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The offense

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Post#1 The offense
Sun Jan 20, 2013 8:08 am by TNBT

I'm pretty new to the game, and I also play CB, so I don't know huge amounts about different offensive formations and so on. So I'm trying to get my head around our offense. I keep hearing about pistols and about read-option. From what I can gather, the pistol is a particular formation that we use sometimes, while when we run the read-option offense, we run it from a different formation. That's about all I know about this offense as far as schemes and set plays, and I don't know if that's even correct. Can someone fill me in a bit on the different formations that we use for different plays, and what those plays are?
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Post#2 Re: The offense
Wed Jan 23, 2013 3:50 am by arsenal6106

I'm not the best person to answer your question fully.

I did just finish watching this video of NFL network talking about the Pistol formation with Kap's college coach. Check it out!

http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-am/0ap200 ... Kaepernick
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Post#3 Re: The offense
Wed Jan 23, 2013 6:48 am by TNBT

Thanks man, I'll check that out now.
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Post#4 Re: The offense
Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:10 pm by and1GS

We have a very flexible playbook since Kaepernick is such a versatile QB. With Smith we ran a lot of 3 step drops out of I-Formation (RB and a FB) and single-back, but I don't really remember if we ran 5-7 step drops. The latter is basically used when you want to give your WRs more time to get open downfield (you're basically stepping back into the shotgun after the snap) while the former is used for QBs like Smith, pocket passers who can do 2 reads then check-down to the safety valve.

I could talk about this stuff all day since it's all pretty interesting and I'm still figuring it all out myself but with Kaepernick, we basically use everything and there's a threat of anything on each play.

Most common things you'll see with Kaep are the pistol or shotgun. The read-run is done out of the pistol where the QB receives the snap, puts in front of the RB's body, looks to see if there's a defender on the edge and then makes a decision if he or the RB should take it. Pretty incredible how quick these decisions are made, but if the edge defender isn't there then it's a pretty obvious QB keeper. We do the roll-out sometimes too, which is lethal with QBs who have a strong arm and are mobile.

One area for improvement with Kaep which will come in time is for him to be more than a 2-3 read QB. The greats, Brees/Brady/Rodgers, can look at every receiver on the field (called progressions) within a play.
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Post#5 Re: The offense
Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:39 pm by gswhoops

The Pistol is a short shotgun formation where the QB lines up in the shotgun but only about 4 yards behind the center (standard is about 7) with a RB directly behind him. It combines some of the positive aspects of both the traditional shotgun and the traditional I-formation (with some of their disadvantages, obviously). We run the read-option out of it quite a bit.

Kaep actually pioneered it at Nevada, which is one reason he's looked so good out of it
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Post#6 Re: The offense
Thu Jan 31, 2013 3:07 pm by TNBT

The more I read about the pistol and the read-option, the more questions I have. As far as the formation, I read the Wikipedia article on it and the diagram they had shows the QB behind C, with the RB behind him. It then had three WR's. Do we usually go with that sort of formation? Or when we run the pistol, do we use a FB, and if so, where does he line up?

When it comes to the read-option offense, from what I can gather, it works best with a QB who is a threat to run the ball himself. That makes sense, because being able to run it himself, hand off to the RB or pass it means that there are multiple options on each play, which makes it so difficult for the defense to work out. However, the Wikipedia article on the read-option said that it is also used when a QB is limited mobility-wise with an injury, etc. Now with a limited QB, doesn't that then make the read-option LESS effective as the threat of the QB run is no longer there?
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Post#7 Re: The offense
Thu Jan 31, 2013 4:21 pm by and1GS

It does work best if the QB can run, but that's only if you're utilizing the read/run option. You can easily run the pistol and either hand it to a RB or treat it as a normal shotgun play. In that case it's a way to avoid a 5-7 step QB drop yet not give it away that it's a pass play by coming out in shotgun.

We generally run the pistol with Kaep in shotgun, a RB behind him and either Miller (FB) or another RB to the left of him. It's basically meshing together a strong I-Formation and shotgun into the same play and combining it with a play action, which we actually run more than the read/option.

In sum, you wouldn't run the read option with a non-mobile QB, you'd just run play actions out of the pistol.
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Post#8 Re: The offense
Fri Feb 1, 2013 1:31 am by TNBT

Thanks for the reply man. I see that I had been confusing the formation (pistol) with the strategy (read-option). I can understand us using play-action a lot, given Gore's talent and productivity means that the defense has no choice but to step up against the run. Likewise, given Kaepernick's ability to run, I can understand using the read-option as much as we do, as Kaep and Gore are both dangerous runners, and we have some talented receivers as well, which makes it all the more confusing for the defense.

I also understand what you're saying about a non-mobile QB being able to play out of the pistol but not running any read-option plays. That makes perfect sense to me. The only confusing thing for me there is why the Wikipedia article on read-option plays said that it is commonly used by non-mobile QB's. If anything, I would have thought it would be very rarely used in those cases.
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Post#9 Re: The offense
Fri Feb 1, 2013 12:49 pm by and1GS

At that point it's basically just running out of a closer to the line shotgun, but with the threat of a play action. Even when Kaep runs the read/option he very rarely keeps it himself.
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