Back in February our esteemed colleague Cyberjag did an amazing breakdown of the Air Coryell offense and how we can expect the Carolina Panthers' offense to operate in this system. If you haven't read it already you really should do yourself and favor and follow the link.
Today I'm taking a less in depth approach and looking purely at the statistics from three different seasons, the Carolina Panthers successful 2008 campaign, the 2010 San Diego Chargers where Chudzinski was the assistant head coach and the 2007 Cleveland Browns where Chud was the offensive coordinator. The words of St. Pete Times writer Greg Auman served as the catalyst for this discovery as he said yesterday over this Twitter account:
Vikings' Ponder said Panthers' Cam Newton was at IMG last week, and Carolina's terminology much more complex than what he's learning.
We already knew a Rob Chudzinski offense would be complex, but perhaps this gives us the first tangible proof that it is significantly more complex than other systems around the NFL. It shows a large degree of faith in Cam Newton's abilities to learn this system, and to a degree dispels the notion Carolina will be running a simplified offense to ease Newton into the NFL.
More after the jump...
- 2008 Carolina Panthers: 55/45
- 2007 Cleveland Browns: 47/53
- 2010 San Diego Chargers: 46/54
This is clearly a fairly large swing we can expect to see in Carolina. When the offense was successful in 2008 the Panthers ran the ball 55% of the time, whereas in both Cleveland and San Diego the offense slanted heavily toward the pass with Chudzinski at the helm. It should be noted, however, than in the case of both Cleveland and San Diego they had unreliable running backs these years averaging only 4.15 YPC to Carolina's 4.8 in 2008. This disparity could push the run/pass ratio closer together for the Panthers.
Running backs as receivers
- 2008 Carolina Panthers: 39 receptions by running backs
- 2007 Cleveland Browns: 69 receptions by running backs
- 2010 San Diego Chargers: 109 receptions by running backs
This is a huge disparity in the offensive thinking from Chudzinski to Davidson. The use of RBs as threats in the passing game was an afterthought in Carolina. Despite Cleveland have a mediocre group of RBs in 2007 Chudzinski still managed to get the ball to them 69 times while Carolina with DeAngelo, J-Stew, Hoov and Nick Goings got them the ball just 39 times. Last year with San Diego, Darren Sproles led the team with 59 receptions-- this could definitely be Mike Goodson's role in Carolina.
The use of tight ends
- 2008 Carolina Panthers: 39 receptions, 404 yards, 2 TD
- 2007 Cleveland Browns: 95 receptions, 1,218 yards, 5 TD
- 2010 San Diego Chargers: 74 receptions, 1,076 yards, 12 TD
Granted, the '07 Browns and '10 Chargers had Kellen Winslow and Antonio Gates respectively, but that doesn't change just how much of an emphasis was placed on utilizing TEs in the receiving game. With Jeremy Shockey now on board the Carolina Panthers should get a caretaker threat at the position and a familar face for Chudz; expect him to be a major feature of the offense.
Spreading the ball around
- 2008 Carolina Panthers: 18 receptions combined between #3, #4 and #5 WRs
- 2007 Cleveland Browns: 13 receptions combined between #3 and #4 WRs
- 2010 San Diego Chargers: 86 receptions combines between #3, #4, #5, #6 and #7 WRs
In 2007 Cleveland literally had no WRs. They entered the season with Braylon Edwards, Joe Jurevicius, Josh Cribbs and Tim Carter-- that was their receiving corps. For this reason expect 2007 to be the outlier for that team. The 2010 Chargers used the entire field and seven different WRs throughout the course of the year. Plays were designed to find the open man, not lock onto a specific WR and with a QB like Philip rivers this made a world of difference.
Late down conversions
- 2008 Carolina Panthers: 78/197 attempts on 3rd down (40%), 3/8 attempts on 4th down (37%), 73 punts
- 2007 Cleveland Browns: 86/204 attempts on 3rd down (42%), 6/15 attempts on 4th down (40%), 62 punts
- 2010 San Diego Chargers: 92/205 attempts on 3rd down (45%), 5/13 attempts on 4th down (38%), 52 punts
The Panthers did more on 1st and 2nd down (as indicated by less 3rd down attempts) but when they got to third down they struggled and punted more. Look for all the above factors: RB receptions, TE usage, multi WR sets to help alleviate this and in turn lead to more 3rd down conversions.
What we will see is ostensibly what we already know and what Cyberjag laid out. A more vertical offense with the use of more weapons. However, these numbers give us a tangible comparison in these areas and show what we could be looking at statistically when the Carolina Panthers resume football.