In the week 1 victory over the Titans, Offensive Coordinator Todd Downing (aka Coach TD) used many ZERO RB personnel groups, meaning none of Marshawn Lynch, Jalen Richard, or DeAndre Washington were in the game. These were generally 4 wide receivers and hybrid TE Jared Cook or 3 wides, Cook, and TE Lee Smith.
On many of those groups, the formation had Cordarrelle Patterson lined up in the backfield. But against the Titans, Cordarrelle Patterson only had one carry and that was on and end around. With all those formations with Patterson lined up as a RB, they never handed the ball to him.
That changed in a big way this past week.
Against the Jets, Patterson lined up as a WR and then he motioned in to the backfield next to Derek Carr who was lined up in the shotgun. On the snap, he takes the inside handoff and runs right thru the hole created by Rodney Hudson and Kelechi Osemele (boy those are beautiful blocks).
The cornerback #32 Juston Burris comes across and has the angle to make the tackle for a moderate gain, but Patterson hits the brakes and makes a hard inside cut, breaks free, and tears off downfield. The play finishes as Patterson eases up and is bailed out by Seth Roberts playing mad-dog football and maintaining his blocks all the way thru and ends up taking out two Jet defenders.
Here's the play :
Last year WR Amari Cooper did line up in the backfield a few times, perhaps the most notable play was the Double Wheel concept 80 yard TD pass to Jamize Olawale against the Texans in Mexico City as the Raiders made their big comeback. So this concept is not new, but it has a new wrinkle with Patterson in play.
An interesting thing about Patterson is that while he is rather tall at 6'2", he has relatively short arms at 31 3/4". Those are the same ratio as Ty Montgomery. This is also the same as some RBs like Devonta Freeman, Le'Veon Bell, and Todd Gurley. And also, interestingly enough, Amari Cooper.
Shorter limbs are favorable for running backs who need to make sharp cuts, while longer limbs generally correspond to faster overall straight-line speed. Patterson (and Cooper for that matter) do not want for speed and it’s fantastically evident that they are able to make some posterizing cuts in open space (right, Pacman?)
And it’s also a particularly fun fact because Patterson lists at 6’2”, 220 lbs which is a pretty big. He’s potentially capable of functioning as a running back-type player for a few carries and dish / take punishment.
Last year, Amari Cooper never took a true handoff. And I always thought they had to give it to him once or twice just to keep the defenses honest, just to get it on tape and force defenses to think about it and plan for it.
That's exactly what happened this past week against the Jets. It’s an indication that the offense and Coach Downing are interested in finding ways to use Patterson's unique skills. Make sure to get him the ball somehow, someway.
Patterson has always been a stud, but the challenge was in finding ways to get him the ball. While he’s an amazing runner, many of his WR skills were less polished which made it difficult to get him the ball in traditional ways. Coach Todd Downing (I dub thee “Coach 6 TDs”) has figured out a couple of ways to get Patterson the ball and it’s been great so far.
Patterson carried it 3 times for 57 yards and that big TD run.
While Patterson is fantastic game breaker, he’s one of MANY game breaking players on this team. Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, Marshawn Lynch, Jared Cook, Jalen Richard, DeAndre Washington, and even Jamize Olawale all have the ability to explode at any time.
The team can use Patterson, but it doesn’t need to RELY on him for a big play. Still, having Patterson flash his game breaking skills has got to take away a couple of hours of sleep from many opposing defensive coordinators.
Just in case you need something else to get you hyped, here are some highlights from his Minnesota days and it looks like he’s going to do much of the same here.