As far as the overall philosophy of an offense, there are two components to that philosophy. A passing component and a running component. In other words, if you asked the offensive coordinator how he would describe his offense, you would find that he might describe how his passing game attacks the defense and how his running game attacks a defense.
- Air Coryell Offense - This system is built upon a numbering system for the receivers that starts with the premise that the main route is the go route, also called the fly or the seam, where the receiver runs straight up the field. All the other routes are numbered based upon where and how they break off the main trunk of what they call the "route tree." I won't go into the route tree, but if you want more see my Football 101 post named, "What are all these numbers and letters" in the drop down at the bottom of the article.
- West Coast Offense - One of the concepts of the West Coast offense is to get five skill players involved in the passing game. While the run plays use the standard two digit numbering system, the pass plays are not numbered but have to be memorized by their route types. Initially the primary receiver had route names that were easy to remember, such as X-In or Z-Hook, etc, but the names have become much more cryptic such as "Green Right Strong Slot Spider 2 Y Banana." This makes them very difficult to memorize.
- Erhardt-Perkins Offense - The unique trait of this offense is the way plays are organized. Instead of long cryptic names or a numbering system, they are organized by "concepts" that are visualized often by a single word. The word might be "Choice" or "In." All receivers memorize all of the routes associated with this concept which allows a great deal of flexibility by allowing different receivers to line up in any of the alignment positions. And it is much easier to learn, and thus leads to less mistakes. And it also has a lot of different looks and is not simple to defend.
- Other - This one is a combination of two or more of the ones listed above.
MAN BLOCKING (SOMETIMES CALLED POWER MAN)
- When used with the normal tempo, teams will take more time to study the defensive alignment before deciding which way to attack them, as opposed to getting up to the line of scrimmage and only having a few seconds left on the clock to get the pre-snap read.
- When used with the hurry up tempo, the quarterback will quickly try to get a pre-snap read of the defense if the route assignments don't rely on option reads by the receivers or the quarterback, and if they do rely on option reads then there is not much need of a long pre-snap read because the option read will determine where the ball goes.
LENGTH OF PASSES
TIMING - (HOW, WHERE AND WHEN)
THE MORE THINGS CHANGE THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME
"Adam is a lot like me in that he’s always thinking of how we can do something better or different — or both," Manning said. "And he has an almost photographic memory. He can recall a defensive scheme we saw from eight games back and remember our exact formation and the play called." ---Article Here.
|Arizona||Vertical Passing with Zone-Blocking Scheme|
|Atlanta||Vertical Passing, Power Running hybrid with Flex-Blocking Scheme (Power Man and Zone-Blocking)|
|Baltimore||No Huddle, Ball Control hybrid with Man-Blocking Scheme.|
|Buffalo||West Coast, No Huddle-hybrid with Zone-Blocking Scheme.|
|Carolina||Run-first, play-action-hybrid with Zone-Blocking Scheme.|
|Chicago||West Coast variation with flex-blocking scheme.|
|Cincinnati||West Coast Hybrid with Flex-Blocking Scheme.|
|Cleveland||Vertical, timing based with power running.|
|Dallas||Air Coryell Hybrid with Zone-Blocking Scheme|
|Denver||Up Tempo, No Huddle Scheme. (Well, not surprising, they are one of the few teams that really gets it.)|
|Detroit||Pass-First, one-back spread set with Man-Blocking Scheme.|
|Green Bay||Modified West Coast with Zone-Blocking Scheme.|
|Houston||West Coast with Zone-Blocking Scheme.|
|Indianapolis||West Coast focus with high-percentage passes and Flex-Blocking Scheme.|
|Jacksonville||Up Tempo stretch spread with Zone-Blocking Scheme|
|Kansas City||West Coast with Zone-Blocking Scheme|
|Miami||West Coast with Zone-Blocking Scheme and some up tempo.|
|Minnesota||West Coast with Zone-Blocking Scheme|
|New England||Up Tempo Erhardt-Perkins with Man-Blocking scheme.|
|New Orleans||West Coast/Air Coryell hybrid with Flex Blocking scheme. Also mainly Shotgun.|
