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Thread: Jets 2012 Offensive Philosophy

  1. #1

    Jets 2012 Offensive Philosophy

    In line with another article posted earlier about what scheme Sparano is bringing in, I found some really good articles describing a ton of detail involving the Erhardt-Perkins offense. Be warned this is a long long read (going to post it in two parts). Therefore I am going to summarize it in this post, and the following two will be the actual article.

    Philosophy: the field is about 50 yards wide and 100 long. Line up the WRs near the edges and push them up field running vertical patterns in the middle/deep range. Some coaches tend to emphasize the horizontal aspects, depends on individual taste. Goal is to use the entire field and force defenses to cover more ground.

    Running game: emphasizes size of the offensive line (smashmouth) and uses a lot of trapping and pulling by the tackles/guards/TEs. Can be incorporated with some zone block concepts, but not as complicated as Alex Gibbs' version. Bigger backs are preferred.

    Passing game: as mentioned the routes are aimed at being vertical to compliment the smashmouth ground game. It actually takes some elements of Coryell offense as far as the vertical passing game is concerned. While there are still short routes (to avoid predictability), the emphasis is on pushing the ball to the middle/deep parts in the passing game

    Terminology: Numbers instead of colors used in WCO

    QB: must obviously be able to take shots downfield, and make plays from the pocket after deep drops; I think Sanchez has a better shot with this because deep drops/bigger pocket are the preferred option for shorter mobile QBs (see Drew Brees, and even to some extent what McNabb did); play action is heavily utilized to give deep WR routes time to develop (PA freezes D)

    WR: two speedsters on the outside are needed, playaction will only slow the rush for so long. Double/triple moves are used to beat the D over the top

    RB: Bigger, a little less one cut and go, more power running

    OL: Again larger size though their is flexibility to incorporate zone, big linemen just need to have good feet too (point being you don't need tiny linemen to run a zone)

    TE: used as an H-back, sometimes protecting to allow routes to develop, sometimes leaking out after initially staying into pickup a blitz. also used in a traditional form at the LOS

    The scheme has a big emphasis on pass protection which is something Sparano mentioned a lot and this makes sense given that he is a disciple of this scheme. Often a 2 back scheme is sent out and both backs stay in to protect while the TE/2WR run longer routes challenging the D. The good part about this package is you can easily run the smashmouth out of it as well, so the defense won't know what to expect.

    Additional info I found just browsing the web, the philosophy is similar to that of Lombardi. You have bread and butter plays that you run out of various formations. The goal is to have the execution be flawless on those, rather than learning tons of plays, but not having enough repetition with them.

    Again full article is posted below for those who are interested

  2. #2
    [QUOTE]Whatís the Erhardt-Perkins Offense?

    First - In one real sense, thereís no one thing called the Erhardt-Perkins (EP) offense. Got your attention? There is a structure of principles, terminology and plays that have been called that, but what is meant by the term has varied greatly from run-heavy schemes to the offense that currently holds the NFL scoring record - the 2007 Patriots and their 589 regular-season points. What Iím saying by this is that there isnít a single, monolithic tradition that was started by the coaches for whom the system is named, giving the sport an approach thatís etched in stone. Actually, the EP is a versatile approach that can be combined with others (West Coast Offense, Air Coryell, etc.) to achieve whatever goals for a specific offense that the coaches might want to set.

    In Denverís case, it started with legendary coach Sid Gillman making a simple but deeply insightful observation: "A football field is 53.33 yards wide by 100. We felt that we should take advantage of the fact that the field was that wide and that long. So, our formations reflected the fact that we were going to put our outside ends wide enough that we could take advantage of the whole width of the field. And then we were going to throw the ball far enough so that we forced people to cover the width and the length." Some of his adherents chose a horizontal approach to the game, others chose a vertical approach. Gillman used them both. The vertical aspect shows up the most in Denverís scheme and is combined with principles from the EP.

    The Erhardt-Perkins system isnít new: It was developed by Ray Perkins and Ron Erhardt under head coach Chuck Fairbanks back in the 1970s while all three were coaching the Patriots. Itís survived, in part, because it takes Gillmanís statement into consideration: itís highly versatile. It can cover the entire field. Itís considered a smash-mouth system and a power-running system, but it has also been played well by non-smash-mouth teams - the degree of emphasis on the power running game varies with the OC applying it. It can also be used in emphasizing the pass, being essentially a fairly balanced system, and when it does, it usually (though not always) features the vertical passing of the Air Coryell school.

    Generally, the early EP running attack used very few RB receptions, which will be altered a great deal under Broncos OC Mike McCoy and head coach John Fox. Erhardt was fond of the aphorism ĎPass to score, run to winí. Heís not the only coach to have used it frequently, and I canít identify the first source of the quote (actually, Iíve heard three original sources, so I favor no one), but thatís going to be one part - if only one - of the new offense.

    The EP is particularly known for using a lot of trapping and pulling by the offensive line. A dedication to running the ball was a traditional part of the system, so the emphasis on running by Fox is neither new nor unusual. Josh McDaniels didnít emphasize the use of a TE, but Fox and McCoy have shown that they intend to. In fact, one of Denverís base offensive packages is a max-protect formation with two TEs and two RBs - not something that you saw a lot of in the past couple of years. The EP also tends to make a lot of use of play-action, which suits QB Kyle Orton and the Broncos well.

