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The impact of play action on our offense


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#1 Urrymonster

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:08 PM

I've been digging around in www.profootballfocus.com a bit more to find out some intriguing nuggets of info. What is interesting is the impact of the play action on our passing game. While there is a form of play fake with the read option, i am unsure if they they are recording it as a play action play. Considering this they have recorded us as having performed 69 play action drop backs compared to 174 non play action drop backs, which is the third highest percentage in the NFL. What is more telling though is the impact with and without the play action.

With the play action Cam has achieved the following:
* 68.8% completion - 6th highest in the NFL
* 10.9 yards per attempt - 5th highest in the NFL
* 102.1 QB rating - 13th highest in the NFL
* 2 TDs to 2 Ints

Without the play action Cam has achieved the following:
* 52% completion - 32nd in the NFL (last)
* 6.8 yards per attempt - 17th in the NFL
* 63.6 QB rating - 32nd in the NFL (last)
* 3 TDs to 6 Ints

It's quite amazing to see Cam as one of the leagues best when he is using the play action, then fall to statistically the worst in the league when there is no play fake involved.

Across the entire data set yards and QB ratings are universally down, although some QBs clearly perform better without the play action (Aaron Rodgers for example). In contrast there isn't a huge disparity between accuracy percentages with 21 QBs above 60% for both the with and without the play action.

What does this mean for Cam and the Panthers? Well it is concerning to see quite how much Cam has struggled without any deception to pull players out of their coverages. Clearly he is having issues with either the increased pressure the normal drop backs are bringing or he is struggling to read the coverages and make the right choice with the ball. However it is equally concerning that our coaches aren't using more (traditional) play action plays to help him out. RGIII has an extra 20 drop backs over Cam. However it could suggest why much of the play calling is designed to create confusion in the defence because Cam is struggling mightily when he doesn't have that help. For Cam to be considered one of the best passer's in the league, it's the passing without play action which seems to separate the perennial post season QBs from the regular season stat padders.

Anyway, would be interesting to see other people's takes on this.


#2 Car123

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:17 PM

Imagine if we could run the ball better

#3 Urrymonster

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:21 PM

Imagine if we could run the ball better


Indeed, play action would be very profitable for us. That said, Cam is already performing great out of play action so the lack of running game isn't impacting him. It's when teams know that we aren't running that he struggles mightily.

When we show the intent to run, Cam excels. In plays where there is no option of a run, bar Cam scrambling, then he is the worst in the league.

#4 rayzor

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:22 PM

Imagine if we could run the ball better

we'd be running it better if we weren't running the read option so much. it's very easy to defend when you expect it and i don't care who you have running the ball.

fwiw, i just saw this:

PFF Random Saturday stat time. Alex Smith is completing 76.6% of his passes off play action. 49ers run game is huge right now


we aren't running an offense that works (at least we weren't until last week), instead, chud is running an offense that he likes. that's a dangerous decision to make.

#5 Urrymonster

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:26 PM

we'd be running it more if we weren't running the read option so much. it's very easy to defend when you expect it and i don't care who you have running the ball.

fwiw, i just saw this:


we aren't running an offense that works (at least we weren't until last week), instead, chud is running an offense that he likes. that's a dangerous decision to make.


Our run game isn't impacting our success in the passing game though. Even though our running game is struggling, Cam is performing really well when we use play action. The issue is when he is doing any other kind of passing play where there is no threat of a run. At the moment he just can't make throws against a defence ready to defend him passing it.

#6 TonyN

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 02:38 PM

I've been digging around in www.profootballfocus.com a bit more to find out some intriguing nuggets of info. What is interesting is the impact of the play action on our passing game. While there is a form of play fake with the read option, i am unsure if they they are recording it as a play action play. Considering this they have recorded us as having performed 69 play action drop backs compared to 174 non play action drop backs, which is the third highest percentage in the NFL. What is more telling though is the impact with and without the play action.

With the play action Cam has achieved the following:
* 68.8% completion - 6th highest in the NFL
* 10.9 yards per attempt - 5th highest in the NFL
* 102.1 QB rating - 13th highest in the NFL
* 2 TDs to 2 Ints

Without the play action Cam has achieved the following:
* 52% completion - 32nd in the NFL (last)
* 6.8 yards per attempt - 17th in the NFL
* 63.6 QB rating - 32nd in the NFL (last)
* 3 TDs to 6 Ints

It's quite amazing to see Cam as one of the leagues best when he is using the play action, then fall to statistically the worst in the league when there is no play fake involved.

Across the entire data set yards and QB ratings are universally down, although some QBs clearly perform better without the play action (Aaron Rodgers for example). In contrast there isn't a huge disparity between accuracy percentages with 21 QBs above 60% for both the with and without the play action.

What does this mean for Cam and the Panthers? Well it is concerning to see quite how much Cam has struggled without any deception to pull players out of their coverages. Clearly he is having issues with either the increased pressure the normal drop backs are bringing or he is struggling to read the coverages and make the right choice with the ball. However it is equally concerning that our coaches aren't using more (traditional) play action plays to help him out. RGIII has an extra 20 drop backs over Cam. However it could suggest why much of the play calling is designed to create confusion in the defence because Cam is struggling mightily when he doesn't have that help. For Cam to be considered one of the best passer's in the league, it's the passing without play action which seems to separate the perennial post season QBs from the regular season stat padders.

Anyway, would be interesting to see other people's takes on this.


Great posts and great research.

The obvious is very easy to see by observant people like yourself...

