Breaking Down the Data: Texans vs. Panthers

Aug 11, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) tries to escape pressure by Houston Texans' pass rusher during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE

Hey Panther Nation, I'm starting up a new series for post game day analysis. For every game this season I'm going to attempt to chart the offensive plays of the Panthers, as well as the different defensive fronts and coverages the Panthers Defense utilized. Based on that data, I will try to breakdown what worked well for the Panthers, in addition to what did not work out as planned. Hopefully from this data we can discern the Coaching Staff's Gameplan for the previous week, along with what the Staff might try to do moving forward.

However, as this was a preseason game, there was hardly any game planning, and the Panthers played three different QB's, as well as three different sets of players, the numbers are heavily skewed from what we would see in a normal game. Also, as this was my first go at charting the game, I did not chart the defensive fronts or coverages this week.

The Raw Numbers:

- The Panthers Offense ran 49 total plays on Saturday.

This number is slightly below average for a game, and can be attributed to the 6 three-and-outs the Panthers Offense amassed.

- OC Rob Chudzinski called 11 run plays and 38 pass plays.

This ratio is far from the relative balance we saw last season, however, in no way is it indicative of what we'll see in the regular season. Chud may have been looking to see how the Offensive Line would stand up against the Texans Pass Rush, or how our WR's would fare against the Texans Secondary.

- The Offense ran 32 plays out of 11 personnel, 6 plays out of 12 personnel, 10 plays out of 21 personnel, and 1 play out of 23 personnel.

This might be the most important statistic of all. The entire game, the Panthers really only used three personnel groups and only a handful of formations . Being as this was the first game of the preseason, Coach Chudzinski highly watered down his gameplan. Last year we would see much more variation and more personnel groups. The one play out of 23 personnel came on Tauren Poole's 1 yard TD run.

- As a whole, the Panthers Offensive Line surrendered 7 sacks: One on Newton, two on Anderson, and four on Clausen.

The Texans did dial up some blitzes, however they were largely successful at getting pressure with their Defensive Line and Rush LB's. Not all of the sacks could be attributed to the Offensive Line however, on one instance, both DeAngelo Williams and Greg Olsen motioned out of the backfield out wide, consequentially the Texans saw that Cam only had 5 blockers in, so they decided to send 7 pass rushers. Cam should have noticed the Texans blitz and hit one of his checkdowns before the pressure came. And while Jimmy Clausen was at the helm, there were a couple of cases where he held on to the ball for too long and was sequentially sacked.

- The Panthers Offense achieved 11 first downs in the game.

The Panthers Offense largely struggled to move the ball, and achieved most of their first downs while Derek Anderson was the QB, picking up 8 first downs with DA calling plays.

- In 11 personnel, the Panthers passed the ball 29 times, and only ran the ball 3 times.

This is another piece of evidence that supports a lack of gameplanning by Coach Chudzinski. It's doubtful that Chud and the Offensive Coaching Staff were trying to exploit something in the Texans Defense. During the regular season Chud wouldn't let such a gap develop. On those three runs, the Panthers Offense averaged nearly 9 yards per play.

- In 12 personnel the Panthers ran the ball three times and passed the ball three times.

This is a desired level of balance. The Offense didn't have a whole lot of success or any catastrophes out of this set.

- In 21 personnel the Panthers passed the ball six times and ran the ball four times.

This is another example of balance. Only on a few occasions were both Mike Tolbert and DeAngelo Williams used on the same play. It's likely that Chud wants to keep the cat in the bag in regards to Tolbert + D-Will/Stew.

- The Panthers passed the ball 16 times on first down, and ran the ball 8 times on first down.

Again, there is no trend to be discerned here as this is the pre season, and it correlates with the ratio of passes to runs. Though it is worth noting that 8 of the 11 run plays called by Coach Chudzinski came on first down.


Cam played 13 plays on Saturday. Six of his 13 plays came from 11 personnel, with five of the six plays being pass plays. Cam also called 4 plays out of 21 personnel, with two plays being passes and two plays being runs, and 3 plays in 12 personnel (two passes and one run). Technically speaking, Cam looked sound in the pocket and throwing the ball, however I was mildly unhappy with his ability to diagnose a blitz and dump off the ball to a safety valve. Anyhow, this can be partially attributed to solid play by the Texans Defense, as well as the difference in scheme (the Texans 3-4 Defense). All in all, we shouldn't be totally concerned with the vanilla version of the first team offense.


Derek Anderson saw the most action on Saturday, playing 24 downs, coming at the end of the 1st Quarter, the entire 2nd Quarter, and a series in the 3rd Quarter. 15 of his 24 downs came from an 11 personnel grouping. And of the 15 plays from 11 personnel, 14 were called running plays, the lone run being a 16 yard pick up from Tauren Poole. The Offense also ran 3 plays out of 12 personnel (1 pass & 2 runs), as well as 5 plays in 21 personnel (3 passes & 2 runs). After a pass interference penalty in the endzone, the Panthers ran a play out of 23 personnel and pounded the ball in from the one yard line. Derek looked decent in his action, displaying good pocket presence (minus his slide to avoid a pass rusher), and a propensity to place the ball in catchable positions.


Fan-favorite Jimmy Clausen participated in 11 plays, almost all of which came from 11 personnel. 10 of the 11 plays were in 11 personnel, and 9 of the 10 were passes. The other play came in 21 personnel, and was a four-yard screen pass to Lyndon Rowells. It was a very tough evening for Jimmy, as he suffered 4 sacks and a fumble. Some of his sacks were the result of poor pocket presence, and/or a dysfunctional internal timer, however on more than one occasion, the pressure of the Texans Defense, especially Whitney Mercilus, was inundating. Jimmy had one positive play in which he hit Armanti Edwards on a 9 route in the end zone, however the Texans' Safety made a good play and closed the zone; it was a decent enough throw, and it hit Armanti in stride, yet it would've been a tough catch.

Defensive Impressions:

Seeing as I didn't chart the fronts and coverages this past Saturday, I'll share a few brief impressions and observations I made of the Defense.

- It can't be repeated enough, Luke Kuechly looked awesome in his role as the Will Backer. Kuechly filled gaps, and sniffed out runs and passes.

- The Texans Zone Blocking Scheme was very successful at pushing the Front 7 out of their gaps, and exploiting the holes.

- The Defense was very vanilla, there was very little blitzing. On the first drive of the game, the Texans Offense had the ball inside the Panthers 30 yard line, and on a third down McDermott did call a blitz, leaving the Defense in Cover 1 with Godfrey in man coverage on the Y Wide Receiver. Schaub read the blitz and hit the Y WR on a skinny post, who moved it for a 10-20 yard game.

- In all, I only remembered seeing Cover 1 and Cover 2 coverage, which is not unusual for a preseason game, as Defenses don't want to give away a lot of their different coverage combinations before the games begin to count.

- The Texans were so successful at running the ball off tackle, that they were able to catch the Panthers LB's cheating to the sides. The Offensive Staff may or may not have noticed this, but soon there after, they called misdirection plays, leaving the Texans' RB's free to hit the gaping B gaps. The Texans also ran their fair share of play action out of the off tackle play, successfully fooling some of the Panthers DL and LB's, and picking up yards threw the air, as the Texans' QB's usually had enough time and space to make clean throws.

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