The growth of statistical analysis in fantasy football has been incredible to watch as numerous web sites dig into some pretty in-depth metrics for you to study when analyzing the performance of both NFL teams and their players. However, as pointed out in the Stats You Need to Know series, there are some pitfalls you can fall into when looking at year-to-year numbers. Things change at a rapid rate in the NFL. Not only is player movement abundant, but the revolving doors we’ve seen for head coaches and both offensive and defensive coordinators seem to be in a perpetual spin.

As a result, comparing performances between the different seasons can often be an exercise in futility. A running back who found success against a particular team one year cannot be guaranteed success the following season as, not only could the opposition change defensive coordinators and systems, but said running back’s team could have gone through its own changes as well. Or, that player could be on an entirely new team and thus play in a completely different system.

There’s that word again – system. We use it often. We may also refer to it as a scheme, but the fact remains that a team’s system probably has a greater impact on a player’s production than even that player’s level of talent. As explained in the Learn Each Team’s System article in the Strategies section, you can take a running back with mediocre talent and watch him excel if the coach’s system caters to the player’s strengths. Conversely, you can take a highly-talented player, put him in a system that doesn’t necessarily feature his strengths and watch his overall production suffer.

That’s why we urge you to study each and every team’s system, both on offense and defense. From a seasonal fantasy standpoint, it will help you make the right selections on draft day. If you’re looking at the Fantasy Alarm Draft Book and see two players you like in the same tier, knowledge of the system in which they play can prove to be the deciding factor. From a DFS standpoint, you’ll have a much better idea as to which offenses match up better against a particular opponent and be able to construct your lineup accordingly.

That’s what makes what you are about to read, so valuable. This isn’t just some draft guide you toss aside once you’ve had your draft. You’re going to be able to refer back to this article throughout the season as it will help you with your weekly research. Like streaming team defenses? This will help. Trying to decide which free agent running back is a better pick-up off waivers? This will help. Trying to decide whether it’s worth paying up for Rob Gronkowski on Draft Kings in Week 5 or if you should bargain shop for a different tight end? Yes. This will help.

What you will find here is a complete breakdown of each team’s coaching system, on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball. Not only will you learn the different systems and tendencies of the coaches and coordinators, but you’ll also learn which players the system caters to the best. So bookmark this page for easy reference, strap yourself in and get comfortable. This just might be the most important ride you take this season.

A few notes before you dive into each team:

The numbers you will see for each head coach and offensive coordinator refer to where their unit ranked among all 32 teams each season in the various categories. Most are self-explanatory, but if you are unfamiliar with “pace,” it is exactly what you think it is – how long it takes for the team’s offensive unit to get to the line of scrimmage and snap the ball from play to play. Your more methodical offenses, the ones that focus on controlling the game (usually because they have a lead they want to maintain), are slower to get to the line and therefore have a higher rank for their game pace.

Also, the ranks are reserved for NFL head coaches and offensive coordinators as they are the primary play-callers. Individual position coaching experience is listed, but the teams’ ranks aren’t included as they are merely cogs in a much bigger machine.

Types of Offenses:

West Coast Offense – Derived by Bill Walsh, this system puts more of an emphasis on passing than running and is focused on short, horizontal passing routes to stretch out the defense and ultimately open things up for longer run plays and longer passes.

Air Coryell (a.k.a. Vertical or Timing Offense) – A combination of both deep and mid-range passing in conjunction with power running. The system uses a lot of motion and the passing is based on timing and rhythm with the quarterback actually throwing to a spot rather than to a specific player which helps to maximize yards gained after the catch. 

Erhardt-Perkins Offense – The original formula, which dates back to the 1970’s Patriots, focused on a run-first offense with a simplified, quarterback-friendly passing game. However, when Charlie Weis joined New England, he used it as a building block to develop a more modern version which maintains the run but now enhances the multiple passing options and possibilities within a given play.

Types of Defenses:

3-4 – Focus on size and length across the defensive line, inside linebackers ball-hawk, outside linebackers make plays as edge defenders and there is a heavy use of defensive backs to cover in the open field which helps disguise the blitz better.

4-3 – With four lineman and only three linebackers, the defenders are each responsible for covering a gap during a run and will usually set up with a closed formation on the opposing tight end. Pre-game prep and opposing personnel will determine which side the line will close if facing a two-tight end set-up.

Cover-2 – a two-deep, five under zone defense used to take away vertical concepts while forcing the ball underneath to the flat or check-down option.

Cover-3 – a three-deep, four-under zone defense where both cornerbacks drop to the outside zones with the free-safety playing the deep middle.

With the introduction out of the way, let's get to the teams.

Arizona Cardinals

Head Coach Steve Wilks 1st year
Offensive Coordinator Mike McCoy 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Al Holcomb 1st year
Offensive System Air Coryell/West Coast Hybrid  

 

Steve Wilks -- HC         Mike McCoy -- OC      
Category 2015 (CAR) 2016 (CAR) 2017 (CAR)   Category 2015 (SD) 2016 (SD) 2017 (DEN)
Points DB COACH DB COACH DC   Points 26 9 27
Pace DB COACH DB COACH DC   Pace 14 21 10
Pass Attempts DB COACH DB COACH DC   Pass Attempts 3 15 12
Passing Yards DB COACH DB COACH DC   Passing Yards 4 8 20
Rushing Attempts DB COACH DB COACH DC   Rushing Attempts 22 22 8
Rushing Yards DB COACH DB COACH DC   Rushing Yards 31 26 12

Offense Breakdown: We’re looking at a very interesting situation here with the new regime in Arizona as new head coach Steve Wilks is a defensive-minded guy who firmly believes the foundation of the offense should be based in establishing the run. With David Johnson in the backfield, it seems like a no-brainer. The hiring of Mike McCoy may seem like an odd choice as he leans more heavily towards a West Coast offense, but McCoy has worked with some of the best in the business and has adapted to use both the Air Coryell and Erhardt-Perkins offensive schemes as well. McCoy said, similarly to his time in Denver, he would like to tailor the system to feature the strengths of his personnel, so it looks like we could see an interesting hybrid of all three systems here.

The Cardinals will establish the run behind the use of a traditional fullback, but you can expect a variety of different looks, including Johnson and running back Chase Edmonds working out of the slot. As expected, McCoy will feature Larry Fitzgerald in the passing attack and the offense will focus on short and intermediate passes, making plays in space and getting the ball out with timing. The system runs similar to what Sam Bradford worked under in Minnesota and should be picked up fairly quickly by Josh Rosen should he find himself under center later in the year.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Sam Bradford , David Johnson , Larry Fitzgerald

Defensive System: 4-3 with zone coverage

New defensive coordinator Al Holcomb comes over from Carolina with Wilks and will start with a 4-3 base. However, you can expect him to mix in some 3-4 schemes to give offenses a different look with a lot of blitzing and disguises. We may see Holcomb use Patrick Peterson for some shadowing, but that will be a game-to-game decision. All in all, despite the coaching change, the defense should look very similar to last year’s.

Players Who Best Fit the System: , Haason Reddick , Budda Baker

Atlanta Falcons

Head Coach Dan Quinn 4th year
Offensive Coordinator Steve Sarkisian 2nd year
Passing Game Coordinator Raheem Morris 4th year
Defensive Coordinator Marquand Manuel 2nd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Dan Quinn -- HC         Steve Sarkisian -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 21 1 15   Points USC HC ALA OC 15
Pace 20 23 20   Pace USC HC ALA OC 20
Pass Attempts 8 26 20   Pass Attempts USC HC ALA OC 20
Passing Yards 6 3 8   Passing Yards USC HC ALA OC 8
Rushing Attempts 16 12 16   Rushing Attempts USC HC ALA OC 16
Rushing Yards 18 5 13   Rushing Yards USC HC ALA OC 13

Offense Breakdown: The Falcons were disappointed with the way the offense ran under Steve Sarkisian last year, but not enough to get rid of him. Instead, they promoted wide receivers coach Raheem Morris to passing-game coordinator and brought in Greg Knapp as the new quarterbacks coach. That tells us Sarkisian will be on a short leash this season and if the changes he is hoping to incorporate to his West Coast Offense don’t help, he could be gone fairly quickly. Knapp was brought in because Sarkisian wants to infuse the scheme with more RPO (run-pass options) plays for Matt Ryan and he [Knapp] saw plenty of that in Philadelphia last year when Nick Foles took over, as well as in Kansas City when more RPOs were added for Alex Smith . The belief is that the addition of RPOs will complement the outside zone rushing attack and, if Ryan handles the quick decision-making, it should help open things up for additional yards after the catch on the short and intermediate passes.

The run blocking is going to be a key thing to watch as well as Sarkisian brought some man-blocking into his scheme and that just didn’t seem to work at all. If they stick to the zone-blocking, we could see a resurgence for Freeman who fared much better when his shifting offensive line opened up more running lanes. The Falcons would also like to get both Freeman and Tevin Coleman more involved in the passing attack, something that was sorely missed last year as evidenced by Freeman’s massive decrease in receptions.  

