbrandt on twitter) bringing insight on labor, to the great, and hopeful article linked below on Carolina bluffing on Newton:

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Are-the-Panthers-bluffing.html

However, Brandt mentioned offhand that "New Panthers offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski’s playbook is believed to be somewhere in the vicinity of 900 pages, which makes it one of the most voluminous in the league. Virtually every play has a shift and/or motion. It’s a difficult offense for an experienced quarterback."

(link here: http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFP-Sunday-Blitz-9962.html)

So let's go into why that isn't necessarily a concern.

While I have been studying Chargers and (ugh) Cowboys gametape to pickup tendencies and see Coryell in its modern forms, I haven't come up with the easy explanations on paper I've wanted to write. Hopefully this summer, we'll get to see that.

In the meantime, know that the offense is much more intuitive than 900 individual plays that require a player to learn every facet of the play. If you know your 20 or so formations, the 5 shifts for your position, and know what your codes mean (i.e., routes, which are intuitive for receivers, or your zone protections, for a lineman), the play tells every player on the field what they're going to be doing.

In other words, if you can learn the words of the language, you can speak the language. You're not memorizing each of 900 plays individually as if they're separate, unrelated plays.

Coryell does rely on shifts, motions, and formation disguises to run the same plays. One run play can be run ten ways or more, one pass that ends up in featuring the F post (a key play in this O), can be run over a hundred (I'll diagram 525 F Post one day soon, along with other staples).

As a matter of fact the average Coryell OC can bring 200 plays into a game where he'll call no more than 75. But set up as an intuitive form, the player can learn what's needed in a much smaller space than Brandt is suggesting.


Not that I believe that a lockout-shortened season with a brand new coaching staff is a good situation to draft Newton into. He's got very limited experience with plays, was fed reads from the sideline, and worked exclusively from shotgun. He has huge growing pains ahead, not only in the average NFL offense but in the correct usage of technique and decision making.
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