• Welcome to BGO! We know you will have questions as you become familiar with the software. Please take a moment to read our New BGO User Guide which will give you a great start. If you have questions, post them in the Feedback and Tech Support Forum, or feel free to message any available Staff Member.

SB Nation: The Future is Already Here

One of many experimental iterations ...

Lanky Livingston

Guest

Fantastic, must read write-up on the zone-read option & pistol offense, and how it is changing the NFL already.
*****************************************************
I watched a good football game the other day. One team built a big lead over the other with a dizzying array of strategies: shifts, motions, multiple formations, and even read-option plays, where the quarterback decided whether to hand the ball off or keep it himself based on the defense’s movement. With the score 31-3, I nearly stopped watching.

Then the trailing team sprang to life, scoring four touchdowns in less than a quarter, tying the game 31-31, by throwing the ball 65 times using three, four and five receiver sets and a frenetic no-huddle pace. The comeback failed, however, as the team that once led by 28 points responded with a quick touchdown of their own, and won 41-34. It was a good game, but an odd one.

What was not strange were the teams’ tactics. In high school and college, football has been rapidly changing. New variations on the read-option, no-huddle and all manner of other new offensive strategies seem to pop up every year. There, change is normal. But I wasn’t watching two high schools, or even two teams from the Mid-American Conference or the Big 12. No, what made the game odd was that I was watching the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots in the National Football League.

A NEW CLASS OF YOUNG, MULTITALENTED QUARTERBACKS IS DRAGGING THE NFL TO ITS FUTURE
After years of being resistant to the change, suddenly the newest and best ideas are being used all over the NFL. Three of the NFL's top 10 offenses in yards and four of the top 10 in yards per play all rely to some extent on these innovative schemes [source]. So why is the NFL changing now? For the same reason change in football always happens: because football is in a moment, a moment when new kinds of ideas meet a new kind of talent. A new class of young, multitalented quarterbacks who can throw and run – not just one or the other – is dragging the NFL to its future.

x x x
About three years ago, Greg Roman, then offensive coordinator at Stanford University, traveled to Reno, Nev., to visit with Nevada Wolfpack head coach Chris Ault to learn about his “Pistol Offense.” Before the 2005 season, Ault, unhappy with his offense, presented his staff with a new idea – a shotgun formation with the running back aligned directly behind the quarterback. “They thought I’d lost my marbles,” Ault recently recalled [source]. But with the “Pistol” Nevada went from near the bottom to the top of its conference in offensive production and over the next few years slowly added additional components to the attack to make it even more effective.

The potency of Ault’s offense peaked during the 2009 season when they finished the season with three 1,000-yard rushers – two running backs as well as lanky junior quarterback, a Colin Kaepernick, who added another 2,000 passing yards and 20 touchdowns. The following offseason Roman – along with many other coaches from across the country – visited Ault. He wanted to learn how to add some Pistol looks to the pro-style offense he ran at Stanford under head coach Jim Harbaugh. During their visit, Ault was, according to Roman, “very accommodating and it was very interesting as a coach to go really learn something totally new,” he said, adding, “That was very valuable time spent.”

The next season Stanford added a few such new looks, but did not focus on it. But, as fate would have it, Roman, now the San Francisco 49ers’ offensive coordinator, still under Harbaugh, coaches Kaepernick, the 49ers’ second-round draft pick in 2011. These days he finds himself going back to his notes from those few days he spent in Reno [source].

NFL COACHES BEGAN TO REALIZE AULT’S IDEAS MIGHT BE THE NEXT BIG THING
Still, even with his inside knowledge of Ault’s attack, and Kaepernick on the 49ers’ roster, Roman and Harbaugh didn’t immediately decide to turn things over to their young quarterback. Instead, and despite the off-and-on success teams like the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos had dabbling in these concepts with quarterbacks Cam Newton and Tim Tebow in 2011, it was not until this season, when Robert Griffin III entered the NFL and emerged as the Washington Redskins’ starting quarterback, that many other NFL coaches began to realize Ault’s ideas might be the next big thing. “The Redskins do it more than anybody,” said Roman. “We’re just starting to tap into it now.”

Griffin, the second-overall pick in the 2012 draft, is a preternaturally gifted player with a beautiful throwing motion and a knack for making good decisions on the football field – and he also just happens to have track-star speed. In college at Baylor, Griffin operated Art Briles’s offense, a no-huddle, fast paced spread-'em-out-attack which aligned receivers as wide as possible without putting them in the bleachers [source] . Yet while Griffin often ran the ball at Baylor, they rarely used the Pistol look.

In the NFL, however, under the direction of head coach Mike Shanahan and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and with Griffin at quarterback, the Redskins have made extensive use of Ault’s creation. When Mike Shanahan was head coach of the Denver Broncos, he melded the West Coast offense he’d used to win a Super Bowl with the zone blocking schemes offensive line coach Alex Gibbs brought from the San Francisco 49ers [source].Those schemes remain the foundation of the Shanahan-Redskins attack today. The Shanahans, in search of some way to mesh Griffin’s special talents with the zone blocking schemes they’d made famous nearly 20 years earlier, settled on the Pistol attack created by Ault as the centerpiece of their offense.