Players Who Best Fit the System: Matt Ryan , Devonta Freeman , Julio Jones , Calvin Ridley

Defensive System: 4-3 with a Cover-3 zone

Quinn was very happy with the way Marquand Manuel ran things last season as he maintained much of what the team was already using and catered to their strengths. Quinn may lighten up on his involvement as he kept a tight grip on the reins last year, but after the team finished with a top-10 defense last year, he won’t change up much. 

Players Who Best Fit the System: Desmond Trufant , Brian Poole , Vic Beasley

Baltimore Ravens

Head Coach John Harbaugh 11th year
Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg 2nd year
Defensive Coordinator Don Martindale 1st year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

John Harbaugh -- HC         Marty Mornhinweg -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 25 21 9   Points QB COACH 21 9
Pace 6 5 7   Pace QB COACH 5 7
Pass Attempts 1 1 11   Pass Attempts QB COACH 1 11
Passing Yards 8 12 29   Passing Yards QB COACH 12 29
Rushing Attempts 26 30 7   Rushing Attempts QB COACH 30 7
Rushing Yards 26 28 11   Rushing Yards QB COACH 28 11

Offense Breakdown: Head coach John Harbaugh was pleased with the way the team responded to new offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg last season and it looks like the Ravens will incorporate much of the same scheme this year. Mornhinweg is considered a west coast offense proponent, but he tilts much more in favor of run-heavy play-calling. The Ravens will employ a mix of both zone and man-blocking schemes, however, you can probably expect a lot more work between the tackles for Alex Collins . The system is supposed to be designed to open up more downfield throws, but while the team revamped Joe Flacco ’s receiving corps, you shouldn’t expect an increase in passing plays.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Alex Collins , Michael Crabtree

Defensive System: 3-4 with both man and zone coverage

Don Martindale replaces Dean Pees as the team’s defensive coordinator, but you should probably expect a very similar style of defense. Martindale is a little more aggressive with his blitz packages, but he also acknowledged that he may have been too aggressive in the past, so he should back off somewhat.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Terrell Suggs, C. J. Mosley, Eric Weddle

Buffalo Bills

Head Coach Sean McDermott 2nd year
Offensive Coordinator Brian Daboll 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier 2nd year
Offensive System Erhardt-Perkins Offense  

 

Sean McDermott -- HC         Brian Daboll -- OC      
Category 2015 (CAR) 2016 (CAR) 2017   Category 2015 (NE) 2016 (NE) 2017
Points DC DC 22   Points TE COACH TE COACH ALA OC
Pace DC DC 3   Pace TE COACH TE COACH ALA OC
Pass Attempts DC DC 31   Pass Attempts TE COACH TE COACH ALA OC
Passing Yards DC DC 31   Passing Yards TE COACH TE COACH ALA OC
Rushing Attempts DC DC 4   Rushing Attempts TE COACH TE COACH ALA OC
Rushing Yards DC DC 6   Rushing Yards TE COACH TE COACH ALA OC

Offense Breakdown: New offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is a Bill Belichick disciple and is moving the Bills away from the West Coast offense they’ve used in recent seasons and replacing it with his interpretation of the Erhardt-Perkins offense. This will keep them focused on establishing the run with LeSean McCoy while simplifying things for A.J. McCarron (and eventually Josh Allen ) by eliminating the lengthy play-calling we see used in both West Coast and Air Coryell schemes. We should expect to see a more no-huddle, up-tempo offensive series for the Bills with more motion and quicker routes run by the receivers and tight ends.

Players Who Best Fit the System: A.J. McCarron, LeSean McCoy

Defensive System: 4-3 with a Cover-2 zone

Player-favorite Leslie Frazier enters his second year with the Bills and will rely on Kyle Williams and Star Lotulelei to stuff the run up the middle. Micah Hyde and Tre’Davious White will continue to bolster the secondary, though the Cover-2 scheme is a little archaic and can be easily picked apart by the right quarterback. Stopping the run will be the priority here, but should Williams and/or Lotulelei falter, things could get a little ugly without a lot of speed in the secondary.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Kyle Williams , Micah Hyde , Tre-Davious White

Carolina Panthers

Head Coach Ron Rivera 8th year
Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Eric Washington 1st year
Offensive System Erhardt-Perkins Offense  

 

Ron Rivera -- HC         Norv Turner -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 (MIN OC) 2016 (MIN OC) 2017
Points 1 15 12   Points 16 23 N/A
Pace 19 32 32   Pace 27 24 N/A
Pass Attempts 27 20 27   Pass Attempts 32 12 N/A
Passing Yards 24 21 28   Passing Yards 31 18 N/A
Rushing Attempts 1 7 3   Rushing Attempts 4 25 N/A
Rushing Yards 2 10 4   Rushing Yards 4 32 N/A

Offense Breakdown: Head coach Ron Rivera went retro this season and brought in Norv Turner who comes from the Air Coryell tree and will rely heavily on a power-running system that will open things up downfield for a more vertical passing attack. Turner will use both C.J. Anderson and Christian McCaffrey extensively as Anderson handles the power-running while McCaffrey maintains his role as the versatile pass-catching, outside-running back. That, coupled with using tight end Greg Olsen to help stretch the field, should allow for Cam Newton to make more downfield throws and exploit height mismatches for 6-foot-4 Devin Funchess . It should be interesting to see how rookie D.J. Moore , just 5-foot-11, is incorporated as he’ll need to use his speed to gain enough separation for Newton’s downfield attempts.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Cam Newton , Christian McCaffrey , Devin Funchess , Greg Olsen

Defensive System: 4-3 with a mix of different zone coverages

With the departure of Steve Wilks, the Panthers promoted defensive line coach Eric Washington who is expected to implement the same defensive scheme as his predecessor. The one main difference you should expect to see is more of a reliance on the base scheme and fewer blitz packages. Not a major change, but after seeing his offensive line improve throughout the season, there just wasn’t as strong a need to blitz when his linemen did just fine handling the extra blocking offenses kept in.

Players Who Best Fit the System: James Bradberry, Kevin Seymour, Luke Kuechly

Chicago Bears

Head Coach Matt Nagy 1st year
Offensive Coordinator Mark Helfrich 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio 4th year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Matt Nagy -- HC         Mark Helfrich -- OC      
Category 2015 (KC) 2016 (KC OC) 2017 (KC OC)   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points QB COACH 13 6   Points OREGON HC OREGON HC N/A
Pace QB COACH 29 30   Pace OREGON HC OREGON HC N/A
Pass Attempts QB COACH 25 17   Pass Attempts OREGON HC OREGON HC N/A
Passing Yards QB COACH 19 7   Passing Yards OREGON HC OREGON HC N/A
Rushing Attempts QB COACH 14 23   Rushing Attempts OREGON HC OREGON HC N/A
Rushing Yards QB COACH 15 9   Rushing Yards OREGON HC OREGON HC N/A

Offense Breakdown: New head coach Matt Nagy spent 10 years working under Andy Reid and is expected to implement a similar version of the West Coast Offense that leans heavily on short, quick passes to wide receivers and allowing them to make plays in space after the catch. The offense also incorporates a variety of slants and drag routes which means timing between the quarterback and his receivers is paramount. However, Reid was notorious for wanting more throws downfield while Nagy doesn’t feel the need to do so as often. That will jell nicely with offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich who likes using zone reads and misdirection to confuse defenses, incorporate more RPOs and, again, let the receivers do more in the open field.

The Bears offensive line should continue to utilize zone-blocking with certainly helps Jordan Howard and both coach and coordinator want to incorporate the running back into the passing game more. While we’re hearing reports of Jordan Howard focusing on improving his pass-catching, we can expect some strong usage of Tarik Cohen . The offense should be up-tempo and we should see them work hard at exploiting mismatches in coverage.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Tarik Cohen , Anthony Miller , Trey Burton

Defensive System: 3-4 with mix of Cover-2 and zone press

Vic Fangio is one of the top defensive minds and does a great job with his 3-4 defense, particular with regard to disguising coverage. Prince Amukamara and Eddie Jackson should do well leading the secondary and there is still good speed in the linebacker corps. Health should be monitored though as the inside depth isn’t immensely strong.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Danny Trevathan , Eddie Jackson, Prince Amukamara

Cincinnati Bengals

Head Coach Marvin Lewis 16th year
Offensive Coordinator Bill Lazor 2nd year
Defensive Coordinator Teryl Austin (DET last yr) 1st year
Offensive System Air Coryell/West Coast Hybrid  

 

Marvin Lewis -- HC         Bill Lazor -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 (MIA OC) 2016 2017
Points 7 24 26   Points 27 QB COACH 26
Pace 29 8 13   Pace 8 QB COACH 13
Pass Attempts 26 20 25   Pass Attempts 17 QB COACH 25
Passing Yards 15 15 27   Passing Yards 19 QB COACH 27
Rushing Attempts 7 9 29   Rushing Attempts 32 QB COACH 29
Rushing Yards 13 13 31   Rushing Yards 23 QB COACH 31

