Shotgun formation could help Cam Newton

It seems like a lot of people are making a big deal of the fact that new Carolina quarterback Cam Newton didn’t line up under center very often in his one season at Auburn.

But I just looked at some numbers on how frequently NFL quarterbacks lined up in the shotgun formation last year and I’m thinking it might be a good thing that Newton is familiar with that system. It seems like most of the league’s top quarterbacks spent a lot of time in the shotgun formation and the Panthers could turn more in that direction going forward.

Courtesy of ESPN Stats & Information, Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning threw a league-high 510 passes from the shotgun formation last season. Guys like Drew Brees, Josh Freeman, Matt Ryan, Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers used the shotgun formation often and had success with it.

Let’s focus in on the quarterbacks for the other three NFC South franchises. Tampa Bay’s Freeman ranked sixth in the league with a 93.6 passer rating out of the shotgun formation. Freeman completed 170 of 279 passes (60.9 percent) for 2,006 yards with 14 touchdowns and four interceptions.

New Orleans’ Brees was No. 10 in the league with a 90.7 passer rating out of the shotgun formation. Brees completed 253 of 369 passes (68.6 percent) for 2,831 yards with 17 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Atlanta’s Ryan was No. 12 with a 90.0 passer rating from the shotgun. Ryan completed 201 of 325 passes (61.8 percent) for 2,099 yards with 18 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

Carolina is the only NFC South team that didn’t have much success in the shotgun formation last season. Jimmy Clausen finished No. 39 in the NFL with a 63.2 passer rating in the formation. Clausen completed 96 of 175 passes (54.9 percent) with one touchdown and five interceptions.