Back before the NFL draft, there was a lot of talk about how Cam Newton had lined up only in the shotgun formation when he was at Auburn. Like that was a bad thing?
The Panthers have had Newton line up under center at times. But they’ve also used him in the shotgun formation. Through two weeks, Newton has attempted 54 passes out of the shotgun, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Only five quarterbacks across the rest of the league have attempted more.
Newton’s completed 32 of those (59.3 percent) for 514 yards. That yardage total is second in the league to a guy you might have heard of -- New England’s Tom Brady (651 yards). But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing for Newton out of the shotgun. He’s thrown for one touchdown, three interceptions and been sacked five times. His NFL passer rating in those situations is 74.2, but his Total QBR is a meager 22.1.
Tampa Bay’s Josh Freeman has been in the shotgun formation more than any NFC South quarterback and he’s thriving. Freeman has completed 44 of 57 passes (77.2 percent) for 411 yards and a touchdown. His NFL passer rating is 102.3 and his Total QBR is 86.2, which ranks sixth in the league.
New Orleans’ Drew Brees also is having success out of the formation. He’s completed 36 of 50 passes (72 percent) for 457 yards and a touchdown. Brees’ NFL passer rating is 106.8 and his Total QBR is 83.9.
Atlanta’s Matt Ryan has used the formation less than the other NFC South quarterbacks. He’s completed 26 of 44 passes (59.1 percent) for 227 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Here’s another stat that jumps out: Ryan has been sacked seven times when lining up in the shotgun. That’s a league high. Ryan’s NFL passer rating is 78.5 and his Total QBR is 40.9.