The Peanut Gallery’s Advice to NFL Offensive Coordinators

Watching all the football games via GameRewind revealed some less-than-stellar play calls, so for those NFL offensive coordinators that need a little help with fine tuning their game plan, here are a few play-calling scenarios that are in desperate need of culling.

The second-and-ten run after an incomplete pass on first down.

The temptation to run the ball on second down after a first down incompletion must beckon the offensive coordinator like the Sirens of Greek mythology, because there is not a more tell-tale sign of a running play than an offense that opens a drive in the shotgun to pass, only to then break the huddle on second down in a two tight end set to run the ball. Guess What? Everyone knows the inevitable run is coming. Why not just double down on the pass?

The third-and-long screen play call.

There are plenty of examples where a screen play breaks for a nice gain. However, third-and-long is not the time to call this play; especially, if the offense is trying to nurture a young quarterback. Under these circumstances, the defense is not fooled by this play call. First, the defensive lineman usually turn into Sherlock Holmes and detect something is wrong when strong offensive lineman suddenly give ground too easily. Second, even if the defensive line is fooled on the play, they make up ground in a hurry due to their incredible athleticism, so the result of the play is often a loss or marginal gain. At worst, the play results in a pick. Since this scenario is already conceding third down, why not just run the draw play? The draw play is much safer and nets about the same yardage without the passing complication.
Targeting the receiver running the two-yard slant on third-and-long.

Disclaimer: This does not include the quarterback “checking down” to the underneath receiver due to the fact that the receivers running first down routes are covered, nor does it include getting rid of the ball under heavy pressure from the defense. All of the above are understandable football decisions.

No, this play call scenario is reserved for the underneath receiver that is targeted the whole duration of the play, which is usually a light speed three-step drop. The chances of an accurate throw to the receiver with room to run that will net the third down conversion is, oh, 1,000,000 to 1. Madness. Pure madness. In today’s NFL, where pass interference is as common as the cold, why not chuck the ball down the field and hope for pass interference? The “pass interference deep right” works more than league officials will admit. Of course, penalties are not exciting, but at least the fans get to see a deep throw that may result in an incredible catch or a great air battle for the ball, which brings a little more suspense than a quick slant pass for a short gain.

There is no doubt that the NFL already provides great entertainment, but now, with the above listed scenarios taken out of the game plan, there are a few more downs for the offense to increase its output.

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