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  • West Coast Offense

    So, I was confused about the West Coast Offense and the players roles in the offense so, I looked it up.

    http://www.kffl.com/article.php/73828/488

    The term "West Coast offense" is thrown around a lot in football circles everywhere, but just what is it exactly? Obviously the West Coast offense refers to a type of offense run in the NFL, but exactly what does it do and, more importantly in this case, how does it pertain to fantasy football?

    First off, it's important to understand the roots of the West Coast offense. Today's versions of the scheme vary from squad to squad, but they all can be traced back to the legendary Bill Walsh during his term with the San Francisco 49ers as head coach, general manager and team consultant. Walsh developed his system during his time as an assistant with the Cleveland Browns, drawing different ideas from other great coaches such as Don Coryell, of the San Diego Chargers, as well as Al Davis, Sid Gillman and John Rauch.

    Walsh was faced with a dilemma in Cleveland, with a quarterback that had great accuracy but a weak arm. In response, he devised a timing-based passing attack where the receiver and quarterback must be completely locked into each other. Since then his system has evolved, and in current basic cases, the West Coast offense is a short-passing scheme designed to control the clock using high-percentage, precision passes - what Walsh termed the "extended handoff." However, despite the reliance on the passing game, there have been several running backs that have thrived in the system in both the past and present. Terrell Davis (Denver Broncos) and Roger Craig (49ers) both enjoyed career years in the West Coast offense - the same can be said for Shaun Alexander (Seattle Seahawks) and Clinton Portis (then with the Broncos).

    General Guidelines

    Although each team's version of the West Coast offense is different, there are quite a few similarities between them. Here are some of the staples of the West Coast offense.

    Discipline comes first. Since the scheme is based mostly on timing, freelancing and missing assignments result in missed opportunities for points.
    Use the pass to set up the run. Most teams using the West Coast offense more often than not have a pass-first mindset, choosing to instead spread the defense out to get better matchups in the run game. (The major exception to this rule would be the system the Denver Broncos utilize.) The offense also should be prepared to throw on any down or distance during the game.
    The passing game attacks the defense within the short-to-medium range. This means the quarterback should have good accuracy in tight quarters, and it makes the receivers run precise routes in order to get open.
    Everyone is a weapon. Whether it's a four-receiver set, a pro-set, or a goal line formation, all of the players on the field (including tight ends and backs) have to be able to catch the football and make plays.
    Create matchup problems for the defense. The quarterback usually will make pre- and post-snap reads to judge where the ball should go. Audibles and motions at the line of scrimmage open up holes in the defense to create mismatches for the offense to capitalize on. The offense can also be run out of any formation, which will give opponents headaches as well.
    Ability to run the football. Although it is typically a pass-first scheme, the ability to run the football when needed is a must for any successful West Coast offense (or any scheme for that matter). Most West Coast teams now use zone-blocking to help in the power-running game (including Denver and Houston). This aspect of the scheme derives directly from Coryell and the Chargers of the 1970s.
    Quarterback play: Signal-callers should be mobile and football-smart. They will be expected to make reads at the line of scrimmage to figure out who the hot (or primary) read is on any given play. Touch and accuracy are usually a must; while a strong arm is a nice asset, isn't the most important thing. The ability to see the field and either get rid of the ball or make a play after the three- or five-step drop is important as well.
    Running back play: Obviously the ability to pick up yards when needed is a must, but running the ball is just one job of a back in this scheme. Many West Coast offense rushers are key cogs in the passing game (such as Brian Westbrook) and are also needed in pass protection, at times, as well with tight ends running routes more often than not.
    Receiver play: Wideouts in the West Coast offense obviously have to run very precise and sharp routes with the ability to separate from opposing defensive backs. What may be even more important, however, is the ability to make plays after the catch. This was a big reason why someone such as wide receiver Terrell Owens (Dallas Cowboys) was such a big-time player in the system.
    Tight end play: As touched on earlier, tight ends will mostly be counted on to be a part in the passing game as a receiver, with their blocking ability being an added bonus. Running sharp routes is a great attribute to have in this system, especially as a check-down target for quarterbacks trying to get rid of the ball quickly.
    With all of these basics in mind, it is much easier to assimilate statistics of players in a West Coast offense and those that aren't. It also helps to describe why some players succeed and others don't in the system.