    OCs and Adaptation

    The EP is not a stagnant system, set in stone at some point and kept inviolate - it is dynamic and constantly changing. The reason at the heart of that growth is that despite the tendency of all fans to pigeonhole both teams and systems, every offense changes each year. Sid Gillman did it, Bill Walsh did it, Bill Belichick and Josh McDaniels still do, and so will Mike McCoy.

    If you're an NFL offensive coordinator, you'll adapt the system each year for three key reasons:

    So that the rest of the league canít make assumptions on what youíll do in a given situation as relates to time remaining and down and distance; to keep some element of surprise.
    Because each year you have different players (in degree) and you will therefore want to make changes to maximize the advantages they might give you, or to minimize the problems from them - or both. You want to use the most effective weapons in your arsenal, and that can mean either running or passing dominating in degree with the E-P.
    Because you want to continue to grow as a coordinator/coach and explore your profession: part of that is trying new things. Working with some changes of ideas to see if they work is normal and potentially beneficial.
    So if it worries you that Josh McDanielsí system is somehow going to still be run to a "T" this year - donít sweat it. Every offense changes every year, and McCoy is going to be trying out his own approaches; several of those changes have been made known and I like a lot of them. This year, Iím looking forward to a number of them.

    Background

    The history of the system is somewhat complex, so bear with me. Ron Erhardt was the older of the two coaches. After finishing his college and a two-year stint in the military, he coached at the high school level from 1957 to 1962 with a final record of 45-9-2. It got him noticed enough to earn him a job as an assistant at North Dakota State, where decades later Tyrone Braxton - and later Joe Mays - would play. In 1966, Erhardt took over as head coach at NDS. He had an enviable record of 61-7-1 in his seven years as head coach there and also served for them as their athletic director, helping take the team to two national championships.

    In 1973, Erhardt was hired as a backfield coach for the New England Patriots, and he worked his way up to offensive coordinator by working with both Ray Perkins (and to a lesser degree with Chuck Fairbanks) to develop this system, moving up to offensive coordinator four years later when Red Miller left for Denver. The Pats looked like they might make a SB run the following year (1974), but in December, Fairbanks announced that he was leaving for the U of Colorado where he had accepted a contract just before the last game of the regular season. The Pats promoted assistants Erhardt and Hank Bullough (of the Fairbanks-Bullough 3-4 defense fame) to replace the suspended Fairbanks for their final game of the regular season; they lost the game and missed the playoffs. Erhardt moved up into the head coaching job with mixed results - the team missed the playoffs by a single game for two years running and then ran down to a 2-14 record, at which point he was released. Owner Billy Sullivan said that he was Ďtoo nice a guyí for the job. It beats being called Ďtoo much of a jerk' for it, but not by much.

    The Giants and Bill Parcells picked him up as offensive coordinator under head coach Ray Perkins and together they took the pieces that each had accumulated along the way and molded them into a team that won two Super Bowls: XXI with QB Phil Simms against the Broncos and XXV with Jeff Hostetler filling in for the injured Simms versus Buffalo. The latter would be Parcellsí final game as the Giants' head coach - his replacement, Ray Handley, fired Erhardt, who would earn another title shot in SB XXX as OC with the Steelers - losing 27-17 to Dallas before differences over offensive philosophy with Bill Cowher led to him leaving after four years in Pittsburgh.

    Ray Perkins attended the University of Alabama back in the 1960s, playing under Bear Bryant and as a teammate of Joe Namath. Perkins was an All-American, and the Tide won the National Championship in 1964 and 1965. Perkins went on to play wide receiver under Don Shula while he was with the Baltimore Colts, and Perkins caught a long TD pass from Johnny Unitas in their 1970 AFC Championship game victory over the Raiders to help the Colts reach SB V. He had a good grounding in the game, and an urge to go into coaching.

    Perkins started as an assistant for the Patriots in the mid 1970s (74-76), and during that time helped to develop this system. He followed that with a year in San Diego that led to a four-year head coaching job with the Giants from 1979 to 1982. Perkins also hired future head coaches Parcells, Bill Belichick and Romeo Crennel during that time and served as an influence to all three. Perkins moved around for a bit before returning to New England under Parcells from 1993 to 1996.

    Parcells used the EP quite extensively when he was coaching, and as a result, Charlie Weis learned it from him too and passed it on to several assistants, including McDaniels and Chiefs HC Todd Haley. Current Vikings OL coach Jeff Davidson is another Weis protege and is said to by some have brought the system to the Carolina Panthers, where he was the OC for the past four years as a member of John Fox's staff.

    Terminology

    A lot of folks donít know this, but the terminology of the West Coast Offense is frequently expressed in colors, where the terms for the EP offense are generally expressed in numbers. Itís a matter of preference - a lot of things are the same between the two, some are different.

    For example, and to give props to an example that my old friend Steve OíReilly has used on his fine site Skinny Post, a play that could be used in an EP system would call out "Zero Ride Thirty Six." You want to describe the formation, protection (if appropriate) and where the play goes with your signal calling - Zero is the formation, Thirty is the RB and Six describes what hole the run is headed for.

    The Broncos' Version

    There are some things that will be the same this year and a lot that will be different from the McDaniels version of the EP. The EP has often been linked with the Air Coryell offense to combine the aggression of a powerful running game with the constant threat to the defense of a deep pass. Itís a system thatís based in an aggressive, hostile take-no-prisoners approach to the game, something that the Broncos could use.

