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Understanding OC Jeff Davidson's Gameplan: 2009 vs NY Giants

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It's game time! Do you know where your offensive coordinator is? Take a moment to turn back the clock and examine the execution of Davidson's gameplan on Sundays. The first game up for examination is the 2009 shellacking of the New York Giants.

The Giants had a playoff berth on the line. It was also the last game in the old Giants stadium. The stadium was jam packed with fans and former players ready to send their team off in proper form. Unfortunately for everyone in attendance...  no one explained to the NY Giants that the Panthers would not let them simply waltz into the postseason.

The Panthers had just come off of a very convincing win against the Minnesota Vikings, 26-7, improving to a 6-8 record. Let's take a look at Davidson's plan of attack in this week 16 matchup... after the jump

This game is an example of how Davidson's gameplan is meant to work. At a later date we'll take a look at some less-fortunate games. Eventually we'll compare Davidson to Coach Chud's tendencies, which may give us a clearer picture of the type of offense we can expect to employ here.

Before I share the gory details I should first explain the way I am mapping the gameplan. I am using numbers to determine the personnel group and what type of play it was. So, for example, if I say that the Panthers lined up on first down in the 12 personnel group that indicates that there is "1" running back and "2" tight ends. 21 would be "2" running backs and "1" tight end. The personnel group does not necessarily dictate what formation the offense employed. It only details which personnel were used for that play. When watching a game like this, the plan starts to unfold very nicely.

The following is a table of the Panthers play calls in the first half, by personnel group.

 

CAR 10 11 12 13 21 22 23 Total
Pass 0 6 8 0 3 1 1 19
Run 0 2 7 1 6 6 0 22

 

You'll notice the Panthers had a remarkably balanced effort in the first half. Although, four passes out of the 11 personnel group occurred during their last possession of the first half and didn't amount to much. As I was marking this down, the next item that was really interesting to me was how often we used a two TE formation. In the first half, 22 total plays were run out of either the 12 or 22 personnel group. Watching the drive unfold play by play was really educational for me. For example, let's take a quick look at the Panthers first offensive possession. We'll split up the play calls by how far the offense needed to go to move the chains. "1st 12 pass" means the team lined up on 1st down with 1 RB and 2 TEs and they passed (or tried to - if it was a sack, or the QB scrambled, I still documented it as a pass for purposes of examining the gameplan).

 

10+ 5 to 9 4 and <
1st 12 pass 2nd 12 pass 3rd 12 pass
2nd 12 run 3rd 12 pass 3rd 22 run
1st 21 run 2nd 21 pass  
1st 12 run 3rd 21 run  
2nd 12 pass 3rd 21 pass  
1st 12 run    
1st 13 run    
2nd 21 run    

 

I remember watching this unfold early and thinking "Wow, we're lining up a lot in the 12 personnel group". For comparison, let's take a look at the G-Men's first drive of the game. They clearly felt most comfortable attacking the Panthers D out of the 11 personnel group. They mixed it up early in the drive fairly well, though:

 

10+ 5 to 9 4 and <
1st 21 run 3rd 10 pass 3rd 11 pass
2nd 12 run 2nd 21 pass 3rd 11 run
1st 21 pass 2nd 21 run  
1st 11 pass    
1st 11 pass    
1st 11 pass    
2nd 11 pass    
3rd 11 pass    

 

Look at all the different personnel groups, especially early on. As the game wore on and the G-Men fell behind, they operated almost exclusively out of the 11 personnel group (1 RB, 1TE, 3WRs).

After kicking a FG in the first quarter of play, the Panthers exploded offensively racking up 21 more points before the end of the half. On three consecutive drives, the Panthers scored on a run out of the 22 personnel group; a pass out of the 11 personnel group; and a pass out of the 23 personnel group.

The first half includes a lot of balance on the Panthers part and they weren't ready to slow down after receiving the ball first in the third quarter. They covered around 60 yards on two plays, a run by RB Jonothan Stewart, and a arm-breaking TD reception by WR Steve Smith to put the Panthers impossibly ahead 31-0. Here's where the gameplan changes incredibly! Let's take a look at the 2nd half stats:

 

 

CAR 10 11 12 13 21 22 23 Total
Pass 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 4
Run 0 0 1 0 1 17 1 20

 

Four passes in the entire 2nd half of the game! Two of them were on the opening drive of the 3rd quarter! From here on out, Davidson doesn't even try to hide the plan of attack. The Panthers gave the Giants defense a run look and they ran it down their throat again and again and again. And it worked beautifully. The defense was clearly worn down early in this game as even FB Brad Hoover picked up a run of 18 yards. This lead to RB Stewart's career day, shattering the Panthers single-game rushing record with 206 yards.

That more or less sums up the plan of attack for this game. I'll leave you with a couple more tables of stats and start working on the next one. There is some information that I didn't record for this game that I plan to jot down moving forward, such as yards gained on each play. Thanks for reading! If you have any questions, feel free to jump in with comments.

Giants Offensive Gameplan breakdown:

1st Half:

 

NYG 10 11 12 13 21 22 23 Total
Pass 2 15 0 0 4 0 0 21
Run 0 1 2 0 4 1 0 8

 

2nd Half:

 

NYG 10 11 12 13 21 22 23 Total
Pass 0 25 0 0 0 0 1 26
Run 0 8 0 0 0 1 1 10

 

Percentage Breakdown by Team:

 

Run % on 1st Down 2nd Down 3rd Down 4th Down
CAR 29.23% 18.46% 9.23% 0.00%
NYG 13.85% 10.77% 3.08% 0.00%
Pass % on 1st Down 2nd Down 3rd Down 4th Down
CAR 6.15% 9.23% 9.23% 0.00%
NYG 32.31% 20.00% 16.92% 3.08%

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