One concept that you hear being thrown around a lot by folks who know what they're saying, those who don't know any better or those who should is "They run a West Coast Offense, you know...", with the suggestion that this has a specific meaning that everyone should understand. My experience has been that this is only partly true. The term WCO has several meanings, depending on who is using it.
Even among those who agree on its derivation, there are extensive variations on the theme. Let's look at some uses of the term in modern times and then go over the things that Bill Walsh used to create his system. Finally, we'll talk about some modern examples that are considered WCOs and see how they match up.
Going into the 2009 season, the Denver Broncos are being written off by all but a very few media observers. The reasons for their disdain are not entirely specious - the Broncs have changed their head coach, offensive and defensive coordinators and schemes, replaced the defensive staff, starting quarterbacks, fired players wholesale (some of whom can't even get an audition with other teams, after a dreadful 2008), and turned over all of the position coaches save for offensive standouts Bobby Turner and Rick Dennison. The schedule, if you accept last season's rankings as valid, is nothing short of brutal. Their organization has had more drama than TNT.
I opened today's mail and found that one of the Denver Broncos has been reading our work again. It was a pleasure to receive an email from David Bruton, thanking me for the recent Tales on his career and requesting that I add a bit of information. I am glad to receive word from him, and I wanted to share his request with you.
In Texas, football is a religious experience. There are three states - California, Florida and Texas - that lead the country in candidates for the NFL, but Texas has an energy all its own. The fervor of their passion pounds through the veins of fans and young players like the rush of liquor: hot and furious.
High school football games are held on Friday nights. Small towns swell; big towns are flooded with pickups, station wagons and SUVs pull in, loaded with the faithful. The atmosphere is carnival-like, but the mindset of those in the experience is far more serious than that. For Stephen Darcel McBath, it carried with it an initiation into the mysteries of the game that came to McBath at a very early age. He would soon rise to the top of the Texas football pantheon.
McBath wasn't a name that many of the Broncos fans were familiar with before April's draft. Names like Louis Delmas and Patrick Chung were more commonly known and another player in the defensive secondary wasn't exactly what most of the members were looking for when his name was called. A protesting murmur rippled through the posts. What was Josh McDaniels thinking? On Friday night, with Brian Dawkins sidelined by a hand injury that required a simple surgery, we got to find out that Darcel McBath is a solid young player.
Some men, they say, are born to ramble. Ryan McBean may be one of them. His road has already taken him to Jamaica, New York, Texas, Oklahoma, Pittsburgh and Denver.
Ryan McBean was born in Kingston, Jamaica as the son of Donnett McBean on April 23, 1984. He came to the United States when he was 14, moving to Brooklyn, NY for a few months. Then it was back to the road, this time wandering to Euless, TX. Texas is one of the 'Big Three' (with Florida and California) for finding talent among high school football
McBean soon found a home there; Ryan made the football team at Euless' Trinity High School and immediately found some success. He was a first-team All-District selection after his senior season as well as the district's Defensive MVP. He was also named first-team All-District by the Dallas Morning News.
The Denver Broncos are officially looking for leadership.
With the acquisition of former New England Patriot Le Kevin (pronounced leh KEE vin) Smith, the Broncos have once more gone for a player who was a leader during his collegiate career. Playing for the Nebraska Cornhuskers, Smith teamed with Titus Adams over his last two seasons there to a top-level pair of defensive tackles on a 4-3 line. Smith himself contributed a stellar swim move and 6 sacks to a defensive line that accounted for a total of 50 sacks, the best in the USA, over Smith's senior year in college (2005). NFLDraftScout.com referred to him as the 'high energy leader' of that line. This importation continues a pattern that has carried over since the first of the Josh McDaniels/Brian Xanders free-agent signings was confirmed. Character matters. So does intellect. And, after the bend-and-break defenses of the past few seasons, physical and mental toughness are now flat-out requirements.
While perusing the sports archives of the Gazette the other day, I came across this article on the Denver rushing attack. The information wasn't really new - (Doug) and I came to much the same conclusions early this year in our Divining The McDaniels Way 4-part series and in other articles - but the point of the article was that Denver will almost certainly use some form of a committee system at running back. Josh McDaniels has said as much several times, so this isn't big news; but there is a growing stream in the collective football consciousness about this hot-button issue. As we move forward, will the measure of a running back be established any longer only by the individual’s gross yardage per year? Or will we begin to see the team rushing totals as more important than that of the individual?
Now that the initial depth chart for the Broncos has been released, it's easy to forget that head coach Josh McDaniels has already pointed out that it's not of any major interest. It's essentially a snapshot of a few moments in camp and tells us only who was where on a certain day. With that disclaimer out of the way, we can now get on to the real task of over-analyzing, jumping to conclusions and cross referencing the information.
When we glance through the summer's roster for the Denver Broncos, there is a palpable sensation that pulls at our thoughts; a pattern of character, respect and leadership that has influenced the way the team changed itself in the draft and in free agency. The powerful vehemence that Brian Dawkins exudes, the mature humility of Andra Davis, the intellect of Tom Brandstater, the maturity personified by Knowshon Moreno; these men are perhaps the best-known among our newer acquisitions.
But since the first interview I saw with him, there has been something about David Bruton that has piqued my interest. Perhaps it's the implied contradiction between the manners of his his soft-spoken Midwestern drawl and the inherent violence, controlled as it may be, of his chosen profession. Perhaps it's the open way he talks of his love for his son Jaden, who will turn 4 on November 9, 2005. this year. The Broncos will be playing a Monday Night Football game against the Steelers . Whatever it might be, there is something about David Bruton that draws me to him - and to his story.
In case anyone has been comatose, MIA or oblivious this week, Peyton Hillis has been rapidly making a name for himself in camp. The past two times that Josh McDaniels ahs been on film being interviewed and was asked about the Arkansas product, he's laughed before going on to respond. Hillis is a name on everyone's lips, because he's showing everything that the MHR has talked about this offseason.