Getting Better Through Film Study – The L.A. Rams Offense

By Taylor Kolste

The first annual Cascade Coaching Clinic is in the books. This year’s clinic featured 15 speakers from various levels of football (high school, college, XFL, & NFL) including keynote speaker, Mike Riley. The plan is to continue to hold this clinic each year in the northwest for the considerable future.

Below is the presentation I gave at the clinic based on the importance of film study and my own study of the L.A. Rams Offense.

Presentation Slides

If you have any questions or comments about the clinic or the presentation above, you can reach me through email at TaylorKolste@gmail.com or on Twitter at @TaylorKolste.

BOOK PREVIEW: Breaking Down The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs Offense

By Taylor Kolste

Chiefs Book Cover

Within the next few weeks, I will be releasing my second book, Breaking Down The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs Offense. The book will follow the same format as my first book, Breaking Down The 2018 LA Rams Offense. This preview will contain a few excerpts from the book to hopefully give the reader a good idea of what the book will be like. There are 25 of the 345 pages shown below. The rest of the book follows the same structure that is shown in the preview.

PREVIEW:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION – 1

CHAPTER 1: PERSONAL CHARACTER & LEADERSHIP – 4

CHAPTER 2: INTRO TO CHIEFS OFFENSE – 16

CHAPTER 3: RUN GAME – 20

  • Outside Run Locked RPO – 24
  • Perimeter Run – 63
  • UC Run w/ Perimeter Threat – 70
  • UC Run – 90
  • IZ RPO – 88
  • Gun Option Run – 100
  • Gap Scheme RPO – 121
  • Outside Run RPO – 133
  • Gun Inside Run – 137
  • Gadget Run – 141

CHAPTER 4: PASS GAME – 147

  • Quick Game – 147
  • Intermediate Pass Game – 188
  • Vertical Pass Game – 229
  • Movement Pass Game – 303

CHAPTER 5: SCREEN GAME – 324

Continue reading BOOK PREVIEW: Breaking Down The 2018 Kansas City Chiefs Offense

Sean McVay and The LA Rams: Personal Character, Leadership, & Team Culture

By Taylor Kolste

*** The following post is the first chapter from my book, Breaking Down the 2018 L.A. Rams Offense. The first chapter of the book focuses on the personal character and leadership of coach McVay, and, in turn, the culture that his character/leadership allows him to develop within the team. As the first chapter explains, without the work ethic and humility that McVay has developed within himself, the genius of the Rams’ scheme would not exist. Without McVay’s leadership (which stems from his personal character), the Rams championship-level culture would not exist leading to poor execution of the scheme, no matter how ‘genius’ it was. I believe anyone can learn from the example set by McVay to become a better version of themselves and to become a more effective leader.

PERSONAL CHARACTER, LEADERSHIP, & TEAM CULTURE

“Sean McVay is a genius.” This is a sentiment that has been echoed by many people. This praise of McVay mirrors that of Bill Walsh when he was first building his dynasty in San Francisco. In Walsh’s book, The Score Takes Care of Itself, he has a section titled “Don’t Let Anybody Call You a Genius” where he states that “when the “Genius” title turned on me, I backed away from it as far as I could get.” I would guess that McVay would express similar feelings to the ‘genius’ label. While McVay is definitely a smart guy, I believe calling him a ‘genius’ is misguided. While McVay and his staff may have created a ‘genius’ scheme, crediting all of this to McVay’s natural intellect ignores his work ethic and other character traits that have led to his success. This also ignores McVay’s leadership abilities and does not recognize the rest of his staff for their contributions in developing the scheme. In addition to this, the team culture of the Rams, which stems from McVay and his staff’s leadership, plays just as big of a role in the success of the team as the scheme does. Former Michigan head football coach, Bo Schembechler, famously said, “I’ve always believed eye-popping innovation is not as important as perfect execution.” The way the Rams think, the attitude they take towards their work, and the way they go about their day-to-day business, in other words, their culture, is what allows them to execute the scheme to the best of their abilities. So, as the chart shows below, everything starts with the leader’s personal character.

Culture Flowchart.png

Continue reading Sean McVay and The LA Rams: Personal Character, Leadership, & Team Culture

The New Orleans Saints’ Stick-Option Concept

By Taylor Kolste

Throughout the Brees-Payton era in New Orleans, the Saints have consistently finished as one of the top passing offenses in the NFL. Since 2012, the Saints have finished as one of the top 5 drop-back passing offenses in the NFL each season (in terms of yards per play).