    Denver will be using more of the smashmouth running game approach than they did under McDaniels, but they will also pass to RBs (which he did) and have a strong role for TEs (which he didnít) as well as passing in the middle to deep routes. The Ďthrow to scoreí part will be taken up mostly by the vertical passing game - Denver isnít going to get rid of the timing patterns that WR Brandon Lloyd and Orton have gotten good at together, but they arenít going to be as interested in the short passing game - in theory. I still expect them to use an outlet receiver, just as all NFL teams do, and thereís always a place in the playbook for the TE or slot receiver over the middle. I wouldnít expect to see a lack of short passes just because itís a vertical variation on the EP - Denver will work with whatever their players do best and whatever they need done. But they will look for the longer passes.

    Itís not cut and dried in terms of exactly what aspects of the offense will be kept, even now - preseason gives you time to see certain things, and time for certain members of the coaching or FO staff to try some things and certain players. Sometimes, a particular play from the WCO - such as the timing pattern that Orton threw to Lloyd in the Seattle game, where the announcers were surprised to find via replay that the throw was actually made before Lloyd had made his cut - will fit well. If it works, it works. In fact, there are quite a few WCO plays that will fit Denver well this year and I wouldnít be surprised to see a few of them adapted to the blocking scheme and run commonly.

    The Offensive Line

    The line play will certainly be different this year, in degree. Part of that will simply be due to the change in personnel with the addition of RT Orlando Franklin and the additional experience that LG Zane Beadles and C J.D. ĎTrash Caní Walton (as DC Dennis Allen calls him - henceforth to be known as Trashy for short), developed last year. Despite some of the comments that come out of camp about the OL (Cecil Lammey, for example, has strong feelings that both Beadles and Walton have failed to improve, as Iíve noted before, and thereís reason to doubt him, as Iíve also noted), that hasnít really shown up in preseason, although the normal preseason sloppiness is certainly there in degree: so far Walton looked particularly improved against Buffaloís Kyle Williams, whoís a very good player (both players won some downs, but Walton had his share). Beadles has struggled on some plays, although doing well overall, but thereís no real depth behind him. Chris Kuper is a top guard who helped with and sometimes also took on Williams as well with good results (although heís struggling with a turf toe injury, which can cost a player a whole season if itís aggravated or severe) and Ryan Clady is, well, Iron Clady. Franklin is still learning the NFL game, and that will continue for a while; his run blocking is excellent and his pass blocking is improving, but he needs to work more on his technique. His tenacity is very good, though.

    While there was some misunderstanding about the use of the zone blocking scheme last year (the ZB was used in the running game - just not all the time), Denver has dedicated themselves to it to a somewhat greater degree. They expect to use a simpler version than the Alex Gibbs/Rick Dennison version, for example. There will be less one-cut running, which RB Knowshon Moreno has never been totally comfortable with (although heís developed a lot). Theyíre doing it with a couple of 320+lb bookend tackles, with Franklin at about 22 lb heavier than former RT Ryan Harris, a 20 lb bigger center in Walton than they had with Casey Wiegmann, and Beadles is a lot (almost 20 lb) bigger than Ben Hamilton was. Kuper was and is just fine as he is. You donít have to be small to run the ZB - you just need good feet and to move efficiently as a group. Size is great, if you have that option. This offense pulls and traps a lot too, and itís best of all to have size and good feet for that. Denver looks like it does, although the OL lacks depth.

    As Dave Mazagu pointed out, the short version is this:

    We run some zone schemes, we run some gap schemes, we run some man schemes and some draws; Most places weíve been it's been a combination of all those things. You canít do just one thing.

    Changes for the Broncos

    Brian Xanders made an interesting comment (emphasis mine):

    Weíre building consistency on defense, with the same schemes and coordinator. And on offense, we want to attack with explosive plays, running and pounding the ball with John Foxís scheme of two backs, three backs with explosive play-action passes off of it.

    The three-back approach will be interesting to watch, should it be unveiled.

    In addition to the challenges with the OL, the move to a more running-intensive offense and away from Josh McDaniels' pass-first offense is a big change, and the common use of the max-protect formation with two TEs and two RBs (221 or 22), QB in shotgun, in a pro set with the QB is very different as well, just to get that out of the way. The other base formation is the 212 or 21 - two RBs, one TE and two WRs, as opposed to McDanielsí preferred three-wide shotgun base formation.

    Denver has sought RBs that can block as well as catch and run with the ball, which isnít new - McDaniels did the same and Mike Shanahan usually wanted those as well (thatís normal in the Walsh WCO). All of those things should help improve the QB protection. Running Backs coach and former interim head coach Eric Studesville has also made it clear that getting a fullback in hand, trained and fully a part of the new version of the offense is a priority - for the first time, Spencer Larsen has no LB designation. That group of changes also means better protection for the QB, all of which are helpful to one of Denverís greatest recent weaknesses.

    The RBs in the EP Offense

    Denver is all about aggression and ferocity this season, and that carries over into the offense as well. The system was originally developed in the Northeast, in a climate that gives rise to cold, blowing air later every season, and the development of the EP systemís beginnings dates back in the 1960s and 70s, so domes were rare and toughness required. Teams go with the kind of players that suit that kind of climate, as well as the system that also fits there, which tends to mean smashmouth football.

    The OL is usually a little bigger in the EP - Denver is fine, in terms of that. Not everyone does, but the Fox system tends prefer somewhat bigger RBs, too - having a Willis McGahee-type around is pretty normal for his offense, and while Moreno is a little small heís got several advantages that balance that out, including his skilled receiving ability. In a two-back set like the max protect, the RBs are usually arranged - right now, at least - in a Ďpro setí with one RB about equally spread to both sides of and often level to or just slightly in back of the QB. If thereís only one back, heís usually out to the side of the QB in the shotgun.