    Teams that Utilize the West Coast Offense

    As mentioned earlier, there are plenty of teams that run a version of the West Coast offense today.

    Philadelphia Eagles
    Minnesota Vikings
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Seattle Seahawks
    Denver Broncos
    Houston Texans
    Green Bay Packers
    --
    While the 49ers have incorporated some of the West Coast offense into their scheme since Walsh's tenure as head coach, the specific features of the system have changed often over time. From George Seifert to current head honcho Mike Nolan, the key elements of the basic form of the West Coast offense have changed. For instance, after the 2005 season, former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy left the team and took a head coaching job with the Green Bay Packers, bringing his form of the offense with him.

    As you can see, West Coast offense teams are often intertwined, as they learn the system under one coach and bring it to another team. In fact, Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid, Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Jon Gruden, as well as former Packers head coach Mike Sherman all worked under Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren when he was coaching the Green Bay Packers. Holmgren was a disciple of Walsh during his time in San Francisco as the team's quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.

    Positional Breakdowns

    As is evident from the general features, the quarterback is the key to a West Coast offense. You can't run this type of offense successfully with a quarterback that can't make quick reads and sharp, precise passes. As a result, certain quarterbacks in the league aren't suited for - and as a result should never play in - a West Coast offense. While they aren't necessarily but can be the main focus of the offense, running backs and tight ends are also key as they are relied on to catch a lot of passes more so than other schemes. These positions might not be main targets (or hot reads) on every play, but they must run routes and are often used as fallbacks or check-downs in case the hot read is not open.

    The focal point and key to a successful West Coast offense, though, is the wide receiver position. Unlike other offenses, wide receivers fit into a different terminology of positions on the field. West Coast receivers have to be excellent at gaining yards after the reception, something that made retired NFL great Jerry Rice such a lethal wide receiver for the better part of two decades. They include:

    Split End: This position is generally reserved for a more possession-type receiver that has a good release off the line, because the split end must line up on the line of scrimmage on the weak side of the field.

    Flanker: This position gives the receiver more freedom, since he doesn't line up on the line of scrimmage and can go in motion to the weak side of the field. An illegal formation penalty will be called if there is not a wideout on the weak side of the play, whereas the tight end on the power side is on the line of scrimmage. The flanker is not technically reserved for a speedy receiver, but it does give smaller, speedier receivers more room to work.

    Slot: The newer versions of the West Coast offense often use a third receiver placed in the slot instead of a second tight end. Slot receivers are generally smaller, speedier players that have trouble beating press coverage. However, some teams may use bigger players to offset this.

    Summary

    Know the roles of each receiver in each West Coast system and how each specific system works. While wide receivers don't hold traditional depth chart roles as other offensive systems, it's still important to know the types of chances they should have and the typical matchups they should face. While running backs and tight ends are not the focal point of West Coast offenses, that doesn't mean that players at those positions can't have solid fantasy seasons in such a system. How a running back or tight end is set to fit into a West Coast offense has a lot to do with what team he is on and how that team views those positions.

    Generally speaking, slot receivers are rarely marquee fantasy contributors based on the limited number of targets, especially since slot receivers are "tweeners," meaning they don't fit into one specific position - size-, speed- and sometimes talent-wise.

    With a more in-depth knowledge of the West Coast offense, you can have a major advantage over the other owners in your league. You should be able to identify players that, in the general fantasy world, might be more well-known but might not have great seasons based on the elements of a West Coast offense. The more you know, the more you stand to gain.
    Basically, The Eagles have the Ideal QB, RB, TE, and Flanker and Slot Receiver.

