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

The Chip Kelly/Mark Helfrich/Scott Frost Pin-Pull Sweep

By Taylor Kolste

In 2011, when Chip Kelly was the head coach, Mark Helfrich the offensive coordinator, and Scott Frost the WR coach, Oregon first debuted their pin and pull sweep play. This play, known as “Outside Zone” in their system (they called what most people would consider Outside Zone “Mid Zone”), quickly became one of the best plays in their offense. In 2011, Oregon averaged 9.8 yards per play as they ran this play 36 times for 353 yards and 2 touchdowns. The next season in 2012, they ran their pin-pull play 42 times for 382 yards and 5 touchdowns, good for a 9.1 yard per play average. This play remained a staple of the Oregon offense as Kelly left and Helfrich and Frost became the head coach and coordinator. Chip Kelly brought this play with him to the NFL and Scott Frost brought it to UCF with all 3 of these coaches running it with success. In the 2015 season, Chip Kelly’s last with the Eagles, Philadelphia had a down year running the ball averaging only 3.9 yards per carry but still managed to average 5.7 yards per carry on this play.

This play is always ran to a 3-man surface. The frontside of the line (PSG through Tight End) would utilize pin and pull blocking rules meaning that if a defender is inside of you, you pin, if not, you pull. The center would always pull versus a 4-man front, and would only not pull if there was a nose tackle lined up directly over him. The backside of the line would zone block as if they were on the backside of any regular outside zone play. This is a somewhat oversimplification of the scheme so we’ll look through a few different examples of how the play is blocked before looking at different variations/window-dressings of the blocking scheme.

Continue reading The Chip Kelly/Mark Helfrich/Scott Frost Pin-Pull Sweep

WR Play: The Art of Route Running

By Taylor Kolste

Clemson Head Football Coach, Dabo Swinney, once said that wide receiver was the worst coached position in all of football. This is because of how technical the position can be, yet how little coached some receivers are. Although route running isn’t the only component of WR Play, I believe it is the aspect that is most technical and should be coached the most. There is an art to route running, great receivers are intentional with their technique throughout the entirety of the route. This article will aim at creating a system for route running that will create a common language between coaches and players and help walk coaches and receivers through route running versus different defensive techniques. There are plenty of different terms out there for the techniques discussed in this article, but the important thing is that they are defined by the coach so that the players and coaches are operating under the same language.

We will breakdown route running into 4 phases:

  1. Stance
  2. Release/Start
  3. Stem
  4. Breakpoint

First of all, the receiver must understand the coverage and defender they are attacking. The receiver must always have a plan of attack that will be determined by the route and the defender that they are attacking. We will start by defining 5 different types of defenders:

  • Press
    • Quick-Jam
  • Soft-Press
  • Squat Defender
  • Off Defender
  • Bail Defender

Continue reading WR Play: The Art of Route Running

Bill Snyder’s Kansas State QB Run Game

By Taylor Kolste

The success that Bill Snyder has achieved at Kansas State is unparalleled in comparison to the work done by any other coach in the school’s history. In Coach Snyder’s 26 years as the head coach, Kansas State has accumulated a .656 Win Percentage and 19 bowl appearances compared to a .331 Win Percentage and 2 bowl appearances in the 80 seasons in which Bill Snyder was not the head coach. Although there are many other things that have contributed to their success, scheme is something they have excelled at that has contributed to some degree to their success.

Ever since Collin Klein became the starting quarterback for Kansas State in 2011, the QB run has been a staple of the Wildcat offense. Over the past 7 seasons, KSU’s quarterbacks have averaged 1012 rushing yards and 18 rushing touchdowns per season.

Continue reading Bill Snyder’s Kansas State QB Run Game

Chip Kelly’s Y-Cross Concept

By Taylor Kolste

Dating back to at least his early Oregon days, a Y-Cross concept known as “Saints” has been a staple of Chip Kelly’s offense. This was the #1 ran passing concept for both Oregon and the Eagles during Kelly’s tenure there. Here are the stats for “Saints” over Chip Kelly’s last 5 years in coaching: * Passer Rating is based on NFL calculation.

Oregon 2012: 45 for 58, 725 Passing Yards, 16 Touchdowns, 0 Interceptions, 158.3 Passer Rating

Eagles 2013-2015: 39 for 73, 801 Passing Yards, 5 Touchdowns, 2 Tnterceptions, 103.7 Passer Rating

49ers: 8 for 17, 177 Passing Yards, 1 Touchdown, 1 Interception, 84.7 Passer Rating

Here is a diagram of the “Saints” concept:

Saints

Continue reading Chip Kelly’s Y-Cross Concept