Offense Breakdown: This is the first year, Bill Lazor really gets to put his stamp on the Bengals offense as he took over a scheme that was embedded in Ken Zampese’s West Coast Offense interpretation. Lazor is actually going to run a hybrid offense that meshes both the Air Coryell system and a more traditional version of Bill Walsh’s West Coast scheme. Zampese’s was more like the offense Jon Gruden liked to run. Lazor spent much of the offseason improving the offensive line so he could get more out of running back Joe Mixon and he also simplified the plays for Andy Dalton with the hope of him being able to run a more up-tempo offense and get the team to the line quicker. The faster pace and the use of more short, horizontal routes should help stretch the field more and open things up further downfield.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Andy Dalton , Joe Mixon , A.J. Green

Defensive System: 4-3 with zone coverage

Teryl Austin comes over after three seasons as the Lions DC and will likely mix in some man-coverage to his system, especially if his pass-rush is strong. Austin usually assigns single-gap responsibilities to his lineman and then has his faster linebackers push through to stuff the run.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Geno Atkins, Dre Kirkpatrick

Cleveland Browns

Head Coach Hue Jackson 3rd year
Offensive Coordinator Todd Haley 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams 2nd year
Offensive System Erhardt-Perkins Offense  

 

Hue Jackson -- HC         Todd Haley -- OC      
Category 2015 (CIN OC) 2016 2017   Category 2015 (PIT OC) 2016 (PIT OC) 2017 (PIT OC)
Points 7 31 32   Points 4 10 8
Pace 29 9 4   Pace 15 7 22
Pass Attempts 26 18 9   Pass Attempts 16 9 6
Passing Yards 15 28 22   Passing Yards 3 5 3
Rushing Attempts 7 31 28   Rushing Attempts 24 16 15
Rushing Yards 13 19 18   Rushing Yards 16 14 20

Offense Breakdown: Hue Jackson did exactly what was needed for the Browns and brought in the experience of former Steelers OC Todd Haley this season. People were skeptical at first given the different philosophies, but Jackson has been adamant that Haley’s scheme and terminology be fully implemented to prevent any holdovers from last season to fall into old, bad habits. It’s a pretty basic game plan as Haley likes to lean heavily on the run (with zone-blocking) and utilizes play-action to create big plays downfield. He doesn’t have the bell-cow he had in Le’Veon Bell, but he will utilize Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson in a combined effort as Bell was both a strong runner and pass-catcher. Nick Chubb should also see some work. Again, this should open things up downfield for Josh Gordon , but you can expect a heavy lean on Jarvis Landry , much in the way they used both Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster last year.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Carlos Hyde , Jarvis Landry

Defensive System: 4-3 with a Cover-2 zone

Gregg Williams is in his second year with the Browns and is all about being aggressive, forcing turnovers and lots of quarterback pressure. That means with the likes of Myles Garrett and Emmanuel Ogbah on the line and Jamie Collins as the weakside linebacker, we should see a lot of blitzing and a strong sack total. Of course, the Cover-2 system is crazy vulnerable, but the team is hoping the tandem of rookie Denzel Ward and former Packers safety Damarious Randall can minimize the concern.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Emmanuel Ogbah , Myles Garrett , Jamie Colins

Dallas Cowboys

Head Coach Jason Garrett 8th year
Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan 5th year
Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli 5th year
Offensive System Air Coryell  

 

Jason Garrett -- HC         Scott Linehan -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 31 5 14   Points 31 5 14
Pace 32 31 19   Pace 32 31 19
Pass Attempts 23 30 29   Pass Attempts 23 30 29
Passing Yards 27 23 26   Passing Yards 27 23 26
Rushing Attempts 18 1 5   Rushing Attempts 18 1 5
Rushing Yards 19 2 2   Rushing Yards 19 2 2

Offense Breakdown: While so many coaches like to throw in their own nuances to these base offensive systems, Scott Linehan took the old-school approach to the Air Coryell system. He focused primarily on spreading out the defense with three and four-wideout sets and then just gave Ezekiel Elliott the ball to run straight downhill. Easy peasy. He had to do it actually, as he needed to simplify things for Dak Prescott . Not that Dak needed the system dumbed-down. It just made things easier and, well, the results speak for themselves, at least when Zeke isn’t suspended. We’d like to see them open up more play-action downfield, but with a suspect group of wide receivers who need to prove themselves as a collective unit, we can’t get too jazzed up about the passing attack.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Dak Prescott , Ezekiel Elliott

Defensive System: 4-3 with a Tampa2 zone

Rod Marinelli likes to stuff the run and put a lot of pressure on the quarterback, so he’s all about depth on the line and will rotate in guys regularly to keep everyone fresh and well-rested. Now in his fifth season with the Cowboys, you can expect everything to stay the same. Of course, that also means they are going to need to stay healthy to maintain, particularly Sean Lee .

Players Who Best Fit the System: Sean Lee , Demarcus Lawrence

Denver Broncos

Head Coach Vance Joseph 2nd year
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods 2nd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Vance Joseph -- HC         Bill Musgrave -- OC      
Category 2015 (CIN) 2016 (MIA) 2017   Category 2015 (OAK) 2016 (OAK) 2017
Points DB COACH DC 27   Points 17 7 QB COACH
Pace DB COACH DC 10   Pace 17 22 QB COACH
Pass Attempts DB COACH DC 12   Pass Attempts 14 9 QB COACH
Passing Yards DB COACH DC 20   Passing Yards 16 13 QB COACH
Rushing Attempts DB COACH DC 8   Rushing Attempts 29 11 QB COACH
Rushing Yards DB COACH DC 12   Rushing Yards 28 6 QB COACH

Offense Breakdown: While Bill Musgrave took over as the interim OC last season in November, he continued to use the base defense Mike McCoy installed to open the year. Now he gets to put his own stamp on the offense and that means more of an Erhardt-Perkins style of offense with some West Coast Offense features blended in. He wants to make sure he establishes a strong ground attack with Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman as that will hopefully open things up for more play-action, action passes and dropback passes. Having Case Keenum instead of Trevor Siemian is going to be a huge bonus as the veteran journeyman can handle the roll-out of the action pass and should keep defenses honest in coverage.  

Players Who Best Fit the System: Case Keenum , Devontae Booker , Demaryius Thomas

Defensive System: 3-4 with man-coverage

Joe Woods maintains his defensive scheme from last year, but gets a huge bonus with an improved pass-rush thanks to the addition of Bradley Chubb . You may see some zone coverage mixed in given the changes in the secondary, and maybe a few extra blitzes here and there, but overall, no major differences.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Von Miller , Bradley Chubb , Chris Harris

Detroit Lions

Head Coach Matt Patricia 1st year
Offensive Coordinator Jim Bob Cooter 3rd year
Defensive Coordinator Paul Pasqualoni 1st year
Offensive System Erhardt-Perkins Offense  

 

Matt Patricia -- HC         Jim Bob Cooter -- OC      
Category 2015 (NE) 2016 (NE) 2017 (NE)   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points DC DC DC   Points QB COACH 20 7
Pace DC DC DC   Pace QB COACH 27 21
Pass Attempts DC DC DC   Pass Attempts QB COACH 11 10
Passing Yards DC DC DC   Passing Yards QB COACH 11 6
Rushing Attempts DC DC DC   Rushing Attempts QB COACH 31 31
Rushing Yards DC DC DC   Rushing Yards QB COACH 30 32

Offense Breakdown: When new head coach Matt Patricia, a defensive minded coach, retained Jim Bob Cooter as his offensive coordinator, there were many in Detroit who were concerned. However, Cooter has relinquished his hold on the offense and become much more open-minded to Patricia’s suggestion of a change from the Air Coyell scheme to that of the Erhardt-Perkins offense, one whose success he witnessed first-hand in New England. The Lions have added Kerryon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount to the backfield mix while retaining Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick which should enable them to finally establish a solid ground attack. The change to the E-P offense should also help Matthew Stafford as the play-calls themselves have been simplified and he’ll be able to run the same plays out of a variety of different formations. That disguise in formation should help keep defenses guessing as to where his primary target may be.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Matthew Stafford , LeGarrette Blount , Golden Tate

Defensive System: Hybrid

With Patricia being such a defensive-minded coach, you can expect him to spend much of his time working with Paul Pasqualoni on solidifying the Lions overall defense. They’ll work diligently together, but they are not committing to any particular base form at this time. The plan on mixing in both three and four-man fronts and the only thing they’ve really been specific about is that they have very high hopes for Jarrad Davis to thrive in, lead and control this defense.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Jarrad Davis

Green Bay Packers

Head Coach Mike McCarthy 12th year
Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine 1st year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Mike McCarthy -- HC         Joe Philbin -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 (MIA HC) 2016 2017
Points 15 4 21   Points 27 OL COACH OL COACH
Pace 10 25 12   Pace 8 OL COACH OL COACH
Pass Attempts 18 5 14   Pass Attempts 17 OL COACH OL COACH
Passing Yards 25 7 25   Passing Yards 19 OL COACH OL COACH
Rushing Attempts 12 29 27   Rushing Attempts 32 OL COACH OL COACH
Rushing Yards 12 20 17   Rushing Yards 23 OL COACH OL COACH