    The original version of the EP system emphasized the power run more than most modern forms. Denver will run more this year, but will also use the RBs as receivers. They wonít use the one-cut as much - at least, thatís what theyíre saying right now. Theyíre going to stay with a more vertical passing attack than some forms of the EP has used, and this year they intend to keep some things simple but to have enough options that they donít expect other teams to be able to predict their next move very often. You canít discount the importance of two aspects of this system in terms of how they suit the Broncos specifically. The first, as mentioned before, is aggression. Denver wants to take the game to the other team and force them to react to Denverís approaches.

    Secondly, one area that Denver has struggled with over the past few years has been finishing out games and seasons. Thereís an advantage there to the running game if itís done well - teams commonly run out the clock when theyíre ahead, mostly due to the rules on clock movement, hence the Ďrun to winí aspect of the philosophy. But itís also true that running at the defense, time after time, wears them down physically and mentally. Itís true over a season, and itís true in the context of a lot of games. Having the size and attitude to block - run or pass - is necessary. Offensive linemen also comment on how much easier it is on them to run block than to pass block, which is a benefit of a run-heavy scheme if your linemen are wearing down on you.

    On the other side of the ball, smaller lines sometimes find themselves also wearing down late in the season, although factors of scheme and skill levels are also essential. The OL, if they are winning, often smell blood when run-blocking and become even more aggressive late in games. That doesnít hurt either. Denverís making an effort to change their old pattern and Iím glad to finally see that coming.

    One thing that may help Denver with their problems is that while New England had one version of the EP, and because of that Josh McDaniels didnít use a TE or a FB very much (although both are traditionally a part of the EP), Fox/McCoyís version is clearly more RB- and FB-heavy. This is purely a matter of personal preference, but I like this kind of approach. In terms of football, Iím by nature prone to using large groups of players hitting small areas within a second or two - I find that outnumbering an opponent in a small area opens it to longer gains in yardage. This is not a new principle, to put it mildly. Alexander used it, among others, to defeat the Persians. It still works in the NFL.

    Conclusion

    First, itís my feeling that Denver has chosen an option that will let veterans on the team know the basics of their role in the offensive system, but that will also contain several changes that will slow or stop the ability of opposing DCs to spot patterns from McDanielsí version of the EP to that of Mike McCoy. Specific changes include more TE use, a running-back-by-committee approach, and possibly an emphasis on the longer pass (yes, Orton was already near the top there last year, but the EP tends to more mid-range passes rather than the shorter passes of, say, the WCO), but there are others.

    On Saturday, Iíll talk a little more about the Air Coryell system and the role of the OL and QB in this offense. Iíll also add some things to fill out your familiarity with the system and how it can be used and adapted to a variety of situations. See you there!

    Go Broncos![/QUOTE]

    [url]http://www.itsalloverfatman.com/broncos/entry/fat-camp-the-erhardt-perkins-offense-part-1[/url]

  3. #3
    [QUOTE]On Wednesday we talked about the Erhardt-Perkins offense: its history, some of its usage and some principles on how it’s going to be used in Denver. Today I’d like to touch a little more upon what the Air Coryell offense is and how it fits together with the EP for Denver, including specifically what the groups of players are doing by position.

    As I noted last article, Denver is combining the EP vertical passing offense with its power running game - and by saying ‘power’ I’m not dismissing the zone blocking aspect. Big, stronger blockers with good feet fit into this approach efficiently - they can have a lot of size and power, even though zone blocking is generally expected from smaller linemen. The issue is simply whether they have the feet to handle it. A simple way of combining the two systems comes from Ron Erhardt himself. Back towards the end of his coaching days, Erhardt took his system and combined it into a hybrid with the spread formation, in an approach that was quickly dubbed ‘Air Erhardt’. A coach whose team has been running a spread variation and is developing a good running game can use some plays from that as a good beginning. Denver is more likely to do what they’ve said - to use the run more aggressively.

    There are unquestionably overlaps that would let Mike McCoy use that spread/EP combination if he's interested. It combines much of what Josh McDaniels did in setting up his own preferences with some pretty standard EP principles - motion on the OL and both pulling and trapping, with aggressive run formations and scheme and a power running game that also protects the QB. The differences, as you’d expect, would mostly come in the integration of the running game with the spread. A higher emphasis on the running game and an emphasis when passing on going vertical (more, say, than the amount that you’d go horizontal in combining the WCO with the EP, is another option that’s worth discussion at some point).

    Other ways to vary it would hinge on the amount and the style of running versus passing - how much the TEs and RBs are used, whether you use max-protect (and how often) and similar areas. We’ve talked about much of this already so I won’t bore you rehashing it - if any questions come up, please ask by emailing me at [email]alloverfatman@gmail.com[/email]

    Integrating the System

    There are normally three or four basics when integrating the EP and your own running game:

    You’ll need at least two faster receivers for the longer routes combined with a skilled pocket passing offensive QB. This is one reason that Tim Tebow isn’t being used right away - his skillset just doesn’t fit the combination of systems on offense as well as Kyle Orton’s does. The scheme calls for a vertical pocket passer.
    A strong inside power running game (which also is a great weapon against the classic 3-4 defenses that San Diego and KC run).
    Mid-range routes by TEs, WRs and sometimes RBs. Shorter routes can be substituted at times depending on the players’ skillsets. The WRs, as noted, are usually going for some vertical real estate. That doesn’t mean that they won’t go shorter.
    Although people often miss this one, the combined system is extremely effective in the red zone and on short-yardage situations. You can’t just stack to stop the run and you can’t blitz to stop the pass, because the offense can audible out of either dilemma. Denver’s struggled especially in the red zone recently and this should prove helpful. The combination of the two systems (EP and Coryell) doesn’t permit the defense to lock down just one or the other. The pass routes tend to set up fast in the shortened area of the red zone and the threat of the more powerful run game makes it hard to defend against both.
    Remember, EP offenses also tend to run a lot of trapping and pulling by the tackles/TEs and guards. The majority of the movement is the pulling of the guards - if you’re going to run right, the left guard - Zane Beadles, say - is going to take a step back and to the right with his right foot, turn and then hightail it to the offense's right in order to help clear the way at the front of the playside blocking for the RB. Every offense I know of in the NFL uses this approach part of the time, and all the OL players know and understand the way you pull a guard.

    Trapping is similar - it’s occasionally known as a ‘mousetrap’, and sometimes the tight end but more often the tackle is responsible. In either case, the point of a trap block is to let a defender come on through the LOS while a lineman off to one side pulls back and out of the line on the snap and comes across to block that defender outward from the inside as he heads across the LOS. Done right, it takes the player clear out of the play.

    The movement aspect of the Coryell/EP fits well into the blocking that McDaniels wanted used when he first arrived. Denver will add more zone blocking on running downs, but intersperse some degree of ‘gap’ blocking - which emphasizes pulling guards - although Denver will be adding trapping by tackles and tight ends as well. Overall, regardless of the specifics that we can’t know yet, we do know that historically the combination of the two is a pretty effective, well-balanced attack. Using line motion with inside runs along with the vertical passing attack has also been very effective in red zone situations, as noted, and we all know Denver could use some more red-zone effectiveness.

    What’s the QB Doing?

    In terms of passing, the EP commonly uses a Coryell-based vertical passing attack that creates the time for those plays to develop (among other options) by freezing the D momentarily with play-action passing. Orton is particularly good there, and that may give him time to work through his progressions, which he can be slow at sometimes. There’s not much question that WR Brandon Lloyd will be a frequent target, although the QB will be moving the ball around. Again, keep in mind that a predominately vertical passing attack like Denver’s can (and should) have horizontal options (the quick passes to the flat, for example) that keep the system from becoming predictable. That’s where some folks say that they see a way to overlap with the WCO - I don’t disagree.

    TJ made a good point that affects Denver when he was explaining the RB/TE/WR groupings and how they’re counted in 212, 221 or 311 by more commentators. TJ also noted that most hardcore football junkies will take the route of the coaches and players and use the two-digit system (21, 22, 31, respectively). This is the system that you see our own Ted Bartlett use because the two numbers imply the third - there are 11 positions, 5 of them are OL and 1 is a QB, so if you know the number of running backs and TEs, you can know the number of WRs. The three-digit system is also commonly used, though. (Note - I use it frequently, as I tend to avoid math:D).

    As TJ points out, the personnel packages take you a lot deeper into the football strategy of individual teams than you might realize, for it's the first telltale sign of what an offense plans to do. However, personnel packages are not a substitute for offensive philosophies. A different Coryell/Vertical Offensive philosophy is a good example of this. Chargers head coach Norv Turner learned the Air Coryell system from Ernie Zampese, who learned it from Coryell himself. Norv Turner, as TJ noted, currently uses a two-back personnel system to stretch the field. He utilizes play action, running backs in protection, and mid-to-deep routes. It's a very thorough, effective system with options for nearly all down-and-distance circumstances.

    Mike Martz, offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears, also comes out of the Coryell school, but utilizes an extensive one-back system with infrequent use of play action, since it’s not Jay Cutler’s forte (developing better pocket protection is one goal of the Coryell/EP, and Chicago needs it. They’re using some of the same approaches that Denver is, which makes sense). Denver will be coming from the same general system (and suffers the same basic problems with protection) but will be using both max-protect and a 212 package - 2 RBs, 1 TE and 2 WRs - to accomplish carrying off the EP.

    We’ve discussed the various issues and responsibilities often enough to pass on adding another section on the RBs. Suffice it to say that a smashmouth approach that uses pulling and trapping by the line uses RBs as receivers as well as blocker/ball carriers will be looked for from the Broncos.

    Air Coryell and the EP

    The Coryell offense was grown from the fertile soil of Sid Gillman’s remarkably creative mind - he set the stage for both the vertically-inclined passing approach of Al Davis and Don Coryell, and also the horizontally-based system of Bill Walsh’s, which has come most commonly to be called the West Coast Offense. You will still find people who prefer that appellation for the Coryell system. Don Coryell used this system in San Diego with ‘Dandy’ Dan Fouts to rewrite a lot of records when Coryell was head coach of the Chargers between 1978 and 1986. Coryell also used power running with his passing approach, a fact that isn’t lost on Mike McCoy or the Broncos.

    Air Coryell uses at least two faster receivers for the downfield routes - play action slows the pass rush, but won’t hold it back forever. It requires a QB with a strong, accurate arm, which is one reason that Orton got the starting job for Denver.

