Sean McVay’s Audibles Are Bad Long-Term

Sean McVay feeding audibles into the ears of his second-year quarterback Jared Goff appears to be a good system. And that alone should make it a good thing. But is it?

What McVay is doing is well within the bounds of league rules. He isn’t cheating, even though it is a little unconventional. But he’s not doing Goff any favors in the long-run. The Rams have turned their 4-12 season from last year into an 8-3 season through 12 weeks. A good chunk of that resurgence is thanks to Goff’s stellar sophomore season. But down the road, the 31-year-old head coach could be handicapping his franchise quarterback.

One of the things that makes a quarterback great is his ability to make pre-snap reads. Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are/were two of the best ever at making these reads and adjusting accordingly. This is what made them so unstoppable. The defense rarely confused them and they were able to find their guy more often than not.

The main drawback to having coaches call audibles is that the QB will start to depend on it and won’t always make those reads for himself. And in the NFL, that won’t fly on Super Bowl-caliber teams. Defenses are too smart and the game is too fast for a coach to be calling the majority of audibles.

McVay is far from the only one to employ the tactic of making pre-snap adjustments in place of the quarterback. In almost every college game you’ll see the offense use a hard count or a motion to get the defense to show their hand. Then, the whole offense turns to the sideline to see the play call adjustments. But this is the NFL, not college.

Don’t get the wrong idea that coaches communicating with their quarterback is bad. It can be a crucial part of the game. But both player and coach have a job and both need to pull their own weight. If one side is doing too much, things can go downhill very quickly. Even though McVay’s system has worked in the college atmosphere with many teams, college trends rarely pan out in the NFL. And this one should be dropped soon as well.


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Published on 12/1/17 at 11:08 PM EST.
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Jason Walker

Jason is an avid sports fan whose favorite sport varies depending on what time of the year it is. He has played nearly every sport there is to play and has loved every single one. He grew up in Kaysville, UT and is a die-hard fan of the Utah Jazz and the New England Patriots. He is currently studying journalism at Utah State University. Follow him on twitter @thejwalk67

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