Monday, December 31, 2012

Pistol Offense For Dummies

Not that you (or I) are dumb to football. We know plenty, despite what the "experts" on TV and on the sidelines constantly want us to think.

I just thought this article did a great job of explaining the X's and O's of this devastating pistol-based scheme the Redskins are running this year with Robert Griffin III. (Or, "Bob3" my new fave alt-nickname).

Sort of like all those "_____ for Dummies" books out there.

Here's the key quote from Greg Schiano, who went from asshole-who-bullrushes-kneeldowns, to darling-college-newbie-with-exciting-team, to moron-who-might-be-in-over-his-head in the span of just one season.

“As I’ve tried to explain to people, whenever the guy who takes the snap is a threat to run, it changes all the math of defenses,” Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano said last March [source]. “That’s really what defense is, it’s getting your troops to where the ball is going to be. And when that guy holding it is a threat to run, it changes the numbers – minus-one.”

And oh boy is he right.

The Redskins offense has been scarily un-stoppable at times this year. And it's been hilarious giddy fun to watch opposing defense just freak-the-fuck-out trying to outwit the concept.

The Redskins were #1 in total rushing. They were first in rushes that gained 4+ yards, with 51.2% of the team's rushes going for at least four yards. Not only did this offense and Bob3 face a seemingly endless horizon of simple 2nd and 5's and 3rd and 2's, but the 20-yard square-in or slant off pistol play-action, was absolutely unstoppable.

In fact, it was so easy most of the year, it was a joke. A lark. It was GREAT. Let me emphasize that, so nobody misunderstands me.


But when I said on the air about 3 weeks ago that this offense was - and you need to take my words precisely here "a little bit of a scam" - I only meant to say that it would be foolish to expect this level of production to continue unabated going forward.

Scams are a good thing, when you are the one pulling it off. 

This article posits that a revolution is underway. Others have said: "this is the new NFL, get used to it."

Ohhhkay. But I've been around the NFL for a few of these "revolutions" and they all have one thing in common: eventually, they run out of steam.

The NFL is a passing league, and shall remain a passing league. QB protection in the pocket, along with strict new rules on defenders tilt the advantage to the slinger even more. And YES, the pistol scheme can produce great passing numbers. But go back to what Schiano said: it's all predicated on a running QB.

And QB's who run in this league, get beaten down. Period. It's just a matter of time and reps.

So my take on the pistol is that it is more like a gold rush, than a revolution. And right now, Kyle and Mike have secured a very lucrative parcel and are just hauling gold out fistfuls at a time.

But like a real gold rush, competing interests affect the landscape and trade. And eventually, the easy finds get snatched up.

This league will adjust. It always does. There are only so many Bob3's or Colin Kaepernick's. But there are endless numbers of maniacs on the other side of the ball ready to kill them.

I know: the pocket is not safe. No. Not by any measure. But I still say it's still much safer than running this scheme as 50% of your offense or more, week over week, year over year.

It's a blast now. So let's ride it.

But we won't be able to see who was more right, until the 2014 season is over. If there are multiple teams using pistol-zone-read as their "base" offense, with very fast running QB's racking up 700+ yards of rushing per year - then I'll kneel on the altar of "you told me so."

If not, then it was fun while it lasted.


  1. Czabe, it's so funny watching you pour cold water over your skins all season in the name of "being right" when you've been so hilariously wrong. Are you still the only guy on the island saying RGIII wasn't worth the picks? Is it your hate for Snyder and the Shanahans that has sucked all the joy out of your fandom?

    You just keep doubling down your bet on the don't pass line. I guess eventually you might be right, jackass.

  2. You're the jackass, Joe. Did you even read the post?

    "In fact, it was so easy most of the year, it was a joke. A lark. It was GREAT. Let me emphasize that, so nobody misunderstands me.


    Yet it all still goes way over your head. Czabe can be a fan of his team and acknowledge that they were great to watch most of the year, while keeping the perspective that their current scheme has yet to prove its long term sustainability.

  3. Oh, I read it...with the perspective of someone that listens to Czabe two times a day most days. Of course he acknowledges the read option/pistol is great. WTF else can you say at this point? They just won the division with it...average almost 28 points...led league in rushing. NO SHIT it's great. Congrats czabe for finally agreeing that the sky is blue.

    What the hell was the point of czabe pointing out the blatantly obvious? It's because he's said all season that it can't keep working. That skins should start going to a more conventional offense...he was saying this around week 6. He was saying that he still wouldn't make the RGIII trade. And now he's saying, yeah, it's an awesome offense and more teams are using it now but...some day it will get figured out.

    I'm sorry but the man has become retarded when it comes the Redskins. Plain and simple.

  4. If he's "retarded" and "pointing out the blatantly obvious," then why do you bother listening to him two times a day?

    Fans get pissed when one of their local guys isn't a full time cheerleader for the home team. As a non-Skins fan, I think Czabe is fair with his critiques of the franchise. He's been critical when deserved, but I've heard him sing their praises when it warrants. Lets not kid ourselves though, in the Snyder era, it's been a hell of a lot more of the former than the latter. As the old saying goes, don't shoot the messenger.

    The underlying point still remains: running this sort of offense is much more likely to shorten the career of a QB than it is to yield Super Bowl titles, at least in the eyes of many of us. If that comes to be proven false, then we'll dutifully show up to hear all the "told ya so's." I'm sure Czabe would be more than happy to endure as much if that means he gets to see his Redskins hoist the Lombardi.

  5. Gee, I didn't realize that I had to be in 100% agreement with Czabe to listen to him. Maybe I find his show entertaining without being lockstep with him. What a novel concept.

    Also, I don't really give a ratsass what you think is a "fair" critique the redskins or your opinion of the pistol for that matter. You don't have your own radio show, do you?

  6. Or perhaps you're just one of these disgruntled individuals who isn't happy unless you've got something to bitch about.

    No, I do not have my own radio show, I was merely agreeing with the opinion of Czabe. What exactly does that have to do with the price of eggs in Thailand?

    Come back and see us when the Skins are SB champs...or better yet, rub all of our noses in it on YOUR radio show. Since you're so damn smart, I'm sure that national syndicates are already tripping over themselves to put you on the air.