By Tim Weaver
According to an analysis by Warren Sharp, the data suggests that NFL teams should be passing the ball more often, particularly in first and 10 situations in the first half of games. The idea is to establish the lead early on by passing and protecting it with the run later. Last season was the first time that the league really started to embrace this strategy rather than the tired old idea of “establishing the run.”
However, for what it’s worth the Carolina Panthers did have a lot of success running the ball in their first year under offensive coordinator Norv Turner.
For the season, the team ranked first in the league in yards per carry (5.1), fourth in total rushing yards (2,136) and sixth in rushing touchdowns (17). Football Outsiders ranked them No. 2 in rushing efficiency.
They were especially good running the ball on first down early in the game. Sharp’s numbers show that Carolina averaged 6.4 yards per carry on first and 10 in the first half, significantly more than any other team in the league. The Panthers also had an impressive 58 percent success rate on those runs. Only the Rams (62 percent) did...