There Are Too Many Shotguns in the NFL, Not Weapons, Formations

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NFL Week 3 Observations.

I am not a pacifist, but after watching NFL Week 3, offensive schemes across the league need to change immediately. There are too many quarterbacks operating strictly out of the shotgun formation. Offensive coordinators need to call more plays with the QB under center.

NFL analyst Mike Tanner writes:

The shotgun formation is now used on over 58 percent of offensive plays. Three or more players are lined up as wide receivers on 56 percent of offensive plays.

The base formation in the NFL is a shotgun formation with three receivers, one back and one tight end. Of the just-over 33,000 offensive plays executed in 2013, 14,395 (43.5 percent) involved a shotgun quarterback with one back, one tight end and three receivers.

We Need Change

NFL teams have prioritized three positions on defense above others, pass rushers, ball-hawking safeties and cover covers. The shotgun formation limits what kind of running plays you can call. If your team is predominately in shotgun formations, elite pass rushers pin their ears back and attack because they anticipate the pass and don’t fear a running play. The only way teams can slow down aggressive defenses such as the Seahawks, 49ers, the Packers and others is to bulk up offensive lines and run right at defenders.

Do you want more proof? Look at Week 2’s Chargers/Seahawks game. San Diego ran the ball down Seattle’s throat and neutralized the Legion of Boom. Now contrast the Chargers game plan versus the Broncos execution in the fourth quarter against the Seabags. Manning only called a handful of running plays and was in the shotgun nearly 100% of the time. It led to a lot of QB pressures by aggressive Seattle pass rushers, more zone coverages in the secondary, and a devastating Manning fourth quarter interception.