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One guy's first look at the Syracuse offense


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#1 Simon

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:17 PM

Not being a native NY’er I haven’t watched Syracuse since I used to occasionally tune in late in a tight game to see D McNabb puking on his shoes in the huddle. Well, I had some time today so I went ahead and looked at some film (errrr, sorry Samara) video of the Cuse offense. No detail or specifics will follow from just watching a handful of games, but here’s some vague observations for folks who maybe haven’t had a chance to take a look.
Disclaimer: I know nothing about Marrone or Hackett and as a result have virtually no feelings, positive or negative, about the hires. As such, I’m trying to look at this from a neutral standpoint with a completely open mind. I’m not trying to promote anybody or tear ‘em down, just give a general impression of what I saw.

> This a fairly diversified offense that attacks all parts of the field
> It’s very well-coached, very well executed and very, very crisp
> They don’t seem to make a lot of effort to go uptempo but when the ball is snapped it moves fast.
> It doesn’t rely on hardly any pre-snap motion to provide reads or create confusion for either unit.
> It also doesn’t rely on bigger or faster personal to constantly win one-on-one matchups; I don’t know much about the skill level of the Syracuse personnel but they’re not bigger or faster than their opponents and scheme and execution are its primary assets.
> I thought the use of route combinations were extremely well-considered and really effective
> They like to use bunch formations as they approach the red zone and were very successful in creating significant confusion among opposing secondaries.
> I’d like to have seen more of the 2 minute drill in the games I watched, but what I did see was very well-controlled and efficient with no hint of panic anywhere.
> Use of the TE was very limited; sitting in underneath zones for quick hitters was about the extent of it.
> A lot of shotgun, typically with a back as a sidecar
> They never, ever used empty sets; regardless of down/distance there was always a back on the field; usually to provide protection but occasionally they would flare him out or curl him in to good effect.
> There were some protection issues but they never seemed to feel the need to go maxprotect; this is likely because the offense is designed to get the ball out very quickly, and it nearly always does.
> There is virtually no screen game to speak of but it could be a result of an OLine that isn’t overly skilled or athletic
> It appears to need operating room as there were some struggles inside the 10 when space became limited

Will this translate well to the NFL? We’ll know a lot more in about 8 months but I was impressed with what I saw and feel more positive about both of these hires than I did before today.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I also jotted down some initial impression of Ryan Nassib since I had never seen him play. Again, not trying to promote or demote, just relaying what caught my eye.
> He seems like an excellent decision maker. He gets the ball out really quick (and I mean really) and almost always makes the right read. Occasionally on 3rd/longer he tries to force it into places it doesn’t belong when he’s trying to make the sticks, but for  the most part he puts it where it’s supposed to be, when it’s supposed to get there.
> When it’s necessary his pocket presence is solid and he moves around well inside the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield where they belong
> He doesn’t seemto have any glaring accuracy issues and is absolutely deadly inside 15-20 yards. When he tries to take a little off the ball, his accuracy sometimes suffers and his touch could be better. But he is money on the midrange stuff, from either hash to either sideline.
> He seems to do a decent job protecting the ball, but can get himself in trouble when he’s trying to make plays on the move. His ball security is good and his ball handling is very good.
> He’s got a really live arm and his throws have a lot of zip on him. He doesn’t push it downfield like an Elway or Vick but you get the sense he could if he wanted to. His release is lightning quick and he puts a serious spin on it. He might not throw it out of the stadium but between the great release and the zip, he can throw the 25 yard out before good DB’s can get under it.
> He will take sacks, but not necessarily bad ones. He doesn’t walk into them and will occasionally eat the ball if he doesn’t like what he sees.
> He will never be a mobile QB and is not a natural athlete. While he can move well enough in the pocket, he doesn’t have great feet and is never going to pick up yards on the ground in the pro game.
> His sound decision making is a result of great anticipation and he’s very good at hitting guys right out of their breaks. If you’re a WR, you better get your head around early or you’ll get earholed.
> Got the distinct impression that he does not like to be hit. Maybe it’s just a well-developed and intelligent sense of self-preservation, but he avoids contact when possible and when he does get hit, he doesn’t enjoy the experience.
> He will move defenders around with his eyes to create opportunities on a given play
> Seems to be in full control of his offense at all times and understands what he wants to do and does it without hesitation.

Is he a #8 pick? I don’t know, that’s for somebody else who’s watched a lot more than I have to decide. My guess is that he will not be available with our second pick; I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw and would have no problem seeing him in a Bills uniform.

#2 Magox

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:23 PM

Thanks for the post.   I also happen to believe that he will climb up the draft boards quicker than what most people think.

#3 cwchze

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:28 PM

Excellent  unbiased analysis. The bills have a lot of weapons that were underutilized as we all know.
My brother has been touting nassib all year saying he has an NFL arm and presence about him. Infollwed a couple
Of games and was impressed with his accuracy and quick release.....

