Having looked at how the Panthers used multiple TE sets, it’s now time to look at how they used solo TE sets, but rather than doing so separate from evaluating the individual players, it makes sense to do those two things together. However, before we do that, it’s probably wise to first look at how Alex Armah – who was only used in multiple TE sets during these three games – performed in his limited action.
Armah was only used on 14 snaps throughout these three games, over 70% of which were rushing plays, with the rest of his snaps coming in pass protection, all four of which were play-action passes where he was asked to block the weakside following a fake lead block. Only on two of these plays was he even asked to make a block before the ball came out, and while he certainly wasn’t bad, it’s hard to really make a huge amount of judgment on his ability in this regard based on plays like the following – he’s lined up in the fullback spot:
As a run blocker, Armah showed generally good technique, and while there were a couple of plays where he either whiffed completely in space:
Or where he didn’t do a great job of reading the play and who he should be blocking:
His power certainly showed up on tape as well:
The Panthers actually struggled running the ball with Armah on the field in these three games, and while his technique could certainly improve, it’s hard to see that the issue was actually him, but rather a broader issue with how the Panthers looked to run the ball out of heavy formations.
He did get a couple of carries in these three games and, once again, it’s hard to say that he was poor – but it’s also not clear he’s really adding much value as a ball carrier:
Armah is somewhat a victim of circumstance in the Panthers’ offense – he’s used so infrequently and so consistently as a blocker that whenever he’s on the field, the defense knows it can blitz as it’s either going to be a run or he’s going to be kept in to pass protect. Given that Armah was more of a pass catching tight end in college than a blocker – when he played on offense – it really is a shame that the Panthers haven’t looked to use him more creatively, and if he is going to feature as part of the Panthers’ plans going forward, they really need to get him more involved as a ball carrier or receiver – right now, there is really no difference between having Armah on the field and an additional offensive lineman, and it’s hard to dedicate a roster spot to a player who plays a handful of snaps a game which could be theoretically covered by other players on the roster.
Of course, for Armah to see more snaps or to be used in a different way, the Panthers would need to take snaps away from somebody else – probably another tight end, so how did Chris Manhertz and Ian Thomas play in these games and how might that affect how the Panthers balance snaps between these three?
Well for that, you’ll have to wait for part two…