Apparently Norv read my mostly useless analysis of his Cowboys playcalling, because he came out flinging the ball all over the field this week. Or maybe he game planned against the Saints defense and saw a weakness, really it's 50/50.
The ground rules here are that a) I don't really have a clue what I'm doing and I'm trying to develop it as I go, and b) I'm only interested in the call before the snap; not examining results. I want to see if I can glean any insights into Norv's brain, and see how 'guessable' his offense can be. In the preseason I'm only paying attention to Philip Rivers' led possessions, and when the real game start I'll be tracking cumulative season information as well.
This week there were 42 total offensive snaps, with only 15 (36%) runs against 27 passes (64%). Norv came out firing with the passing game especially in the first couple possessions. This was a huge flip flop from the run/pass balance against the Cowboys (cue Nick Canepa instigating the idea that management wanted to upstage Drew Brees!). First down plays this week were as balanced as they can be, with 8 runs and 9 passes. Second down got away from balance with 5 runs and 10 passes (more on this later). Third down was predictably heavy on passing, with only 2 rushes and 8 heaves; where one of those two runs was a short yardage touchdown for the FB. It seems as though the increased passing on first down fed into more passing on the later downs after incompletions. We had 12 plays on 2nd/3rd down with greater than 7 yards to go, passing on 10 of them.
The first play of our 7 possessions was also balanced with 4 runs and 3 passes. Ryan Mathews ran near equally to the left (7) and right (6). Tolbert only had one carry with the first unit. After the Cowboys game, a lot of people were starting to get excited about him being part of the mix in a frontline rotation, but maybe that's not a part of the plan. Sproles didn't even get a single carry. It now looks like opposing run-stoppers will get a steady diet of Bam-Bam, and not much else.
I accidentally deleted my recording so I can't go back and try to track who was in the backfield just yet. I'm using the official gamebook to come up with my numbers.
-Tight Ends, such a topic of excitement has really fizzled. Kris Wilson had two horrible dropsies, while Randy McMichael did not get a sniff of 1st team use. So much for the three headed TE versatility monster (until we suprise them with it in the regular season POW!) In any case, Norv had a pretty stern warning for Kris Wilson:
Norv On all the dropped passes "we'll find out if that's what a guy does best. If he doesn't, we'll find someone else that can." (from Marty1090 tweet)
-It's probably already been discussed, but Mathews had two real gems in this game, first the wide run left where he sprinted past the linebacker that had him dead to rights, then the pinball bounce non-tackle. It was everything LT hasn't been in the last two years.