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Air Coryell vs. West Coast Offense


BlueShoe

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The Air Coryell system shares some traits with the West Coast offense. However, they are different philosophies.  

 

What The Air Coryell Offense and the West Coast Offense have in common:

 

Both are pass first offenses and employ the short passing game as running plays. Short passes to running backs, tight ends, and wide receivers (bubble screens) are designed to run wide of the traffic, instead of directly at the core of the defense. The passing game is used early to establish a lead, and routes are designed to vacate zones, by isolation and also via natural picks. Once the lead is established then a heavy running game is applied to utilize clock. The quarterback will throw in timing to spots on the field instead of waiting for a receiver to break off his route. Due to the importance of the passing game, every back and tight end on the field must possess outstanding receiving skills. Due to the importance of pass protection, offensive linemen are less road grading and more athletic. 

 

The Air Coryell Offense:

 

The entire philosophy is designed to attack the defense deep with long and time consuming route running. Long pass attempts north and south to dictate the safety’s to play deep and end the drive on one fiery play. Quarterbacks will often take 5-7 step drops and hold onto the ball while receivers clear on long north and south routes. This decreases the quarterback’s completion rate due to the volume of contested passes and possible turnovers. Offensive linemen are forced to hold onto blocks for extended periods of time so the play can develop downfield. The offense uses motion to isolate mismatches and confuse the defense with the objective of matching speed players against slower players. The offense is designed to dictate what the defense will give, attempting to strike fear of going for it all on every play. 

 


The West Coast Offense:

 

The entire philosophy is designed to attack east and west instead of north and south. Quarterbacks will often take quick 3 steps drops to get the ball out quickly. Throws will come out quickly so the linemen need to make quality blocks, but will not be forced to stay on the blocks. Routes are designed to run within 10-15 yards from the line of scrimmage, utilizing 50 yards from east to west. Running backs will be available for check down passes creating a higher quarterback completion rate. This allows a few yards to be gained instead of a throw away or forced throw into tight coverage on well defended plays. The offense is designed to take what the defense gives, whether it be 3 yards or 15 yards. 

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Excellent analysis man. I hope we use the West coast. It keeps our defense rested and tires out opponents. A west coast scheme ran with the hurry up would allow the offense to dictate the tempo and remain in control. Excited to see How Chudzinski runs the offense

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Interesting the West Coast Offense's name is a bit of a misnomer. It was actually originally a description of the 1993 Dallas offense by Bernie Kosar published in SI that was later misquoted in descriptions of Walsh's offense in SF and it stuck. Funny as Bernie was talking about a system that was based on the Air Coryell and was referring to SD when he said West Coast. Walsh himself hated the description. 

 

As the OP states though they share a lot in common and you say the "West Coast" was the logical evolution of the Air Coryell offense, maintaining the ideas of stretching a D by using the whole field and precision timing on routes with the added bonus of speeding up release. 

 

It's a shame it's got a bit of an unfair rep as being a safe and boring O to run with no explosive chunk plays as that's not the case at all. 

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Both offenses rely on a power running game. Chuck Muncie, John Riggins, Marshall Faulk, Emmet Smith, etc etc...We showed signs of being a good running team Monday night against a very good Carolina defense. I expect that Chud will commit to running the football.

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