Call me nosatlgic, call me an idiot, but one thing you can't call me is.......WRONG. I have a small thought on how to fix the Niners O and in a hurry. Although, to be honest, it might upset a few folks. Here's an idea just to throw around. BRING BACK THE WEST COAST OFFENSE. Crazy right? Hear me out first. Granted, most of the participants that studied under Bill Walsh and learned "The Original" are long gone. (Miss you a lot Bill) However, there are a few who remain and with the ingredients we have on the team NOW, I believe bringing back this fast attack will catch a few folks by storm. If you think the "Wild Cat" was something, imagine having speedsters like Morgan, Hill, and Zeigler taking a 5 yd slant and racing to the endzone. In the glory days of the franchise, it worked against EVERY DEFENSE thrown at it. Including the vaunted "Tampa Two" and eventually Carolina's "Zone Blitz". (Nope, I didn't forget that one.)
Most defenses today look to keep tthe extraordinary WR from getting behind them for big plays. Thus the gluttony of varients of the "Tampa Two". However, with the West Coast, the WHOLE field is open for attack. The beauty of the West Coast attack was beaten to death, anylized and scrutinized adnausium. Yet, it still worked. Let's go over the Pros for a quick min.:
1) The QB (no matter how weak armed) never kept the ball for very long, so sacks were kept to a minimum.
2) The TE positon was just as much a weapon as any WR on the field. Most especially one's with a little more speed than average.
3) The use of smaller guards allowed for more pulling blocks against LB's to spring HB into the secondary.
4) It's a system of disguise. Due to the nature that most throws are considered "short handoffs", it will no doubt leave many receivers in man-to-man coverage.
5) Every person on the team will become a potential game breaker. From the WR to the FB.
6) It's a versatile offense that can be given only a few "minor" tweaks to make it more effective.
7) Not all receivers on the team need be world class sprinters to be effective. In fact, Possession types are more the norm.
Now, just to play fair, let's go over a few cons:
1) Unfortunately, there are very few masters of this offense left around. Andy Reid, Mike Holmgren, Steve Mariucci, and Jon Gruden are all either active coaches, retired or no longer in the periphery of the game. I won't include George Seifert simply because he has NO INTENTIONS WHAT-SO-EVER of coming back. And that crap Ralph Friegen runs at Maryland should be relegated to POP Warner only!
2) The QB must be more cerebral than athletic. Most offenesses today require a QB to make 2-3 reads. Otherwise he can either take the sack or run. In the WC OFF., the QB must make correct reads before the snap and during the play and within only 3-4 secs. on average.
3) The HB and FB must have solid hands skills. with the exceptions of Reggie Bush and Brien Westbrook, the majority of backs in the NFL have hands of stone. Can't catch any balls over 5-6 yds either in the flats or downfield.
4) WR's must be brave. The D knows that you are only running a few short routes and they must be willing to take a good lick every few snaps in order for the O to work. Mostly when working against zone defenses.
5) The O-line must be quick to recognize blitz packages and be prepared to pick them up. No other O besides the Colt's OFF contains so many misdirection and line audibles.
6) This O requieres a team to be time oriented. Most every pass will be thrown to a "spot" instead of to a specific route. If the D sees it coming, the system will fail.
In conclusion....... I do hope that Jimmy Raye can resurrect the Niners offense at least to a respectable level. From his track record as a coordinator, he seems to have a good grasp on what it takes to run an offense. However, among the pantheion of systems that have graced the field, no other offense caused more fear or more consistancy than the Offense that a lil ole man named Bill, borrowed from Don Coryell, and massed produced to 5 NFL Championships. In a league that considers itself to be blatant copycats, I wonder how long it would take for the "West Coast Offense v.2" to become all the rage again if it were implimented.
P.S.: One last question for "Mad" Mike...If you consider bringing back the WC offense.....why not unleash that "46" D that caused inhabitants of Hades to whince in pain? You remember that D right? If not, just look closely at that fat ring that sits on your mantel.