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Film room: How the Patriots offense used pre-snap motion in Cam Newton’s debut

As NFL schemes continue to evolve, there are emerging trends that are being increasingly adopted by more teams. One trend that the New England Patriots were out ahead of most on is the use of pre-snap motion on offense.

Per Warren Sharp’s 2020 Football Review, NFL teams used pre-snap motion on 43% of all plays in the first three quarters of games in 2019. The San Francisco 49ers led the league with pre-snap motion on 66% of their passes, but the Patriots were right behind them, at 65%.

Pre-snap motion has been a staple of the New England offense for the majority of Tom Brady’s time with the Patriots, where the team would often motion running backs to the boundary to identify if the defense was in man or zone coverage.