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49ers Offense -- The Pistol portion -- Explained by Chris Ault on NFLN

Originally posted by Joecool:
Also, what's up with Kaep faking the handoff to the right when the RB goes to the left? Why even fake? Is Kaep doing it wrong?
I'm pretty sure sure Gore is making a mistake. Gore has never run this type of offense.
Originally posted by Joecool:
Originally posted by johnnyredneat:
Originally posted by Joecool:
Mangini and and Mike from Mike and Mike provided an interesting way to stop it. You know how a few times the DE was standing there staring at Kaep after the handoff? Well, Mangini said you don't have the DE make a read. You have him go full speed at the QB and hit him as hard as you can and completely ignore the hand-off to the RB.

You do that a few times and that QB's head coach will call it less in order to not put his QB in a position to get injured.

Mangini is right, that is a free hit on the QB and it would be legal considering the threat of the QB running.

What Mangini is talking about is called a scrape-exchange - the DE automatically takes the QB option every time, while the playside OLB takes the dive man every time. (Obviously if the DE can get a free hit on the QB after the mesh, it's a bonus.) It's one of the oldest ways to stop the option.

The counter is obvious though: make someone other than the DE the read for the option. I.e., on an option left, Staley would actually kick-out block the DE, Iupati would turn loose the DT and take on the OLB directly. Kaep would read the free DT to determine whether to give the ball or keep it.

Usually the most tried-and-true way to stop the option , regardless of the defensive scheme, was just make the QB keep it and hit him hard when he runs. Most teams won't run their QB for 5 yard gains all the way down the field, he'd be a dead man walking soon enough.

The only problem with this is that it limits Kaep to rushing off tackle instead of around, if the DE ends up sealing the edge on being blocked.

Precisely. In a nutshell, you've described why for years NFL wise men thought the option-based game was not viable in the NFL. It was thought that defenses would scrape exchange all day and just accept five yard runs by the QB in exchange for smacking him around. No QB could hope to survive a full season taking that kind of punishment.

Of course, the scrape exchange only works when you know the option is coming. The Tommy Fraziers and Pat Whites and Tim Tebows of the world couldn't do anything else to threaten you. Obviously guys like Kaep and RGIII are waaay different animals.

If you just sat there and ran scrape exchange every time we lined up in the pistol and threatened to run option, our coaches would notice in about 12 seconds. And you'd get killed from the 2nd quarter on.
Originally posted by Rodinxxv:
Originally posted by Joecool:
Also, what's up with Kaep faking the handoff to the right when the RB goes to the left? Why even fake? Is Kaep doing it wrong?
I'm pretty sure sure Gore is making a mistake. Gore has never run this type of offense.


And regardless who's gettting it wrong (probably Gore), you could see it was still freezing DL/LBs for that split-second. Since Gore is lined up behind Kaep, and with Kaep being so tall, it's hard for the D to see Gore anyway...so I'm betting all they really can see is Kaep looking like he's going to handoff, so they have to hold. But yeah, would be optimal if fake did go to the same side as RB.
[ Edited by DelCed2486 on Jan 22, 2013 at 10:53 AM ]
surprised nobody has looked into making him their OC
Originally posted by johnnyredneat:
Originally posted by Joecool:
Originally posted by johnnyredneat:
Originally posted by Joecool:
Mangini and and Mike from Mike and Mike provided an interesting way to stop it. You know how a few times the DE was standing there staring at Kaep after the handoff? Well, Mangini said you don't have the DE make a read. You have him go full speed at the QB and hit him as hard as you can and completely ignore the hand-off to the RB.

You do that a few times and that QB's head coach will call it less in order to not put his QB in a position to get injured.

Mangini is right, that is a free hit on the QB and it would be legal considering the threat of the QB running.

What Mangini is talking about is called a scrape-exchange - the DE automatically takes the QB option every time, while the playside OLB takes the dive man every time. (Obviously if the DE can get a free hit on the QB after the mesh, it's a bonus.) It's one of the oldest ways to stop the option.

The counter is obvious though: make someone other than the DE the read for the option. I.e., on an option left, Staley would actually kick-out block the DE, Iupati would turn loose the DT and take on the OLB directly. Kaep would read the free DT to determine whether to give the ball or keep it.

Usually the most tried-and-true way to stop the option , regardless of the defensive scheme, was just make the QB keep it and hit him hard when he runs. Most teams won't run their QB for 5 yard gains all the way down the field, he'd be a dead man walking soon enough.

The only problem with this is that it limits Kaep to rushing off tackle instead of around, if the DE ends up sealing the edge on being blocked.

Precisely. In a nutshell, you've described why for years NFL wise men thought the option-based game was not viable in the NFL. It was thought that defenses would scrape exchange all day and just accept five yard runs by the QB in exchange for smacking him around. No QB could hope to survive a full season taking that kind of punishment.

Of course, the scrape exchange only works when you know the option is coming. The Tommy Fraziers and Pat Whites and Tim Tebows of the world couldn't do anything else to threaten you. Obviously guys like Kaep and RGIII are waaay different animals.

If you just sat there and ran scrape exchange every time we lined up in the pistol and threatened to run option, our coaches would notice in about 12 seconds. And you'd get killed from the 2nd quarter on.

Also, if we seal the DE and trap the DT, then a FB or TE can finish the DT off and leave Kaep to pass. It would limit our number of receivers but they just gave up numbers trying to scrape...or we could run a rollout to the other side for a nice throw.

