Friday, September 25, 2015

Realign, Redefine and Reassign When It’s Time to Make Adjustments

When a head football coach is very unhappy with his team’s performance, often times the situation gets much worse – if those very tough decisions and choices that need to be made are prolonged, fretted over, and/or severely drawn out.

Things don’t stay the same – therefore they either get better, or they get worse.

The late, great football coach, Bill Walsh believed in clearly assessing the situation(s) at hand regarding his football team’s chemistry and performance. And then, once those issues were critically assessed, Walsh would firmly make those brutally tough decisions that he thought were necessary, and then he would instruct his assistant coaches and players to “close ranks” and move forward without pause.

As a head football coach, it’s vitally important to remember three key things when making the adjustments needed in an attempt to improve your football team’s lagging performance.

1. Realign: the definition, is to change the position or direction of (something) slightly usually in relation to something else, or to organize (something) in a different way.

When your football team is really struggling to win games and not performing up to its potential, then realigning your team’s Focus can help your team improve.

How and Why?

Shifting your team’s immediate Focus from winning games to improving its overall attitude on a daily basis, and ramping up each player’s basic fundamental execution can relieve bouts of stress that some players might be feeling, and refocus their attention on the day-to-day little things in order to improve their performance one-step at a time.

2. Redefine: the definition, is to reexamine or reevaluate especially with a view to change, or to transform.

Change is not easy, and delivering an overall platform of successful changes is even harder to achieve when you’re working with a large group of people. Asking yourself, your players and your assistant coaches to clearly reevaluate all-things-considered during unhappy times is one of the toughest things to do in sports.


Football coaches and players are naturally competitive, they are accustomed to winning, and they relish the thrill of victory. When a team’s performance sinks way below par, sometimes the players and coaches will tend to believe that if they just keep working even-harder, then “things will get better.”

However, as a head coach, it’s important to remain flexible in order to be successful. Therefore, transforming your team’s offensive, defensive and special teams attack can dramatically improve your team’s performance, if you are not afraid to radically adjust your tactical approach in the early to mid-stream phase of the season.

3. Reassign: the definition, is to move personnel or resources, etc., to a new post, department or location, etc.

As a head football coach, not only do you need to remain flexible in order to maintain long-term success, but your assistant coaches and players must be willing to adapt and adjust in order to thrive.

Tweaking some of your duties and responsibilities within your role as head coach, and those of your assistant coaches and players will often times provide for the influx of fresh and innovative ideas to emerge, and also enable some of your reassigned players to blossom on the field of play in new and exciting ways.

The goal is to win.

If you want to maximize your football team’s chance of success when the results are not going your way on the field of play, it’s prudent to remain flexible in your approach.

And remember, to be ready, willing and able to Realign, Redefine and Reassign.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kenny Stabler Belongs in the Hall of Fame

UPDATED on February 7th, 2016: Congrats to the late, great Kenny Stabler and his family on Finally getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame!

Please read my article below written on July 17th, 2015...

I admit...that I am biased towards the late, great, Oakland Raider QB, Kenny Stabler.

Growing up as a lifelong Raider’s fan, I had the privilege of watching the dynamic Kenny Stabler play Quarterback for the Oakland Raiders.

During his youth, at the University of Alabama, and even during his early years with the Oakland Raiders, Kenny “The Snake” Stabler was an incredibly talented and gifted athlete, until a few severe knee injuries greatly reduced his mobility.

Stabler in High School in Alabama.

Stabler executing a Jump Pass for the University of Alabama vs. Tennessee

Stabler with the Oakland Raiders.

Better yet, Kenny Stabler was one of the most poised quarterback’s, and one of the greatest players that were always “cool-under-pressure” clutch type of performers at any position in football…ever.

Many of Stabler’s breathtaking and heart-stopping gutty plays have become some of the best NFL Time Capsule Moments, such as, “The Sea of Hands,” vs. the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Playoffs, or the stunning 4th Down Long Bomb to Tight End Dave Casper that went straight down the middle of the field vs. the Baltimore Colts in the AFC Playoffs - forever known as “The Ghost to the Post,” and the infamous “Holy Roller,” vs. the San Diego Chargers, just to name a few.

Stabler was a great winner, a consummate teammate and always gracious towards his many fans. He was also recognized by his peers and the media as the best player, or one of the best players of his era several times, including but not limited to:

- 1974 MVP of the NFL
- 1974 NFL Offensive Player of the Year
- NFL All-Pro Player and a Pro Bowl Player Four Times
- Super Bowl XI Champion vs. the Minnesota Vikings
- Selected to the NFL All-Decade Team for the 1970's
- Multiple Other Awards Earned during his Excellent Career

If you have any doubts about whether or not Kenny Stabler deserves to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, then please take a step back for a moment and imagine what the Oakland Raiders, and the entire Era of 1970’s Pro Football would have been like Without him?

Stabler was great for the game, great for the Raiders and great for the fans. And, he was a 'One of Kind' personality.

Thank you to the late Kenny Stabler for giving it his all throughout his incredible pro football career to provide so many great memories for us football fans to enjoy.

And now, it’s time for the Voting Members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee to return the favor, and demonstrate their sincere and eternal appreciation for the legendary and special player, Kenny Stabler.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

(Coaching Tip # 2) Utilizing A-11 Concept Screen Plays Helps to Improve QB Player Safety

Coaching Tip Number Two:

The dimensions of the Football Field have not changed in over 100-years, but for the most part, the incredible athletes of today are far superior to the great athletes from the bygone era of 1910-1930, respectfully.

