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Students of the Game


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#1 hondo in seattle

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 08:08 PM

One thing I like about Jon Gruden  is that he’s a football junkie.  He says that last year he seriously considered being Oregon’s OC just for the opportunity to learn Chip Kelly’s uptempo spread offense.  He also, by the way, studied what Marrone was doing in Syracuse.  Gruden loves analyzing game tape and discussing new ideas with the best football innovators out there.

Gailey and Wannstedt are cast from a different mold.  Both seemed to just do what they’ve always done in the past.  Their attitude seemed to be, “It worked before so why try something different?”  Chan was smart enough to tweak some of his outdated ideas enough to create a modicum of success on the offensive side of the ball.  Wannstedt, not as bright as Chan, just stubbornly stuck to what he knew and failed miserably on the defensive side.

In contrast, the new coaches are true students of the game.  From all that I’ve been reading, Marrone, Pettine and Hackett are football geeks like Gruden.  They know where various schemes originated and how they evolved over the years.  When they hear about a coach getting success with something new, they’ll study game tape to see what they can learn and borrow.  Hackett calls it getting your “Ph.D in football.”

When Marrone was first hired, he said he wanted coaches who lived and breathed football.  I think football geekdom was part of what he was talking about.  He wanted guys who obsessively study film and pick the brains of the best coaches out there.

Mike Pettine, our new DC, is one of those guys.  According to accounts, Pettine is always scouting other defenses for new tactics to confuse and stymy offensive coordinators and quarterbacks.  Pettine’s defenses at New York were a varied – and mostly successful - smorgasboard of borrowed schemes.

Even Pat Morris, our new Offensive Line Coach, spent this past season with Gruden and his “Fired Football Coaches of America” breaking down game film and learning new concepts.

Marrone seems to be putting together a group of thinkers and experimenters.  While this won’t necessarily equate to success, I’m getting excited to see what the new Buffalo Bills look like on the field.

#2 NoSaint

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 10:57 PM

You do realize chan was using the pistol in kc which is considered ground breaking this year, and that his spread offense in buffalo isn't a traditional old football guy offense.... Right?

He failed, but his schemes were far from outdated. Heck he was in charge of "slash" coming into the nfl, which might not have been successful but it certainly wasn't "refusing to try something new"

If anything his problem was thinking he could create schemes to overcome a lack of talent instead of building talent that could succeed lined up in traditional schemes.

Edited by NoSaint, 25 January 2013 - 11:02 PM.


#3 benderbender

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 12:01 AM

What was ground breaking was that Gailey tried the pistol with an inaccurate and slow QB.

#4 hondo in seattle

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 01:26 PM

View PostNoSaint, on 25 January 2013 - 10:57 PM, said:

You do realize chan was using the pistol in kc which is considered ground breaking this year, and that his spread offense in buffalo isn't a traditional old football guy offense.... Right?

He failed, but his schemes were far from outdated. Heck he was in charge of "slash" coming into the nfl, which might not have been successful but it certainly wasn't "refusing to try something new"

If anything his problem was thinking he could create schemes to overcome a lack of talent instead of building talent that could succeed lined up in traditional schemes.

The pistol is ground-breaking?  It's been around for about ten years now.  But it's really just a tweak on the shotgun - which has been around since the 1930s - with the QB a couple steps further up.

Chan also liked to use the spread offense.  So does Chip Kelly.  The spread has also been around since the 1930's.  Hardly ground-breaking,  Chip Kelly's spread is different because he mixes in other elements and does it uptempo.  Chan's spread isn't unique - or uniquely successful.

But the bigger point is that Marrone and his coaches are a bunch of football geeks, in the mold of Jon Gruden.