This is a somewhat older article, but I had time invested in it, so here it is:
What’s Chud installing?
Steve Smith’s comments about Rob Chudzinski putting in some fairly extreme new stuff in the playbook has me confused. I know this offense fairly well at this point – at least, core plays and that most plays are within a fairly logical language. So does Smith – it’s the second time he’s been in this O, and he’s going into his 12th year. Nothing should really shock him at this point, right?
Two things I could think of: Limited play selection was offered last year, or he’s installing things outside the offense.
It’s possible that slot plays weren’t covered last year – in that, it’s been the harder part for me to understand. A typical playcall for a pro set (from left to right, X receiver, line, Y receiver and then Z receiver) has three numbers that go left to right corresponding to routes. But, for slot plays, where the X and Z are on the same side and the Y/Tight end is on the other, the play call starts from strongside. The numbers start with a Y call, then the slot, then the X. So you hear 940 in your playcall, if it’s a slot formation, it’s the Y running a go and the X running a drag behind the Z’s out route, not the X running a go and the Z dragging from strongside. That may have been left out for simplicity’s sake – as I know that has confused me a good bit. It’s counterintuitive to the logical format of the traditional playcall.
I remember more strongside slot (you just bust the Y out, or put a receiver at the F position – there are plenty of formations that give a strongside slot call, that don’t alter the XYZ progression) last year, and maybe when we saw it to the left, that was a Left formation instead (flipping the whole formation, instead of the Z being weakside). It would explain there being a “new” part to the offense, which would have meant simply excluding that from last year’s limited preparation.
Other than that, it’s possible that Chud is installing something “new”. There isn’t that much that’s actually “new” in the NFL, and borrowing from the WCO or any other system would be more or less unlikely. The terminology is vastly different, where the current offense can easily adapt to what others do. The offense itself is decades old, but adapted to enough circumstance over the last couple of decades to do anything. I believe that of any offense, really, so there would be no reason to put in that much that’s “new” or different. It should, mostly, be covered.
Or, as an “innovating” coach, Chud really is creating something different. Hopefully it’s within the framework of the offense, more or less, but there could be some uncharted territory there, too. This time last year, it wasn’t even determined that Cam Newton would be the quarterback, and nothing was really installed, much less specifically for him. We didn’t see the option for the first few weeks of the season. There could be some option type modifications, or passes off the option. There could be new screens, which don’t fit in the normal scheme (I honestly don’t remember seeing screens in the last couple playbooks I saw, though none were Carolina’s and certainly, there is plenty of screen game in what they did last year).