    The combined systems tend to either keep a TE in as a wing back or an F-back (The term H-back is also used, although Ted understandably hates it - It’s not that accurate and I’ve noticed that a lot of coaches are getting away from using it.) to improve the QB protection, allowing the longer passes to set up. He can swing out for a pass, stay in for protection or even swing back to take a handoff or pitch. Norv Turner has been fond of that variation over the years - his system also combines the Air Coryell with other attributes. Again, in doing so you can’t just lock down on the run or pass, which keeps the D off-balance.

    TJ also noted that the Air Coryell Offense has four basic principles:

    Stretch the field
    Protect the passer
    Confuse the defense
    Run it down their throats.
    The offensive line is usually composed of the biggest and/or meanest group of guys with good feet that you can find as to employ the power running game needed to pound away at defenses (yes, you can use power- and zone-blocking simultaneously on the same team). While the blocking varies, in Denver the line generally blocks in a zone scheme, meaning they block and hit anyone that comes into a given player’s zone and that the OL tends to move mostly in unison. The offense is also a passing offense, though, and the wide receivers (and, in Denver’s case, often the TEs) run intermediate-to-long-range routes, with swing, screen and outlet passes being handled mostly by the RBs underneath. In order to give those mid-to-longer routes time to develop, quarterback protection is at a premium. How do you maximize it?

    Play-action
    Motion - OL, TE, and/or WR
    Powerful line play
    Max-protect
    Three wide-receiver sets are also a staple of the Coryell system. In fact, the three-wide set was a Coryell staple when Don himself was calling it. Joe Gibbs, another Coryell-lineage coach, developed the bunch formation and added to it the three tight-end set, so there’s a lot of history here. For those who aren’t familiar with the background, Sid Gillman developed a multitude of new approaches to passing, including both vertical and horizontal movement, the second of which Bill Walsh and his risk-adverse preferences used to spread the field to win three Super Bowls (as others have since then with the same approach), and the vertical package of the system was honed by both Coryell and by Al Davis in Oakland, LA and Oakland again.

    In other words, the offensive philosophy is not wedded to a specific personnel package or single requirement. The personnel package, is, rather, a specific instrument of attack. You can beat your opponent with pass-catching tight ends or speedy wide receivers. You can run the ball down their throats, swing out three TEs or send three WRs flying down the field to open the pass. It's simply a matter of preferences and degree - and having the best personnel for one or another of those options. What I loved most about Sid Gillman’s work was that he could adapt his systems to nearly anything in terms of player personnel. That’s also true of the EP.

    While the Coryell offense is essentially a passing offense, one of the advantages combining it with the EP is that you can make the argument that the EP is a more wide-ranging system - it includes more running plays and concepts than just playing smashmouth, and it has a wide range of passing options. As noted, it’s been a smashmouth football game, a vertical passing system and/or both, and of the four principles listed by TJ, you won’t always use all four on all plays. Two that are essential to the system working, however, are to protect the QB and confuse the defense while you’re stretching the field and establishing the run. Given the Broncos' recent history in terms of protecting the QB (they often didn’t), gaining the extra options to keep your QB upright is just good sense.

    Pass to Run, Run to Pass

    There’s been a furor for years about the idea that you should either run to set up the pass or pass to set up the run, and sometimes the arguments about which is the better approach go on for days. However, there’s a middle road here, too - it’s more common to pass to set up the run nowadays, but you can run to set up the pass, too, and the EP can do it either way. You can slow the pass rush by running the ball, and you can open lanes for the run by passing the ball. Right now, the passing game is dominant in the NFL but it’s not always as simple as it sounds. If you show the defense that you’re going to pass, they have an advantage. If you show them pass but then surprise them by running the ball, the same kind of thing ensues in reverse and you have the advantage. You can lose the advantage that surprise can bring if you don’t have the right options ready for the right play, down and distance, so the system can get very complex over time.

    Passing and Motion in the EP and Air Coryell Systems

    The main way to handle protecting the QB within both of these systems was generally provided by motion and shifting - creating distractions and indecision on the part of the defense by using trapping and pulling linemen and by motioning pass receivers as well as by play action. Following the Coryell system backward over time, we see that Norv Turner had over 40 different motion combinations when he was with the Redskins. Mike Martz’s Greatest Show on Turf in 1999 with St. Louis was also known for its extensive numbers of combinations.

    It’s an aspect of the EP that can’t be oversold - it’s essential, as defenses become more aggressive in trying to balance out the dominance of the passing game, to find ways to protect the QB. The formations of EP and Air Coryell help with that. The integration of an aggressive run game with an aggressive vertical passing game give you a very versatile approach. Over time, Denver will probably develop an increasingly large number of motion options, especially if they can get the TE position (mostly Daniel Fells and Julius Thomas) brought up to a high quality, in order to intersperse the TE motion with the OL, WR and even RB motion.

    Despite the reputation as a smashmouth running approach, it’s worth repeating that the EP has frequently been part of the best passing games in existence - it was used as a base for the Rams in 1999 and for the Patriots' record-setting run in the 2007 season during which they scored 589 points and 75 touchdowns. Tom Brady led the NFL with a 117.2 passer rating – not another record, but close to Peyton Manning's 121.1 of 2004. Only one full-time AFC starter, Jacksonville's David Garrard, had fewer than Brady's eight interceptions that year, and Brady threw 253 more passes. The EP has a long and storied history of scoring a lot of points when the players and coaching is there. There’s no reason that Denver can’t do the same with it, given the time to build the team.

