2019 NFL Draft Guide: Coaching Systems -- NFC West
Howard Bender take a deep-dive into both the offensive and defensive coaching systems of every NFL team and sheds some light on what you can expect from the coaches, the coordinators and the players. He finishes the series off with the NFC West.
Let’s do it, baby! Let’s wrap up our Coaching Systems Analysis for the 2019 NFL season!
If you missed any of the previous divisions, check out the links below:
Time to finish it off on the left coast…
|Head Coach||Kliff Kingsbury||1st year|
|Passing Game Coordinator||Tom Clements||1st year|
|Defensive Coordinator||Vance Joseph||1st year|
|Offensive System||Air Raid Offense|
|Kliff Kingsbury -- HC||Tom Clements -- Pass Coordinator|
|Points||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||Points||Asst. HC||N/A||N/A|
|Pace||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||Pace||Asst. HC||N/A||N/A|
|Pass Attempts||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||Pass Attempts||Asst. HC||N/A||N/A|
|Passing Yards||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||Passing Yards||Asst. HC||N/A||N/A|
|Rushing Attempts||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||Rushing Attempts||Asst. HC||N/A||N/A|
|Rushing Yards||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||TX TECH HC||Rushing Yards||Asst. HC||N/A||N/A|
Offensive Breakdown: There is a lot of unknown here with the Cardinals so evaluating what will work and who will work is going to be tough. Kliff Kingsbury comes from the college ranks, he wasn’t all that successful but people seem to dig him because he is credited with the development of Patrick Mahomes . Right or wrong, yes, he did coach him. He is implementing his version of the Air-Raid system and before you go bonkers trying to figure out what that exactly means, allow me to repeat the description posted in the first article of the series.
The system is notable for its heavy focus on passing and, if implemented in full, could result in 65-75% passing plays throughout the season. This is an up-tempo, no-huddle scheme where the quarterback has the freedom to audible to any play based on what the defense is showing at the line of scrimmage. One interesting aspect you will see here as well is that the offensive linemen are not bunched together like you see in a conventional offense. They are split about a half-yard apart which is supposed to cause defensive linemen to run further to get to the quarterback and allow for short, quick passing to neutralize blitzes. It is also used to open up wider passing lanes which should prevent passes from being knocked down or intercepted at the line of scrimmage.
The system has actually been run in the NFL, but never really as a base; more of an add-on. So we know what we are likely to see. The question is will it work? Can Kyler Murray be successful? Will this team score points? What does this do for David Johnson ’s value? The answers are: we don’t know, we definitely don’t know, we’re not exactly sure and probably not much. Not what you want to hear, but it’s really all anyone has. Some are very bullish while others are not. We sit in the middle with a lean towards the not.
Defensive Scheme: 3-4 with man-coverage
Defensive Breakdown: Coming off an unsuccessful stint as a head coach in Denver, Vance Joseph returns to the defensive side of the game and has some rally nice talent to work with. He’ll use the 3-4 base nd likely unleash Terrell Suggs and Chandler Jones on the edge. Joseph likes an aggressive secondary, so press-man coverage from the corners should be expected while he mixes in some zone coverage in the middle of the field. Once Joseph gets Patrick Peterson back from his six-game PEDs suspension, things are going to look even stronger.
Los Angeles Rams
|Head Coach||Sean McVay||3rd year|
|Run Game Coordinator||Aaron Kromer||2nd year|
|Passing Game Coordinator||Shane Waldron||2nd year|
|Defensive Coordinator||Wade Phillips||3rd year|
|Offensive System||West Coast Offense|
|Sean McVay -- HC/OC|
|Category||2016 (WAS OC)||2017||2018|
Offensive Breakdown: Sean McVay has really established himself, first as a top offensive coordinator, but now also as a head coach. This season he continues to do both. Yes, he has a running and a passing game coordinator like last season, but this is still very much his offense. He favors the 11-Personnel formation because of the way it spreads out the defense and improves the running lanes in a power-blocking scheme. We’ll see plenty of what we’ve gotten use to over the years – a heavy lean on the running back both on the ground and through the air, short, quick routes to move the ball downfield and have all of that set up play-action for the bigger shots downfield. McVay has the weaponry to continuously pull this off and this should continue to be one of the more prolific offenses for fantasy owners.