While much of this success needs to be accredited to Drew Brees and other great players that the Saints have had over this period, their scheme has done a good job of maximizing the talent they have had over the years. A staple of Saints passing game over the years has been the Stick-Option concept. Below shows the combined statistics for their variations of this concept over the last 3 seasons (all of the stats from this article are based on the 2016-2018 seasons):

Stick-Option Stats.png

Stick-Option Passing Stats.png

This article will go over the different variations of this concept that the Saints have used over the past 3 seasons. Below shows the basic structure of these concepts:

Stick-Option.png

Continue reading The New Orleans Saints’ Stick-Option Concept

BOOK PREVIEW: Breaking Down the 2018 L.A. Rams Offense

By Taylor Kolste

Book Cover.png

Shortly after the Super Bowl, I will be releasing my first book, Breaking Down the 2018 L.A. Rams Offense. It should be released the weekend following the Super Bowl.

UPDATE: The book is now available: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1794188207.

This preview will contain a few excerpts from the book to hopefully give the reader a good idea of what the book will be like. Hopefully, these excerpts can also give you some context on the Rams offense leading into the Super Bowl. There will be updates made to the book based on the Super Bowl, so the sections shown here will likely be slightly different when the book is released, but this is very close to what the final product will look like. There are 26 of the 359 pages shown below. The rest of the book follows the same structure to what is shown in the preview.

PREVIEW:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION  – 1

CHAPTER 1: PERSONAL CHARACTER, LEADERSHIP, & TEAM CULTURE – 3

  • Personal Character – 5
  • Leadership – 11
  • Team Culture – 18

CHAPTER 2: INTRO TO RAMS OFFENSE – 22

  • Offensive Philosophy – 22
  • Identity – 23
  • Tempo-Use – 27

CHAPTER 3: RUN GAME – 32

  • Fly Sweep – 33
  • Mid Zone – 45
  • Outside Zone – 61
  • Inside Zone – 63
  • Duo – 70
  • Toss Sweep – 76
  • Short Trap – 81
  • Long Trap – 84
  • Wham – 86
  • Quasi-RPOs – 88
  • Other Runs – 91

CHAPTER 4: PLAY-ACTION PASS GAME – 99

  • Play-Action – 99
  • Naked Boots – 164
  • Half-Boots – 179

CHAPTER 5: DROPBACK PASS GAME – 208

  • Quick Game – 208
  • 5-Step Passing Game – 222
  • 7-Step Passing Game – 315
  • Vertical Passing Game – 339

CHAPTER 6: SCREEN GAME – 351

Continue reading BOOK PREVIEW: Breaking Down the 2018 L.A. Rams Offense

A Worthy Rival: The Kirby Smart Defense

By Cameron Soran

Plato and Aristotle. Pompey and Caesar. Obi-Wan and Anakin. Hayes and Schembechler. The motif of the student-turned-rival is as old and recurring as any in human history. It is one of those rare tropes of fiction and themes of history that never quite seems to lose its luster no matter how many times we see it played out. And for the foreseeable future, the rivalry between Nick Saban and Kirby Smart promises to be another great chapter of this millennia-long refrain.

My primary reason for studying Kirby Smart’s defense was in finding out how much he would keep from his near decade-long boss, and how much he would truly carve out on his own. Would he be simply Saban 2.0 – now with improved media relations? Or would he deliver a distinct defensive philosophy that was entirely his own? The answer, of course, is somewhat in between.

In many ways, defensive coaches are molded by the offenses they face. Saban, for example, spent a lifetime facing a litany of offensive schemes at both the collegiate and NFL levels, which in turn has led him to his near omnivorous approach to defense. There is almost no front, coverage, or blitz missing in Saban’s mental library, and he is thoroughly prepared to use them all if the situation demands it.

Smart’s defense, by contrast, appears more molded by the proliferation of the spread offense that coincides with his coaching career. His defense is more condensed, more streamlined, more focused. In short, Smart’s defense appears to have fewer individual play calls, but with more checks and adjustments built-in. When Smart calls a double outside blitz, for example, he isn’t particularly tied to which two guys are coming – he lets the offensive formation dictate that. So when Smart sends in a one-word play call (it doesn’t take long watching the TV broadcast to figure out that Georgia uses one-word calls versus tempo, but that’s hardly a surprise given that Smart told a room full of Texas high school coaches this offseason that he’d be doing that: https://matchquarters.com/2018/07/27/thsca-football-lecture-kirby-smart-2018/), he really isn’t sending in one play: he’s sending in four to five plays depending on how the offense lines up. So no, it is not any less complicated than Saban’s defense. But it is structured quite differently.

Continue reading A Worthy Rival: The Kirby Smart Defense