Offense Breakdown: While we’re being told that the tandem of Mike McCarthy and new OC Joe Philbin is rebuilding the offensive scheme, we expect it to remain based in McCarthy’s version of the West Coast Offense. With Jamaal Williams , Ty Montgomery and, eventually, Aaron Jones , we may see an increased commitment to the run, especially since Aaron Rodgers isn’t getting any younger and he doesn’t have Jordy Nelson around anymore. However, don’t expect them to reinvent the wheel as Rodgers is still going to want to sling the rock. You can expect Rodgers to lean heavily on Davante Adams , look to rekindle his relationship with Randall Cobb and maybe, just maybe, we see an increased use of the tight end now that Jimmy Graham provides a big-bodied target inside the red zone.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Aaron Rodgers , Davante Adams , Ty Montgomery

Defensive System: Hybrid

Mike Pettine is traditionally a 3-4 guy, but he is expected to mix up a number of different looks for opposing offenses and utilize the 4-3 base as well. He likes to focus on a strong interior pass-rush and is expecting even more out of Clay Matthews than the Packers were already getting. Expect the secondary to be more aggressive as well as the Packers look to stop the big plays on the outside that have plagued them for years.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Clay Matthews , Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Houston Texans

Head Coach Bill O'Brien 5th year
Offensive Coordinator none  
Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel 1st year
Offensive System Spread Offense  

 

Bill O'Brien -- HC      
Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 22 28 17
Pace 3 13 11
Pass Attempts 10 14 23
Passing Yards 18 29 21
Rushing Attempts 5 6 11
Rushing Yards 15 8 14

Offense Breakdown: Once again, Bill O’Brien will go without an offensive coordinator and handle all the play-calling duties himself. He runs a spread offense where they’ll usually line up three or four-wide using a variety of sets and send them out to different parts of the field to stretch the defense as much as possible which is supposed to help open up for bigger runs. Unfortunately, the offensive line is still weak and Lamar Miller just isn’t that good, so there needs to be a little more focus on improving the pass attack as well. All that will really require is Deshaun Watson staying healthy all year. Tall order, yes, but O’Brien has spent the offseason working on augmenting the system so that he can take advantage of Watson’s strengths and not be worried about dumbing it down to accommodate the shortcomings of Tom Savage .

Players Who Best Fit the System: Deshaun Watson , DeAndre Hopkins

Defensive System: 3-4 with zone coverage

While Romeo Crennel is listed as a first-year defensive coordinator with the Texans, he’s been running their defense for some time now. It was his system Mike Vrabel used last season and we don’t expect anything to change on this side of the ball. The front seven continues to be one of the best in the game and the addition of Tyrann Mathieu in the secondary should help the increased use of zone coverage over man-to-man.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Tyrann Mathieu , J.J. Watt , Jadeveon Clowney , Whitney Mercilus

Indianapolis Colts

Head Coach Frank Reich 1st year
Offensive Coordinator Nick Sirianni 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus 1st year
Offensive System RPO-infused West Coast Offense  

 

Franck Reich -- HC         Nick Siranni -- OC      
Category 2015 (SD OC) 2016 (PHI OC) 2017 (PHI OC)   Category 2015 (SD) 2016 (SD) 2017 (LAC)
Points 26 16 3   Points QB COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Pace 14 19 24   Pace QB COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Pass Attempts 3 15 13   Pass Attempts QB COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Passing Yards 4 13 13   Passing Yards QB COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Rushing Attempts 22 10 6   Rushing Attempts QB COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Rushing Yards 31 15 22   Rushing Yards QB COACH WR COACH WR COACH

Offense Breakdown: This should actually prove to be an interesting offense as new head coach Frank Reich and new OC Nick Sirianni worked together back when the Chargers were in San Diego and have very similar coaching philosophies. We’ll definitely get a version of the West Coast offense, but given the personnel, we’re looking more at a version closer to that of the Chargers than that of the Eagles, where Reich came from. Reich’s experience with RPOs in Philly is great, but they’re more likely going to just sprinkle it in rather than completely overhaul Andrew Luck ’s game. They’re expected to run the ball about 40-percent of the time and we’re still looking to who will be the featured back. Marlon Mack is the obvious front-runner, but Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines should be mixed in early enough to give each of them the opportunity to supplant Mack.

On the passing front, the mid-range passing game will be the primary type of passing play we can expect to see. This would involve routes such as hitches, ins and outs, and slants and T.Y. Hilton will be the primary target. Neither Ryan Grant nor Chester Rodgers have been impressing enough to turn heads, but apparently the team is interested in utilizing numerous 2-TE sets to get the 6-foot-4 Eric Ebron more active in the passing game. Unfortunately, we’ve seen him fail a lot more than he’s succeeded so it’s tough to get excited.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Marlon Mack , T.Y. Hilton , Eric Ebron

Defensive System: 4-3 with zone coverage

Matt Eberflus takes over as the DC in Indy and will shy away from the 3-4 scheme he was working off of in Dallas and go to the 4-3 with a mix of both the Cover-3 we see in Seattle and the Tampa2 zone. For the defensive line, the focus will be on a strong pass rush, primarily the athletic edge rushers like Jabaal Sheard .

Players Who Best Fit the System: Jabaal Sheard , Margus Hunt , Malik Hooker

Jacksonville Jaguars

Head Coach Doug Marrone 2nd year
Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett 2nd year
Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash 3rd year
Offensive System Air Coryell  

 

Doug Marrone -- HC         Nathaniel Hackett -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points ASST. HC 25 5   Points QB COACH 25 5
Pace ASST. HC 2 18   Pace QB COACH 2 18
Pass Attempts ASST. HC 4 21   Pass Attempts QB COACH 4 21
Passing Yards ASST. HC 20 17   Passing Yards QB COACH 20 17
Rushing Attempts ASST. HC 24 1   Rushing Attempts QB COACH 24 1
Rushing Yards ASST. HC 22 1   Rushing Yards QB COACH 22 1

Offense Breakdown: The tandem of Marrone and Hackett is back and they will utilize the Air Coryell system that relies on a lot of motion, timing routes and some serious power running. We can expect to see a whole lot of Leonard Fournette , game in and game out while the use of timing patterns could potentially help limit the number of turnovers Blake Bortles is notorious for providing. All Bortles will have to do is hit a spot on the field and it’s up to the receiver to make sure he’s there in time. Should everything come together nicely we could see Hackett open up the passing game a little bit more and provide a more well-balance scheme. For now, though, Bortles needs to continue proving himself capable before that really happens.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Blake Bortles , Leonard Fournette , Marqise Lee

Defensive System: 4-3 with a Cover-3 zone

The Jaguars were already loaded on defense and the mid-season addition of Marcell Dareus to the defensive line made the front four even more formidable. Defensive coordinator Todd Wash will stick with a 4-3 base, but has been known to mix things up as well. The linebackers have great speed and the team should fare extremely well against the tougher run offenses. The only issue they may have comes from sticking with the Cover-3 in the secondary. The young defensive backs struggled with the zone coverage two seasons ago, but Wash worked extensively with them and turned them into what was easily the best secondary in the game.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Calais Campbell , Jalen Ramsey , A.J. Bouye

Kansas City Chiefs

Head Coach Andy Reid 6th year
Offensive Coordinator Eric Bieniemy 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Bob Sutton 6th year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Andy Reid -- HC         Eric Bieniemy -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 9 13 6   Points RB COACH RB COACH RB COACH
Pace 31 29 30   Pace RB COACH RB COACH RB COACH
Pass Attempts 29 25 17   Pass Attempts RB COACH RB COACH RB COACH
Passing Yards 30 19 7   Passing Yards RB COACH RB COACH RB COACH
Rushing Attempts 13 14 23   Rushing Attempts RB COACH RB COACH RB COACH
Rushing Yards 6 15 9   Rushing Yards RB COACH RB COACH RB COACH

Offense Breakdown: This should actually be an interesting year for the Chiefs offense as Matt Nagy has moved onto Chicago and the team promoted running backs coach Eric Bieniemy to the OC position this season. You don’t want to say that Bieniemy is an Andy Reid stooge, but he doesn’t seem like the type of guy to put up too much of a fight if Reid wants to do things his way. Maybe Bieniemy tries to push the run a little more, but ultimately the play-calling and the decisions fall on Reid who is going to keep his version of the West Coast offense intact. He also won’t shed his desire for increased downfield action, especially with Patrick Mahomes under center now. The addition of Sammy Watkins kind of dictates that direction, doesn’t it?

