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Old 10-25-2012   #1
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Default Texans version of the WCO

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.

http://static.espn.go.com/nfl/s/westcoast/history.html

"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."
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Old 10-25-2012   #2
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

From the same article, ex-QB Steve Young talked about the WCO:

It's all about the feet
The best way to define the West Coast offense may be to start with what it isn't.
The traditional passing game, which NFL teams ran for years, is based on deep drops, quarterbacks bouncing and waiting for receivers to come open, one-on-one matchups and throwing the ball downfield.

In contrast, the West Coast offense as it originated with Bill Walsh is any play or set of plays that tie the quarterback's feet to the receiver's route so there is a sense of timing.

The offense cannot be taught or run based solely on a playbook. If a coach has no history in the West Coast and wants to teach it based on a playbook, he wouldn't get it. Timing and choreography, not plays, are what make the West Coast offense.

My definition might include a number of teams that aren't generally thought of as West Coast offense teams. In fact, most of the league uses some of the West Coast philosophy and perhaps even the Walsh tree of plays. For the most part, the system and the plays are intersecting, but they don't need to be. The quick slant is considered a staple West Coast play -- dropping three steps, planting and throwing on time and in rhythm with the receiver. But there are tons of ways to design West Coast plays, even if they didn't originate with Walsh.

Two weeks ago I visited the Patriots and met with quarterback Tom Brady. When I asked him about his drops and his reads, he said everything is about finding space, zone routes, man-zone reads, short drops and timing. Brady's footwork tells him when to throw the ball. So, while offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has no West Coast history or ties to Walsh and the 49ers system in his coaching background, the Patriots essentially are running the West Coast offense.

Meanwhile, based on how Kurt Warner and the other Rams quarterbacks throw the ball, Mike Martz does not run a West Coast offense in St. Louis. He uses a more traditional passing game in which the routes are not tied to the quarterback's feet.

Bucs coach Jon Gruden, who worked under Mike Holmgren in Green Bay, will say, "We're not running the West Coast offense. I'm running my offense." Well, that's fine, Jon. And sure, he and other coaches may feel they don't run the West Coast, because they don't run Walsh's plays from 1980.

But I disagree. Although Gruden may run different plays and have different names for certain aspects of his offense, his plays are designed with the quarterback's footwork in mind. And that is the West Coast offense.

-- Steve Young
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Old 10-25-2012   #3
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

http://skinnypost.com/check-the-tech...coast-offense/

"The West Coast system under Mike Shanahan and the Denver Broncos for example utilized different offensive sets (single back, double tight end, 5 wide, I formation, etc..) that often saw potential pass blockers run out for passing routes. A mobile QB for Shanahan’s system was also important as the coach liked to run a lot of bootlegs and roll-outs where mobility and accuracy on the run were needed. Each coach had their own little wrinkle and tweaked the system according to their personnel. Generally speaking, the West Coast Offense tends to prefer bigger receivers who run well after the catch. This offense typically predicates on the short and mid range passing attack and tries to create match-up problems for the defense."

"The West Coast offense has been traditionally known as a “Pass first” offense..."

"Wide Receivers aren’t the only passing threat in this style offense. Typically RB’s and Tight Ends play a huge role in the passing game."

...

"As for the running game, some teams that run the West Coast Offense also employed the vaunted Zone Blocking Scheme. This scheme is intended so that the offensive line works in unison off the snap to get the defense flowing in one direction. The key is for the entire line to move together and they need mobility to slide down the line of scrimmage. Since mobility is key, usually the linemen are smaller and more agile. The running back is then responsible for finding the proper lane then making one cut and then head down hill. While the line is moving in one direction, the backside (away from the direction of the flow) of the offensive line “cuts” (meaning bring to the ground) the defensive linemen thus opening an opportunity if the original running lane is clogged. One of the many geniuses of this system is that often times the offensive line would get to the “second level”, meaning a Center or Guard on a Linebacker or Safety. If the Running Back hits the hole at the proper time he only has on or two guys left to beat which can mean big plays. It is a running system that proved a one cut style runner who could hit the hole hard could do well. If the Running Back has great vision and ellusive abilities he can become elite."

...

Also, don't forget to watch the videos and glimpse through the coaching tree.
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Old 10-25-2012   #4
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

Thanks for the post. I always wondered what really defines a WCO. Steve Young's take on it is very interesting... the QB's feet are tied to the receiver's route. This makes timing & choreography extremely important. It takes alot of practice. I believe this is why most WCO teams script their plays. It gives them an opportunity to practice over & over exactly what they're going to run, so that the timing is perfect.

So if the WCO was meant to be a pass-oriented offense, we seem to run something a bit different since we clearly like to run first.

