Earlier this week ESPN's AFC North writer Jamison Hensley posted quarterback statistics out of shotgun with AFC North quarterbacks. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton is completing 59.6% of his passes out of shotgun for 703 yards passing and a passer rating of 75.6. Dalton ranks second in the AFC North behind McCoy, whose completing 62.8% of his passes for a quarterback rating of 81.6.
Pat Kirwin of NFL.com has noticed the trend, writing:
Ten years ago, the shotgun formation wasn't part of the West Coast offense. Bill Walsh, the creator of the modern West Coast system, didn't use it and as a result many of his protégé's around the league cast it aside as well.
But today, every NFL team has a shotgun package. In many cases, it serves as a staple formation of the offense. For perspective, on Sunday of Week 5 there were 636 shotgun plays called in 12 games, which averages to 26.5 shotgun snaps per team.
Andy Dalton and the Cincinnati Bengals used a shotgun formation in roughly 29% of their offensive snaps last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But the question Kirwin asks is about teams running the football out of shotgun, which if done right, could present offenses with a decided advantage due to the overwhelming defense against the pass defensive coordinators employ when offenses line up in shotgun.
When told what I was investigating, one head coach told me, "It's a shotgun world now and there are plays to be had in the run game. Most of the young quarterbacks and running backs coming in the league have been running the ball from shotgun in college, and they may be slightly ahead of the coaches at this point."
One of Cincinnati's most notable runs out of shotgun came against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Down by four points with two minutes remaining in the game, Andy Dalton takes the shotgun snap on third-and-goal from the Jaguars two-yard line. Rather than throwing it, he hands off to Bernard Scott who reads his blocks and walks into the end zone with the game-winning score.
It would seem to us that Cincinnati's chances to run the football out of shotgun significantly increase with Bernard Scott out of the backfield.