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2013 Draft Prep: Tendencies of new coaches

Senior Fantasy Writer
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This year, fourteen teams will have new play callers on offense. That insane number includes four men from the college ranks and one from another professional football league. And it does not include the two coordinators who took over during the 2012 season, Jim Caldwell in Baltimore and Dowell Loggains in Tennessee. So basically the turnover at play caller from this time a year ago is 50 percent.

Knowing who is calling the plays is important, but knowing their tendencies is even more important. Every coach will tell you they prefer to let the talent dictate their coaching decisions (except for Mike Martz) but some coaches are either too stubborn or too stuck in their ways to change certain things about the playbooks they carry with them. Knowing these things will help paint a picture of what to expect from their offenses and in turn their key Fantasy players.

What we've done is looked back at the relevant history of the five most intriguing playcallers coming into new jobs this season. Instead of studying the production of the players coached by these five guys, we looked at their play calls from a high level. How often they ran the ball, how often a running back ran the ball, how often they passed the ball and how often each position group caught it. The resulting numbers should better prepare you for what to expect from them this season.

Chip Kelly, Eagles

Chip Kelly
2012 UO 2011 UO 2010 UO 2009 UO 2008 UO 2007 UO 2006 NH
Plays/game 81.4 72.5 78.8 68.1 73.7 79.1 71.5
Pass plays/game 28.7 27.6 30.4 26.0 28.7 31.8 33.9
Total rush/game 51.6 44.2 47.1 41.4 43.8 46.5 37.6
RB rush/game 39.1 38.4 35.8 30.5 26.8 34.1 23.9
% rec RB 26.4 34.3 14.1 14.2 7.3 14.7 41.5
% rec WR 61.6 48.7 74.2 58.4 70.6 66.8 52.5
% rec TE 11.6 16.5 10.5 27.4 17.6 18.4 5.0

Like all coaches, Kelly will play to his strengths, but it's pretty evident that he leans on his running backs and the run game in general in his up-tempo approach. His last three years at Oregon were not only significantly run heavy but also featured an average of 35 to 39 carries per game just for running backs. And in those last two years the running backs were catching a high percentage of passes (thanks to De'Anthony Thomas, who we'll probably tout highly in 2014 drafts). But using rushers as receivers isn't something new for Kelly -- he leaned on them going back to his days at New Hampshire, especially if they couldn't get going on handoffs. Wideouts got a good cut of the pass attack whereas tight ends were only prominently featured once: Ed Dickson's senior season in 2009 when the Ducks didn't throw the ball nearly as much as in other seasons.
Bottom line: Not only should you expect LeSean McCoy to see a big dose of work this year, but whoever backs him up (for now it's Bryce Brown) will probably get a healthy dose of reps too. While the Eagles pass game might be a mix of West Coast principles with a quick-hitting mantra, there's a chance the pass game won't be as dynamic as the talent suggests.

Marc Trestman, Bears

Marc Trestman
2012 MTL 2011 MTL 2010 MTL 2009 MTL 2008 MTL 2006 NCSt 2005 NCSt 2003 OAK 2002 OAK 2000 ARI 1999 ARI 1998 ARI 1996 SF 1995 SF 1989 CLE
Plays/game 51.3 58.4 58.5 56.9 57.6 62.8 64.6 61.7 66.8 58.2 62.4 65.8 65.4 68.3 63.2
Pass plays/game 32.5 38.7 39.9 35.2 39.6 31.3 27.8 32.6 38.7 34.6 34.9 34.5 34.4 40.3 33.1
Total rush/game 18.7 19.7 18.6 21.8 18.1 30.7 32.6 26.4 25.9 21.4 24.8 28.1 28.4 25.9 28.0
RB rush/game 15.2 15.4 12.9 16.1 14.5 24.8 27.8 23.5 21.8 18.7 21.1 24.6 22.0 21.3 25.6
% rec RB 35.5 21.5 21.4 20.5 21.0 19.9 21.3 25.9 31.6 35.1 27.9 27.0 34.6 35.0 34.6
% rec WR 62.8 77.8 78.4 79.5 78.8 55.1 48.1 56.1 54.3 53.2 57.8 58.3 48.9 47.2 54.7
% rec TE 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 25.0 30.6 18.0 14.1 11.7 14.3 14.7 16.5 17.6 10.0

Note: Trestman's last five years involved him calling plays in the Canadian Football League, which varies greatly from the NFL. In the CFL, 12 players are on the field at one time and tight end isn't really a position. Slotbacks are regular contributors, which for this study we lumped in as receivers since they're basically receivers who line up in the slot. Canadian teams have three downs to get a first down instead of four in the NFL, meaning there are more possessions per game but fewer plays from scrimmage (more punting). The CFL also uses a 20-second game clock and the field is 10 yards longer than in the NFL. It all makes for a more pass-friendly league (you should check it out!).

