Since we have a bye week, I thought it might be a good time to revisit the WCO that was made popular by Bill Waslh.
From there, we can see the evolution of the system and how it applies to the one that we're running today.
"the West Coast offense, a pass-oriented design"
"Then came the injury to Cook and the end of verticality
in the Cincinnati offense...
Walsh went horizontal."
"The initial Walsh concept was for a standard pro-set offense
-- two backs in split alignment, two wide receivers and a tight end -- designed to get the ball quickly from the quarterback to the skill-position players. The idea was to release all five of the eligible receivers at the same time, relying on three- and five-step drops by the quarterback to compensate for most blocking breakdowns, and to throw the ball crisply and on the break.
"Despite being groomed by Davis in a vertical passing game, Walsh decided to stretch secondaries horizontally as well
, forcing slower linebackers and safeties into coverages."
"Precision timing, with receivers running hard into and out of their cuts, was a key. From multiple formations
, there were myriad possibilities, multiplied even more by motioning players
before the snap."
"Certainly those elements are the common denominators of any offense that is today dubbed a West Coast attack. But in the 30-plus years since Walsh devised the purest form of the West Coast offense, it has undergone many changes by coaches who adopted the basics and then tweaked them
(Jon Gruden) "There are times, like when we used three tight ends, that we are about as far removed from a West Coast offense as it's possible to be."
Joe Gibbs years ago added the multiple tight ends and one-back formations, both anathema to the West Coast offense. He also put in a lot of "bunch" formations. Coryell began to flex the tight end, especially when he had Kellen Winslow at his disposal. Mike Shanahan in Denver uses many of the same traps, pulls and counters that the original West Coast offense featured but has tinkered a lot with the passing side of things.
Gruden prefers an I-formation or a one-back set to the standard split backfield that Walsh used and also relies on zone-blocking. In the classic West Coast offense, the blocking was primarily man-to-man
, and the staple rushing play was the sweep.
"Really, how often now do you see split backs?" Holmgren said. "There is a lot more power stuff, strength-of-formation things, going on now. The West Coast offense, before all the motion and shifting, was more balanced."