Friday, May 23, 2014

The Chuck and Duck Offense

  Definitely, most football fans prefer the Chuck and Duck offense.   That term was originally used by Coach Buddy Ryan to describe the "Run and Shoot" offense in which you have four or even five receivers.  In other words, the Chuck and Duck team loads up on quarterbacks and wide receivers, often neglecting everything else.  The only problem is that football is a team game, so when you do that you almost never win. 

Does the Chuck and Duck offense work?  Um, no.  

    Nevertheless, greedy owners, as well as many fans, are attracted to strong armed quarterbacks, especially if they can scramble. They also want to load up on speedy wide receivers and throw the bomb as often as possible.   But if your team can't protect the quarterback, he eventually gets killed. 

     Because of the team aspect, quarterbacks usually don't perform well if the team sucks.   That should have been obvious when the Browns signed Jeff Garcia, who played great for San Francisco, but not so good for Cleveland. Then Garcia went on to star again for Philadelphia and Tampa Bay and even made the Pro Bowl.  

Was quarterback Jeff Garcia to blame for the Browns 4-12 showing in 2004 ?   If so, how did he make the Pro Bowl three times before coming to Cleveland, and once more after he left? 

     Jerry Jones and Dan Snyder come to mind as stupid owners that love to spend money on quarterbacks and wide receivers, and not so much on other positions.   Jones has saddled his team with Tony Romo, who at age 34 has such a huge contract that he is virtually untradable.  Like it or not, the Cowboys are stuck with him.  They also have bad boy wide receiver Dez Bryant, while their defense was one of the worst in NFL history in 2013.   

Would you want either of these guys calling the football shots for your team?  I predict these guys will be dwelling in the basement of the NFC East for years to come, despite incredible fan bases and years of accumulated football smarts in their organizations.  

    Snyder, of course, sabotaged his team by trading three first round draft picks and one second round pick for Robert Griffin III, who has had some injuries and clashes with the coaching staff.  I predict that both of those teams will continue their downward slides in 2014.   Let's hope that the Browns don't follow this model.  

    In the AFC North, you have to be able to play in cold weather.  If a team plays in a dome, or in the south, it might make more sense to try to acquire wide receivers with great speed.  But when it's cold and windy, you want big physical guys that are able to adjust to the ball and outfight the defenders. Better yet, draft linemen and defenders rather than trying to build an explosive passing game.  

    With the big front seven that the Browns have, and now with the talent they have in the defensive backfield,  I don't think that other teams will be able to move the ball very effectively against them.  
     The Browns have been a Chuck and Duck team for a long time, blowing draft choices and free agent dollars on quarterbacks like Jake Delhomme, Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden, Brady Quinn and others.   
     Remember the 2009 season?  They tried to use the four wide receiver formation with such stud receivers as Mohammad Massaquoi, Brian Robiskie, Mike Furrey and Chansi Stuckey.  Brady Quinn was the fireball quarterback for that operation, which turned out to be a complete disaster.  The solution?  Fire the quarterback, of course.  Hello, Jake Delhomme.  And on and on...

    So, what's new?  Again the Browns have a new quarterback in Johnny Manziel, but I think Ray Farmer is building a much better team overall. Wide receiver is probably the weakest part of the team, but they will be able to move the ball on the ground and they are four deep at tight end. They have drafted Joel Bittonio, who may wind up a guard, and added  Ken Dray as a second blocking tight end.    They also added a running back in Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell.  They also added Andrew Hawkins as a slot receiver and wideout, as well as veterans Nate Burleson and Miles Austin.  

     Moreover, the defense is now stacked.  They have three guys (Rubin, Bryant and Taylor) who are quick enough to play defensive end but big enough to play nose tackle.  They have added  guys in ILB Karlos Dansby and SS Donte Whitner who are much more effective in pass coverage than their predecessors.  With Justin Gilbert and Pierre Desir joining Pro Bowler and new millionaire Joe Haden, the Browns will be able to play man-to-man coverage and turn the Front 7 loose to do their thing.  If there is a weakness in this defense, I don't know what it is.  
     Others may complain about the lack of wide receiving talent, which is true.   But  I'll go with the Browns defense over any Chuck and Duck offense, thank you very much.   


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