The first thing that stands out is that Trestman loves to lean on his running backs as receivers. In his 15 years as a play caller his rushers have caught essentially 20 percent of the completions or more every single year. So if we give Jay Cutler 350 completions, that's 70 for the Bears running backs and Matt Forte will probably dominate those. Trestman's lack of use of running backs in the run game in the CFL is because of the rules, but in the NFL and college his running backs totaled at least 21 carries on average in nine of 10 years. His utilization of tight ends was never high in the NFL -- a seemingly troubling sign for Martellus Bennett -- but if Alshon Jeffery can't keep up his end of the receiving game then that trend could turn. Besides, it's been five years since Trestman has even needed to use a tight end. Finally, you don't see it here but Trestman has used a goal-line back religiously, including using quarterbacks in the CFL (a common use for backups in that league is to work the goal line). Michael Bush should have his role carved out.
Bottom line: Trestman should be a fairly predictable play caller in terms of annual stats. On a week-to-week basis, he'll probably mix things up aside from these obvious facets: Matt Forte will touch the ball a lot and Brandon Marshall will get thrown at a lot. Those are the two must-draft Bears players regardless of who is calling plays. There is no data that suggests Cutler will throw like crazy, especially since Trestman's NFL quarterbacks averaged over 38 pass attempts just twice in eight years.

Nathaniel Hackett, Bills

Nathaniel Hackett
2012 SYR 2011 SYR
Plays/game 79.1 67.8
Pass plays/game 36.3 34.8
Total rush/game 41.8 32.6
RB rush/game 34.7 26.2
% rec RB 16.3 15.3
% rec WR 66.4 56.7
% rec TE 16.9 28.0

Hackett is an interesting case: He's the son of long-time NFL coach and offensive coordinator Paul Hackett. He also picked up a lot of pro experience as a quality control coach before jumping to Syracuse with Doug Marrone and then following him to Buffalo. There's not much of a track record of Hackett as a play caller -- just two years -- but they're radically different. As Ryan Nassib told me at the Senior Bowl, Hackett scrapped the Orange's offense literally just before the start of training camp last year and re-invented his system to mimic elements of what Chip Kelly was doing in Oregon: Hyper-tempo, no-huddle offenses. Syracuse squeezed out more than 11 plays per game from 2011 to 2012 as a result and the team was successful. Hackett leaned on his run game much like Kelly did in both seasons, but they were far more represented on handoffs in the new scheme compared to the old. And unlike Kelly, backs didn't catch a ton of passes under Hackett -- hopefully something that will change now that Hackett has C.J. Spiller on his side. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel is also a different kind of player than Nassib and could further influence how Hackett calls plays.
Bottom line: It's a little dangerous to make assumptions on Hackett's intentions given the limited data and new talent he has in Buffalo, but Spiller (and, yes, Fred Jackson too) should handle a lot of work. Steve Johnson should see a lot of catches. And if the Bills had a healthy, capable athletic tight end, he might also be valuable.

Bill Callahan, Cowboys

Bill Callahan
2007 NEB 2006 NEB 2005 NEB 2004 NEB
Plays/game 74.8 68.9 72.0 66.7
Pass plays/game 40.1 29.4 37.0 29.3
Total rush/game 34.8 39.6 35.0 37.5
RB rush/game 29.9 34.1 27.7 31.9
% rec RB 32.1 29.9 22.6 23.1
% rec WR 59.1 55.3 67.8 56.4
% rec TE 8.8 14.3 9.2 19.2

Callahan made a late rush to our survey when Cowboys owner Jerry Jones named him the play caller for the 2013 season (he was already the offensive coordinator). Callahan previously called plays at Nebraska but a reliable source told us he only coordinated the run game in Oakland with Marc Trestman as the play caller. The last time Callahan called the shots he was very running back friendly. Over four years at Nebraska running backs had a huge cut of the offense while receivers and tight ends got whatever they could. But there's a catch: Callahan never had talent like Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Miles Austin and Jason Witten at his disposal. It stands to reason Callahan isn't so hard-headed that he discounts the Dallas pass game that posted 295.6 yards per contest ...
Bottom line: ... but it does suggest the run game won't get lost in the shuffle either. The Cowboys were ranked 31st in rush attempts last year, averaging 22.2 per game. That's a nice positive for DeMarco Murray, who is still otherwise an injury risk.

Pep Hamilton, Colts

Pep Hamilton
2012 STAN 2011 STAN
Plays/game 67.7 71.9
Pass plays/game 28.4 32.0
Total rush/game 37.8 39.2
RB rush/game 31.1 35.0
% rec RB 27.5 27.9
% rec WR 32.9 42.8
% rec TE 38.8 29.0

Again, not much of a sample size with Hamilton, but like Callahan in Dallas he is expected to lean on his running backs a little more than his predecessor did. The Colts' run game ranked 14th in rush attempts but finished 22nd in yards gained. That's not pretty. Hamilton has used a West Coast scheme that leans heavily on running backs and tight ends in the pass game, par for the course for most coaches in that system. Note that in both 2011 (with Andrew Luck) and 2012 (with a quarterback far inferior to Luck) Hamilton called more runs per game on average than passes. In fact, in both seasons, running backs had more carries than quarterbacks had pass attempts! While it would be surprising to see the Colts be close to a 50-50 balanced offense with Luck under center, maybe they'll be closer to that mark than you might think.
Bottom line: Whoever ends up as the Colts' primary rusher after training camp should have a spot on your roster. Whereas Bruce Arians might have given up on the ground game a little too early, Hamilton has shown he'll stick with it even if his quarterback is named Luck. Naturally, Hamilton won't be afraid to lean on Luck either, especially considering the variety of receiving threats he has. The Colts might not be quite as explosive as last season but they should be as effective.