People who don't have a nut sack hanging in their face...

#7 Argus Plexus

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 03:53 PM

Lack of execution of the O-Line is probably the biggest problem of this team. We might as well not have one. Case in point: The LoS is a jailbreak every singe down, even when they only rush three. It's pathetic.

#8 iamhubby1

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 03:56 PM

I don't want to get on TonyN's bad side. But, there are a lot of factors that go into that stat.

What down is it? How many yards do you need? Are we in Max protect or just a 5 man line? What is the actual play called? Plus more that I don't care to think for.

Also, Cam is not known for his checkdowns. Which could raise his %. So just claiming Cam has trouble with non playaction passes is rather simplistic. It is just another way to look at Cam. Can be use against him, or Chud for that matter.

Strong running games make playaction more effective. Although, just the threat of a run does have an effect as well.

Or at least that is what I think I think. And GOOOOOO CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#9 magnus

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:00 PM

with an inconsistent (but not inherently bad) set of mechanics, part of it is that playaction might simply also create a discipline that isn't there on the average shotgun dropback.

Another thing to consider is that Cam's struggled on 3rd down, when a team's done a lot of preparation for down and distance, versus 1st/2nd, which is when you're more likely to go playaction. So a part of that is also a matter of circumstance, that a big play offense that doesn't consistently get first downs will have longer 3rd downs (and no playaction).

Third, it's not that massive a stretch that a QB that's not always accurate would succeed in a format that creates an open receiver or that gives an implied read (SS hesitates because of the fake creates the easy middle of field covered/middle of field open read).

#10 iamhubby1

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:05 PM

Lack of execution of the O-Line is probably the biggest problem of this team. We might as well not have one. Case in point: The LoS is a jailbreak every singe down, even when they only rush three. It's pathetic.



"We might as well not have one." This is one of the top ten derps of all time. Dude, you are hilarious.

"A complaint without a solution is just a bich." Robert Prior

We just played the #1 D in the league. Did you expect us to just dominate? Evidently the answer is yes. So I guess it was a bad question to ask you.

#11 Urrymonster

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:12 PM

I don't want to get on TonyN's bad side. But, there are a lot of factors that go into that stat.

What down is it? How many yards do you need? Are we in Max protect or just a 5 man line? What is the actual play called? Plus more that I don't care to think for.

Also, Cam is not known for his checkdowns. Which could raise his %. So just claiming Cam has trouble with non playaction passes is rather simplistic. It is just another way to look at Cam. Can be use against him, or Chud for that matter.

Strong running games make playaction more effective. Although, just the threat of a run does have an effect as well.

Or at least that is what I think I think. And GOOOOOO CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Good points and I agree that it is a simplistic view. On the surface though it is a concerning statistic regardless of the finer details you mentioned and its worth investigating more into as the above info represents Cams averages.

#12 Urrymonster

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

Lack of execution of the O-Line is probably the biggest problem of this team. We might as well not have one. Case in point: The LoS is a jailbreak every singe down, even when they only rush three. It's pathetic.


Cam is pressured on 32% of passing plays. Sound high? Well that's 13th highest in the NFL so it's about average. Unfortunately the pressure really does get to Cam though. He's completed just 50% of throws when under pressure when you remove drops, throw aways, and passes where he was hit as he threw (his base completion is 37.3). That's better than only mark Sanchez.

So our OLine is about average in giving up pressure, but Cam suffers more than every QB other than Sanchez when he is under pressure. It really isn't all on the OLine.

#13 iamhubby1

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

Good points and I agree that it is a simplistic view. On the surface though it is a concerning statistic regardless of the finer details you mentioned and its worth investigating more into as the above info represents Cams averages.


Truth be told. I believe it is a matter of Cam and Chud trying to do too much. Chud calls so many plays that fail. That when he dials up a pass, Cam is trying too hard to complete that pass. Cam is out of rhythm, and out of sorts. Call more plays he is comfortable with and his play could improve.


We aren't a WCO. But that doesn't mean you have to throw every pass down the field. We have 3 backs that can do something with the ball. Yet they get very few chances. Those type passes raise Cam's %, and give the O a shot in the arm.

#14 Argus Plexus

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:18 PM

"We might as well not have one."

"This is one of the top ten derps of all time. Dude, you are hilarious."

You obviously don't know what sarcasm is.

"We just played the #1 D in the league. Did you expect us to just dominate? Evidently the answer is yes. So I guess it was a bad question to ask you."

It's been going on all season, where have you been? -_-

#15 iamhubby1

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Posted 03 November 2012 - 04:26 PM

Cam is pressured on 32% of passing plays. Sound high? Well that's 13th highest in the NFL so it's about average. Unfortunately the pressure really does get to Cam though. He's completed just 50% of throws when under pressure when you remove drops, throw aways, and passes where he was hit as he threw (his base completion is 37.3). That's better than only mark Sanchez.

So our OLine is about average in giving up pressure, but Cam suffers more than every QB other than Sanchez when he is under pressure. It really isn't all on the OLine.


Now that is disconcerning. Every QB gets pressure. But, I thought Cam was doing better than that. Even if he is holding on to the ball too long. That is still a low completion %.

Then again. If he could learn how to find those checkdowns occasionally. That could help his confidence. His completion %, and frustrate the D all at the same time.

I know Cam is young. And he loves those big plays as well. But not every play has to be a homerun. You can frustrate the D in many ways.Just completing passes and moving the chains can piss a D off big time.

I guess that is what is so frustrating for me. The big play mentality with Cam and Chud.


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