Content available exclusively for subscribers
It’s not a panacea
The system can only do so much.
This idea that “brilliant” offensive systems can elevate a quarterback’s play is a tad bit overrated.
Over course good play calling is important, but it only takes a QB so far.
There was a lot of talk that Sam Darnold would perform better in Carolina with Joe Brady’s play-calling.
Perhaps he did in spurts, but there is only much play-calling can do before the player’s natural ability, instincts and field vision have to take over.
The Panthers have lost three games in a row, and in those games, Darnold has thrown six interceptions. In the Panthers’ loss to Minnesota on Sunday, Darnold was 17-41 passing.
Look, I’m not looking to pick on Darnold, who’s a really good guy and giving it his best shot, but the position is incredibly hard, and it doesn’t work out that well for many.
It seems like Brady did a good job masking shortcomings to a degree in the first three games, all Panthers win, but the more Darnold-Panther film out there, the more the offense has struggled.
Darnold needs great first-reads. If the first read is open, he’s fine. If not, there are often issues. How often can a coordinator dial open an open first read? It’s not that easy.
Sean McVay is one of the NFL’s best offensive play-callers, and after last season he reach his wit’s end with QB Jared Goff. Yes, they went to a Super Bowl together, but it seemed like McVay had to be perfect with Goff, and got tired of it. He traded him to Detroit for Matt Stafford, and then had a passive-aggressive quote praising Staffords’ skill set that was clearly a shot at Goff.
“When you look at what he can do, you’re able to execute and activate your play actions, your movements, those things,” McVay told NFL Network. “But when you get into the known-passing [situations] — the third downs, the two-minute drills at the end of the half, end of the game — the way that he’s able to move and manipulate the pocket, the way he’s able to recognize and understand coverage and make all five eligibles come alive, the way that he can create off-schedule, in the pocket, out of the pocket, and just his overall competitiveness and command, those are the things I think he brings a lot to the table.
“When you’re really playing that position, when you’re asked to get through progressions, recognize, read, solve problems protection wise, you’re seeing him do a lot of those things.”
He claimed to just be talking about Stafford, but clearly, he was saying that Goff didn’t do a lot of this stuff.
And now Detroit coach Dan Campbell said on Sunday after the Lions were blown out by the Bengals: “Now, I will say this—I feel like (Goff) needs to step up more than he has.”
And Carolina coach Matt Rhule said on Sunday: “Sam’s not playing well enough — let’s just start there — which means that Sean (Ryan), Joe (Brady) and me are not coaching good enough,”
Perhaps they could coach better, but there is only so much coaches can do with that position if certain innate skills aren’t there.
As for Zach Wilson, it’s too early to know if he’s going to need perfect play-calling to be successful, but I would lean toward saying he won’t, due to his off-schedule play-making ability.
October 18, 2021
Premium will return by 9:30 pm on Tuesday