Join Date: Apr 2006
Do Traditional Philosphies Exist in the NFL Anymore?
I've been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now. As fans, we are familiar with concepts that have been introduced to the game over time that revolutionized the game. The 3-4 defense, the 46 defense, Cover 2 (yuck), the WCO, Air Coryell, the no huddle, etc etc etc.
And often when we talk about football, we talk about these concepts. This guy is bringing the WCO to his new team, this guy is converting his defense to a 3-4, this guy is bringing the Tampa 2, this guy is running the Zampese system.
And in years past, we can say those things bc for the most part, if you were a Cover 2 defense, guess what? You're running Cover 2 concepts most of the game. If you were a WCO offense, you were running WCO concepts for most of the game.
But looking at how multiple the NFL is nowadays, both on offense and defense, I don't think we can say any of this anymore.
Go down the line of WCO teams. How many slants do you see? How many of them are even WCOs anymore? You see every team, whether they run the "WCO" or the "Air Coryell" run pretty much all concepts on offense.
Even the Run N Shoot, the teams that run a choice route offense, those concepts are even included in a lot of WCO plays. Maybe not everyone is running a choice, but you can draw up a WCO play where your Z runs a slant, your Y runs a go, and your X is running a choice.
You can have a Zampese offense that sends both the Y and Z deep, and both are running a deep choice, with the X running a comeback. So in 2 examples, you see basically concepts of Zampese, Run N Shoot, and WCO all in the same play.
And every team runs all of these concepts. So does it really matter anymore what you run?
I understand that if your coach comes from a Cover 2 background, he's going to run more of those concepts than other concepts, if your coach is a Zampese coach he is going to run more of those concepts than other concepts.
But while you will see more of on concept than the others, that doesn't mean you are not running those other concepts at all. And I think we fail to see that as fans sometimes.
We do this all the time. All of us fans. I'm guilty too, I won't exclude myself, I'm just as guilty as the next guy. On game day, when things aren't going right, we blame the coaches. Why isn't he taking any shots downfield? Why isn't he running some shorter routes to get the qb rhythm? Why isn't he blitzing? We aren't we running some man?
And one thing I've learned after being that guy for so many years, is this: Watch the game again. You'll see that 80% of the time, the concepts you were screaming at your tv for during the game, were actually run during that game. It just didn't work. Why? Bc players have to make plays. Sometimes your players just didn't execute. But we don't want to believe that. It's easier to blame the coach.
Even defense isn't set in stone anymore. NFL defenses are so multiple now, it really doesn't matter what front you're in. Every team runs 1 and 2 gap fronts. Whether it's from a 3-4 or a 4-3 front, who cares? It's all about attacking gaps. How you attack gaps matters. Not what alignment you do it in. Every Cover 2 defense runs man. Every man coverage defense runs zone. Every team blitzes. How much depends on the coordinator more than the scheme.
What's the difference btw a 1 gap 3-4 and a 4-3 over? Is there any difference anymore? It's all the same **** with a couple of different sprinkles that's all.
Now having that said, there are plenty of instances where a coordinator is awful, and a scheme is awful. And in these situations I have no problem with blaming the coach.
I'll cite Greg Manusky as an example. Greg Manusky was one of the worst DCs I've ever seen. He ran Cover 4 for the Chargers on almost every play. And that is not an exaggeration.
Perry Fewell literally ran Cover 2 or Cover 3 (with a 3 or 4 man rush) for much of this season b4 he smartened up and played to our defense's strengths in the run before the playoffs.
the Bucs were terribly predictable on offense. So there are times when yeah, coaches suck, I don't deny that.
My main point is, I think regardless of what your coaching staff is comprised of nowadays, you're going to run a little bit of every concept, on offense and defense. The black and white lines are very gray now.
A true Tampa 2 doesn't exist anymore. A true 3-4 is barely breathing. A true 46 is dead, a true WCO is pretty much dead.
I think we exaggerate schemes too much, and underestimate how important it is to be a good play caller as a coordinator. It's really not about the scheme anymore. It's about feeling out the game and calling the right plays at the right time. I think that's what separates the good coaches from the bad ones. Not necessarily the scheme, but moreso of the timing of when to call the right plays.
That's a skill that's more important than the scheme itself.