Definitlely can see him becoming our future qb....I will be watching his workouts...not sold on any other qb..
Geno is horrible...glennonnmakes bad decisions(but has an nfl arm)..like the kid out of arkansas....
Barkely no way..

#4 TPS

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:41 PM

Nice to hear the bit about no empty backfields, I hate it.  I'm sure there had to be some deep balls?  His accuracy there?

#5 Magox

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:43 PM

View PostTPS, on 09 January 2013 - 07:41 PM, said:

Nice to hear the bit about no empty backfields, I hate it.  I'm sure there had to be some deep balls?  His accuracy there?

Those empty backfields on third and short situations drove me nuts.  Why in the world would you want to eliminate the threat of the running option?  Defenses knew exactly what you were gonna be doing, which was passing.  :wallbash:

#6 Simon

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:44 PM

View PostTPS, on 09 January 2013 - 07:41 PM, said:

Nice to hear the bit about no empty backfields, I hate it.  I'm sure there had to be some deep balls?  His accuracy there?
They didn't seem to try to get over the top a lot. I'm not convinced they trusted their OLine to protect deeper drops.
The few times he did go up top, he seemed like he wanted to feather it in there with a lot of touch and I thought his accuracy suffered for it.

#7 Graybeard

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:45 PM

Thank you for this.  A pretty impressive analysis for something that you said was done quickly.  I have casually watched a few Syracuse games over the past few years and I can tell that there was a huge difference with Marrone and Nassib compared to the earlier group.  I never understood the point of having Paulus be a starting quarterback with only one year of eligibility.  I don't know if you noticed or mentioned that the Syracuse receivers drop a lot of good passes.  College receivers are definately a weakness in the game compared to the pros, and in Syracuse it was pretty obvious that they weren't very reliable.

#8 34-78-83

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:46 PM

Simon , not sure which games you were able to see but did you know that by about 3 to 4 games into the season SU was running the K-Gun?

Thanks for the observations brother!

I'm intrigued by what Nassib can do.... Hopefully they have a chance to jump into the later 1st and get him.

#9 PaattMaann

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 07:50 PM

ive watched a lot of cuse....most is pretty spot on, but a good overall quick glimpse.....


- SU did utilize a LOT of screen passes over the past couple of seasons, and had very good success with this

- they do run the ball and do run it out of power I and other two TE sets

- they have a good 'up tempo' pace when they want to (and not just limited to two minute drills)

#10 TPS

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:05 PM

View PostMagox, on 09 January 2013 - 07:43 PM, said:



Those empty backfields on third and short situations drove me nuts.  Why in the world would you want to eliminate the threat of the running option?  Defenses knew exactly what you were gonna be doing, which was passing.  :wallbash:
I completely agree with you!

#11 Simon

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:09 PM

View PostGraybeard, on 09 January 2013 - 07:45 PM, said:

I don't know if you noticed or mentioned that the Syracuse receivers drop a lot of good passes.  College receivers are definately a weakness in the game compared to the pros, and in Syracuse it was pretty obvious that they weren't very reliable.
I am in full agreement that his receivers didn't give him a lot of help. Or his OLine for that matter. If they made hay it was because he was sticking wide-outs, not them making plays for him.

View Post34-78-83, on 09 January 2013 - 07:46 PM, said:

Simon , not sure which games you were able to see but did you know that by about 3 to 4 games into the season SU was running the K-Gun?


I watched a couple from each of the last two years but didn't pick up on the K-Gun. Probably because I didn't see an #84 out there running around causing trouble.
Also, I glossed over the ground game because I really wanted to focus on the passing attack and Nassib; if I had seen them killing people with counters over and over again, that might have turned the light bulb on.
Although thinking back on it, they were running a TON of 3 wide/1 back sets that do conjure up some grainy images in my fading attic. :D

#12 swnybillsfan

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 08:40 PM

your scouting report has me even more excited about coach marrone and hus ability to run a team, his attention to detail. also, the observation of nassib makes me feel good about the prospect of him suiting up in a bills uniform this year.

#13 Max Fischer

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:10 PM

At this point, if Marrone/Hacket feel strong enough to take Nassib at #8, I won't have a problem.

#14 BRAWNDO

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:11 PM

View PostSimon, on 09 January 2013 - 07:17 PM, said:

Not being a native NY’er I haven’t watched Syracuse since I used to occasionally tune in late in a tight game to see D McNabb puking on his shoes in the huddle. Well, I had some time today so I went ahead and looked at some film (errrr, sorry Samara) video of the Cuse offense. No detail or specifics will follow from just watching a handful of games, but here’s some vague observations for folks who maybe haven’t had a chance to take a look.
Disclaimer: I know nothing about Marrone or Hackett and as a result have virtually no feelings, positive or negative, about the hires. As such, I’m trying to look at this from a neutral standpoint with a completely open mind. I’m not trying to promote anybody or tear ‘em down, just give a general impression of what I saw.

