I've long been a Coryell guy. Offensively, I think it's so ingrained
in the NFL that it gets overlooked. It's been, in one form or another,
the way that Carolina's run its offense (excepting 98-01's WCO, and the
Ehrhart-Perkins from 07-10).
So compared to the two other major philosophies, in general I like what
it does, and that includes terminology. It tells each player what they
need to do (excepting sometimes the backs, where a non-mention is just
blocking within the scheme called to the line). Coryell emeritus Al
Saunders explains it better than I can, regarding why the WCO makes you
think harder about the call:
Queen Right Jet Right 940 F Corner Swing
"We've just told all 11 players everything they need to know," he says
Queen Right and Jet Right set the formation and tell the line how to
slant its blocks. The 940 is only slightly more complicated. The
Redskins label their receivers X, Y, and Z, depending on where they line
up. The X receiver listens for the first number, the Y receiver for the
second, the Z receiver for the third. Even-numbered routes break in;
odd-numbered routes break out; the higher the number, the deeper the
pattern. F Swing tells the fullback to run a short corner.
"We don't even have to mention 'H,' " Saunders says, meaning the
halfback. "He knows he's always last."
Suddenly, he's drawing again; same play, different words. Brown
Right 2 Jet Flanker Drive
"Bill Walsh's West Coast version," he explains, hoping the visitor will
recognize the difference. He doesn't. "He's told the flanker what to do,
but no one else; they have to memorize their routes," Saunders
explained. "We tell everybody what to do on every play, yet our verbiage
is short and simple."
Interesting words, and in theory, a much better process. I believe in
that. It's a matter of creating a language moreso than having to
remember what each of 6-8 (or more) words mean and then translating that
to a separate ideal of what you're doing on that play. But Carolina's
changing that up – and working back toward simplification. Cam Newton
shared that in an interview this week, suggesting that a lot of the
concepts are becoming named terms instead of named lists of tasks.
And I'm getting on board with that. To me, it's part of the
collegization of the pro offense. When the spread showed up, it changed
some things. And with that came a bit more no-huddle concept, a bit
more hurry-up. And in college, simple is better. Quicker is better.
To an end, as well, while I love the Coryell philosophy's ability to
make 525 F Post into the 125 different plays that the defense might have
to account for? There's also a lot to be said for not making about the
coordinators. A cerebral play caller like Rob Chudzinski might spend
weeks setting up a certain play, looking to outsmart, say, Dom Capers,
another cerebral coach who notes everything (personal or professional)
in a notebook in what must be a huge pile of information. But in the
end, if the sabermetrics spit out that there's a tendency for the
offense to throw a lot of 12 yard routes on 2nd and 5-8 (as a brief
example) and the MLB looks at a lot of tape on that down/distance, it
probably doesn't matter how much window dressing is put on it. That MLB
might cheat to that side and jump that route.
I love Chudzinski's mind for the game. But he's had a tendency to
overthink. I've hammered it before, but the idea of Kealphoa Pilares'
five yards being your leading rusher in a game is an overthinking
Mike Shula isn't that guy. He's not going to overthink, and so that's
a positive (it then becomes how far he takes it, and hopefully not too
conservative/simple/dumb). So then it reverts to what's better for the
players. And in the end, for players, adjustments are a lot easier
than a bunch of words you can't use at the line anymore.
I'll leave this at the end, from sports geek innvoator Chris Brown of
smartfootball.com on what the Pats have done with one of the more boring
offenses of all time: