An Open Letter to Andy Ludwig

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Coach Ludwig,

Good morning. I hope you got some sleep last night. Also, now that we're talking about last night, there's a few things I wanted to speak with you about. First, I wanted to compliment you on an excellent start to the game. The Jet Sweep to Love, the heavy dose of MG3, the short passes to get McEvoy in a rhythm, all perfect calls. It was actually the way you called the second half that concerned me. Again, you started off the half great. Melvin Gordon was doing his thing, and going for it on fourth down was just beautiful. But after that, umm... what happened? I mean, I like taking shots downfield as much as the next guy, but you have to realize that when your receivers are struggling to bring in the short and intermediate throws , then having your green QB start heaving it downfield against a veteran secondary is just a bad idea. But then to follow it up by doing the exact same thing? That's the point where the well-regarded coach on the other sideline realized our dirty little secret: we have no passing game. Then he made an adjustment: he put, not eight, but nine guys in the box. To which your response was to... bench your start running back? And to go to more shotgun sets?

I just don't understand ANY of your second half adjustments. And while we're on the topic of things I don't understand, can we talk about McEvoy? I realize that you want to have a dual threat QB, but McEvoy isn't a dual threat. He's a single threat, and that threat is to run. Early and often. I've never seen a QB look so out of sorts. He never stood in the pocket long enough for a play to truly develop, even in the first half when he had plenty of time. His touch wasn't there either. And his chemistry with the receivers? I realize that's a two way street, but how can he misread the play so badly that he overthrows his receivers by twenty to thirty yards? If he's that off then he clearly can't read a defense. And the option plays? They weren't crisp, they weren't clean, and they weren't effective. I know we want to add another dimension to our offense, but our old dimension works great, and we need to be sure the new guys have mastered it before adding onto it.

And now that we're on the topic of adding onto the offense? I don't like what you've done with it. I actually think you're committing a cardinal sin of coaching: trying to impose your system rather than realizing the strengths of your players and adapting to them. For example, we have a couple great running backs, but no proven wide receivers. For that reason, we shouldn't often be in shotgun formations. Stated another way: tear that section out of the playbook. Empty backfield looks? Tear that section out of the playbook and start it on fire. And cutting out the jet sweep and doing a truly terrible job of even faking it? Or benching your Heisman worthy running back? I don't know if those are sections of the playbook, but so then throw the playbook away and start from scratch. If you need ideas writing your new playbook, go watch game tape from our 2010 season. It will demonstrate to you the best example of what can happen when you have a quarterback who's not mobile, but can keep the safeties out of the box (spoiler alert: it's better than a QB who can run but not throw). And really, that's all we need to win ten to eleven games.

Now, I realize that I've brought up a lot of tough things here. Don't worry, it's really not as hard as it sounds. And if you find yourself not up to the task, I will even buy you a one-way plane ticket out of town. To anywhere in the world, you name it. Seriously, that offer never expires. Think about it.



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