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  1. #11
    Purple Floyd's Avatar
    Purple Floyd is offline Jersey Retired
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    The Official WCO/KAO thread

    Since we are now coming into the second year of the current staff and the offensive philosophy brought in by them, it seems that there is alot of debate and confusion about just what we should expect from this offense when it is working right.

    The current staff brought in a version of the west coast offense, but it is clear that it is not a pure WCO, but a hybrid of some kind. So in order to know what we have, we need to define what the pure WCO looks like.

    Actually there are two offenses that have been called the WCO.The one most often referred to is the one that was refined and made famous by Bill Walsh. The other was made famous in San Diego by Don Coryell. So which one is ours based on and how does our current personnel fit into the prototype for that system?

    Let's start with the Air Coryell WCO. If you are old enough to remember Dan Fouts and the Chargers of the 70's, the San Diego WCO was designed to stretch the field vertically. The passing game consisted of medium to deep routes and the receivers relied on motion and crossing routes to confuse the defense and create mismatches with the goal of gaining big chunks of yardage per play.The running game relied on large offensive linemen using zone blocking schemes to create openings in gaps for the backs to attack. Most of the running plays went inside the tackles and was very physical. The backs also needed to be good blockers to provide extra blitz protection during the deep passing plays moreso than good receivers out of the backfield.Some teams that used this approach were San Diego,Oakland,Los Angeles,Washington and later the Dallas Cowboys and Rams during the 90's through today.

    Bill Walsh originally was a disciple of Al Davis and the vertical passing game that they were running at the time. He brought that philosophy to Cincinnati and had a strong arm QB to run his offense that fit perfectly into the system.But then the QB went down to a career ending injury and the backup was much different physically. He could not make the deep throws,but was very smart and very accurate so Bill took had to change his offense to be able to capitalize on the strengths of the player he had to work with.

    What he came up with was an offense that stretched the field horizontally instead of vertically and utilized the backs and tight end as primary receivers and kept the routes ran by the wide receivers to short and medium depth for the majority of the plays.Where the Coryell offense ran to bring the safeties closer to the line of scrimmage to open up the deep pass, Walsh used the pass to set up the run. Many of the plays were 3-4 yard plays that basically counted as runs.This is also similar to what Jerry Burns was doing in Minnesota when the Vikings went to their 3rd and 4th Super Bowls(Not a carbon copy, but similar). I have not found any references to whether Walsh,Burns,or someone else was more instrumental with bringing this philosophy forward, but since Walsh won Super Bowls with it, I guess he gets the credit.

    So what are the prototypical players at each position in each version of the offense in their purest forms?

    Lets start with [glow=red,2,300]Air Coryell:[/glow]

    generally takes 5-7 step drops and to run this offense you want a QB with a big arm to get the ball downfield and enough mobility to evade the rush until someone breaks open.

    Dan Fouts

    RB- Runs primarily between the tackles,needs to be stronger at pass protection than as a receiver, but does participate in screen plays so they do need basic WR skills.Punishing runners fit the prototype. The initial Coryell offense ran in the "I" formation with a tailback lined up behind a hole opening fullback.
    John Riggins

    TE- Used more for blocking than in the Walsh system but can still be dangerous as a receiver in the open field.Many times this offense uses 2 TE's but can also remove the TE and cluster Receivers in order to flood a zone. Jay Novacek

    WR- Ability to get separation in the open field and top end speed are desired.Must be able to use motion before the snap to pressure the defense into adjusting to your changing position. 98 Rams WR's

    Line- This offense was designed around zone blocking. From what I see, this system generally uses larger linemen than the Walsh WCO and they are chosen for their ability to hold a block during the deeper passes and also to create gaps within the zone for the backs to run through. They should have the ability to pull and trap to fit the prototype. The Washington Hogs,Dallas in the 90's

    Now the [glow=red,2,300]Walsh WCO[/glow]

    QB- Generally takes 3-5 step drops. Needs to be quick to make decisions and must be able to anticipate where his receiver will be and throw to that location before the WR gets there. Timing is crucial and the QB needs to be very intelligent and understand how to make the correct play call based on the defensive alignment.Doesn't need a cannon arm but needs to be extremely accurate. Montana

    RB- Used as the 4th and 5th receivers. Originally they were run from a split formations opposed to the "I" formation. Used more for catching than blocking and run more outside the tackles than inside them.Should be more shifty than Brutal.

    TE- A bigger version of the WR that exploits gaps in the zone defense and must have good hands. Dwight Clark

    Line- Use man blocking and smaller,more agile players to create holes for the RB. Linemen use cutback blocks to slow down and neutralize the defensive linemen. 49ers in the 80's. Denver Bronco's

    While no offense today fits perfectly into each of these systems, this gives us a basis to understand where Childress is drawing his philosophy from and allows us to see how he is choosing his talent.

    I by no means declare the above to be totally accurate in every way, it is just what I have learned from studying each system in order to try to get a better understanding of what they are trying to do and who they are choosing to do it. If there is anything you come across that is inaccurate, please post it and I will edit my post to represent
    it correctly.

    Also, I would appreciate it if we could put together the Childress system and see how it compares to both of these. I have not had the time to do that so please feel free to chip in.

    Then when it is completed, we can plug in the players at each position along with how they end up being used and from there we should see exactly what Childress is doing and how it is working.

    Have fun ;D And sorry if it was too long.

  2. #12
    COJOMAY is offline Jersey Retired
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    Re: The Official WCO/KAO thread

    Good post -- And you are right, the Vikings (at least last year and what I've seen in one pre-seaaon game) are using a hybrid of the WCO.
    It's a mix of what you call the Walsh type of shorter passes and the running backs following the Coryell system of doing a lot of running between tackles and doing a lot of pass blocking.
    I think that Childress has an added wrinkle this year in that he will be throwing more to the "blocking" backs who brush block and then sneak out behind the linebackers. .
    Kentucky Vikes Fan

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