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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
Cardinals' Larry Foote '50-50' on playing in 2015
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/26/2015) Though Larry Foote is on the Cardinals' coaching staff at the moment, he hasn't ruled out a potential return to the team

Speaking to the team's website, Foote said he's "50-50" about playing in 2015. He talked about the factors that could play into whether or not he returns to playing. 

“Draft, what happens with (suspended linebacker) Darryl Washington, stuff like that, how my knee feels (after offseason surgery),” Foote said. “I’ll sit down with (Bruce Arians) and the next couple of months are really going to be the deciding factor.”

If Foote doesn't play, he'll be the linebackers coach for Arizona's upcoming season. He's been adjusting to the role of being a coach this offseason. 

“I am starting to like coaching,” Foote said. “It’s a little tough in the office, eating M&Ms, snacking all day, drinking coffee. I started my diet a couple days ago.”


Panthers pick up option on Luke Kuechly contract
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) What was promised by general manager Dave Gettleman is now official - the Panthers have picked up the fifth-year option on the rookie contract of standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, per the team website.

The two-time Pro Bowler has led the NFL in tackles in two of his three seasons and was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. He has racked up 473 tackles since 2012, the most in the NFL.


Ravens TE Dennis Pitta hopeful for 2015 return
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Ravens tight end Dennis Pitta hopes to take the field in time for the 2015 season, but admits it's too early to determine if that goal can become a reality.

Pitta has undergone surgeries to repair a fractured and dislocated hip in each of the last two years.

"We still have some time to be able to assess where I'm at," Pitta told the Baltimore Sun. "I sure hope that I'll be on the field next year. That's my hope; that's my goal. We'll just see if I can get there."

Pitta has played in just seven games in the last two seasons combined.


Mark Sanchez: Eagles said Tim Tebow was just a camp arm
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/25/2015) Eagles quarterback Mark Sanchez said he wasn't concerned that the team signed Tim Tebow, because the Eagles told him Tebow was just there to throw in camp.

"We needed another guy to throw while Sam's (Bradford) still recovering. So that's the reason (for the signing), at least as explained to me," Sanchez said, per CSN Philadelphia

The Eagles signed Tebow on Monday. He hasn't played in the NFL since getting cut by the Patriots at the end of training camp prior to the 2013 season. He spent last year as a television analyst for the SEC Network. 

Tebow and Sanchez were teammates on the Jets in 2012. Tebow's presence as a back-up created a quarterback controversy among fans and media that last ed throughout the season. 


Vikings CB Terence Newman has familiarity with Mike Zimmer
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Vikings cornerback Terence Newman won't have a steep learning curve now that he's with his new team. 

Newman played under Vikings coach Mike Zimmer when he was the defensive coordinator with the Cowboys. Drafted in 2003, Newman learned Zimmer's defense from his rookie season through 2006, before Zimmer left to take the same position with the Falcons. 

“I just know exactly what to expect from him as a coach, as well as everybody else in this locker room,” Newman told the Vikings' website. “You play your best football under him.”

In his career, Newman has recorded 741 tackles and 37 interceptions. Entering his 13th NFL year, Newman has already impressed his teammates with voluntary workouts underway. 

“I met with him and he seemed like a great guy,” cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. “Like he’s going to come in and teach us what we need to know about the technique of the game and about the defense because he’s been in it before, so he’s going to help us out a lot. He’s a big asset to this team and the defense.”


Chiefs pick up option on NT Dontari Poe
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Chiefs have exercised their fifth-year option on two-time Pro Bowl nose tackle Dontari Poe, per NFL.com. He is set in Kansas City through 2016, when he will earn $6.146 million.

The 350-pound Poe has earned the money. He racked up six sacks and contributed to 46 tackles in 2014.


Lions GM Mayhew OK with James Ihedigbo skipping workouts
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Safety James Ihedigbo was the lone absence from voluntary workouts this week for the Lions. But general manager Martin Mayhew understands. After all, Ihedigbo's agent has stated that he would not work without a new contract.

"I look forward to talking with James," Mayhew told ESPN. "I understand what he's going through. I've been through that myself as a player, when I felt that a time in my career that I was underpaid and I had to deal with that.

"So I have empathy for him. I understand what he's going through and I look forward to sitting down and talking with him. I have great respect for him as a player, as a man. I've gotten to know him a little bit away from football and I understand how he feels."

Mayhew declined to discuss whether the Liins will rework Ihedigbo's contract.

The 31-year-old Ihedigbo contributed 71 tackles and two sacks with a career-high four interceptions in 2014 despite missing three games at the start of the year with a nerve injury. He earned Pro Bowl alternate status.


Eagles withdraw qualifying offer to RB Chris Polk
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) Running back Chris Polk is now a free agent. 

According to the NFL transaction wire, the Eagles rescinded their $1.6 million tender they offered this past March. The Eagles placed the tender on Polk, previously a restricted free agent, before signing both DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews in free agency. 

With Darren Sproles on the roster, it didn't make much sense for Polk to stay with the Eagles. 

In 2014, Polk ran for 172 yards and four touchdowns. 


RB Bobby Rainey signs qualifying offer with Buccaneers
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) The Buccaneers have announced that running back Bobby Rainey has signed a one-year qualifying offer the team extended to him before the free agency period. He was a restricted free agent and was given an opportunity to negotiate with other teams.

Rainey will compete for playing time with Tampa Bay. He rushed for 406 yards in 2014, but faded at the end of the season with just two carries in the last six games combined.


Jaguars planning to play 2015 season without Justin Blackmon
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/24/2015) As far as the Jaguars are concerned, Justin Blackmon will not be lining up at receiver for them this season. 

At least that's the approach Jacksonville is taking. Blackmon has been indefinitely suspended since Nov. 1 2013 for three violations of the substance-abuse policy under the old CBA.

"Our process hasn't changed," Caldwell said, via ESPN.com. "[We] plan to go without him, but if he emerges, he emerges, and he's going to go in with those top guys and compete with those other guys. Hopefully we're able to get some news, but if not we weren't planning on [having Blackmon]. We're just going to go [without him]."

Before he can re-join the Jaguars, he'll need to file an application for reinstatement, with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell making a decision within a 60-day window. The application letter would include details of the treatment he's received. 

Since being selected with the fourth overall pick in the 2012 draft, Blackmon has only played in 20 games. He has 1,280 yards and six touchdowns in his career. 


 
 
 
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