Jon Gruden not a believer in play-action against man-to-man coverage
Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden is making another strategic assertion that isn’t quite backed up statistically.
Gruden admitted Friday that he doesn’t care for play-action against man-to-man coverage, arguing that the players in coverage aren’t paying enough attention to the backfield to bite on the fake.
“I just don’t believe in play-action pass against teams that are playing man-to-man coverage,” Gruden said, via Paul Gutierrez of ESPN. “Who are you fooling? You see a team that plays a lot of zone coverage, you fake the ball and you fool the underneath coverage and throw the ball in behind him. When you’re playing teams that play a high percentage of man-to-man coverage, the corner is covering his guy. The safety is covering his guy, he’s not peaking in the backfield.”
It may sound reasonable, but the numbers don’t quite support Gruden’s assertion.
Someone tell Jon Gruden he may want to walk this back. In 2018, here are play action splits in man-to-man (M2M) coverage, league-wide:
Non-Play Action passes in M2M:
• 50% success, 7.3 YPA, 92 rtg
Play Action passes in M2M:
• 56% success, 8.6 YPA, 108 rtg https://t.co/LVDQMG4LrK
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 8, 2018
It’s not the first curious quote Gruden has offered up this season. Maybe that’s part of the reason they’re languishing in the basement with a 2-10 record.