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CSR Film Room: The Panthers passing offense has improved, but issues remain

Kyle Allen is improving as a passer in the Panthers’ offense, but there are still some wrinkles that need to be ironed out.

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers got back to their winning ways on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans. On the surface, the passing offense only producing 232 yards doesn’t look great, but the game plan was sound by offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

Kyle Allen’s underlying numbers were below average. He passed for 7.5 yards per attempt, a 48.6 QBR (24th/28th among all Week 9 quarterbacks), and a 46 percent success rate. Let’s dive further into the film to check out his performance.

While Allen’s interception wasn’t necessarily his fault, he was fortunate not to throw a pick on his deep pass attempt to DJ Moore. Moore has improved his separation ability this year, but Allen has to be more accurate.

Another one of Allen’s issues this season has been ability to quickly process the defense. This is an area that does come with more playing time, but the best quarterbacks show this skill at a young age.

After Allen’s debut start to the 2019 season, I complimented Norv for giving Allen the best chance to succeed by pushing the ball vertically. Against Tennesee, Norv gave Allen plenty of clear defined reads off play-action, which gave him easy throws.

On Christian McCaffrey’s touchdown reception, Jarius Wright comes into short motion while the offensive line down blocks. This vacates the right side off play action, which turns into an easy pitch and catch.

The receiver comes in motion, but the Titans defense doesn’t bite which means they’re dropping into zone coverage. The play-action after the motion causes the linebackers to freeze, which opens the middle of the field for Greg Olsen.

Allen is at his best when he can execute a one read assignment off play-action. He places the ball in an ideal location, which protects Curtis Samuel against the incoming defender.

The Panthers run a similar concept, but this time they add another play-action off the initial one. Allen faces a collapsing pocket, but still delivers the ball on time to his first read.

Norv was able to dial up the right play call at the right time. Facing a 3rd-and-long in Tennessee territory, he called a bubble screen to Moore against the oncoming blitz. The pre-snap motion gets the defense to freeze for half a second, which is just enough time for the offense to properly execute the play.

To Allen’s credit, he was able to show improvement in one deficient area of his play. The pocket movement and mobility has been a huge problem, but on this completion to Olsen he does well to step up and deliver an accurate ball.

Allen’s other big throw from the game came in the fourth quarter on 3rd-and-long. The Titans were coming off a touchdown drive and were looking to get the ball back on a quick 3-and-out. Allen delivered another good throw off play-action. The next play McCaffrey took the rock the distance and effectively ended the game.

Allen still has plenty of issues before he’s anointed as a future starting quarterback, but it’s encouraging that Norv can design an offense to mask his limitations. The Panthers face a stiff test in the frozen tundra of Green Bay this weekend. Let’s hope the pass offense shows more improvement.