Dwain McFarland’s RSP Film and Data: Situations to Monitor in Week 2

Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio analyst Dwain McFarland discusses situations to monitor moving forward in the NFL season.

Follow Dwain on Twitter @DwainMcFarland

Week one of the NFL season is in the books. With this new data point, some interesting situations have developed. Below is a quick rundown of developing storylines that will be worth monitoring in week two and beyond this season.

The Eagles Want Miles Sanders to Lead their Backfield, But He May Not Be Ready.

Sanders led the Philadelphia backfield in snaps, rushing attempts, and routes ran per dropback. General Manager, Howie Roseman, referred to Sanders as a three-down back in his post-draft presser. While Sanders shared the backfield with Jordan Howard and Darren Sproles (in typical Doug Pederson fashion), his even usage across rushing and passing situations does support Roseman’s post-draft sentiments.

The Eagles trailed by six points or more until the 5:15 mark of the third quarter, which isn’t likely to be a typical game script for this caliber of team. Sanders could secure more work along with Jordan Howard in more typical scripts with Darren Sproles having a more limited role.

While it seems the Eagles coaching staff is eager to get Sanders often involved, his actual play raises concerns. Matt Waldman and J Moyer of the RSP both have called attention to some of Sanders inefficiencies as a runner, and they were on full display week one. Here is a great example from Moyer.

The data matches Moyer’s concerns. Per Next Gen Stats, Sanders was one of the least efficient runners of week one traveling 7.83 yards per yard gained. Sanders averaged a lowly 2.3 yards per attempt in week one.

LeSean McCoy May Soon Pass Damien Williams on the Chiefs Running Back Depth Chart.

In week one, Damien Williams was the number one back from a team utilization perspective. He led McCoy in snaps, attempts, routes per drop back, and targets.

This matched expectations set ahead of the game by coach Andy Reid. Reid eluded to changes in pass protections since his time with McCoy in Philadelphia that would likely limit McCoy’s usage. As those issues become less of a limitation for McCoy expect his workload to even with Williams.

Williams will likely remain the lead passing down back, but McCoy brings far more to the table as a runner. Over the past ten years, his consistency as a big-play rushing threat is unparalleled by any other back.

While some pundits called McCoy’s arrival in Kansas City a no news event due to the backs perceived deterioration of skills due to age (31), the film on Sunday told a different story.

Joe Flacco May Not Be A Good Fit For the Broncos Offense.

New offensive coordinator Rich Scangarello comes from the Mike and Kyle Shanahan coaching tree. The Shanahan’s scheme is notorious for stressing defenses with their wide zone run game and play-action passing (that are set up to look the same).

Shanahan’s play-action utilization over the past seven seasons: 26%, 24%, 27%, 22%, 29%, 27%, 40%

However, in week one the Broncos only utilized play-action on 11.4% of their plays (third-lowest). They also operated out of shotgun more often than this scheme typically does.

Scangarello may be trying to accommodate Flacco who has historically been below the league averages when it comes to play-action passing.

Building your offense around the strengths of your quarterback is a reasonable approach, but this offense historically has elevated quarterback efficiency through the scheme. That likely isn’t going to be the case here with Flacco.

Kyler Murray Earned Production Late in the Game, But Data and Film Belie Results.

Murray finished week one with 308 yards and two touchdown passes. However, the outcome was by use of blunt force, not efficiency. It took 54 attempts (5.7 YPA) with a 54% completion rate.

With an ADOT of 10.7 (19% of attempts over 20 yards), the completion rate is within the reasonable range of outcomes. The bigger concern is Murray’s performance under pressure:

  • Pressure Rate: 31%
  • Sack Rate: 27%
  • Completion Rate: 27% (3 of 11)

Murray’s accuracy under pressure or on the move was concerning through the preseason and the trends continued through week one.

On the move:

Pocket footwork under pressure:

For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), pre-order the 2020  Rookie Scouting Portfolio for a discounted price of $19.95 during the early-bird period of Thursday, December 5th through Friday, December 27th.  

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