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Mr. Scot

Member Since 25 Nov 2008
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What do you need to run a West Coast offense?

Yesterday, 01:37 PM

Since we're discussing different systems and coaches lately, I thought it'd be useful to look at the sorts of things you need to effectively run a West Coast type attack.


Let's look at it by position...


QUARTERBACK: The QB in a WCO needs to be an accurate short passer, but ability to throw deep - while not absolutely necessary - does make the offense more effective.  He also needs to make good decisions, and make them quickly. He should have good 'touch' on his passes, and it's definitely best that he be mobile because the system doesn't usually keep runningbacks in to block, preferring to send them out in pass patterns.


RUNNINGBACK: West Coast RBs definitely have to be versatile.  They should be just as big a threat catching passes out of the backfield as they are rushing.  On run plays, you want a decisive 'hit the hole' type and a back who can 'be his own blocker' helps as well.  The best WCO systems also tend to have at least one big back on the roster to get the 'tough yards', someone you can use by spreading the field out and running him up the middle or off tackle.


RECEIVER: Good (preferably great) route runners.  Great hands (as few drops as possible since in this system the short pass often subs for the run, essentially becoming a 'long handoff').  And a big key here, speed and elusiveness.  You want the super shifty type of guy who can take a three yard pass and turn it into a ten yard (or more) gain.  Also a great idea to have at least one big receiver who's a red zone threat and will fight for the ball when covered.


TIGHT END: The tight end in the WCO is generally a security blanket and a chain mover.  As your primary 'possession guy, you absolutely need someone with ultra-reliable hands and preferably one who's good at finding open spots in coverage.  If he's also a 'stretch the field' type, that's good too but reliability is what's paramount.  Also extremely helpful if he's good in the red zone.


OFFENSIVE LINE: Since the WCO commonly uses zone blocking schemes, athletic linemen tend to work best.  That's not to say you can't have big bruisers (Baltimore does) but they need to be able to move well and - arguably even more important - they need to be very smart.  Each guy needs to understand what the guy next to him is doing and be able to diagnose what's coming at him and react quickly.


So looking at this list now, if we wanted to run this kind of scheme, what would you say we have already and where would we need to retool?

Gary Kubiak

21 November 2014 - 07:53 PM

Baltimore Ravens Offensive Coordinator and former Houston Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak should be considered as a highly plausible option if the Panthers wind up looking for a new head coach next year.


And given his history and reputation, he could very easily be thought of as the top candidate.


Kubiak was the Quarterback Coach for the last three of Panthers GM Dave Gettleman's four seasons as a scout with the Denver Broncos.  He also has one of the best win percentages of the 'retread' coaches and is getting loads of buzz as a head coaching candidate again this season thanks to what he's done for the Ravens offense.  Add in that he's widely considered to be a quarterback guru, which is certainly something the Panthers could use for Cam Newton.


It's worth noting that Ravens quarterback coach Rick Dennison was also with the Broncos for that same period, so Gettleman would know of him too.  Dennison has worked extensively with Kubiak over the years.  He'd likely be Dennison's first choice for offensive coordinator (assuming the Ravens gave permission, which is sadly not a given.


(as an aside, given the Gettleman connection, Dennison could conceivably be an OC candidate if Ron Rivera stays and Mike Shula is fired; some have even speculated on Dennison as a head coaching candidate, though that seems far less likely)


The hiring of Kubiak (and possibly Dennison) would likely mean the Panthers switching to a West Coast Offense.  It's been hotly debated as to whether that would be better or worse for Cam Newton, but Kubiak's had success with less talented QBs than Newton before.  Kubiak comes by his WCO roots honest as he's a Mike Shanahan disciple from Shanahan's last year with the 49ers forward.  Shanahan was the Broncos head coach during most of Dave Gettleman's time in Denver (again, 95-97) and Gettleman's first Super Bowl ring was acquired as a member of the 1997 Broncos team that Shanahan led to victory over the Green Bay Packers.


Now, you could take from this the possibility that Browns OC Kyle Shanahan would also be a solid potential Head Coach candidate.  And while that may well be true, Kubiak has been coaching for 21 years.  That's more than twice as long as the younger Shanahan, who's only been coaching since 2004.  With either Kyle or Kubiak on board though, a role for the elder Shanahan (maybe as a consultant or some such) would be distinctly possible.


For the interested, you can check out Kubiak's Ravens coaching bio here (link) and read more about Kubiak's current head coaching buzz here (link).


So does this sound like a good idea, or do you think there are better options?

Avant might land with his old coach

21 November 2014 - 04:26 PM

Per Aaron Wilson...


