Earlier this week, former NFL quarterback Dan Orlovsky underlined a tell which he spotted in the Panthers attack game movie. Predictably, Panthers coach Matt Rhule disagrees.
“I saw that,” Rhule said Friday, via Darin Gantt of Panthers.com. “I’ve been here long enough. I’ve seen enough coaches come out and say, ‘Every time they do this, they’re going to do this.’ So it’s wrong. I don’t agree with that.
It’s a very real dynamic. For years, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had an obvious sense of shotgun formation, with different foot placement depending on the run or pass. (A league source recently told PFT that the Steelers knew about it, that it drove them internally crazy, and that Roethlisberger never stopped doing it.)
In Carolina’s case, Orlovksy claimed running back Christian McCaffrey lines up behind and beside quarterback Baker Mayfield when a run or RPO comes up, and McCafffrey lines up next to Mayfield when the play called is a pass. Orlovsky called it “malpractice of training”.
Rhule dismissed this theory.
“If you say they knew if we were running or passing [against the Giants]I would say, ‘How come we ran 146 yards and 6.3 yards per rush?’ »
It’s a lame explanation. The Giants only had the Browns game to use as a basis to study any potential tells in the team’s new offense under Ben McAdoo. Maybe the Giants didn’t notice. Or maybe the Panthers are good enough to still gain 6.3 yards per carry when throwing the ball, even with a count.
The real football coach, the defensive coach in me, spends a lot of time on defense, watching other people’s back sets,” Rhule added. “Saying if you know it’s a run or a pass or not , every play in the National Football League is either a run or a pass. We could say it’s a 70% run in this formation. Always a 30 percent pass.
That’s true, but Orlovsky found a flaw that he claims has 100% accuracy when it comes to running or passing.
The real question is whether the Panthers will make it against the Saints. At a minimum, McCaffrey should be standing in the exact same spot every play, run or pass. The next level strategy would be to start doing what they did against the Giants and then change it once the Saints take the bait at a key moment, like Rocky returning to left-hander.
Without studying every shotgun blast for the Panthers through two full games to see if Orlovsky’s theory holds up (what do you think it is, my job or something?), it’s nonsense. for Rhule to consider it nonsense. What Orlovsky claims to have found is exactly the kind of thing teams are looking for when trying to crack the code through study of the film. The Saints, if they did not already know, will have studied the coins and come to a conclusion as to whether Orlovsky’s discovery is supported by the available visual evidence.