Kareem Hunt will maintain his spot as the lead back and he should stay fairly active in the passing game, but just keep in mind how he disappeared last year for roughly six weeks in the regular season. Reid and Nagy battled back and forth with Nagy taking over play-calling duties, but it seems unlikely that he [Reid] will capitulate. Expect to see a heavier lean on the pass attack unless Mahomes disappoints to the level where Reid needs to make a change.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Patrick Mahomes , Tyreek Hill , Travis Kelce

Defensive System: 3-4 with zone coverage

Bob Sutton’s got mad skills when it comes to running a defense. The base is a 3-4 set-up, but he uses so much motion before the snap and mixes things up so often, that it’s really hard to tell who’s covering who and where the pressure on the QB is going to come from. More often than not, Sutton likes to rush four and use five, sometimes six defensive backs who, along with the linebackers, work out of zone coverage. If a linebacker’s zone is clear, he’ll come in and rush the passer while one of the defensive backs pulls in to cover the vacated zone. For those d-backs, Sutton likes using aggressive but sure-handed tacklers who aren’t afraid to mix it up. Each season it seems to take the unit a couple of games to really jell, but once things click, this defense gets stronger with each game played.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Justin Houston, Eric Berry , Steven Nelson

Los Angeles Chargers

Head Coach Anthony Lynn 2nd year
Offensive Coordinator Ken Whisenhunt 3rd year
Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley 2nd year
Offensive System Erhardt-Perkins Offense  

 

Anthony Lynn -- HC         Ken Whisenhunt -- OC      
Category 2015 (BUF) 2016 (BUF) 2017   Category 2015 (TEN) 2016 2017
Points ASST. HC 10 13   Points 28 9 13
Pace ASST. HC 16 15   Pace 23 21 15
Pass Attempts ASST. HC 32 8   Pass Attempts 21 15 8
Passing Yards ASST. HC 30 1   Passing Yards 26 8 1
Rushing Attempts ASST. HC 2 19   Rushing Attempts 28 22 19
Rushing Yards ASST. HC 1 24   Rushing Yards 25 26 24

Offense Breakdown: Anthony Lynn, here in his second year, favors the Erhardt-Perkins offense which relies heavily on the run and utilizes play-action to create big plays downfield. He retained Kevin Whisenhunt as the offensive coordinator and will have him call the plays, but Lynn had major input in the new playbook they designed last season.

A solid offensive line should allow us to see a heavy dose of Melvin Gordon . The volume he’ll see out of that backfield, both in carries and targets, is going to be huge and so long as the knee holds up, he’s going to be a spectacular fantasy asset. The passing game is also potentially explosive and you know Philip Rivers loves to air it out. He’s got a slew of talented wide receivers at his disposal, including Keenan Allen , Tyrell Williams and second-year wideout Mike Williams too. They don’t have the tight end prowess they used to have with Hunter Henry already out for the season, but the wideouts should help make up for it.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Philip Rivers , Melvin Gordon , Keenan Allen

Defensive System: 4-3 with a Cover-3 zone

Gus Bradley is back for a second season and will continue to use a 4-3 base. However, he also likes to use different looks up front and then zone coverage in the secondary. He had issues with this over in Jacksonville as so many of the young defensive backs he had there thrived more in man-man coverage and really had issues with the zone coverage. The veteran group he’s got here should have no problem continuing the level of play that saw them become a top-3 defense last year.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Joey Bosa , Casey Hayward

Los Angeles Rams

 

Head Coach Sean McVay 2nd year
Run Game Coordinator Aaron Kromer 1st year
Passing Game Coordinator Shane Waldron 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Wade Phillips 2nd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Sean McVay -- HC      
Category 2015 (WAS OC) 2016 (WAS OC) 2017
Points 10 12 1
Pace 30 17 14
Pass Attempts 20 7 24
Passing Yards 11 2 10
Rushing Attempts 15 27 9
Rushing Yards 20 21 8

Offense Breakdown: While the system – a West Coast Offense with an infusion of spread offense formations – won’t change, it should be interesting to see what happens with no OC in Matt LaFleur and instead a run game coordinator in Aaron Kromer and a passing game coordinator in Shane Waldron. They’re there just to assist and relay Sean McVay’s wishes so don’t expect any deviations. They may make suggestions, but in the end, this is McVay’s offense, his scheme and his team.

McVay implemented a zone-blocking run scheme which was enormously beneficial to Todd Gurley and with the defense more spread out, the pulling guards and tackles had more room to block downfield. This will open the door for a lot more play-action, and with the addition of a speedy Brandin Cooks , the Rams should see even more downfield throws from Jared Goff than they had last year. Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp will remain the chain-movers between the 20s and should also help spread the coverage out inside the red zone.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Jared Goff , Todd Gurley , Brandin Cooks

Defensive System: Wade Phillips returns for a second year 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 addition of Ndamukong Suh should help even more up front and prevent offenses from double-teaming Aaron Donald . Phillips also likes to use press-coverage with his cornerbacks which will generate more pressure on the quarterback, so expect a nice sack total and high takeaways with newcomers Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib .

Players Who Best Fit the System: Aaron Donald , Marcus Peters

Miami Dolphins

Head Coach Adam Gase 3rd year
Offensive Coordinator Dowell Loggains 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Matt Burke 2nd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Adam Gase -- HC         Dowell Loggains -- OC      
Category 2015 (CHI) 2016 2017   Category 2015 (CHI) 2016 (CHI) 2017 (CHI)
Points 23 17 28   Points QB COACH 28 29
Pace 21 32 17   Pace QB COACH 12 31
Pass Attempts 25 31 4   Pass Attempts QB COACH 22 32
Passing Yards 23 26 18   Passing Yards QB COACH 14 32
Rushing Attempts 6 18 32   Rushing Attempts QB COACH 25 18
Rushing Yards 11 9 29   Rushing Yards QB COACH 17 16

Offense Breakdown: Adam Gase, now in his third year as the head coach of the Dolphins, has made a change at offensive coordinator once again, replacing Clyde Christensen with former Bears OC Dowell Loggains, but, once again, the position is really more of a figurehead than someone who has much control over the offense. That belongs to Gase. He’ll call the plays and while Loggains may try to infuse some of his West Coast Offense tendencies, this system should be based in the Air Coryell scheme Gase has continuously used.

The Fins will attempt to establish a dominant ground game with the tandem of Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore just as you would expect from a typical Air Coryell system, but where they are likely to deviate is, instead of using a deep-passing, vertical attack, the team may opt to live primarily with the short-passes and timing routes you typically see in a West Coast offense. Why? Because Ryan Tannehill just doesn’t have what it takes to continually air it out the way we’ve seen so many other quarterbacks do. They’ll take their shots, but with the addition of tight end Mike Gesicki , we don’t expect them to try and spread the field as often as Gase would truly like.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Kenyan Drake , Kenny Stills , Mike Gesicki

Defensive System: 4-3 with both Cover-3 and Cover-2 zones

The base defense is considered a 4-3, but the team was using a wide-nine set-up a lot more often. That’s when you line up two defensive linemen to the outside of the line near the tight end and speed rush into the backfield. It’s a scheme that suits Cameron Wake and, maybe, Jordan Phillips well, but if the linebackers who start to move in towards the line aren’t strong tacklers and can’t stuff the run, the scheme doesn’t really work. Add to that the shakiness of the cover schemes and you’ve got some serious defensive liabilities, so look for Burke to start thinking early about adjustments.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Cameron Wake, Jordan Phillips

Minnesota Vikings

Head Coach Mike Zimmer 5th year
Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo 1st year
Defensive Coordinator George Edwards 5th year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Mike Zimmer -- HC         John DeFilippo -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 (CLE) 2016 (PHI) 2017 (PHI)
Points 16 23 10   Points 30 QB COACH QB COACH
Pace 27 24 25   Pace 18 QB COACH QB COACH
Pass Attempts 32 12 21   Pass Attempts 11 QB COACH QB COACH
Passing Yards 31 18 11   Passing Yards 21 QB COACH QB COACH
Rushing Attempts 4 25 2   Rushing Attempts 27 QB COACH QB COACH
Rushing Yards 4 32 7   Rushing Yards 22 QB COACH QB COACH

Offense Breakdown: While Mike Zimmer remains the head coach, he’s now on his third offensive coordinator in the last three years. The transition this year will be easier than it was a year and a half ago as John DeFilippo is a disciple of the West Coast Offense and he is unlikely to make too many changes from Pat Shurmur’s scheme from last season. When Shurmur had to transition the Vikings from Norv Turner’s Air Coryell system, that was tough. DeFilippo comes over from the Eagles’ West Coast Offense, but similar to Frank Reich’s situation in Indianapolis, he’s probably not going to be able to duplicate the system in Minnesota until he sees all of Kirk Cousins ’ strengths and weaknesses. For now, we expect a modernized west coast offense with some spread-offense concepts, pre-snap movement and play-action.

You can obviously expect a strong dose of Dalvin Cook as Zimmer loves to establish a strong ground game early. They’ll continue to employ a zone-blocking scheme which proved to be successful last season, not just with Cook, but with Latavius Murray as well. From there, DeFilippo should lean on the mid-range passing game early in the spirit of a true West Coast style. Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen should both thrive as should tight end Kyle Rudolph so long as Cousins is consistent with his accuracy, something very much needed in order to keep pressure on the defense. The use of the deep passes will grow from there. DeFilippo is also expected to help improve Cousins’ efficiency inside the red zone, something he focused heavily on, and found success with, in Philadelphia with Carson Wentz .