Aaron Wilson @RavensInsider  ยท  2m 2 minutes ago

Chiefs worked out wide receiver Jason Avant today and may sign him, according to a source.


Offensive Coordinator Options

21 November 2014 - 03:03 PM

So let's suppose that Ron Rivera is retained, but Mike Shula is let go.


Under those circumstances, who would be some potential options for the offensive coordinator position?


Here are a few possibilities, starting with the ones closest to home...






Current Position: Senior Offensive Assistant, Carolina Panthers

Preferred System: Coryell Offense

Coaching Experience: 19 years

Age: 59


Fans have theorized that Ramsdell was brought aboard to potentially replace Mike Shula, though there's no real evidence to indicate this.  Ramsdell has never actually been an OC, but his list of former quarterback pupils includes impressive names like Kurt Warner and Philip Rivers.



Current Position: Runningback Coach, Carolina Panthers

Preferred System: Coryell Offense

Coaching Experience: 28 years

Age: 65


Skipper's never been an OC either.  He has been a head coach, but that was in the XFL so I wouldn't put too much stock in that.  He officially held the title of Assistant head Coach during some of his prior stint with the Panthers under John Fox.  Also working in his favor would be a prior familiarity with GM Dave Gettleman since Skipper spent five years as RB Coach with the Giants while Gettleman was Pro Personnel Director there.  Is up there in years, though. 



Moving on to guys from other teams that might be in line for a step up the ladder...






Current Position: Quarterback Coach, Baltimore Ravens

Preferred System: West Coast Offense

Coaching Experience: 20 years

Age: 56


Dennison has been joined at the hip to Ravens OC and former Texans Head Coach Gary Kubiak for a while.  He ran the Texans offense for a while when Kubiak was in charge there.  Worth noting that Dennison was working for the Broncos as an offensive assistant at the same time that Panthers GM Dave Gettleman was employed as a scout.  Good chance they're familiar with each other (also a reason why Kubiak could be considered a strong head coaching candidate if the Panthers part ways with Ron Rivera),



Current Position: Quarterback Coach, Cincinnati Bengals

Preferred System: Coryell Offense

Coaching Experience: 11 years

Age: 47


Zampese was reportedly a candidate (and my preferred choice) to replace Dan Henning when the Panthers let him go (John Fox chose Jeff Davidson instead).  His father Ernie Zampese ran the Cowboys offense during their prominent years and taught Norv Turner everything he knows.  Son Ken has had some success coaching Andy Dalton.



Current Position: Quarterback Coach, San Francisco 49ers

Preferred System: Coryell Offense

Coaching Experience: 22 years

Age: 52 (estimated)


If this name sounds familiar, it should.  Chryst was a tight end/offensive quality control coach for the Panthers from 2006 to 2010.  Although he's currently working with a team that runs a WCO, Chryst's background is more Coryell.  he helped implement a no-huddle attack (run by Jim Harbaugh) that set records in San Diego.  Add in that he's got experience working with a mobile quarterback now thanks to his time in San Francisco.  Although he's got Panthers ties, he was a coach that Rivera allowed to walk (I was hoping we'd keep him) so unknown if Rivera would revisit this.  He did with Jim Skipper though, so there's that.



Current Position: Quarterback Coach, Indianapolis Colts

Preferred System: West Coast Offense

Coaching Experience: 19 years

Age: 58


Gotta love what he's done with Andrew Luck, but this is also one of those instances where you ask "how much is him and how much is his star pupil?"  What I've read about how he coaches Luck gives me a lot of positive feelings.  His record when he's been an OC before though, not so much (granted he dealt with some bad situations his least year in Indy),  Seems like he'd be a more likely option if the team hired Pep Hamilton as head coach than he would if Rivera is retained.



Current Position: Quarterback Coach, Philadelphia Eagles

Preferred System: West Coast Offense

Coaching Experience: 20 years

Age: 47


Musgrave has a fairly successful resume as an offensive coordinator, but he also has an unfortunate history in Charlotte.  he served as Steve Beuerlein's quarterback coach during the high flying offensive year of 1999, but after being promoted  to the offensive coordinator job in 2000 on Gil Haskell's departure, Musgrave abruptly quit just four games into the season.  No real explanation for what happened is available that I know of.  He's been successful since then though and, obviously, few staff member remain from those days. 




