Cardinals’ Kingsbury sees no reason not to snap it out of shotgun
GLENDALE, Ariz. — When the Arizona Cardinals lined up during practice in a power-I formation at the goal line last Tuesday — a pretty standard thing to do for most NFL teams — it felt like a quirk.
That’s because it is for Arizona.
The Cardinals went through most of their first preaseason game last Thursday in shotgun until a few kneel-downs put their quarterbacks under center as they burned through the final few minutes of the 17-13 win against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Is there an advantage to snapping it under center? At the goal line? Ever?
“You’re guess is as good as mine,” Kingsbury said Monday. “I don’t know. Somebody would have to explain that one to me, but I don’t know. I can’t tell you. There are certain plays where we may feel the mesh point for the running back (is better) or it’s more a down-hill path, things of that nature — if we needed to hit quicker. But other than that, certain people have different opinions.
“I don’t think anything’s ever been proven to be right or wrong when it comes to that.”
Starting quarterback Kyler Murray took all 11 of his snaps in shotgun during his preseason debut, including the first play, when he was lined up two yards into his own end zone as Arizona was backed up at the 3-yard line.
If the Cardinals even sniff a 100% rate of snaps out of shotgun in Kingsbury’s first year as an NFL coach — the 2016 San Francisco 49ers led by spread guru Chip Kelly did so 99% of the time — they could lead the league.
Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs led the NFL by lining up in shotgun 80% of the time.
The Bears, Ravens, Eagles and Steelers were all within 2% of that figure. Arizona, under offensive coordinators Mike McCoy and Byron Leftwich, used shotgun just 54% of the time in 2018, according to Sharp Football Stats.
The league-wide trends seem to suggest Kingsbury is right; there isn’t a good answer for why a quarterback might be better off under center.
According to Football Outsiders, just one team in 2011 operated out of shotgun 60% of the time or more. Last year, 19 teams did so.