Why the Carolina Panthers Need to Read Inside the Pylon

The Panthers are coming off of a Super Bowl appearance, and have struggled at the outset of the 2016 seasonMark Schofield outlines mistakes they’ve made and explains why the Carolina Panthers need to read Inside the Pylon.

Now, I know that Inside the Pylon is a relatively new kid on the proverbial football media block. We’ve only been around for two years, and it’s understandable that not every reader out there even knows who we are. Especially those in positions of power. But perhaps we could be of some assistance.

Say, to the Carolina Panthers?

Last week I published a piece on the Atlanta Falcons, and how their offense was using 13 personnel in the passing game. A play that was featured prominently was a boot-action play where quarterback Matt Ryan rolls to his right after carrying out a play-action fake to the left. Then, with receivers crossing from left to right mirroring Ryan, the QB stops and throws back deep toward the left sideline, where rookie tight end Austin Hooper has leaked outside and deep. The Falcons hit the design for a big play against the Oakland Raiders, and then a few weeks later against the Panthers:

[jwplayer file=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/AtlantaVideo6.mp4″ image=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/AtlantaStill19.jpg”]

In that story, we wrote:

Since the Raiders were able to prevent the touchdown, you would think the Panthers – with the benefit of seeing this play on film – would be able to achieve at least the same level of success two weeks later.


Late in the third quarter Monday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers trailed Carolina 14-6, but had possession of the football on their 36-yard line. They lined up with quarterback Jameis Winston (#3) under center with 22 personnel on the field, initially in a tight i-wing right formation. The Panthers have their base 4-3 defense on the field, showing Cover 1 in the secondary and an over front along the defensive line:


Fullback Alan Cross (#45) shifts, moving from his upback spot to the left edge, aligning as a TE:


In response, strongside linebacker A.J. Klein (#56) drops down on the line of scrimmage.

This puts the offense in the same exact formation the Falcons used on their throwback play. And yes, we get the same exact throwback design from the Buccaneers:


Tampa Bay’s Russell Shepard (#89) is the only wide receiver on the field and he runs the deep over route. The run fake is to the left, toward Cross, who will start to block before running the intermediate crossing route. Brandon Myers (#82) aligns in the wing, and he will block down to the left before peeling back to the right flat to mirror Winston and serve as the outlet route. Finally, Cameron Brate (#84) serves in the Hooper role, blocking down and then moving down the line of scrimmage, and finally releasing vertically down the left numbers.

The play doesn’t work exactly as expected, but the result is nearly the same:

[jwplayer file=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TBThrowbackVideo1.mp4″ image=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TBThrowbackStill3.jpg”]

Cross gets caught up on a jam from middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (#59) and ends up on the turf, never completing his route. Myers blocks down a bit too long, and never gets into the flat in front of his quarterback. Shepard’s deep over route, however, does the job. The WR occupies both the cornerback and the safety, which opens up the backside for Brate’s route:


From the end zone angle, you get a look at the play coming together and how the linebackers in particular react to the flow of the play and not Brate leaking outside:

[jwplayer file=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TBThrowbackVideo2.mp4″ image=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/TBThrowbackStill5.jpg”]

Tampa Bay scored on the next play, and with the two-point conversion knotted the game at 14. The Buccaneers went on to win, moving to 2-3 on the season. The loss by the Panthers dropped them to 1-4, and they enter Week 6 staring up at the rest of the NFC South.

Follow @MarkSchofield on Twitter.  Buy his book, 17 Drives.  Check out his other work here, such as how Alabama passes to attack the flat, or Tennessee’s use of the double post concept, or how LSU runs play action.

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All film courtesy of NFL GamePass.

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