MIKE MULARKEY: Tight Ends Coach, Tennessee Titans (bio)

- Successful history as an offensive mind, not so much as a head coach


AL SAUNDERS: Senior Offensive Assistant, Oakland Raiders (bio)

- Long time offensive guru, but up there in years (67)


GREG KNAPP: Quarterback Coach, Denver Broncos (bio)

- Was Vick's OC when Mora coached the Falcons, has bounced around a lot


ALEX VAN PELT: Quarterback Coach, Green Bay Packers (bio)

- Works in a successful system and has had good mentors but inexperienced; more likely option if the Panthers hired Tom Clements as head coach


BRIAN DABOLL: Tight Ends Coach, New England Patriots (bio)

- Has been an OC before and is part of a successful Patriots system, but his prior OC jobs have been nothing to write home about



Up next, some guys who might be unemployed next year because either they or their head coach is on the hot seat...






Current Position: Head Coach, Chicago Bears

Preferred System: West Coast Offense

Coaching Experience: 29 years

Age: 58


Trestman has a long history as an offensive coach and can name drop having worked with guys like Bill Walsh on his resume'.  He had fallen somewhat out of favor though and was out of the NFL from 2004 up till his hiring as Bears head coach in 2013.  He's still known as a solid offensive mind, but the Bears are kind of a mess right now (granted, so are we).



Current Position: Head Coach, Washington Redskins

Preferred System: West Coast Offense

Coaching Experience: 4 years in the NFL, 13 in Arena Football

Age: 47


Speaking of messes, the Redskins are a big one right now.  Given the environment there, it's unclear how much of that is Gruden's fault.  Granted, he had success in Cincinnati and he has a name that a lt of people like, but this one's still kind of 'out there' for me, especially given his lack of NFL coaching experience,



Current Position: Offensive Coordinator, New York Jets

Preferred System: West Coast Offense

Coaching Experience: 29 years

Age: 52


I can hear the laughter even as you read the name, but reality is that Mornhinweg actually has been fairly successful as an OC.  Add in that the Jets are a dunpster fire (ask Mark Sanchez) so it's hard to judge.  Mornhinweg can also point to having worked under guys like Andy Reid and Steve Mariucci.  Just make sure he has no say in overtime coin tosses.



Current Position: Offensive Coordinator, Atlanta Falcons

Preferred System: Coryell Offense

Coaching Experience: 31 years

Age: 55


Koetter could come free if the Falcons decide to part ways with Mike Smith, though even with this year's disaster of a season I have a hard time seeing that happen.  He's another one who's kinda light on NFL coaching experience, but has generally been well thought of in the league for his work as both a QB coach and OC.  He's considered an innovative thinker and good playcaller and cuold be good for Cam Newton.  Again, if he came free (which I wouldn't bet on).



Current Position: Offensive Coordinator, Saint Louis Rams

Preferred System: West Coast Offense

Coaching Experience: 17 years

Age: 41


The youngest of the major options, though not the least experienced,  Schottenheimer has a known pedigree thanks to his dad and has even been considered a head coaching candidate at times.  The past few seasons have seen some of the shine come off his name though.  He'd be an option if the Rams part with jeff Fisher (possible, but not necessarily likely),





MATT CAVANAUGH: Quarterback Coach, Chicago Bears (bio)

- Has had come success in the past but career of late has been somewhat up and down


GREG OLSON: Offensive Coordinator, Oakland Raiders (bio)

- Another who's had his moments but whose overall career has been kind of a rollercoaster


BILL CALLAHAN: Offensive Coordinator, Offensive Line Coach, Dallas Cowboys (no bio)

- The last guy to coach the Raiders to a Super Bowl, but most would say his career is on the decline right now.  he is the Dallas OC in title only as Passing Game Coordinator Scott Linehan is the one who actually calls the plays.  Linehan might actually be a better option, but it's doubtful the Cowboys let him go at this point.



So who do you like?  (open to other suggestions too)

Tom Coughlin revisited

21 November 2014 - 11:38 AM

So a while back we had a thread suggesting Tom Coughlin as a potential head coaching option.


Worth noting that the Giants have had plenty of opportunities to fire Coughlin but have never done so, and still might not even after the awful season they're having this year (two Super Bowl rings buys you a lot of deference).


But supposing for a moment that they did, or came to an agreement that Coughlin would 'retire'...


I don't really see Coughlin becoming a head coach again (why should he) but it should be remembered that Coughlin actually had full control of the Jacksonville Jaguars in his eight years as head coach there.  He is still to this day their most successful head coach (Jack Del Rio is second) and the only Jags coach with a win-loss record over 500.  As far as overall success, Coughlin's Jaguars were actually more consistent than the Panthers were in those early seasons.


Coughlin is also known to be a good friend of Panthers GM Dave Gettleman.


Should this be Coughlin's final year with the Giants, how would you feel about him coming aboard in some sort of personnel related role?  Perhaps also serving as an information resource to a new head coach (were one to be hired)?


(for those wondering, Coughlin is 68)

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