SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan seems to have a difficult time understanding why some teams prefer a numbers code on wristbands to relay plays to the quarterback.
When asked Thursday why he does not believe in his quarterbacks using a cheat sheet with the play calls, Shanahan shot back, “Why don’t I? I think you’d have to ask other people why they have their quarterbacks use wrist bands.”
As the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator and the play-caller the past two seasons, his team’s offense never were called for a delay-of-game penalty. Shanahan said a coded wristband actually slows down the process of the quarterback delivering the play call to the huddle.
“I don’t just say ‘14,’ I say the formation and the play and they read it,” Shanahan said. “So there’s no need to look down and have a cheat sheet. They just have to repeat what they hear in their helmet. I really don’t know the other reasons why people would have a wristband, but that’s why we don’t.”
Shanahan added, “It’s quicker. I want him to get in the huddle together not looking down at his arm, and there’s more than 10 plays. I don’t want him to have to flip through a bunch of stuff, It takes time. We want to go as fast as we can. I want to say it, I want him to repeat it after me and get to the line of scrimmage."
Shanahan explained the exact nature of his play calls provide the quarterback with all needed information, including the formation, which takes into account the hashmark from where the ball will be snapped and the direction of the play.
“Sometimes when you put that on quarterbacks and you put more pressure on, ‘Hey, here’s the number, but if you’re on the right hash you’ve got to say all this stuff the other way," Shanahan said. "You’ve got to say it left instead of right, you’ve got to say, ‘Three jet’ instead of ‘Two jet,’ you’ve got to say ‘19’ instead of ‘18.’
“In the heat of battle, sometimes that can get tough for a guy. It gets tough for a play caller also, but if you’re doing it all the time all week for most of your life you get better at it. I’d just rather a quarterback worry about all the hard stuff.”