Defensive Scheme: 3-4 with man-coverage
Defensive Breakdown: Wade Phillips returns for a third season and, let’s face it, he’s one of the absolute best in the business. He uses one-gap assignments for his linemen which then allows his linebackers to come in, fill the other gaps and either rush the passer or stay in short coverage. The loss of Ndamukong Suh is going to hurt with regard to double-teams on Aaron Donald and stuffing the run, but the team seems confident in Tanzel Smart to help get the job done. They’ll unleash Dante Fowler regularly and with the man-coverage on the outside, we should see a fair amount of blitzing. Just know that the safety has to come over the top to help Marcus Peters against some of the top wideouts as he struggles at times, as we saw last year when Aqib Talib was hurt and they needed to float coverage towards his side as well.
San Francisco 49ers
|Head Coach||Kyle Shanahan||3rd year|
|Defensive Coordinator||Robert Saleh||3rd year|
|Offensive System||West Coast Offense|
|Kyle Shanahan -- HC/OC|
Offensive Breakdown: Kyle Shanahan’s version of the West Coast offense has been incredibly successful….so long as his personnel stays healthy. He lost Jerick McKinnon for the year before the season opened and Jimmy Garoppolo just a few short weeks into the season. Picking up the pieces was tough at times. But when it’s firing on all cylinders, the sky’s the limit.
Shanahan’s zone-block scheme is fantastic for running backs and his heavy usage of them in the passing game as well makes it great for fantasy too. While it’s a shame they invested so much in McKinnon, they still brought in Tevin Coleman who thrived as a complementary back in Atlanta and should end up taking the lead here. Through the air, it’s short, quick passes to move the ball downfield which, along with a strong rushing attack, will open up more for play-action downfield. Shanahan will also incorporate more RPO this season with Jimmy Grapes back at full health. The strong run, the quick passes and the RPO should help keep defenses guessing and give the Niners time to adjust and exploit on the fly.
Defensive Scheme: 4-3 with Cover-3 base
Defensive Breakdown: We’re still looking at Robert Saleh’s 4-3 base and hoping it can generate some sort of a pass-rush. They’ve had some serious misses in developing defensive linemen, but hopefully with Nick Bosa and Dee Ford on the outside, they can prove to be capable pass rushers while Solomon Thomas and DeForest Buckner stay in the middle and try to apply head-on pressure and stuff the run. Kwon Alexander in the middle, if he’s healthy, should give them some nice leadership.
In the secondary, it’s all going to come down to the health of Richard Sherman and Jason Verrett . Both are more than capable in this zone coverage and could also be used in some man-to-man situations, but given the question marks that surround their safeties, staying in zone should make them better off.
|Head Coach||Pete Carroll||10th year|
|Offensive Coordinator||Brian Schottenheimer||2nd year|
|Defensive Coordinator||Ken Norton, Jr.||2nd year|
|Offensive System||Air Coryell|
|Pete Carroll -- HC||Brian Schottenheimer -- OC|
|Category||2016||2017||2018||Category||2016 (IND)||2017 (IND)||2018|
|Pass Attempts||18||16||32||Pass Attempts||QB COACH||QBCOACH||32|
|Passing Yards||10||14||27||Passing Yards||QB COACH||QBCOACH||27|
|Rushing Attempts||20||20||2||Rushing Attempts||QB COACH||QBCOACH||2|
|Rushing Yards||25||23||1||Rushing Yards||QB COACH||QBCOACH||1|
Offensive Breakdown: About three games into the season last year, a light bulb went on over Pete Carrol’s head and he remembered how successful this offense was when it was all about the run. So what did they do? They switched things up, stopped trying to make Russell Wilson throw for 5,000 yards and became the most prolific run offense in the league, much to the liking of all Chris Carson owners. Will they continue that trend this year?? Absolutely.
In traditional Air Coryell fashion, the Seahawks will use a heavy power-running attack mixed in with plenty of RPO in order to keep defenses honest. Wilson may not be able to take off running like he used to, but he is still quite effective and is always dangerous throwing on the run. OC Brian Schottenheimer employed a bigger vertical passing attack which pulled them off such a heavy reliance on the now-retired Doug Baldwin . They brought in bigger wideouts like D.K. Metcalf and Gary Jennings who should be able to lure coverage and free up Tyler Lockett into more one-on-one coverage and bigger pass-plays downfield.
Defensive Scheme: 4-3 with a Cover-3
Defensive Breakdown: This is basically the same system Carroll implemented when he arrived in Seattle a decade ago and DC Ken Norton Jr. simply manages the personnel. They stick with four lineman up front with the linebackers filling the gaps against the run. Ziggy Ansah should help increase the pass-rush and Bobby Wagner remains the field general up the middle. The secondary remains the same as always and the corners do a great job in their zones. Obviously it helps that the safeties tend to stay back rather than pinch to stop the run as that helps prevent the big plays.