In today's era, the dynamic speed and elite athletic ability of top football players puts maximum pressure on each athlete to react with rapidly escalating precision in the seemingly more limited boundaries of the football field...because the actual Dimensions of the field were established more than a Century ago, and the game moves Much faster than it did prior to World War I.

During the past several years, the Quarterbacks at the professional level, Collegiate level, and at the high school level have taken brutal hits to their bodies and heads that could potentially end their careers, or worse yet, even their lives.

ALL competitive sports are dangerous: soccer, football, baseball, basketball, hockey, lacrosse, racing, etc.

Currently however, ON the field of play, and with the advent of innovative high school, collegiate and pro coaches pushing the envelope of creativity and ascending the ranks at Every level, creative A-11 Spread concept Screen pass plays and Read Screens are Helping to Neutralize the overwhelming and physically dominating Defensive Linemen and Linebackers, which in turn helps to Protect the most Vulnerable Player on the field...the Quarterback.

One of the best tools to help preserve the health and safety of the Quarterback is to fully exploit the utilization of the Screen Passing game, and the Read Screen Passing game. (See Example Above).

When Defensive Linemen and Linebackers are Forced to become Even More Spread Out across the field of play to defend ultra-spread offensive formations, and also account for the Possibility of Getting Burned by one of these cleverly devised plays, they will often be more hesitant or less aggressive on some plays during the course of the game. Therefore, ultra-aggressive DL and LB's are less likely to arrive at the Quarterback to deliver a nasty hit, or sometimes they will be fooled into chasing down another offensive player that might potentially receive a Screen Pass.

As a coach, if you want to Help protect and improve your Quarterback's health and overall safety, then spend a lot of time mastering the art of employing some Super-Spread Offensive Sets to "thin-out the defense across the field," and Utilize more types of Screens and Read Screens in your offensive arsenal.

Your Quarterback will really Thank You for it...

Sunday, January 11, 2015

New England Patriots Use A-11 Offense in 2015 Playoff Win vs. Ravens

In their dramatic 2015 Playoff Win vs. the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots used a trio of Innovative A-11 Offense plays to obtain nice gains, and in the process managed to further push the game of pro football into the future.

Utilizing the A-11 Offense at the Pro Level to Win NFL Playoff Games:

On Three Separate Successful Plays in the second half of their game vs. the physically superior Baltimore Ravens defense, and after having fallen behind by 14-points to the Ravens, the New England Patriots Needed to try something new with their own team, and they employed some innovative and strategic A-11 Offense by using 6 (six) Eligible-Numbered POTENTIAL Receivers on three Plays - instead of the normal amount of only 5 receivers and a Quarterback.

The Patriots had QB Tom Brady set up in the Shotgun formation in those Six-Receiver sets. The Patriots then coyly aligned the 6 Potentially Eligible Receivers in such a way as to confuse the Ravens' defenders Before the terms of WHICH 5 of the 6 (six) Receivers WOULD be Eligible to Go Downfield to Potentially Catch a Forward Pass on those Three plays.

New England Patriots, Superstar Quarterback, Tom Brady said, "It was a play that we liked and we thought would work. We had a couple versions of it. It's kind of an alert play for our team and we made them figure out what to do. I think that's what it looked like to me. We had to execute it, we had to make the appropriate calls and block it, and make the plays, and I was proud of us. That was a good weapon for us. That's part of football. You have to prepare for everything."

Brady also said, “Maybe those guys gotta study the rule book and figure it out,” he contindued, "We obviously knew what we were doing and we made some pretty important plays. Maybe we’ll have something in store next week.”

“I don’t know what’s deceiving about that,” he added. “They should figure it out.”

See Below:

1. The Patriots had All Six of the POTENTIALLY Eligible Receivers Align Near the Line of Scrimmage

2. The Patriots technically had a Double Trips Look of Receivers set on each side of the Center BEFORE the Snap

3. However, the Patriots Keenly used a Basic A-11 Offense Concept to Correctly and Smartly Allow No More than 5 Eligible Receivers to then Proceed downfield after the Snap

4. The "covered up" Ineligible Receiver (Circled Above and Shown Below) is aligned on the Line of Scrimmage in the Slot to the Right side of the formation. Eligible-numbered Players aligned in this type of formation are called "Anchors."

5. An Anchor is a Game-Breaker type of athlete set up as an Ineligible player on a certain play. An Anchor Cannot catch a Forward Pass, but an Anchor Can touch the football via taking a Handoff, catching a Negative Hitch or Backward Pass behind the Line of Scrimmage, and/or catching a Pitch Out. On this particular play, the Anchor simply Retreated into the backfield as a Decoy after the snap, while other Eligible Receivers ran their routes accordingly

a. NFL rule 5.3.1 states that “an offensive player wearing the number of an eligible pass receiver is permitted to line up in the position of an ineligible pass receiver, provided that he immediately reports the change in his eligibility status to the Referee, who will inform the defensive team.”

b. New England Patriots Head Coach, Bill Belichick explained, “It’s a play that we thought would work. We had six eligible receivers on the field, but only five were eligible. The one who was ineligible reported that he was ineligible. No different than on the punt team or a situation like that.”

A smart and innovative A-11 Offense approach by the New England Patriots to help them win a very important game.