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Playbook Confidential: Fun with Small Sample Size

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Somebody get this guy some calcium pills and a gallon of milk.
Somebody get this guy some calcium pills and a gallon of milk.

In the first half of the Cowboys game, the 1st team ran 25 scoreless plays, with a 50/50 run/pass split on first down, and very little running on other downs. They moved the ball a total of 121 yards for a healthy (if unspectacular) 4.9 yards per snap, and then coughed the ball up twice. Does this remind anyone else of the 2011 offensive theme? We also saw Ronnie Brown get 80% of the starter's playing time over Curtis Brinkley. In 2011, Norv showed us exactly how he intended to split up playing time between Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert during the pre-season, so this is probably how he's going to survive the Mathews-less beginning to this season. Here's the link to the log for the game. I'm going to keep using the same file all season so the link should never change.

Down Run Pass Total
1 6 6 12
2 1 8 9
3 1 3 4
Total 8 17 25

There were a few small sample quirks that will be fun to pay attention to for the remainder of the pre-season while we wait for the next big name broken bone. The majority of the running plays (4 of 8 runs) came from balanced WR formations, even though balanced WR formations were not in heavy use (18 of 25 plays had unbalanced formations). If we change the perspective to the tight end balance, most of the runs (5 of 8 runs) came with a tight end on the right next to Clary. Keep an eye out next week for balanced formations with a tight end on the right, and amaze your friends by guaranteeing a run. If you're wrong, just tell them Norv is going vanilla for the pre-season. I wanted to look at runs towards the heavy side vs runs to the weak side, but the sample size was just too small for even toungue in cheek conclusions.

There was discussion on BFTB yesterday about how much help Mike Harris had, the answer is that Clary and Harris had about the same amount of help:

Tight End Heavy Side
Left 9
Balanced 5
Right 11

As JKvandal pointed out, the fullback was not in heavy use, but 3 WR was. We can see this in the formation grouping numbers. 11 Personnel almost always gets used in Shotgun in this offense. With larger samples and regular season game planning, expect to see Ace (single back, QB under center) take a bite out of Shotgun going forward.

Jumbo 2
Ace 3
I 4
Shotgun 16

On the other hand, the top three plays (longest gains) of the half came from Shotgun 11, and BFTB has long chronicled the overall superior efficiency of 3WRs. Maybe Norv is planning to pivot to a shotgun, pass whacky offense this year.

RunningBack Personnel Formation Heavy Call (LRMP) Carrier/Rec Result
Brown 11 Shotgun Spread R R P Floyd 11
Brown 11 Shotgun Spread R B P Floyd 16
Brown 11 Shotgun Spread R B P R Brown 27