Players Who Best Fit the System: Dalvin Cook , Stefon Diggs , Adam Thielen , Kyle Rudolph

Defensive System: 4-3 with Press Man-Coverage

While George Edwards is the defensive coordinator, he’s more in charge of developing the linebackers and young talent while Zimmer handles the play-calling. They actually do a great job of complementing each other and Zimmer definitely takes a lot of his cues from what Edwards is seeing on the field. They expect their lineman and linebackers to be versatile as they actually like to switch up to a 3-4 at times and they expect their defensive backs to be able to play on either side of the field as they like to use a lot of man-coverage and press coverage.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Xavier Rhodes , Harrison Smith , Anthony Barr

New England Patriots

Head Coach Bill Belichick 19th year
Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels 7th year
Defensive Coordinator none  
Offensive System Erhardt-Perkins Offense  

 

Bill Belichick -- HC         Josh McDaniels -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 3 3 2   Points 3 3 2
Pace 9 15 5   Pace 9 15 5
Pass Attempts 5 23 7   Pass Attempts 5 23 7
Passing Yards 5 4 2   Passing Yards 5 4 2
Rushing Attempts 25 3 11   Rushing Attempts 25 3 11
Rushing Yards 30 7 10   Rushing Yards 30 7 10

Offense Breakdown: The base is that of a spread offense in which three or more receivers run routes to separate areas of the field to stretch out the defense, but this scheme is continuously in flux based on week-to-week match-ups and play-to-play adjustments. As great as Bill Belichick is with his adjustments on defense, Josh McDaniels is equally strong with the offense. The offense is capable of lining up in a variety of different ways and predicting what they are going to do within each series has proven to be an exercise in futility.

In an effort to preserve Tom Brady , the Patriots may incorporate the run more often and with four running backs – two pass-catchers and two downhill runners – they shouldn’t have any trouble making the adjustment. Jeremy Hill and Sony Michel (if he’s ready for the start of the season) will complement James White and Rex Burkhead well and that should result in more efficient work from Brady and his array of receivers and tight ends.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Um….everyone?

Defensive System: 4-3 hybrid with multi-front looks

Defense Breakdown: As tough as it is to pinpoint the offense to one particular system, the defense, which is run by the mad genius himself, can be even more complex. While the base is 4-3, the Patriots offer up countless different looks and are able to disguise their coverage and blitzes pretty well. Belichick expects all of his players to be able to adjust to any type of scheme without missing a beat and, so far, he and his coaches have done a fantastic job teaching them. Former Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia had been taking a more active role in the play-calling which means Belichick was giving him a full-on education and ready to see that coaching tree sprout more branches.Now that Patricia is in Detroit, the mad genius is on his own, but that hardly seems like a problem.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Again….can’t we just say everyone on this side of the ball too?

New Orleans Saints

Head Coach Sean Payton 13th year
Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael 10th year
Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen 5th year
Offensive System Air Coryell  

 

Sean Payton -- HC         Pete Carmichael -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 8 2 4   Points 8 2 4
Pace 13 1 29   Pace 13 1 29
Pass Attempts 2 2 19   Pass Attempts 2 2 19
Passing Yards 1 1 5   Passing Yards 1 1 5
Rushing Attempts 20 19 13   Rushing Attempts 20 19 13
Rushing Yards 24 16 5   Rushing Yards 24 16 5

Offense Breakdown: The emergence of Alvin Kamara and the strong complementary work of Mark Ingram has pushed this to a true Air Coryell system as the Saints finally have themselves a true power-running game. Typically, the Saints were using the deep passes to actually help set up the underneath looks, but now with their running backs, they appear to be a lot more balanced and heading in the right direction. Michael Thomas continues to be the leading target for Drew Brees while Ted Ginn works the outside lanes and we wait to see what kind of shape Cameron Meredith will be in for the season.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Alvin Kamara , Michael Thomas , Ted Ginn

Defensive System: Dennis Allen continues to teach and develop his defense and has taken a once-atrocious unit and turned it into something a whole lot more respectable. He uses a 4-3 base, but has definitely been known to mix it up often depending on the opposition. He also likes to use more zone coverage in the secondary, but with last year’s addition of Marshon Lattimore to an already strong crew of defensive backs, there’s a chance we see more man-coverage which could help with the takeaways.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Marshon Lattimore , Kurt Coleman

New York Giants

Head Coach Pat Shurmur 1st year
Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula 1st year
Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher 1st year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Pat Shurmur -- HC         Mike Shula -- OC      
Category 2015 (PHI OC) 2016 (MIN) 2017 (MIN OC)   Category 2015 (CAR) 2016 (CAR) 2017 (CAR)
Points 13 TE COACH 10   Points 1 15 12
Pace 1 TE COACH 25   Pace 19 32 32
Pass Attempts 6 TE COACH 21   Pass Attempts 27 20 27
Passing Yards 12 TE COACH 11   Passing Yards 24 21 28
Rushing Attempts 11 TE COACH 2   Rushing Attempts 1 7 3
Rushing Yards 14 TE COACH 7   Rushing Yards 2 10 4

Offense Breakdown: Expect big changes from the way things have been for the Giants in recent seasons. They will continue to utilize the West Coast Offense with the arrival of new head coach Pat Shurmur, but you can also expect to see a lot of OC Mike Shula’s power-running preference as well with Saquon Barkley expected to start. Think of it as somewhat of a hybrid with intermediate, quick passes to the likes of Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram while the newly-repaired offensive line opens some running lanes for Barkley and sets up more play-action for Eli Manning to hunt for Odell Beckham downfield.

The real question is how will the offensive line hold up with the additions of Nate Solder and Will Hernandez. Shula and Shurmur are going with a zone-blocking scheme which should definitely benefit Barkley as the guards pulling should open up some running lanes for him. If he can cut-and-run as he did in college, he should be able to find plenty of running room at the NFL level. That should, again, open things up more for Eli and the passing attack.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Eli Manning , Saquon Barkley , Sterling Shepard , Odell Beckham

Defensive System: Hybrid with man-coverage

This could be the toughest aspect of the Giants season as former Cardinals DC James Bettcher comes in to held rebuild the Giants defense, pretty much, from the ground up. They’ll flip between a 3-4 and a 4-3 base, but speed in the linebacker corps may not be abundant which is always tough in a 3-4 scheme. They’ve got great experience in Connor Barwin , Alec Ogletree and Olivier Vernon, but Bettcher may have to cut back on how much he likes to blitz. Not a huge cut, but enough that he doesn’t leave the secondary out to dry.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Landon Collins , Alec Ogletree

New York Jets

Head Coach Todd Bowles 4th year
Offensive Coordinator Jeremy Bates 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Kacy Rodgers 3rd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Todd Bowles -- HC         Jeremy Bates -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 11 30 24   Points N/A N/A QB COACH
Pace 16 28 28   Pace N/A N/A QB COACH
Pass Attempts 15 23 25   Pass Attempts N/A N/A QB COACH
Passing Yards 13 27 24   Passing Yards N/A N/A QB COACH
Rushing Attempts 10 13 17   Rushing Attempts N/A N/A QB COACH
Rushing Yards 10 12 19   Rushing Yards N/A N/A QB COACH

Offense Breakdown: As the Jets continue to struggle for an identity in the NFL, the search goes on for the right coaching staff. After one year, head coach Todd Bowles fired OC John Morton and decided to stay within the organization and promote QB coach Jeremy Bates. An interesting hire, for sure, as Bates had spent just one year under Bowles, a time that was preceded by a four-year hiatus from coaching. He washed out after serving one year as the Bears QB coach in 2012 and then spent four years finding himself while hiking through the Rocky Mountains. But Bates obviously impressed his head coach enough and will now be given the opportunity to install his version of the West Coast offense into the Jets playbook.

The offense Bates wants to run is similar to that of the Denver Broncos back in 2008, a time when the team was churning out 1,000-yard rushers every season. Bates will model the Jets in similar fashion which will begin with a zone-blocking scheme that should prove positive for new lead running back Isaiah Crowell . You should see more running lanes open up as the line pulls to the outside and that should help set up the passing attack which will focus on the short-quick passes to help move the offense up and down the field. They’ll take their shots downfield to Robby Anderson , but Jermaine Kearse and, if healthy, Quincy Enunwa could be the better PPR options.  

Players Who Best Fit the System: Josh McCown , Isaiah Crowell , Jermaine Kearse

Defensive System: 3-4 with both man and zone-coverage options

Defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers returns for his third season and continues to work in conjunction with Bowles employing an aggressive coverage style in the secondary in which they like to blitz and swap coverage mid-play.  The defensive line has gone through some personnel changes but should rely on Leonard Williams to help lead the rush while outside edge-rushers Josh Martin and Jordan Jenkins apply additional pressure. You’ll see a combination of both man-to-man and zone coverage, though, they may need to decide on one way or the other as they got burned often on deep plays as the coverage failed to hold up long enough during unsuccessful pass rush attempts. The addition of veteran Trumaine Johnson should help solidify the secondary.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Leonard Williams , Josh Martin

Oakland Raiders

Head Coach Jon Gruden 1st year
Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther 1st year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Jon Gruden -- HC         Greg Olson -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 (JAC) 2016 (JAC) 2017 (LAR)
Points N/A N/A N/A   Points 14 25 QB COACH
Pace N/A N/A N/A   Pace 4 2 QB COACH
Pass Attempts N/A N/A N/A   Pass Attempts 12 4 QB COACH
Passing Yards N/A N/A N/A   Passing Yards 10 20 QB COACH
Rushing Attempts N/A N/A N/A   Rushing Attempts 30 24 QB COACH
Rushing Yards N/A N/A N/A   Rushing Yards 27 22 QB COACH

Offense Breakdown: The hallowed return of head coach Jon Gruden has the fantasy community buzzing as he’s been putting this team together like a guy who drafts a fantasy team based on yesterday’s numbers and a hyped-up draft magazine that’s five years too old. He tabbed former assistant Greg Olson as his OC as the two have spent plenty of time together and Olson also has a connection to Derek Carr , whom he coached here in Oakland back in 2014. Olson worked with Gruden in Tampa and spent last season working as the QB Coach for the Rams under Sean McVay, another Gruden disciple.