    Larry Fitzgerald is the ideal #1 Receiver in a West Coast Offense. In the draft, Micheal Crabtree and TE Travis Beckum are good fits.

    Lorenzo Booker and Brian Westbrook are the ideal west coast offense RB.

  • #2
    I don't see how Crabtree would be an ideal fit but then again I think he would do well in any kind of offense.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Bruce Banner View Post
      I don't see how Crabtree would be an ideal fit but then again I think he would do well in any kind of offense.
      He's a possession receiver and he is bigger, and runs solid routes, and is fast enough to rack up YAC.

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      • #4
        TO is ideal

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        • #5
          Originally posted by bhaarat316 View Post
          TO is ideal
          +

          Not entirely sure about that. You need extremely sure hands to be a great WCO WR.
          He would do the most damage with the rock in his hands though.

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          • #6
            Anquan Boldin's the ideal player, great hands, great routes, and just beastly with the ball.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by TheGreatEscape View Post
              Anquan Boldin's the ideal player, great hands, great routes, and just beastly with the ball.
              he is ideal, too. pretty much any possession receiver who is big, can run solid routes and can get YAC is a good fit at #1 receiver for a WCO.

              Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Terell Owens, Marques Colston, Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

              Jerry Rice is the golden standard at WR in a WCO.
              Last edited by eaglesfan_45; 06-23-2008, 04:21 AM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by eaglesfan_45 View Post
                he is ideal, too. pretty much any possession receiver who is big, can run solid routes and can get YAC is a good fit at #1 receiver for a WCO.

                Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Terell Owens, Marques Colston, Brandon Marshall, Braylon Edwards etc. etc. The list goes on and on.

                Jerry Rice is the golden standard at WR in a WCO.
                Boldin is better after the catch than any of those receivers outside of TO, and he's a better route runner and blocker than TO.

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                • #9
                  Once again another solid thread by EF 45. I'd say that Shockey and Witten are ideal fits at TE in the WCO, LJ not so much.
                  Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is a goddess

                  Rest in Peace, themaninblack

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                  • #10
                    I never thought I'd see this, but I went to give EF 45 some rep, and I got the window that said I needed to spread some reputation around before giving some to him again. What is the world coming to, haha...
                    Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is a goddess

                    Rest in Peace, themaninblack

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by eaglesalltheway View Post
                      I never thought I'd see this, but I went to give EF 45 some rep, and I got the window that said I needed to spread some reputation around before giving some to him again. What is the world coming to, haha...
                      Oh no, that happens a lot, but it's typically because I've just -rep'd him. ;)

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by TheGreatEscape View Post
                        Oh no, that happens a lot, but it's typically because I've just -rep'd him. ;)
                        Same for me, but I was referring to a positive manner, haha.
                        Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is a goddess

                        Rest in Peace, themaninblack

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          I t still won't let me give him rep, and I've spread it out a lot lately.
                          Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is a goddess

                          Rest in Peace, themaninblack

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                          • #14
                            The Eagles still require a beastly WR and TE to have the perfect offense. Or at least ones with great hands, and can get open by running routes.

                            I don't think Eagles have the Slot WR, even though Desean Jackson might seem to be perfect fit, I have yet to seem him preform in a game or catch a ball at NFL level. He is training with Rice so maybe it can happen

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by bhaarat316 View Post
                              The Eagles still require a beastly WR and TE to have the perfect offense. Or at least ones with great hands, and can get open by running routes.

                              I don't think Eagles have the Slot WR, even though Desean Jackson might seem to be perfect fit, I have yet to seem him preform in a game or catch a ball at NFL level. He is training with Rice so maybe it can happen
                              Agreed, though Jackson is showing promise, there are no gaurantees at this point. What we need is a good TE and a good #1 WR for this offense to be deadly.
                              Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir is a goddess

                              Rest in Peace, themaninblack

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