> This a fairly diversified offense that attacks all parts of the field
> It’s very well-coached, very well executed and very, very crisp
> They don’t seem to make a lot of effort to go uptempo but when the ball is snapped it moves fast.
> It doesn’t rely on hardly any pre-snap motion to provide reads or create confusion for either unit.
> It also doesn’t rely on bigger or faster personal to constantly win one-on-one matchups; I don’t know much about the skill level of the Syracuse personnel but they’re not bigger or faster than their opponents and scheme and execution are its primary assets.
> I thought the use of route combinations were extremely well-considered and really effective
> They like to use bunch formations as they approach the red zone and were very successful in creating significant confusion among opposing secondaries.
> I’d like to have seen more of the 2 minute drill in the games I watched, but what I did see was very well-controlled and efficient with no hint of panic anywhere.
> Use of the TE was very limited; sitting in underneath zones for quick hitters was about the extent of it.
> A lot of shotgun, typically with a back as a sidecar
> They never, ever used empty sets; regardless of down/distance there was always a back on the field; usually to provide protection but occasionally they would flare him out or curl him in to good effect.
> There were some protection issues but they never seemed to feel the need to go maxprotect; this is likely because the offense is designed to get the ball out very quickly, and it nearly always does.
> There is virtually no screen game to speak of but it could be a result of an OLine that isn’t overly skilled or athletic
> It appears to need operating room as there were some struggles inside the 10 when space became limited

Will this translate well to the NFL? We’ll know a lot more in about 8 months but I was impressed with what I saw and feel more positive about both of these hires than I did before today.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I also jotted down some initial impression of Ryan Nassib since I had never seen him play. Again, not trying to promote or demote, just relaying what caught my eye.
> He seems like an excellent decision maker. He gets the ball out really quick (and I mean really) and almost always makes the right read. Occasionally on 3rd/longer he tries to force it into places it doesn’t belong when he’s trying to make the sticks, but for  the most part he puts it where it’s supposed to be, when it’s supposed to get there.
> When it’s necessary his pocket presence is solid and he moves around well inside the pocket and keeps his eyes downfield where they belong
> He doesn’t seemto have any glaring accuracy issues and is absolutely deadly inside 15-20 yards. When he tries to take a little off the ball, his accuracy sometimes suffers and his touch could be better. But he is money on the midrange stuff, from either hash to either sideline.
> He seems to do a decent job protecting the ball, but can get himself in trouble when he’s trying to make plays on the move. His ball security is good and his ball handling is very good.
> He’s got a really live arm and his throws have a lot of zip on him. He doesn’t push it downfield like an Elway or Vick but you get the sense he could if he wanted to. His release is lightning quick and he puts a serious spin on it. He might not throw it out of the stadium but between the great release and the zip, he can throw the 25 yard out before good DB’s can get under it.
> He will take sacks, but not necessarily bad ones. He doesn’t walk into them and will occasionally eat the ball if he doesn’t like what he sees.
> He will never be a mobile QB and is not a natural athlete. While he can move well enough in the pocket, he doesn’t have great feet and is never going to pick up yards on the ground in the pro game.
> His sound decision making is a result of great anticipation and he’s very good at hitting guys right out of their breaks. If you’re a WR, you better get your head around early or you’ll get earholed.
> Got the distinct impression that he does not like to be hit. Maybe it’s just a well-developed and intelligent sense of self-preservation, but he avoids contact when possible and when he does get hit, he doesn’t enjoy the experience.
> He will move defenders around with his eyes to create opportunities on a given play
> Seems to be in full control of his offense at all times and understands what he wants to do and does it without hesitation.

Is he a #8 pick? I don’t know, that’s for somebody else who’s watched a lot more than I have to decide. My guess is that he will not be available with our second pick; I was pleasantly surprised with what I saw and would have no problem seeing him in a Bills uniform.

Great stuff.  Tannehill probably was not worth the eighth last year, but if you want your guy, you have to go get him when you can.

#15 34-78-83

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:12 PM

View PostSimon, on 09 January 2013 - 08:09 PM, said:

I am in full agreement that his receivers didn't give him a lot of help. Or his OLine for that matter. If they made hay it was because he was sticking wide-outs, not them making plays for him.