Gruden and Olson will establish a West Coast style offense that uses zone-blocking to help establish the run behind the tandem of Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin . They’ll focus on the short, quick passes to help move up and down the field, a likely reason for bringing in Jordy Nelson and they’ll look to set up the deeper work with both Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant . Expect Jared Cook to join Nelson in the short-passing game as well.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Marshawn Lynch , Jordy Nelson , Jared Cook

Defensive System: 4-3 with zone coverage

Paul Guenther was tabbed as the DC in Oakland so you can expect the Black Hole to get all sorts of fired up. Guenther worked under Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati where his aggressive blitzing was a welcomed site. Zimmer was a big believer in QB pressure and Guenther gave it to him every chance he could get, using the threat of the double-A-gap blitz to help put his edge-rushers into more one-on-one situations. Employing this system should help keep the double-teams off Khalil Mack . In the secondary, you’ll see a mix of Cover-2and Cover-4 zones, but you may also see some bump-and-run man coverage off the line at times as well. Guenther likes to give a lot of different looks and is actually very good at disguising coverage.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Khalil Mack , Mario Edwards , Rashaan Melvin

Philadelphia Eagles

Head Coach Doug Pederson 3rd year
Offensive Coordinator Mike Groh 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz 3rd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Doug Pederson -- HC         Mike Groh -- OC      
Category 2015 (KC OC) 2016 2017   Category 2015 (CHI) 2016 2017
Points 9 16 3   Points WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Pace 31 19 24   Pace WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Pass Attempts 29 15 13   Pass Attempts WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Passing Yards 30 13 13   Passing Yards WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Rushing Attempts 13 10 6   Rushing Attempts WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Rushing Yards 6 15 3   Rushing Yards WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH

Offense Breakdown: With Frank Reich heading to Indianapolis, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson tabbed WR coach Mike Groh as his new offensive coordinator. It makes things a lot easier when you promote from within as this system belongs to Pederson. You don’t want to say the OC is a puppet or a figurehead, but in truth, that’s what he is as Pederson calls the plays from the system – a West Coast style offense – which belongs to him. Groh will offer some situational input, but even he made it clear to the media that this was not his system.

The Eagles offense focuses heavily on short, high-percentage passes which will set up more outside runs and deeper passes downfield. Alshon Jeffery (when healthy), Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor will see a ton of targets once again as the offense moves up and down the field while Mike Wallace will, hopefully, add a vertical element to the attack inside the red zone. The team will also utilize a combination of power and zone-blocking and, similar to last season, will continue to mix in a variety of running styles between Jay Ajayi , Corey Clement and even Darren Sporles.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Carson Wentz , Alshon Jeffery , Zach Ertz

Defensive System: 4-3 with a mix of Cover-2 and man coverage

Jim Schwartz found success when he changed the Eagles defense to a 4-3 base with multi-front tendencies and rotated in his incredible line depth to continuously attack the opposing quarterback. He also dropped an extra linebacker into coverage so not to over-pursue in the pass-rush and stopped using the Cover-2 zone in the secondary as often as he did. The tilt towards more man-coverage helped prevent the big plays that had continuously plagued them in previous seasons. Schwartz also likes to focus on the turnovers and has his team trying to strip the ball at each and every turn. They’ve been plenty aggressive since changing the scheme and it’s proven to be highly successful.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Jordan Hicks , Rodney McLeod

Pittsburgh Steelers

Head Coach Mike Tomlin 11th year
Offensive Coordinator Randy Fichtner 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler 4th year
Offensive System Erhardt-Perkins Offense  

 

Mike Tomlin -- HC         Randy Fichtner -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 4 10 8   Points WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Pace 15 7 22   Pace WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Pass Attempts 16 9 6   Pass Attempts WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Passing Yards 3 5 3   Passing Yards WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Rushing Attempts 24 16 15   Rushing Attempts WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH
Rushing Yards 16 14 20   Rushing Yards WR COACH WR COACH WR COACH

Offense Breakdown: The evolution of the Steelers offense is going to be an interesting one this season as longtime assistant Randy Fichtner takes over for Todd Haley as the offensive coordinator. The assumption that Fichtner will just carry over everything that Haley successfully implemented in Pittsburgh is only partially correct as he will maintain the use of the Erhardt-Perkins offense, but Fichtner has plenty to add – some good, some…well, we’re just going to have to wait and see.

It starts with the ground game, of course and that’s Le’Veon Bell. The zone-blocking the Steelers have used was extremely helpful to a runner like Bell whose patience allowed him to find his lanes on the inside zone. Fichtner will maintain that, however, he is apparently also looking at some gap-blocking schemes with pulling guards in which offensive linemen must get off the ball and displace defenders along the line to create holes for both wrapping linemen and the running back. The Steelers haven’t exactly been successful in recent years with this as it requires extra interior blockers. They used to do it with wide receiver Hines Ward and tight end Heath Miller, but the team hasn’t had those type of smashmouth players for some time. Hard to picture Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster popping a linebacker in the mouth, so while the offense may employ gap-running early on, if they don’t have success, it could be quickly abandoned.

The passing attack is actually where the evolution of this offense could really take off. Fichtner likes to use the no-huddle, up-tempo offense, something that Ben Roethlisberger had always asked Haley to use more. It will keep defenses on their heels more and give Ben more options after reading the defense. Fichtner will implement the use of code plays to keep it simple for his quarterback. The code dictates the formation and has a multiple-play scheme for Roethlisberger to use based on the defensive alignment.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Ben Roethlisberger , Le’Veon Bell (for the most pasrt), Antonio Brown , JuJu Smith-Schuster

Defensive System: 3-4 with both man and zone coverage

Keith Butler returns for a fourth season and will continue to employ the same defensive scheme he’s been evolving since taking over for the great Dick LeBeau back in 2015. Butler likes to mix up the defensive line set-ups and he’s extremely aggressive with the blitz packages. With strong depth at the line and in the linebacker position, Butler rotates in a lot of personnel to keep everyone fresh and active.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Cameron Heyward, John Bostic

San Francisco 49ers

Head Coach Kyle Shanahan 2nd year
Offensive Coordinator none  
Defensive Coordinator Robert Saleh 2nd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Kyle Shanahan -- HC      
Category 2015 (ATL) 2016 (ATL) 2017
Points 21 1 20
Pace 20 23 1
Pass Attempts 8 26 2
Passing Yards 6 3 9
Rushing Attempts 16 12 22
Rushing Yards 18 5 21

Offense Breakdown: Welcome to Year 2 of Kyle Shanahan in the Bay area as both head coach and offensive coordinator. He will continue with his version of the west coast offense which utilizes a ton of short, high-percentage pass plays instead of power rushing and those will hopefully set up the bigger plays downfield and the outside runs. With Jimmy Garoppolo under center, you should also expect to see a strong blend of read-options as well.  

For the ground game, Shanahan’s use of zone-blocking has always proven to be effective and should again be a big boost to running backs Jerick McKinnon and Matt Breida . Shanahan won’t evenly rotate the two of them as McKinnon is expected to see the majority of work, but Breida and Joe Williams are expected to be involved. On the passing front, look for Marquise Goodwin to return as Jimmy Grapes’ favorite target, but Pierre Garcon (if healthy) and slot receiver Trent Taylor are expected to see strong work as well as Shanahan dinks and dunks the team up and down the field.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Jimmy Garoppolo , Jerick McKinnon , Pierre Garcon

Defensive System: 4-3 with both Cover-1 and Cover-3 schemes

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh returns for a second season and will continue to utilize his 4-3 system with a heavy rotation of personnel and a lot of pre-snap movement. The key for Saleh is how the secondary unfolds with the changes in personnel. He’s going to use multiple zone coverages still but again, will mix in personnel to hopefully disguise some of the coverage schemes.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Reuben Foster , Malcolm Smith

Seattle Seahawks

     
Head Coach Pete Carroll 9th year
Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton, Jr.  1st year
Offensive System Air Coryell  

 

Pete Carroll -- HC         Brian Schottenheimer -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 (IND) 2017 (IND)
Points 5 18 11   Points GEORGIA OC QB COACH QBCOACH
Pace 28 14 9   Pace GEORGIA OC QB COACH QBCOACH
Pass Attempts 28 18 16   Pass Attempts GEORGIA OC QB COACH QBCOACH
Passing Yards 20 10 14   Passing Yards GEORGIA OC QB COACH QBCOACH
Rushing Attempts 3 20 20   Rushing Attempts GEORGIA OC QB COACH QBCOACH
Rushing Yards 3 25 23   Rushing Yards GEORGIA OC QB COACH QBCOACH

Offense Breakdown: The Seahawks offense is going to have a new look this season with Brian Schottenheimer taking over as the new offensive coordinator. Pete Carroll doesn’t want a complete overhaul, but he is going to let Schottenheimer do his thing which is to change from Darrell Bevell’s West Coast offense and implement his version of the Air Coryell system.