It would just depend on prep and in-game adjustments...which we have some damn good mofos doing that for us.
I think it'd be dope if we signed Ault either as an offensive asst coach or as an advisor to Roman. I know he's retired from college coaching, but wouldn't it be cool to have his expertise on board. He wrote the book...
Originally posted by DelCed2486:
Originally posted by Rodinxxv:
Originally posted by Joecool:
Also, what's up with Kaep faking the handoff to the right when the RB goes to the left? Why even fake? Is Kaep doing it wrong?
I'm pretty sure sure Gore is making a mistake. Gore has never run this type of offense.


And regardless who's gettting it wrong (probably Gore), you could see it was still freezing DL/LBs for that split-second. Since Gore is lined up behind Kaep, and with Kaep being so tall, it's hard for the D to see Gore anyway...so I'm betting all they really can see is Kaep looking like he's going to handoff, so they have to hold. But yeah, would be optimal if fake did go to the same side as RB.

Pass blocking assignment > play fake
Originally posted by FlayvaMeister:
Basically, because Roman has already gone to school with him, so-to-speak. I can
see another team -- interested in the formation -- bringing him onboard in that capacity.

Its not just the Pistol offense that makes it worthwhile to bring him in, he's a very shrewd and innovative offensive mind, with all the talent and explosiveness on this offense, who knows what sorts of stuff he and Roman could come up with. You can always find a use for a brilliant offensive mind that is constantly seeking to think outside of the box.
Originally posted by Joecool:
Nah, we already took what Ault did and build on it ... What we did with it was take it and the read option to another level. We are the only team with a lead blocker on the QB keep portion of the read option.

I had to run out to the store ... while I was walking, I thought about this part of your post. Then I started to think about this:

"Walsh began his pro coaching career in 1966 as an assistant with the AFL's Oakland Raiders. As a Raider assistant,
Walsh was trained in the vertical passing offense favored by Al Davis, putting Walsh in Davis's mentor Sid Gillman's
coaching tree.


In 1968, Walsh moved to the AFL expansion Cincinnati Bengals, joining the staff of legendary coach Paul Brown. It was
there that Walsh developed the philosophy now known as the "West Coast Offense", as a matter of necessity. Cincinnati's
new quarterback, Virgil Carter, was known for his great mobility and accuracy but lacked a strong arm necessary to throw
deep passes.


Thus, Walsh modified the vertical passing scheme he had learned during his time with the Raiders, designing a horizontal
passing system that relied on quick, short throws - often spreading the ball across the entire width of the field".

So forward to the present and beyond ... just as Bill Walsh was forced to alter the offensive philosophies he learned which
morphed into The WCO, could our altered version of Ault's Pistol -- learned by G-Ro, and then altered by he and Harbaugh --
become this generation of 49ers WCO ?

Just curious ...
Not sure if this was brought up - but did anyone notice how many times the playaction fake was handed to the wrong side? The RB wasn't there on multiple occasions..
Originally posted by pfizz:
People don't get what the heck the pistol is. It is a formation, NOT a style of football. Yes, Tom Brady could infact operate out of the pistol(honestly wouldn't be surprised to see them use it since they use so much shotgun) because using the read option is not mandatory. You can work out of the pistol the entire game and not use one single read option play.


Read option is NOT the pistol. The pistol is simply a shorter shotgun formation with the RB directly behind the Qb.
Exactly! The read option is what it is an option and is only effective with a dual threat QB who can hurt you if that DE or OLB comes down or contains on the outside.
Originally posted by chico49erfan:
Not sure if this was brought up - but did anyone notice how many times the playaction fake was handed to the wrong side? The RB wasn't there on multiple occasions..


This was addressed above...ideally you would like to fake to the side the RB is on, but those "wrong side" PA fakes were still holding the LBs.
Originally posted by Godsleftsock:
Pass blocking assignment > play fake

It's a symbiotic relationship.
Originally posted by pfizz:
People don't get what the heck the pistol is. It is a formation, NOT a style of football. Yes, Tom Brady could infact operate out of the pistol(honestly wouldn't be surprised to see them use it since they use so much shotgun) because using the read option is not mandatory. You can work out of the pistol the entire game and not use one single read option play.


Read option is NOT the pistol. The pistol is simply a shorter shotgun formation with the RB directly behind the Qb.


I think that's where a lot of media/fans are getting it wrong. For example, I've been listening to Baltimore radio and a few of their hosts and numerous callers keep saying "Pistol = Read Option," then go on to say it's an option-style offense that's a gimmick and will never work long-term. What they're ignorant of is just what you said, that the Pistol is just a formation, and that you can still run a "regular" offense from it, counters, powers, etc. It's interesting that Ault said he didn't originally design the Pistol with the Read Option; they didn't add that wrinkle until the second year of Kaepernick running the Pistol.
Originally posted by DelCed2486:
Originally posted by pfizz:
... It is a formation, NOT a style of football ... You can work out of the pistol the entire game and not use one single read option play.
... Read option is NOT the pistol. The pistol is simply a shorter shotgun formation with the RB directly behind the Qb.

I think that's where a lot of media/fans are getting it wrong. For example, I've been listening to Baltimore radio and a few of their hosts and numerous callers keep saying "Pistol = Read Option," then go on to say it's an option-style offense that's a gimmick and will never work long-term. What they're ignorant of is just what you said, that the Pistol is just a formation, and that you can still run a "regular" offense from it, counters, powers, etc. It's interesting that Ault said he didn't originally design the Pistol with the Read Option; they didn't add that wrinkle until the second year of Kaepernick running the Pistol.

Haven't had a chance to listen-in ... guess I'll have to fire-up the TuneIn Radio App. Sounds as if they -- the B' more Fans/Media --
have been to busy, to check Ault's interview he gave this morning on NFL AM. One thing, I'll bet John Harbaugh and his staff, don't
see it the way the Fans/Media do.
[ Edited by FlayvaMeister on Jan 22, 2013 at 6:02 PM ]