    Former Jets, Patriots and Chiefs OC (and current Gators OC) Charlie Weis has used the EP and the West Coast Offense as overlapping systems, and on a stream-of-conscious level I noticed how easily you can do that while watching the Buffalo/Denver preseason game. At Notre Dame, Weis used the pass to set up the run via play-action passing, which is a classic aspect to the EP. He often used the short pass to set up the long pass, and sometimes the run to set up the pass. He may be a much better OC than a HC, but he understands how flexible the EP system is and some of the less well-known ways to apply it. I’m looking forward to seeing how Denver uses it in 2011 - it seems to suit them very well.

    Conclusion

    Denver has a very flexible offensive system this year that combines a strong running game and the vertical passing game in a way that Denver fans have rarely, if ever, seen. The combination of a smashmouth running game, an increase of pass protection with the vertical passing game, and a substantial offseason emphasis on problem-solving with regard to the worst of the offensive issues of the past two seasons should give Denver a much more effective attack in 2011.

    Mike McCoy has combined with Dave Magazu on the OL, Clancy Barone on tight ends, Adam Gase on QBs and Tyke Tolbert on wide receivers to put together a combination of some of the best principles of the passing and running attacks. It’s based in a hybrid of the Erhardt-Perkins offense and the Air Coryell - not a new approach, per se, but an effective one that permits a wide range of offensive options including improving protection for the QBs, developing a more effective running game and improving the third-down and red-zone numbers for the team. The approach can ‘eat’ the clock or strike quickly. It can be changed and adapted for your specific personnel - a greater emphasis on the run if that’s working, the option of a deeper passing attack if your receivers have that talent (Denver is plush there) and improved QB protection with an emphasis on a pocket passing game.

    Kyle Orton seems to love the system. Orton has gone so far as to say that he doesn’t think that a team can stop the offense for four quarters straight. In fairness, whether the defense has to is up to the defense - if you have to make up two touchdowns, you’re still going to use the passing game more. The combination of the Coryell and the EP just gives some options that wouldn’t otherwise exist by letting the offense mix in runs that could go for longer yardage as the defense either brings up the safety to try and stop the run or drops him into coverage to try and prevent the deep pass. If the safety drops off, the TE has an opening for a slant pass to defeat the Cover 2. If he comes up, the longer pass routes are easier to complete. If the defense has to spread out to stop the vertical game, the inside run becomes easier as it gains yardage. Converge on that, and the mid-level routes to the far edge of the flat open up, as do runs around the tackle, led by the opposite pulling guard.

    It’s not the McDaniels version of the EP as some have feared. It’s got even more flexibility via its emphasis on two things - the stronger running game and a greater confidence in the vertical pass. Orton - mostly with Brandon Lloyd and Eric Decker, but Orton can use a wide variety of options - ran the vertical game well overall, last season. With a better running game, a more aggressively blocking OL, continually bettering receivers (including Julius Thomas, Daniel Fells, Matthew Willis and Demaryius Thomas this year alone) and a more straightforward playbook, the Broncos have an opportunity to show fans and other teams alike that they are ready to start making a move back into the level of play that fans once enjoyed in Broncos County. I’m looking forward to it.

    Go Broncos![/QUOTE]

    [url]http://www.itsalloverfatman.com/broncos/entry/fat-camp-the-erhardt-perkins-offense-part-2[/url]

  4. #4
    Nice.



    Can I go to bed now? :P

  5. #5
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    MO

    Thank you for these wonderful articles they are well worth the read!!!

  6. #6
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    GREAT ARTICLE & READ!!!!

    THIS IS WHAT JI should REVERT to!!!! :yes:


    Thanks a bunch Mo for a greater dissection of what we HOPE to run on offense this year and how this traditional system should play to Sanchez's strengths and help him evolve (along with better WR route running and OLine protection) into the Franchise QB we hoped we drafted.

    Especially appreciate how it explains that part of the foundation of the philosophy is correlated to a "NorthEast" style of football that accounted for cold weather AND created in a time when there were FEW DOME TEAMS (1970's football): "[I]The system was originally developed in the Northeast, in a climate that gives rise to cold, blowing air later every season, and the development of the EP system’s beginnings dates back in the 1960s and 70s, so domes were rare and toughness required. Teams go with the kind of players that suit that kind of climate, as well as the system that also fits there, which tends to mean smashmouth football.[/I]"

    JUST what the doctor ordered, ie. 2009 JETS FOOTBALL!
    Last edited by Gas2No99; 01-25-2012 at 01:56 AM.

  7. #7
    Thanks for taking the time out to write this. Good read.

  8. #8
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    Excellent read, thanks.

    This is exactly what the doctor ordered.

    However, although you can get by with Holmes on one side, we're going to need a quicker WR on the outside opposite him than Plax. Plax can stick around for red zone and 3rd down plays, but he's not a deep threat anymore. I'm probably not going to like our #1 pick unless its an outside threat kind of guy.

    2nd most, as we all know, we need to find that replacement for Hunter. That kind of hole will destroy any offense, no matter what the scheme.

  9. #9
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    Mo, awesome find. Thanks.

    This:

    [I]QB: must obviously be able to take shots downfield, and make plays from the pocket after deep drops; I think Sanchez has a better shot with this because deep drops/bigger pocket are the preferred option for shorter mobile QBs (see Drew Brees, and even to some extent what McNabb did); play action is heavily utilized to give deep WR routes time to develop (PA freezes D)"
    [/I]

    Every time Sanchez has a ball batted down by a defender, I scream. This seems to be a great fit for Sanchez. They need to run the ball, play-action pass, throw deep, and move him around.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=Gas2No99;4346524]GREAT ARTICLE & READ!!!!

