Just What The Heck Is "Air Garrett"?

Back in June, our resident statistician wonder O.C.C. put up a story titled "Is It Too Early To Talk About "Air Garrett?" In this story we find this little nugget:

When asked by Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden in October 2007 to describe the foundation of his offense, Garrett leaned back and invoked the "Air" Coryell offense:

"It's what you would have to call the Coryell offense."

"If you brought Don Coryell to Dallas and handed him our playbook," said Garrett, "he would recognize an awful lot of stuff."

Now Garrett is very secretive about his offense, in fact this is about as far as he goes in describing it. Yet there is more to this offense than just Coryell influences. If you read the comments I made this observation:

Is it just me or doesn't anyone else see a lot of Walsh influences in this Offense?

Coryell - Deep threats, combined with a power running game

Walsh - Short to intermediate passing combined with short passing to the RB’s in lieu of a "dedicated running game"

Jason Garrett Offense - Intermediate/deep passing combined with short passing game to RB’s in lieu of a "dedicated running game"

However, that isn't the reason I am writing this, though the subject is about this. No, what inspired this post was an exchange I had with DallasPalace:

My preference is not Jones over Choice, or visa versa Ironman. My preference is to see the Cowboys run offense become something to fear again, because I know that is what will help Romo win it all for us over anything else you can do for the offense to improve. This is Garrett’s job to see happen.

Now I admit that Dallas does "try" to establish a "traditional" running attack. However that has been hampered by the fact that Dallas' offensive line isn't the most nimble....Wait a minute...if this was a true Coryell offense, then that wouldn't matter, right? The Coryell offense is predicated on "power running" right? Which looks something like this (hat tip to Chandus, link to post. ):

One example of this kind of blocking is the base run:


As most of us know the linemen required for this type of blocking need to be fairly agile, yet still be big enough to "man up" on DT's and DE's....So what does all this have to do with Garrett's offense? Everything. Let's look at the past draft.

If Garrett runs a pure Coryell offense, who would he have taken in this past draft...Gabe Carimi....arguably the best run blocker in the draft. But he didn't...he took Tyron Smith, a player more suited for (and played in) a "zone blocking" scheme. Well, Tyron was arguably the best Tackle in the draft you say....Ok but wait, in the fourth round Dallas takes David Arkin...a player more like Kyle Koiser and Tyron Smith than say Leonard Davis, or Marc Colombo (who are more suited for drive blocking).

Now look at the RB's: Felix Jones, Marion Barber, Tashard Choice and DeMarco Murray.

Of these four backs, three were drafted while Garrett was OC, Jones, Murray, and Choice. Of these three, both Murray and Felix are not only good /great route runners, but have the speed and explosion needed to thrive in a zone blocking scheme....

So what can we glean from this? In reality not much other than that it seems that Garrett is moving more to a zone blocking scheme...wait a minute...that is not Coryell, that is a Walsh West Coast Offense! What gives?

Remember what I said Earlier?

Jason Garrett offense - Intermediate/deep passing combined with short passing game to RB’s in lieu of a "dedicated running game"

Here is what I think that the Offense is going to look like. If you can follow me, here is how I see it:

Pure Coryell - Heavyweight Boxer - uses size and powerful blows to wear down opponents...usually wins after the other person becomes so tired that a hard hit "knocks them out"...

Pure WCO - Light weight Boxer - uses speed and quickness to "out point" an opponent. Usually wins by simply landing more blows than the other person.

So what happens when you mix a Coryell offense and a WCO together? You get Jason Garrett's offense, one that wears the defense down with precise (short passing game to RB’s in lieu of a "dedicated running game"), hard hits (Intermediate/deep passing). Basically, Garrett wants to bring a MMA fighter to a MMA match where all the other opponents are "Boxers".

His offense (with Tony Romo) looks to seek out where the "weakest link" is on the defense. Once that is found, Garrett (using the vast array of weapons) brings them all to bear on that spot...Have great corners and DL but a weak LB core? Watch for a lot of screens to Felix and Murray, with Witten over the middle. Oh, so you have average corners, a great DL, and good LB' Miles and Dez kill you with slants and WR screens. Good corners, great LB core, crappy DL?....Here, have some Felix and Murray up the middle, setting up the PA pass....

Now most of this is just speculation on my part....I don't have JG's ear, so really there is now way to really comfirm this....But this is my best shot at understanding what Garrett wants to accomplish with his offense....and if we can do this then we can have a deeper understanding of our new HC, and what he will be doing in the future.....

As always I welcome any comments and critiques.

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