|New York Giants||West Coast hybrid with Multiple Screens and hurry up, no huddle.|
|New York Jets||Timing based, West Coast Hybrid with Zone Blocking|
|Oakland||Power Running Play Action Hybrid|
|Philadelphia||Up Tempo Spread with Zone Blocking|
|Pittsburgh||Up Tempo Spread Hybrid with Man Blocking|
|San Diego||West Coast Hybrid with Power Blocking|
|San Francisco||West Coast Hybrid, some read option with Flex-Blocking Scheme.|
|Seattle||West Coast Power Running Hybrid with Zone Blocking|
|St Louis||Air Coryell, Play Action Hybrid with Man Blocking|
|Tampa Bay||Up Tempo Ball Control run based with Zone Blocking|
|Tennessee||Some Pistol and Ball Control run first scheme.|
|Washington||West Coast Hybrid, some read option with Zone Blocking|
As much as I hate to admit it, I often look to the Patriots to see what they are doing in terms of offense because as a team they seem to "get it." It is not just Tom Brady and Bill Belichick that makes this team's offense so successful, it is the way they use their brains to come up with the correct thinking about the big picture, the 30,000 foot view, if you will. The most important goal of an offense is to score points. For the last 12 years, they have been in the top ten in scoring 11 times.
INNOVATION IS IGNORED
One of the main concepts of winning is to confuse the other side of the line of scrimmage in what ever way you can. This can be done in one of two competing concepts:
- Do lots of different formations, but simple and limited number of plays that get lots of practice time.
- Do the same or very limited number of formations, but have lots of high rep skill plays that look the same, and are run out of those limited number of formations, but they give the defense fits to get a key or read on.
So, when you design your offense, one of the keys is to use confusion to help get great match-ups or better yet, blown coverages because those plays are the big plays that often win the game. As Tom Landry pointed out on many occasions, most games boil down to two or three big plays and often it is because one team got confused or made a mistake, and so he would have one or two trick plays ready for every game and would use them as often as he thought he could. Well, if the idea is to get the most blown coverages or the best match-ups, then why not try to be innovative and be as unpredictable as possible on every play.
Let's look at some important points. First of all the NFL is very copy-cat in it's approach. Most of the teams run about 80 percent of the same stuff until someone takes a chance and it succeeds and then you might see some of the teams adapt some of the new innovations into their playbook. But for the most part the NFL is afraid of new ideas. There is a mathematical concept or rule called the 80/20 rule that is found in all areas of life and the NFL is no stranger to that rule.
For example, as far as the running game goes the NFL runs about 5 or 6 basic plays about 80 % of the time. Teams run the outside zone (or stretch play), the inside zone , the power, the counter and the draw. It is the other 20% where we see the innovation and then it is usually more about match-ups than real innovation. Most of the NFL coaches focus on details rather than "out of the box" innovation.
Oh, and I might add that defenses are like this as well. They basically adhere to the 80/20 rule as well.
So, one might ask why is this the case? Well, first one of my pet peeves is that anything new or innovative is automatically denigrated by calling it a "gimmick" and it is said that this trickery or gimmickry is some how bad because it is only used because of inferior personnel and therefore it is not as desirable to win that way.
Hogwash, is it some how "unfair" if one guy happens to have learned Kung-Fu and gets into a fight? Is he some how tainted if he tries to use his advantage? And if it is seen as some how unfair, then it is doing what you want to do on every play....make the play seem so well thought out and one-sided that it seems almost unfair.
The real reasons for this "conformity" has to do with the following:
- Fear of failure by trying something new
- The old adage of "but that is the way we have always done it"
- There are very few new coaches that come from programs that have dared to try the new innovations. Coaches are just re-cycled, they get fired from one team and are hailed as the solution for the next team.
- And finally there is the limited time for any new innovations to be inserted into the short time allotment for practices.