It is clear you know your football and it is fun to talk to someone about the Xs and Os. I don't claim any great knowledge or expertise about football. Like you I am a fan of the game and the Panthers in particular. Instead of engaging in a football contest of one-upmanship, we ought to be able to enrich each other's knowledge in a more collegial manner. For example instead of nitpicking and pointing out that of course you can have 4 running backs in the backfield. You probably forgot that you don't have to have a quarterback or he can line up as a receiver. The receiver is replaced by another runningback. The result is that all 4 of the guys allowed in the backfield can be running backs lined up in a formation like the diamond formation run infrequently in the pistol offense and often in some versions of the wildcat. But I don't know why you would want to limit your options by not having a passing option by only using running backs. Having a guy like Newton allows us to have the running and passing option. Or why you would use 4 running backs when you could use a TE. But lets not quibble over those things.
You are 100% right. I actually didn't forget, but after I typed up my response I kept re-reading what I wrote and thought A.) it was confusing and B.) I was falling into my own trap of being too wordy. So I deleted that part and just said "fug it they'll get the point". However, since I gave you some grief over a technicality I guess I deserved that
Instead I found an interesting article about why we struggled with the read option while other teams like Washington did not. What is your take on this and would it suggest that Matso needs to read this or we can put him on the list of needed upgrades. If we did telegraph what we were doing and didn't figure it out all year, but this guy could see it plain as day, how telling is that? Maybe the problem was how we ran the read option, putting our suspect offensive line under an even bigger disadvantage than they already had when we lost our first and second string centers and had to shuffle everyone around.
Someone else posted this article the other day and I read it and thought it was interesting as well. I didn't really have an opinion on it one way or the other because I hadn't paid that much attention to the blocking on pass plays. Although, I don't think that was why we were struggling with the read option. Or at least I don't think it was the main culprit. Most of the time it was just players missing assignments or just getting beat on their blocks. Also there was indecision by Cam at times that slowed the play down. And thirdly I don't think we played at the correct pace for it to be as successful as it should be.
But when I read it, it was something that I had not considered before, and would have to go back and re-watch the games to see how much truth there is to it and how much I thought it actually effected the offense.
I can say this, if this was an issue earlier in the season, it was corrected by the last game of the season. About a week ago I was bored and decided to re-watch the second New Orleans game and at one point this article came to mind. And although I didn't chart it or anything there were several play action plays where the blocking scheme looked essentially identical to the zone read plays. So I feel that if this was a problem, it was identified and corrected by the end of the season.
So I guess the short answer would be that I don't know. i would have to go back and re-watch some of the games and really key in on the o-line and see what they were or weren't doing on passing plays. But I am skeptical that even if the author of the article was correct that it made that much of a difference and even if it did it would have actually affected the passing game more negatively than the running game.