Who was the first to combine zone-blocking with the WCO? Shannihan?

How is the Shannihan WCO differ from the Kubiak WCO?
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Old 10-25-2012   #5
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

Where in either of the articles are they discussing the Texans? Interesting read, but you never brought it back to discussing the Texans.
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Old 10-25-2012   #6
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

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Originally Posted by Lucky View Post
Where in either of the articles are they discussing the Texans? Interesting read, but you never brought it back to discussing the Texans.
It is inferred since Kubiak worked under Shannahan.
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Old 10-26-2012   #7
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

Quote:
Originally Posted by dream_team View Post
Thanks for the post. I always wondered what really defines a WCO. Steve Young's take on it is very interesting... the QB's feet are tied to the receiver's route. This makes timing & choreography extremely important. It takes alot of practice. I believe this is why most WCO teams script their plays. It gives them an opportunity to practice over & over exactly what they're going to run, so that the timing is perfect.

So if the WCO was meant to be a pass-oriented offense, we seem to run something a bit different since we clearly like to run first.

Who was the first to combine zone-blocking with the WCO? Shannihan?

How is the Shannihan WCO differ from the Kubiak WCO?
Your first question was addressed in the posts above.

I'll try to get to the other two later.
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Old 10-26-2012   #8
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

Quote:
Originally Posted by dream_team View Post
Thanks for the post. I always wondered what really defines a WCO. Steve Young's take on it is very interesting... the QB's feet are tied to the receiver's route. This makes timing & choreography extremely important. It takes alot of practice. I believe this is why most WCO teams script their plays. It gives them an opportunity to practice over & over exactly what they're going to run, so that the timing is perfect.
That is not the point of scripting. Keep in mind the offense is designed to look like pass or run at any time and to have a number of plays from the same formation. The scripting is to see how the D is going to react to a certain formation. I can't remember the season but for example on a scripted play the Texans ran a reverse to Kevin Walter - everyone was huh? - WTF? Later in the game the Texans showed the same look, got the same D alignment and torched them for a long bomb. It was set up by what they saw on the scripted play.
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Old 10-26-2012   #9
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

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Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
That is not the point of scripting. Keep in mind the offense is designed to look like pass or run at any time and to have a number of plays from the same formation. The scripting is to see how the D is going to react to a certain formation. I can't remember the season but for example on a scripted play the Texans ran a reverse to Kevin Walter - everyone was huh? - WTF? Later in the game the Texans showed the same look, got the same D alignment and torched them for a long bomb. It was set up by what they saw on the scripted play.
^^^ This!

Here's an article by Adam Schefter when he was a sports writer for the Denver Post after an interview with Kubiak specifically about the script.

http://extras.denverpost.com/broncos/scripting0912.htm

"Scripting, to me, is almost like double preparation," Kubiak said. "We drill in the player's head these 15 plays over and over again. And then their individual coach is going to drill those 15 plays in their head. And they're going to sit at their locker the day of the game and look at those 15 plays. They will be coached so hard on those 15 plays that it's just got to be a reason why they run them so much better and so clean. The preparation - the double preparation, as I like to call it - makes them that much more successful."

....

Every now and then, the script, like a firecracker, is a dud. There have been times when the Broncos have run the first three or four plays of their script, realized nothing was working, and scrapped their week of preparation. "We'll say, 'Hey, these guys are playing us totally different than we thought they would play us, that's gone, let's go on to something else,'" Kubiak said. It happened last season at San Diego, when Denver played a Sunday night game there in late November. Right at the game's outset, the Chargers stuffed the Broncos cold, and Denver turned a cold shoulder to it script. "We went to a two-back shotgun (offense) and you can ask our players, it was a school-yard football game," Kubiak said. "We were calling stuff that was not in the game plan but we felt like that was the way we had to beat them. It was not only not scripted, it was not even part of the plan." Good, smart players adjust. They ad lib. And they find a way to make it work.

...

"You're trying to find out what a defense is all about, so you do a lot of things," Kubiak said. "You try to find out how they're going to play you in various situations. So you're not only scripting plays for yourself, but your scripting plays that make them react to what you're going to do for the rest of the game. You might jump in a formation just to see how they would play that formation. Or how they're going to match up on some of your people so that when you get to quarters two, three and four you know now, early in the game, how they would play you. In a lot of ways, you're trying to get people to show their hand so to speak."
....
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Old 10-26-2012   #10
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