I watched a couple from each of the last two years but didn't pick up on the K-Gun. Probably because I didn't see an #84 out there running around causing trouble.
Also, I glossed over the ground game because I really wanted to focus on the passing attack and Nassib; if I had seen them killing people with counters over and over again, that might have turned the light bulb on.
Although thinking back on it, they were running a TON of 3 wide/1 back sets that do conjure up some grainy images in my fading attic. :D

How 'bout Eifert from ND for the McKeller position with our 8th pick? :)

#16 San Jose Bills Fan

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:33 PM

I had a few thoughts while watching the Syracuse-USC video that one of our posters put up last week.

I was impressed with Nassib in the Southern Cal game. I was in a distinct minority.

The talent difference was huge, he typically had very little time to throw and the windows were small and closed fast. As the game wore on you could see that he adjusted to the speed of the USC defense and under the circumstances, I thought he played well. Again most of the posters here thought he sucked in that game so take it FWIW which is probably not much.

His release is lightning quick as was Trent Edwards'. That's because they have the same delivery.

Neither guy winds up very much but rather throws the football like a dart, generating the power in the second half of the throwing motion.

Nassib has a stronger arm than Trent, however. Same lightning release and throwing motion though.

#17 Kelly the Dog

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 09:59 PM

Thanks, Simon. Good stuff.

Nassib creates a problem because of his talent level, and the Bills needs. Under normal circumstances, #8 overall is too high and he will be gone before the second round pick in all likelihood. You can't really risk trading down or trading up from the second to get him because we won't know what other teams think of him and a lot of teams needs QBs.

The only solution I can think of is to take him at #8 if Marrone and Hackett are willing to bet their jobs on him, and maybe fill an extra hole in free agency by spending a little more money than you planned on for one extra starter (like perhaps a WR and a LB or a LB and a CB) as well as making sure you re-sign Byrd and Levitre.

#18 NoSaint

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:05 PM

View PostBRAWNDO, on 09 January 2013 - 09:11 PM, said:



Great stuff.  Tannehill probably was not worth the eighth last year, but if you want your guy, you have to go get him when you can.

Truly that's the closest comparison at this point isn't it? A guy that possibly wouldn't be a terrific first rounder elsewhere but with his own staff along the transition becomes much smoother.

#19 WickedGame

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:43 PM

I'm not trying to sound like a harbinger of doom here, but the analysis sounds eerily similar to Chan and Fitz:

> When the ball is snapped, it moves fast: That's was one of Fitz's strengths (i.e., quick decisions, quick throws)
> Doesn't rely on bigger, faster personnel: Sounds like our offense of the last three years -- waterbugs and WRs who weren't physically imposing
> Bunch formations: Used pretty extensively by Chan in years 1 and 2, less so in year 3
> Limited use of the TE: Classic Chan Gailey
> A lot of shotgun: Yep. Hey, at least Marrone keeps a back in there...
> Get the ball out fast to compensate for protection issues: Typical Fitz/Chan offense. It wasn't until this year that our O-Line came together and Fitz didn't have to compensate for their weakness
> Struggles inside the red zone: Yeah.


Obviously the key differences are no empty sets, well executed, and well coached. Heck, even Chan's game plan could have been effective if it were well executed and well coached.

The Nassib-Fitz comparisons scare me a little, too:

> Gets the ball out really quick: That was Fitz's M.O.
> Tries to force it into places it doesn't belong: Another Fitz trait.
> Accurate on 15-20 yard passes: Sound familiar? Although, Fitz was more of a 10-15 guy (which was better than Two Yard Trent...)
> Throws with a lot of zip; doesn't push it downfield: Fitz fired bullets on short passes, couldn't throw the long ball to save his life.

Now, I'm not saying they're EXACTLY alike, but there are some definite similarities. In fact, even before I read the OP's analysis, I had watched a few S.U. game reels and felt Nassib looked a lot like Fitz in a lot of cases. Not always, but enough to make me wonder how much of an upgrade he'd really be.

All that being said, I think Marrone's offense will be better than Chan's, not because it's more innovative or cutting edge, but because it's more balanced, better executed, and better coached. He needs a good QB, but unlike Chan, he'll lean on other talented players rather than being sunk by an average or below average QB.

Edited by WickedGame, 09 January 2013 - 10:43 PM.


#20 BRAWNDO

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Posted 09 January 2013 - 10:45 PM

View PostNoSaint, on 09 January 2013 - 10:05 PM, said:

Truly that's the closest comparison at this point isn't it? A guy that possibly wouldn't be a terrific first rounder elsewhere but with his own staff along the transition becomes much smoother.

Knowing Nassib's strengths and weaknesses puts the Bills in the best position to make the decision on him.  He would be in the unique situation that he knows Hackett's Offensive inside and out.  It would allow him to take a leadership role as he could be instrumental in teaching the offense to veterans.  Also his learning curve jumping from college to the NFL would be easier as he knows the offense already.  This would allow him to concentrate on learning to read NFL Defenses.

Brad Riter has a great take on the situation.  http://www.trendingb...in-first-round/