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Pete Carmichael was one of the NFL’s worst offensive play callers, says analyst

Three of the NFL’s four worst play callers worked in the NFC South last year, according to research from pro football analyst Steven Patton. That includes former New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, who was dismissed after the season. He’s expected to be replaced by San Francisco 49eres passing game specialist Klint Kubiak, who is unallowed to sign a contract until after Super Bowl LVIII.

Patton’s methodology considered “personnel and market efficiency with team constraints” which reflects performance relative to other teams facing the same opponents and key players missing due to injury or suspension. And Carmichael ended the 2023 season with the third-worst rating; only ex-Carolina Panthers offensive coordinator Thomas Brown (hired by the Chicago Bears for 2024) and recently-fired Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith (picked up by the Pittsburgh Steelers) ranked lower.

Carmichael struggled to adapt the Sean Payton offense to modern times. He was too slow to add motion to the offense and took too long to emphasize the play action passes that Derek Carr thrived with throughout his Raiders career. The Saints were too predictable in their personnel, often keying in opposing defenses to whether the play was a run or pass by relying too hard on blocking specialists at wide receiver. A bigger problem than that was predictability in their formations; New Orleans only rarely threw out of running looks and vice versa, giving Alvin Kamara too few light boxes to run against.

Hopefully Kubiak can liven things up in 2024. The Saints are betting that he learned a lot from his year in San Francisco working under Kyle Shanahan (who, Patton says, was the league’s fourth-best play caller on offense) and his previous experience calling plays for the Minnesota Vikings (in 2021) and Denver Broncos (during six games in 2022). And the good news is the bar isn’t too high in New Orleans. If Kubiak can stay about the bottom-tier he’ll be an improvement over past results. Obviously the Saints are betting he’ll do much better than that.

Story originally appeared on Saints Wire