Quote:
Originally Posted by dream_team View Post
Steve Young's take on it is very interesting... the QB's feet are tied to the receiver's route. This makes timing & choreography extremely important. It takes alot of practice. I believe this is why most WCO teams script their plays. It gives them an opportunity to practice over & over exactly what they're going to run, so that the timing is perfect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by infantrycak View Post
That is not the point of scripting. Keep in mind the offense is designed to look like pass or run at any time and to have a number of plays from the same formation. The scripting is to see how the D is going to react to a certain formation. I can't remember the season but for example on a scripted play the Texans ran a reverse to Kevin Walter - everyone was huh? - WTF? Later in the game the Texans showed the same look, got the same D alignment and torched them for a long bomb. It was set up by what they saw on the scripted play.
However, since we're only practicing a number of sets of plays each week (instead of the whole playbook) it also makes sense that since the players have time for the same reps more than if we were to practice more plays (more different route combinations), Schaub can get his timing down with his receivers better.
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Old 10-27-2012   #11
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

Quote:
Originally Posted by dream_team View Post


Who was the first to combine zone-blocking with the WCO? Shannihan?

How is the Shannihan WCO differ from the Kubiak WCO?
It seems a lot of people credited Alex Gibbs with the ZBS and WCO marriage.
Take this article for example:
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...s-running-game


But I don't think we can be sure of that.
If you're interested I can provide some links for you to read up on and come up with your own conclusion.

As far as Kubiak offense, I think it's an evolution from the Broncos scheme.
I have several Broncos games from 2007 that I can review.
I had watched 3 so far, but I'd like to review some more to have a better idea.

Basically, it looks to me like: more formations, more motions, more ways for receivers to block, more play-action.
They combine to make a more complex offense.

Obviously, the Redskins are incorporating a bunch of zone reads (Baylor/Art Briles) into their play action pass and run such that they are quite different from us nowadays.
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Old 10-27-2012   #12
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Default Re: Texans version of the WCO

Quote:
Originally Posted by 76Texan View Post
It seems a lot of people credited Alex Gibbs with the ZBS and WCO marriage.
Take this article for example:
http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/...s-running-game


But I don't think we can be sure of that.
If you're interested I can provide some links for you to read up on and come up with your own conclusion.

As far as Kubiak offense, I think it's an evolution from the Broncos scheme.
I have several Broncos games from 2007 that I can review.
I had watched 3 so far, but I'd like to review some more to have a better idea.

Basically, it looks to me like: more formations, more motions, more ways for receivers to block, more play-action.
They combine to make a more complex offense.

Obviously, the Redskins are incorporating a bunch of zone reads (Baylor/Art Briles) into their play action pass and run such that they are quite different from us nowadays.

Quote:
In his first two seasons in Houston, Kubiak's Texans went 14-18. For his third year, Kubiak brought on Gibbs to orchestrate the running game. Gibbs is gone now — he left Houston after a couple of seasons, then briefly joined Pete Carroll's staff in Seattle before retiring — but the Texans still use the Gibbs formula, which has been good enough to give them the second-best rushing attack in the league this season. What was Gibbs' magic and how can the Texans use it to make a playoff run, even with the NFL equivalent of John Q. Public at quarterback?

The key to Gibbs' zone running game is that the foundational play is the outside zone (the "wide zone," in Gibbs' terminology), not the more common inside zone. The inside zone is a "vertical push" play that aims to move the defense backward and have a running back carry the ball forward with a full head of steam to get yards. The outside zone is more about lateral movement. Each blocker first steps to the side rather than forward (and many coaches teach their linemen to take their first step backward, a technique referred to as "losing ground to gain ground"). The blockers then try to pin defenders to the inside — or if they can't do that, drive them to the sideline. Sometimes on these plays, the running back runs around the edge on a traditional-looking sweep. More often, the defense is stretched to its limit and the runner hits a crease and then sprints straight toward the end zone. When executed correctly, it's extremely taxing on the defense, as all of their instincts — aggressiveness to the ball carrier and fast pursuit — work against them, and linemen without great size or talent can open huge holes through excellent technique and discipline.

But if it's so good, why doesn't every NFL team use it? The answer is the same reason that, despite his legendary status, Gibbs has never lasted too long in one job. Gibbs' style of zone blocking requires total commitment by every offensive player — linemen must be perfect technicians, not just fat guys who push others around; runners must make reads and make "one-cut-and-go" plays rather than juke and tap dance like the next Barry Sanders; and quarterbacks and receivers can't treat runs as mini-breaks because they're expected to execute assignments and make blocks. The offense is also taxing on coaches. Gibbs will tell anyone willing to listen that if you want to be good at the wide zone and the tight zone, throw out all of your other run plays. All those wonderful Power O plays, Counter Trey plays, and whatever other fancy stuff you think you need — get rid of it. Instead, run two — yes, two — run plays, and run them against every defensive front you face until you get really good at them. To Gibbs, anything else is hubris.1
Interesting read. Thanks MSR
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