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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Xs and Os

I think I got wrapped back up into the playbook again, and I love
reading (and re-reading) the notes on the start of this offense. I need
to get deeper into the Sid Gillman parts before Don Coryell took it over
- I've often ignored the Joe Gibbs parts. Most "Numbers-based" schemes
(and Bill Walsh's WCO) come from Gillman, and from Coryell comes the
modernization of that.

An aside, but the WCO is fairly well the same thing, it's just coached
differently in some forms (short to long, instead of long to short) and
with obviously different terminology.

Anyway, from Coryell comes two offshoots - Joe Gibbs, a legend in his
own right that runs the scheme with very specific variations, and the
Ernie Zampese-led offshoot. From Zampese comes the great stuff, in my
opinion - from there you get the QB-friendly Coryell of Norv Turner and
the radically strong Mike Martz stuff, down to the Jason Garrett stuff.
Still to this day, more teams use a numbers-based scheme than anything
else, even as the league gets nutty and has morphed into various ways of
running the same offense.

But Gibbs, in some ways had the successful part. For what it's worth,
from Gibbs comes Dan Henning, both the most and least successful
coordinator in various respects that Carolina has ever had. Henning
wasn't a successful head coach, and at best was a varied coordinator
known for using the heck out of what worked and not developing much
else. Gibbs won three Super Bowls with it, however. He used man
blocking instead of zone, he used a lot more one-back, and created a
different offensein the same structure

The genesis of this article is in reading that Gibbs was supposedly
responsible for the "trips" formation. We knew he brought the Counter
Trey into effect, and more or less invented the H-back. All of this
stuff eventually just becomes a common-knowledge, everyone uses it to
some concept, but I think it's fantastic that stuff came from somewhere.

Now, teams and systems are fracturing a good deal - it's up to each
team, anymore, to write some of their own verbiage and their
philosophies are being lost in translation from stop to stop, to a
point. They add in the Pistol stuff, the read option, and whatever else
is coming on (the spread ideals, of course, in general are fairly easily
adaptable to the older thoughts), they change the names to shorten it,
not unlike Mike Shula did this year to this same offense.

But back then, there were very specific cleavings, like Gibbs leaving
for the Redskins and changing some things up, Jimmy Johnson bringing the
one-gap 4-3 from college (you know, the more I talk about sea change in
the NFL, the more I see the Bills as a victim in their Super Bowl runs),
Bill Walsh adapting his offense to a guy with no arm in Cincinnati.
Back then, innovation was rare. Now, it's almost game by game. I'll
have trouble keeping up with that, eventually.
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