A note on the other new playcallers

Bruce Arians, ARI Aggressive and pass-happy. Should be very good for Larry Fitzgerald, Carson Palmer.
Mike Shula, CAR Good track record as quarterback coach but has leaned toward run in play calling career.
Norv Turner, CLE Long history of leaning on running backs, throwing downfield. Josh Gordon is a legit sleeper.
Adam Gase, DEN First-year coordinator will probably yield to Peyton Manning. Good idea.
Jedd Fisch, JAC Another up-tempo coach from the college ranks. Fisch will use zone blocking & timing patterns.
Andy Reid, KC Reid might follow the up-tempo and pistol movements after being a West Coast guy for 10-plus years.
Marty Mornhinweg, NYJ Like Reid, a West Coast guy who might change it up. Won't matter with a tepid offense.
Greg Olson, OAK Will use power blocks to suit Darren McFadden, deep throws to suit Matt Flynn.
Ken Whisenhunt, SD Whiz's history in Arizona post-Kurt Warner is ugly, but the Chargers might air it out.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Dave at @daverichard and on Facebook .

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Player News
Giants' Odell Beckham says he played with hamstring tears
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(12:24 am ET) Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham said he played all season with two tears in his hamstrings, according to the New York Daily News.

Beckham took part in the Pro Bowl on Sunday, but admitted he's still not fully healed. Beckham said the injuries prevented him from getting to that "last gear that I wanted to have." He added that the injuries really bothered him against the Eagles and Colts. Beckham said he was "stumbling" and falling over during those games. He added that he's not sure whether he'll ever be 100 percent again.

The rookie had a tremendous season, hauling in 91 balls for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. 


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by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) Patriots quarterback Tom Brady doesn't expect to meet with the NFL until after Super Bowl 49, according to NFL.com.

The Patriots have been in the headlines all week due to DeflateGate, and it appears the situation won't be resolved until after the season. "I believe they're going to do [a meeting] after the season," Brady said. "So we'll deal with it after this game. I think everybody is locked in, ready to go for the Super Bowl." Both Brady and coach Bill Belichick have held separate press conferences during the week to deny the team's involvement in deflating their footballs. 

The Patriots are subject to punishment from the NFL if the leauge finds any wrongdoing during the investigation. 


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by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
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"When I come alive nothing is limited,’’ he said. “I’ll still play fearless, throw my body around, and let whatever happens, happens.’’

Thomas did allow that he might have to rely more on his teammates.

“My mindset is I have an opportunity to really trust my teammates,’’ he said. “This is the first game I’m going to have to trust them because of my injury. So I really, really, really trust my teammates, and that’s what I’m banking on, my teammates doing what they need to do and I need to come through myself.’’

It's unclear if Thomas will need offseason surgery.

The Seahawks are 1-point underdogs after opening as 2.5-point favorites.


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He's set to hit unrestricted free agency.


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(1/25/2015) Colts center A.Q. Shipley is headed for unrestricted free agency, and the team is expected to let him go, reports ESPN.com. 

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Report: Dolphins aim to re-sign TE Charles Clay
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(1/25/2015) The Dolphins have privately indicated they want to re-sign impending free agent tight end Charles Clay and will make him an offer in coming weeks, reports the Miami Herald. Clay caught 58 passes for 605 yards and three touchdowns in 14 games this season.

Miami also is high on Clay's backup, Dion Sims, who's signed through 2016, the paper said.


Browns extremely thin -- and short -- at wide receiver
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
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Miles Austin is scheduled for unrestricted free agency after catching 47 passes for 568 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games. Tight end Jordan Cameron also is set to be an unrestricted free agent.

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(1/25/2015) Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told SiriusXM NFL Radio that cornerback Richard Sherman (elbow) and safety Earl Thomas (shoulder) will practice this week and should be "good to go" for the Super Bowl. Both got hurt in the NFC Championship Game.

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(1/25/2015) A lot of people inside the NFL are optimistic Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon is "overcoming his issues" and will be back in the league in 2015, reports Fox Sports. Blackmon got suspended in November 2013 following his third violation of the league's substance-abuse policy.

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(1/25/2015) Browns wideout Josh Gordon tested positive for alcohol and "now will be subject to a one-year banishment," sources told ESPN's Adam Schefter. Gordon was suspended for the first 10 games this season for a repeat violation of the league's drug policy.

Pro Football Talk reports that because of Gordon's past DUI, alcohol was one of the substances for which he was being tested. The website said a one-year suspension is likely a "done deal."

The Browns also suspended Gordon for missing a Saturday walkthrough before the regular-season finale, and CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora reported then the Browns might be ready to part ways with the ultra-talented 23-year-old.

The Browns released the following statement regarding the news: 

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