Cliff Notes on the West Coast Offence .

Mangini... "Great Lakes Offence"...What?? Did that work out? Things are changing around here. We’re going old school around this thing.

We all know where the West Coast Offence came from, right? Mr. Bill Walsh. Now it’s being implemented in our great organization. Holmgren and Shurmur are experts. But are you?

This style offence is quite easy to understand. The typical offensive methodology is "run to set up the pass". Not in the WCO! It’s the complete opposite! It’s about spreading the defense, by throwing, to eventually get the players to cheat out of their positions. Then you run the ball down their throats. It’s a lot easier to gain 4 yards on the ground when the LB’s first steps are backwards. But please don’t get the wrong idea. Passing is the MAJOR aspect of the WCO.

Personnel: Here I will focus on the importance of each position and the players we currently have that will produce in the WCO. All except the offensive line. To me it’s just simple blocking schemes for those guys. Nothing to really get in to.

QB - An intelligent, accurate, and alert QB is needed to run this huddle. Someone who can make a decision at any point during the play. Forget about the long ball, arm strength isn’t a priority here. Short and precise throws are necessary. The QB needs feet too. Being able to role out on any given play, escaping a collapsing pocket, and running for daylight is an absolute must.

Sound like someone on the Browns’ roster? That’s right, Colt McCoy. The winningest (is that even a word?) QB in college football history. Whether you like the kid or not, he’s a perfect fit for Shurmur’s WCO. Everything I stated above... this player has. We all saw glimpses this past season of leadership, accuracy, and run ability.

TE - The TE can’t be overlooked. This position plays a small but VERY important role. The player needs hands, speed not so much. They’re great targets on short downs. Get them matched up against a LB in the middle and throw it high. Don’t forget the guy needs to be a good blocker when we bust out the run. With the defense on their heels and expecting PASS, an agile TE will help create a hole.

Ben "My Dear" Watson and Evan Moore. What a pairing this is!! Watson was by far a great pickup last year. I honestly can say I didn’t expect the contribution he had. He can block and he catches almost everything. He’ll play a major role, again, this year. Evan Moore? Where did he come from? Oh, that’s right... Heaven. This kid is a huge up and coming player. IMO he has better hands and feet than Watson. Look forward to 7 man lines with these two studs holding up the books.


FB - Pretty simple. Needs to be able to block and have good hands. This player HAS to have the ability to run screen, swing, and flat routes. Doesn’t have to be a Bull Dog, but needs to know his role.

We have one of those. The best FB in the NFL... Lawrence Vickers. This guy can break a LB’s facemask and burn you down the side off a reception... at the same time. We can’t let him go. He would be the skeleton key to our WCO.

RB - More of a receiver than a true RB (a la Faulk). Almost the same responsibilities as the FB, but a lil’ different. He must keep running the ball and blocking in the back of his head because running routes is his main priority. While being of a small stature. The OC needs to match him up with LB’s. He’ll be most effective that way.

You may not like what I have to say here. Hillis and Hardesty are not WCO RB’s. Hillis should do OK, but he’s not the "ideal" player for this type of offence. They’re run first type of guys. Expect Shurmur to grab a speedy RB in this year’s draft.

WR - Speed doesn’t mean jack. Precise routes and hands are important here. Getting away from the DB to get YAC is the plan. Keeping the LB’s on their heels is important. It’s the WR’s job to spread the field. To get the LB’s away from their honesty and drop back in to coverage. This is where the run comes in!

I could go in to a rant right now, but I won’t. We don’t have route runners. Plain and simple. Then comes the 2011draft. A WR in the early two must occur.

Formations: This is how we will line up at the line of scrimmage. It’s not as complicated as you think. This is getting pretty long so I’ll only do a couple.

I need to draw diagrams of formations. Please bare with me! Everyone has their own name for things, so I used my personal titles.

I Formation (plain "I" to me followed by a color to represent WR placement ) The core of the WCO. It’s a two back set (RB lines up directly behind the FB) 1 TE, and 2 WR’s. The TE usually lines up on the strong side of the play, but not always. When a team lines up in "I" your first instinct (as a defender) is "run play". Not the case for us. We’ll definitely throw out of this formation. The backs will split and block as the QB drops backs between them. Either back can also run a short route out of this formation. Which I assume we will see most often on 1st and 3rd downs. .

This is also a time where the WR’s should run short routes over the middle behind the LB’s. Like I said before... get the defense to move backwards at the snap. And when you get the LB’s anticipating PASS first, you run it!

Trips Right (I call it Green): here we have a single man backfield, 1 TE, and 3 WR’s. You can run out of this but I doubt we will as much as last year. But it works as a good ploy! Two of the receivers are out wide while the third is a roamer. That man can line up off the TE (must be in the backfield) as a freaky flanker or he can kick out as a double and do some damage in man on man coverage. But he has to be in sync with the WR he’s lined up next to. Which means one of them has to go across the middle when asked. Again to keep the LB’s honest.


I know I’m super late on this. Hope you guys think I did ok on my first Offence Post. There is plenty MORE to discuss about the WCO. I want to post some plays for you guys. I will absolutely draw up some WR trees and blocking schemes upon request. Or I can talk about other offences.

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