knownone wrote:Why do so many people get enamored with these outside zone / misdirection based offenses?
Here's the thing, Seattle built their O-line with maulers who can beat guys one on one. The 49ers built their O-line with athletic guys who can move in space and block as a unit. If Seattle tried to run those same plays, we'd see a lot more guys running free in the back field because guys like DJ Fluker can't block in space.
The upside to Seattle's philosophy is they can pretty much find success running the ball against anyone, and they tend to get more effective as the game goes on. This opens up the deep passing game and is one of the #1 reasons why they are among the lead leaders in explosive plays.
Shanahan's offense relies on confusing the defense in the running game and using play-action / misdirection off the run to get receivers space to run after the catch. The problem with his offense is when defenses stop the run and contain the screen passes, 90% of their playbook goes out the window.
That's not really the criticism. It's running from the same look/formation to the same spot(up the middle usually) even if it isn't working. They did it over and over vs Greenbay and the Packers looked liked they knew exactly how to defend it and knew exactly what was coming. You can still use variety in the run game with a bigger slower oline, instead of running the same play from the same formation, up the middle for no gain, repeatedly
The problem with games like GB, is that they tell us absolutely nothing about the effectiveness of the Hawks strategy. They ran the ball 15 times total in that game: 7 times to the right, 5 times up the middle and 3 times to the left. Yeah, they weren't effective and it looked predictable, but could that have anything to do with the guys in the backfield?
That's why I don't think this criticism holds up when you look at the season as a whole. Looking at their stats with Carson and Penny healthy will give you a pretty good indicator of how effective they are, and why they are so predictable with directional running.
They averaged 4.1 YPC up the middle, 5.0 YPC between the RG and C, 6.1 YPC between the RG and RT, and 5.6 YPC off tackle. That's where 63% of their rushing attempts went during the season. So if you came away from that GB game wondering why Seattle started their second series with 3 straight runs to the right side, there is your answer. They expected Marshawn to have a similar level of success as Penny and Carson against a weaker Packers run defense.
The whole point of the Hawks system is to make you think they are going to run it to the same spot. They want linebackers and safeties to bite on play fakes so that they can take shots deep down the field or exploit the seams with their tight end. In a similar sense, the whole point of Shanahan's system is to be as predictable as possible with their formation and pre-snap motioning, so that defenses can't anticipate what's about to happen.
What's weird to me is that Seattle's offense is better than the Niners in almost every meaningful metric. Yet here we are with people clamoring for more change. Think about it, if you swapped the Niners defense with our defense would the division have been competitive? probably not. The Niners offense probably falls to the middle of the pack and they'd struggle to win 8 games.