Because you said this- "Same thing for the pre-snap motion. There was a play in the 4th quarter on Sunday, we were backed up in our own end zone. We had big personnel in a heavy formation. We moved Allen(?) in motion from the left to the right, and ran to the right. A half second before we snapped the ball, the Texans entire front shifted in unison to the offensive right, and the back had nowhere to go. These wrinkles we use have started to tip our plays off." I explained why and what about motion. It's not to tip off D, but sometimes they expect it and shift correctly to account for the extra man. As I mentioned, not everything works all the time, and the OC that does it will win every SB forever.
I understand the merits of pre-snap motion. I was simply giving an example of how it can work against you, particularly if you most often use it to shift blockers to the play side. Again, I'm not suggesting we never use motion. I'm just saying that, with all the packages and formations and motions and shifts we use, the plays begin to be predictable. It may seem counter-intuitive, but fewer formations and packages and less motion would actually make the offense less predictable.
What formations should we use? How often, what down and distance, and type of short pass plays should we call when (slants, ins hooks, flats etc? That is specific. Otherwise, to me, it is vague generalizations, IMO. Sorry.
Oh for heaven's sake... Do you want me to write a playbook??? I've done everything but...
How is it a vague generalization to say that we should reduce the number of formations and personnel packages, and be more creative with the use of motion? A vague generalization is "we need to change some things on offense." I gave four very specific tweaks we could make to our offense that I think would increase efficiency. All that's led to is a pointless explanation of pre-snap motion and a debate over whether I want Arians to switch to a WCO.
But we have made those adjustments. Luck isn't always taking advantage, but outlets and safety valves are on nearly every play. If Luck holds the ball and locks only one target #1 until it's too late, that's on Him, not Arians. Personnel should improve. Most every team improves, all the good ones do. It's called experience and coaching. If backup come in replace starter and don't improve, they don't deserve a spot next season. Nobody hits their peak 2 games into a season.
Like I said, I acknowledge that we've made some. I believe there's room for more.
Well 5 wide is a backbone of the Air Coryell, or vertical passing attack. We use many of those concepts. The antithesis of this is the Bill Walsh West Coast Offense, or horizontal passing attack. So which one is it you want again?
Does it have to be one extreme or the other? Either the Air Coryell or its antithesis, the WCO? There's no in between? What did Manning and Moore run? What does Dirk Koetter run?
And again, I'm not saying we should scrap empty sets. I'm saying that, as a general rule, I don't think empty sets on third down are wise. We were going empty on third down a whole lot earlier on, and we've cut down on it a bit, especially in the red zone. And I think that's a good thing. Credit to Arians for that adjustment.
I really try hard not get to far into that type of thing, nothing good ever comes from personalizing things. So try to keep it to items on the field. The more detailed, the better.
Yes, mainly identifying weak blocking issues and using motion to fill those weak spots and aloow Luck a cleaner pocket. I also Feel Luck himself is drawing some of his own misfortune, not using his safety valves. They are there, talk to folks who have watched film or went to live game(s).
Something else we could do is add some designed quarterback runs, a bootleg or two, to loosen up the intermediate zones and remind the defense just how multiple our attack can be. Maybe we shorten up the progressions every once in a while, and tell Luck to be ready to get out and run. He's very productive in the two-minute, partially because he's always ready to take off.
I'm satisfied with the changes we've made. If we didn't make any, I would be high up on the soapbox too. I am also a fan of power running and vertical attack. It was what we started with, until starters drop like flies and it became apparent it wasn't going to work well with this personnel set. So Arians has implemented enough changes to continue to win. And yes, I'm good with that. If I'm not mistaken our O is well in upper half of the league, and our D is well below lower half. Why isn't Manusky being called out?
To the bolded, that wasn't true against the Texans. The loss isn't solely at his feet, but I think he could have done more with his gameplan to keep JJ Watt from destroying our blockers all day long. If you'd like to know specifically what I think he could have done, see my previous posts. There are specific, detailed examples. ;)
As for Manusky, we haven't been talking about the defense. I've been critical of him as well, but it's different. I expected Pagano to be very hands-on with the defense; this is his baby. Manusky isn't a hybrid guy, he's a 3-4 guy. The defense is an extension of Pagano, or at least was supposed to be. And given the circumstances, I think the defense has shown a lot of improvement and promise over the course of the season. That's without mentioning that our personnel on defense doesn't really suit the scheme. The defense could be better though, absolutely.
But as for the offense, this is Arians' baby. Not that Pagano has had nothing to do with it, but I think you'd agree that Arians has much more autonomy over the offense than Manusky has over the defense. And specifically, my concerns are that we've allowed the 4th most sacks in the league, our completion percentage is THE WORST among full-time starters, we've had the most passes batted down in the league, we're 18th in scoring, 19th in scoring efficiency (DVOA), 14th in red zone scoring, etc. Yes, we gain a lot of yards, but our offense is NOT well in the upper half of the league, not when you take all the different metrics into consideration. A lot of that falls to the players, both a lack of talent on the line and a lack of experience among the skill players. But some of that can be tracked back to Arians' gameplanning and play calling, I believe.
To Arians' credit -- and the credit of the players -- we're 9th ranked on third down, at 41.9%. We're 1st on fourth down, at 87.5%. That's remarkable, given the youth and inexperience. A year ago, we were at 34.6% on third down, and 36.4% on fourth down.
I'm hoping he can. I mention motion a pllayer to weak links (pun intended) in the line and use dual TE sets that chip before going out in pattern. And Luck looking for the check down faster if target #1 is locked down. Then see where we are at.
Do you remember the Indy route? It's something that we've used from time to time this season, with varying success. I think it could be a bigger part of the offense. The Titans used it on us a couple weeks ago, for a first down to Kenny Britt. We could also make more of an effort to get the ball to Ballard in the passing game. It's probably too difficult to install middle screens into the offense at this point (I don't remember seeing us use any middle screens at all this season), but we can get him the ball on flat outs and such. We tried to against Houston, but the ball got knocked down by Barwin.
I just think there are certain elements of Arians' system that don't mesh well with our current personnel, and I think it would make sense to limit the use of those elements. There are other elements that I simply do not like, and wish we would never use. If we were starting from scratch and I could choose a coordinator, I wouldn't choose Bruce Arians. But that doesn't mean I can't/don't recognize the positives he brings to the table. And right now, given the circumstances, it's fair to say those positives outweigh the negatives. I think Arians deserves consideration for Coach of the Year. That's awesome, but that doesn't wash away the negatives entirely. And when he goes back to being just the coordinator, and he's judged just by his offensive gameplan and his play calling, some of those positives will be less apparent, and those negatives will be more glaring. As a play caller and offensive coordinator, he is what he is. And I think his faults have the potential to hold back the growth and development of the offense, long term, even when the receivers mature and the offensive line is better.
That's just my honest appraisal of the situation. I'm not campaigning for him to be fired or for a WCO. But if he gets a gig as a head coach, I'll be happy for him and happy for the team. Hopefully, we would hire a coordinator that runs a more efficient system.