With the Air Coryell system in place, the Seahawks are going to have to be successful in running the ball. Schottenheimer likes to use a zone stretch offense which focuses on outside zone running. Both Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny work will in this style, but when they change to some inside zone schemes when the linebackers commit to the outside, Carson and could be a better fit. You can also expect Schottenheimer to use Tyler Lockett on some outside zone runs just as he did with Tavon Austin back when he was with the Rams.

With the run established, the Seahawks will hopefully be able to open things up in the passing game. Doug Baldwin , Tyler Lockett and even Brandon Marshall are going to need to get separation and be able to add a vertical element when stretching the field. Tight ends Ed Dickson and Nick Vannett will get involved too, however, the success of this pass attack is based in the success of the team’s pass-blocking. The offensive line is in dire need of some work, so if there’s one major thing you need to watch in training camp, it’s more the o-line and less about Baldwin’s knee. New o-line coach Mike Solari has his work cut out for him.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Russell Wilson , Chris Carson , Doug Baldwin

Defensive System: 4-3 Under with a Cover-3 zone

Despite the change to Ken Norton, Jr. as the new DC, there won’t be any real change to the Seattle defense as this is the system Carroll implemented when he first arrived nine years ago. Norton is there simply to manage the defense and, at times, maybe throw in an extra blitz or two based on the opponent. The 4-3 Under works well against zone-blocking schemes and Carrol is certainly of the mindset of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

Players Who Best Fit the System: Bobby Wagner , Shaquil Griffin

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Head Coach Dirk Koetter 3rd year
Offensive Coordinator Todd Monken 3rd year
Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith 3rd year
Offensive System Air Coryell  

 

Dirk Koetter -- HC         Todd Monken -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 20 18 18   Points SO. MISS HC 18 18
Pace 7 10 6   Pace SO. MISS HC 10 6
Pass Attempts 22 16 3   Pass Attempts SO. MISS HC 16 3
Passing Yards 17 16 4   Passing Yards SO. MISS HC 16 4
Rushing Attempts 8 7 26   Rushing Attempts SO. MISS HC 7 26
Rushing Yards 5 24 27   Rushing Yards SO. MISS HC 24 27

Offense Breakdown: Not much in the world of change for the Bucs as head coach Dirk Koetter retains play-calling duties in his Air Coryell-style of offense. His OC Todd Monken has earned the right to put his own flair on it – a minor blend of some west coast and spread offense elements – but he’s reqally just there to manage the personnel and make sure Koetter’s system is being used properly. The addition of Ronald Jones II will help the power-run game as he and Peyton Barber join forces in the Tampa backfield. Jacquizz Rodgers will find himself involved at times and pass-catching back Charles Sims should make an appearance here and there. Jones should eventually work his way into the lion’s share of touches, but for now, Koetter won’t over-commit to him.

The passing attack also stays the same so, even without Jameis Winston for the first three weeks of the season, you can expect Mike Evans to dominate the targets. Chris Godwin is getting some camp buzz and could be the team’s Z-receiver as DeSean Jackson is working more out of the slot. Cameron Brate and O.J. Howard remain solid red zone targets.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Ronald Jones II, Mike Evans , O.J. Howard

Defensive System: 4-3 (multi-front) with mixed-coverage in Cover-2 scheme

Mike Smith is in his third season as the Bucs DC and there is little reason for changes to happen. Smith will switch back and forth between the 3-4 and the 4-3 set-up, depending on the play calls and the situations, and will continue to drop his linebackers back into coverage to protect the Cover-2 zone coverage he likes to use in the secondary. It may be an antiquated scheme, but Smith sticks with it and seems to get his players to routinely buy into it.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Gerald McCoy, Jason Pierre-Paul

Tennessee Titans

Head Coach Mike Vrabel 1st year
Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur 1st year
Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees 1st year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Mike Vrabel -- HC         Matt LaFleur -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017 (HOU)   Category 2015 (ATL) 2016 (ATL) 2017 (LAR)
Points LB COACH LB COACH DC   Points QB COACH QB COACH 1
Pace LB COACH LB COACH DC   Pace QB COACH QB COACH 14
Pass Attempts LB COACH LB COACH DC   Pass Attempts QB COACH QB COACH 24
Passing Yards LB COACH LB COACH DC   Passing Yards QB COACH QB COACH 10
Rushing Attempts LB COACH LB COACH DC   Rushing Attempts QB COACH QB COACH 9
Rushing Yards LB COACH LB COACH DC   Rushing Yards QB COACH QB COACH 8

Offense Breakdown: This is going to be a big test for new OC Matt LaFleur as this will be his first job where he is designing the offense and calling the plays. LaFleur spent 10 years working under both Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, so while he may not have designed their schemes, you know he’s got a serious understanding of complex schemes and how to run them. LaFleur will install a West Coast Offense that utilizes a zone-blocking scheme and will likely infuse some RPOs as well, given Mariota’s style of play. His choice of Keith Carter as his offensive line coach, pretty much, laid that out for us. Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry will both be featured as we expect to see a strong mix of both inside and outside zone running.

On the passing front, expect a lot of short, high-percentage passes and look for them to try and get Corey Davis a heavy dose of targets. We still don’t know the status of Rishard Matthews , so Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe could see their roles significantly increase. Delanie Walker is also going to be a big factor. Sharpe isn’t a bad fit for this style of offense, but you may want to keep an eye on Michael Campanaro out of the slot as he seems to be getting some camp buzz.

Players Who Best Fit the System: 3-4 with mix of man and zone coverage

Defensive System: The Titans and DC Dean Pees are actually being very quiet about their defensive scheme this season. Pees takes over for Dick Lebeau and is expected to install a 3-4 system while using both man and zone coverage in the secondary. Pees has a reputation for creative schemes that free up his pass-rushers, so we can probably expect some strong blitzing and a lot of work from Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan . The front three are strong against the run, so it’s going to come down to the inside linebackers and secondary to stop the pass.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Brian Orakpo , Derrick Morgan , Kevin Byard

Washington Redskins

Head Coach Jay Gruden 5th year
Offensive Coordinator Matt Cavanaugh 2nd year
Defensive Coordinator Greg Manusky 2nd year
Offensive System West Coast Offense  

 

Jay Gruden -- HC         Matt Cavanaugh -- OC      
Category 2015 2016 2017   Category 2015 2016 2017
Points 10 12 16   Points QB COACH QB COACH 16
Pace 30 17 23   Pace QB COACH QB COACH 23
Pass Attempts 20 7 18   Pass Attempts QB COACH QB COACH 18
Passing Yards 11 2 12   Passing Yards QB COACH QB COACH 12
Rushing Attempts 15 27 24   Rushing Attempts QB COACH QB COACH 24
Rushing Yards 20 21 28   Rushing Yards QB COACH QB COACH 28

Offense Breakdown: Head coach Jay Gruden enters his fifth year as the Redskins coach and he’s retained both his offensive and defensive coordinators, so there doesn’t appear to be too much change in system on the horizon. Gruden will retain the offensive play-calling while Matt Cavanaugh manages the players and he is going to maintain the version of west coast offense they ran the last two seasons which means a reliance on the power running and then short passes over the middle. That will cater to new quarterback Alex Smith who excels with quick, short passes and should benefit Jamison Crowder and tight end Jordan Reed (read: Vernon Davis for obvious reasons). Paul Richardson joins the team this season so we’ll see them stretch the field as well.

As far as the ground game goes, Derrius Guice is expected to be the early-down back with Chris Thompson handling the third-down, pass-catching duties. There’s really no word as to whether we’ll see Samaje Perine or even Robert Kelley , though with Thompson’s knee still an issue, the Skins may have to make some adjustments.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Alex Smith , Derrius Guice , Jamison Crowder , Jordan Reed

Defensive System: 3-4 with mix of Cover-1 and Cover-3 schemes

Greg Manusky handles the defensive play-calling and will continue to utilize the 3-4 base defense. He’ll likely change a few things up on the defensive line depending on the situation, but this system works very well, especially for Jonathan Allen who has some nice versatility and can play both on the inside and the outside. Expect to see a lot of blitzes and a lot of edge-rushes from the linebackers. Manusky likes to employ zone coverage in the secondary, so like we’ve seen with so many other Cover-1 and 3 zone schemes, offenses are going to try and lure the safeties in and expose the secondary to some big plays.

Players Who Best Fit the System: Jonathan Allen , Josh Norman

 

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