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Dan Quinn should FORCE Dirk Koetter to run the ball more next year.

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DQ should force Koetter to run the ball more next year. Push him out of his comfort zone. Just like Kyle Shanahan pushed Matt Ryan out of his comfort zone.  let someone on the coaching staff help with run schemes if necessary. I might even draft a running back in the 2nd or 3rd round even if Freeman stays. As Matt Ryan gets older he'll need a good running back duo/trio. DQ needs to "look under the hood" and figure out how to get this run game going next year.

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11 minutes ago, ATLSlobberKnockers said:

We need to run under center and open up playaction passes and use bootlegs to allow deeper routes to develop. The OL is being asked to do Waay too much






This piqued my interest for a couple reasons: 1) You logically wonder if this is a down-and-distance issue more than a formation issue, and 2) I’ve been thinking for a while that the traditional way for running the ball from jumbo formation in short-yardage situations might not be the optimal choice. 

There is logic to why using a jumbo formation works in short yardage: you’re bringing more blockers to counter any attempt by the defense to stack the box with defenders. But is any advantage of more blockers mitigated by the extra defenders it attracts, and the assumption on the part of the defense that it will be a run and they can time handoff.

The data says

I looked into the data to see if shotgun formation is not just the optimal running formation at longer distances, but also in short yardage. I looked at every running attempt in shotgun formation or under center from 2014-2016 in a short-yardage situation, which I’m defining at 2nd or 3rd and 1 or 2. I then calculated the average points added and the success rate for each.

As a reminder, points added is the best way to translate the results of each play into the addition, or subtraction of points teams should expect to score. I’m defining success rate as the percentage of attempts which result in positive points added, i.e a first down.

Formation Attempts Avg Pts Added Success Rate
Under Center 2850 0.05 60.8%
Shotgun 1360 0.20 66.0%

You’ll see that teams on average add more points and are more successful in short-yardage situations than from under center. While it’s alone impressive that each shotgun run adds has a 5.2% higher success rate than running from under center, if anything this comparison is likely understating how advantageous it is to run out of the shotgun.

We might think of all 3rd & 1 situations as equal, but in reality there is a huge difference in being only inches away from a first down at being further than a yard, but not far enough to make it 3rd & 2. We don’t have the granular detail in available stats to back this up, but it’s logical that teams would be much more likely to run under center in the ultra short-yardage situation where a QB sneak is in-play.

Another logical question is if the numbers a skewed because teams that run from the shotgun in short yardage are more likely to have mobile quarterbacks, meaning that it isn’t a strategy that applies to many teams. I looked at each team’s results separately for the same 2014-2016 period and it shows that 26 of 32 teams, or more than 80%, were at least as likely to add points from shotgun than under center.

Show 102550100 entries
Team Shotgun Att Under Center Att SG Pts Added UC Pts Added Diff
CLE 30 82 0.57 -0.03 0.6
CIN 53 117 0.33 -0.13 0.46
NYJ 62 93 0.45 -0.01 0.46
JAC 39 68 -0.04 -0.45 0.41
CAR 64 98 0.43 0.06 0.37
SF 63 52 0.22 -0.15 0.37
IND 41 89 0.31 -0.04 0.35
ARI 8 112 0.5 0.16 0.34
DEN 46 105 0.31 0.02 0.29
HOU 40 94 0.37 0.08 0.29
Showing 1 to 10 of 32 entries


Why would it be the case that having fewer blockers is more effective? We can’t say for sure, but possible explanations are that it adds more optionality and uncertainty that the defense can’t as easily attack. Obviously the potential for a pass is more in play from the shotgun, but I think it’s also important that the potential for the quarterback to keep the ball on a read-option dramatically changes the timing of a running play, so defenders can’t align themselves solely with when the running back will hit the line. Of course you can also fake a handoff from under center and have the quarterback bootleg, but that a much riskier play, as you could lose many more yards and the quarterback can’t read the situation with his back to the defense.

How many points are left on the table?

To get an idea of how much value in term of points added teams are losing by not running in the shotgun, I calculated the aggregate difference of running from shotgun and under center times the average number of seasonal short-yardage runs for an NFL team.1


Adding an additional seven points might not seem like a lot, but we’re talking about free points in a sport where the best teams maximize tiny advantages that add up to wins. For more perspective, only six quarterbacks – the most important position in football – have added more points so far this season.



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18 minutes ago, Butudontseeme™ said:

It sounds like they’re pretty intent on getting better at running the ball and finding more balance on offense. 

Watching the Vikings run the ball down the saints throats today is a good example of why. 

Hopefully but....My only worry is that they were saying same thing at end of 2018.  Actions not words at this point pls.  

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3 hours ago, ya_boi_j said:

Well if you fix the scheme you don’t need to draft a “beast”

I swear this gets lost with so many people. You would think watching Kyle Shanahan's offense would have showed them that a solid scheme and a coach that emphasizes running in practice means more than the RB.

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He doesn’t need to be forced he’s the OC if he can’t figure out that’s what’s missing and a guy Mularkey sitting in his back pocket who can help what’s there to say.

It is what it is Dirk Koetter keep hanging your Oline out to dry keep Ryan dropping 5-7 step drops keep the long developing routes go right ahead if you think that’s what it’s going to take even though evidence says otherwise.

Just whatever man.

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