It's worked. Although the Redskins’ leaky defense and a few close losses have them at 8-6, they have arguably the most efficient offense in the NFL, fourth in total yards and leading the league with 6.2 yards per play. Another rookie, sixth-round draft choice Alfred Morris, is third in the league in rushing, while Griffin is second in the league in passing rating, a remarkable performance by a rookie quarterback. Although Pistol offense schemes are a big part of the Redskins’ identity, it’s not all they do. Their key to success has been that the Shanahans have found a way to blend the new schemes with what they’ve had success with for many years in the NFL, creating something that is a perfect fit for their uniquely talented rookie quarterback.

Click link for the rest.
 

Neophyte

Super Bowl MVP
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Joined
Jun 30, 2009
Messages
8,549
Reaction score
176
Points
218
Location
Dallas


Great article and great explanation. I think we will see this offense in DC for some time as Griffin is the absolute best at running it right now. I do, however, think we will see a gradual decline in it's use here over time. This is a young man's offense and I just don't see Griff running it as much or the same way when he is 32 as he does now at 22.
 

Lanky Livingston

Guest
Great article and great explanation. I think we will see this offense in DC for some time as Griffin is the absolute best at running it right now. I do, however, think we will see a gradual decline in it's use here over time. This is a young man's offense and I just don't see Griff running it as much or the same way when he is 32 as he does now at 22.
I don't know...Darrell Green can still haul tail at 50, I'd bet Griffin will still be pretty dang fast at 32. :) Hopefully he stops running it at 30, because he decides to retire after his 4th straight superbowl. :D
 
Last edited by a moderator:

SilentThreat

The Owner's Favorite
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Joined
Oct 8, 2009
Messages
7,258
Reaction score
954
Points
243
Location
Leesburg, Va


I don't know...Darryl Green can still haul tail at 50, I'd bet Griffin will still be pretty dang fast at 32. :) Hopefully he stops running it at 30, because he decides to retire after his 4th straight superbowl. :D

DARRELL Green sir....
 

SilentThreat

The Owner's Favorite
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Joined
Oct 8, 2009
Messages
7,258
Reaction score
954
Points
243
Location
Leesburg, Va


Oh man, brain is not working this week. :)

sorry, MASSIVE pet peeve of mine... dont mean to be a jerk. Regular words dont bother me so much, but when mis-spelling names like that puts me on tilt... I apologize
 

Lanky Livingston

Guest
sorry, MASSIVE pet peeve of mine... dont mean to be a jerk. Regular words dont bother me so much, but when mis-spelling names like that puts me on tilt... I apologize
Oh believe me, I'm right there with you. Every time I see GriffEn I want to murder someone! Was just a brain fart on a holiday shortened week. Must have been thinking Darryl Grant or something. No apology necessary!
 

Elephant

The Commissioner
Joe Gibbs Club Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
24,884
Reaction score
503
Points
1,143

Florida State

Yeah, watching Seattle the last 2 weeks...Russell Wilson is running it well. You could see they were studying film on us to see it's success here. Side note: All the Russell Wilson fans rarely cry about him taking the hits that Griffin is taking!
 

Lanky Livingston

Guest
Yeah, watching Seattle the last 2 weeks...Russell Wilson is running it well. You could see they were studying film on us to see it's success here. Side note: All the Russell Wilson fans rarely cry about him taking the hits that Griffin is taking!
Yeah, I would imagine that Wilson, Kaepernick & even Newton are susceptible to the same injuries Griffin is! Not to mention that article brings up a great point that all QBs are subject to injury, and standing tall in the pocket while taking a hit can lead to even worse injuries. See Theismann, Joe.
 

Elephant

The Commissioner
Joe Gibbs Club Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2009
Messages
24,884
Reaction score
503
Points
1,143

Florida State

And I was watching Inside NFL the other night and they were discussing how much Luck has been getting crushed this year. He has been hit way more than Wilson or Griffin and he has been mostly staying in the pocket!
 

Bulldog

The All-Time Great
Joined
Jul 19, 2009
Messages
15,679
Reaction score
462
Points
363
Location
Bethesda Md


Size doesn't necessarily translate into longevity. Troy Aikman and ex-Colts qb in the 1970's Bert Jones were not small quarterbacks but repeated hits to the head and concussion syndrome drove them from the game.

I agree that Griffin cannot make a 14 year NFL career out of beating defenses to the corner with his legs and survive, but as a rookie starter MOST NFL qbs take a drubbing because they are drafted by teams that have holes and often those holes include the OL.

So, while there is some concern for the future if the offense was to be run exactly this way, I don't think in reality that is what the Shanahans are set on doing with Griffin.

What separates him is his touch and accuracy in throwing the football.

There is really no offense that he is not suited to run if given the chance to learn it.

But again even if he was a drop back qb this season without the out of the pocket element he still would have been at risk for injury and missing some games due to the lack of consistent protection up front.

If we had drafted Luck and had him run a conventional offense he would have gotten killed and the national media would be criticizing the Redskins for not innovating and getting him out of the pocket into space to throw the ball and get away from the rush.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Total: 1, Members: 0, Guests: 1)

Private conversations
Help Users
    Top