    THIS IS WHAT JI should REVERT to!!!! :yes:


    Thanks a bunch Mo for a greater dissection of what we HOPE to run on offense this year and how this traditional system should play to Sanchez's strengths and help him evolve (along with better WR route running and OLine protection) into the Franchise QB we hoped we drafted.

    Especially appreciate how it explains that part of the foundation of the philosophy is correlated to a "NorthEast" style of football that accounted for cold weather AND created in a time when there were FEW DOME TEAMS (1970's football): "[I]The system was originally developed in the Northeast, in a climate that gives rise to cold, blowing air later every season, and the development of the EP systemís beginnings dates back in the 1960s and 70s, so domes were rare and toughness required. Teams go with the kind of players that suit that kind of climate, as well as the system that also fits there, which tends to mean smashmouth football.[/I]"

    JUST what the doctor ordered, ie. 2009 JETS FOOTBALL![/QUOTE]

    Hey man no problem, your post is what inspired me to go do a little research. I agree with you that these kind of articles make for better debate than the "what can we get for Sanchez/Brick in a trade" nonsense. My goal is to clutter this board with topics like this haha :D

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE=JetPotato;4346607]Excellent read, thanks.

    This is exactly what the doctor ordered.

    However, although you can get by with Holmes on one side, we're going to need a quicker WR on the outside opposite him than Plax. Plax can stick around for red zone and 3rd down plays, but he's not a deep threat anymore. I'm probably not going to like our #1 pick unless its an outside threat kind of guy.

    2nd most, as we all know, we need to find that replacement for Hunter. That kind of hole will destroy any offense, no matter what the scheme.[/QUOTE]

    I'm done with Plax. Younger & Faster is what we need.

  12. #12
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    [QUOTE=Gas2No99;4346524]GREAT ARTICLE & READ!!!!

    THIS IS WHAT JI should REVERT to!!!! :yes:
    [/QUOTE]

    Wasn't there once a separate forum for "X's and O's" discussions like this one?

  13. #13
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    QB: must obviously be able to take shots downfield, and make plays from the pocket after deep drops; I think Sanchez has a better shot with this because deep drops/bigger pocket are the preferred option for shorter mobile QBs (see Drew Brees, and even to some extent what McNabb did); play action is heavily utilized to give deep WR routes time to develop (PA freezes D)"

    great article but I really agree with the above statement

    this system should properly utilize Sanchez strengths

  14. #14
    Thanks, Mo. I think you can summarize the philosphy very simply......improve the OLine and the new coaches MUST cure the turnover machine that is our starting QB.

  15. #15
    Wow amazing article JI use to be all about this. More facts and less asssumptions.

  16. #16
    Great post, so much better then "Rex sux, lets fire him"!!!

    Finally read the whole thing today and one of the things I came away with is that the QB coach hire is very big at this point.

    We need a young guy here to be groomed for the future OC position. The way the league works, if Sparano does have success as an OC, especially if we win a SB, he will be a HC candidate for sure. One of the big keys to Eli, Peyton, Brady, etc is that they have played in the same system for their whole careers. We need to bring in young coaches who can be promoted when coaches get hired away from the team and keep terminology/system the same. Cavanaugh isn't he answer and its time to get some young blood in here.

    I would love to see us get Daboll as QB/Coach and passing game coordinator and (i know this gets some people mad) but go after Chad to come in as a QB mentor/assistant QB coach and groom him for something in the future.

    Rex is never going to be overly involved on the offensive side of the ball, and we need to find an offensive STAFF, more then just an OC.

  17. #17
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    [QUOTE=eaglenj;4348669]Great post, so much better then "Rex sux, lets fire him"!!!

    Finally read the whole thing today and one of the things I came away with is that the QB coach hire is very big at this point.

    We need a young guy here to be groomed for the future OC position. The way the league works, if Sparano does have success as an OC, especially if we win a SB, he will be a HC candidate for sure. One of the big keys to Eli, Peyton, Brady, etc is that they have played in the same system for their whole careers. We need to bring in young coaches who can be promoted when coaches get hired away from the team and keep terminology/system the same. Cavanaugh isn't he answer and its time to get some young blood in here.

    I would love to see us get Daboll as QB/Coach and passing game coordinator and (i know this gets some people mad) but go after Chad to come in as a QB mentor/assistant QB coach and groom him for something in the future.

    Rex is never going to be overly involved on the offensive side of the ball, and we need to find an offensive STAFF, more then just an OC.[/QUOTE]

    This is a great point!!

  18. #18
    [B][SIZE="5"]BIGGER BACKS WHO "PUNISH"...

    SPEEDY RECEIVERS WITH TRIPLE MOVES STRETCHING THE FIELD...

    THE QB TAKING A DEEPER DROP AND USING MORE PLAY FAKES...


    SIGN ME UP!!![/SIZE][/B] :D:yes::D

  19. #19
    [QUOTE=Schroy48;4348777][B][SIZE="5"]BIGGER BACKS WHO "PUNISH"...

    SPEEDY RECEIVERS WITH TRIPLE MOVES STRETCHING THE FIELD...

    THE QB TAKING A DEEPER DROP AND USING MORE PLAY FAKES...


    SIGN ME UP!!![/SIZE][/B] :D:yes::D[/QUOTE]

    [size='7'][b]ME, TOO!![/b][/size] ;)

  20. #20
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    [QUOTE=Charlie Brown;4346520]MO

    Thank you for these wonderful articles they are well worth the read!!![/QUOTE]

    great read very insightful .

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