Offenses in any sport who have called plays, actions, or “set pieces” have two advantages: they know where they will go, and they know when or how they will go there.
This is as true for a pick and roll in basketball as it is for a corner kick in soccer, as it is for a called play in football. Though there may be reads and real-time adjustments to plays, the offense knows the play and the defense doesn’t.
Or, at least, the defense shouldn’t.
In football, good offensive design is about creating multiple legitimate options off of one look for the defense. Whether that means the triple option from a wishbone formation, an RPO from a spread set, or a play action pass from the I formation is a matter of style. The substance is getting your play action and your run to look exactly the same so that the defense cannot key in on the differences and know which is coming.
I took a look at the Browns offense against the Denver Broncos in this week’s breakdown: