The history of the West Coast offense

Now that Mike Holmgren has his own man in Cleveland with Pat Shurmer, Browns fans are learning more about an offense that has its roots with Paul Brown and the Browns back in their glory days.

Tony Grossi traces the history of the offense in today’s Plain Dealer, starting with Paul Brown, then to Bill Walsh who joined him in Cincinnati and then on to Holmgren and other like Andy Reid. The “West Coast” nickname was originally coined by Bill Parcels.

It’s a great read for anyone who appreciates football schemes and how they evolve through the years. The bottom line for Browns fans is they have a quarterback in Colt McCoy who has the potential to flourish in this system. That said, the West Coast offense relies heavily on timing, so expect some growing pains as the Browns try to install a new system in a year without any off-season prep. I suspect the Browns and other teams installing new systems with play their starters much more in the pre-season.

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Dolphins completely blow final series in loss to Colts

I’ll get to the greatness of Peyton Manning in a second, but first I’d like to know what the hell the Dolphins were thinking on the final series of their 27-23 loss to the Colts on Monday night.

For three and a half quarters, Miami’s game plan was executed to perfection. They ran the ball well, grinded out the clock and kept Manning and the Colts’ potent offense on the sidelines.

But once Manning led Indy on one of his vintage drives late in the fourth quarter to put the Colts up 27-23, Tony Sparano and his coaching staff didn’t make any adjustments. The Dolphins played their final offensive series like it was their first drive of the game. They ran the ball, they wasted time by not getting to the line of scrimmage quickly and on least two occasions, they called play action passes.

Now why, in the name of all that is holy, would you run play action in an obvious passing situation? Did offensive coordinator Dan Henning think that he would get the Colts’ safeties to bite on the run with 36 seconds left and Miami needing a touchdown to win? It’s wasted time for Pennington to mimic a handoff to his running back when he could have used it to find open receivers. He should have been in the shotgun or at the very least in a five or seven step drop so he could survey the entire field. Play action doesn’t do Pennington any favors in that situation.

And I’m sorry, but if Ted Ginn Jr. wants to be a No. 1 receiver in this league, then he’s got to come down with that pass in the end zone on 3rd and 10. It wasn’t an easy catch by any means, but he out jumped the defender and Pennington put the ball in only a place where Ginn could get it. I know he had a good night (11 catches, 108 yards), but Ginn has to come down with that ball and give his team a chance to win.

I don’t have the numbers, but I’ve never seen a team win in the NFL by only running 35 total plays like the Colts did tonight. For the Dolphins to execute their game plan for 58 minutes and lose in such a way at the end should piss Sparano off. And if it doesn’t, then maybe Bill Parcells made the wrong choice for head coach a year ago.

As for Manning – he’s a freaking machine. The way he read what Miami was trying to do on that 48-yard touchdown pass to Pierre Garcon was pure Peyton. I love watching Tom Brady play in a tight ball game, but I don’t think any quarterback is smarter than who the Colts employ under center every week.

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