If anyone was going to represent a departure from the last four years of “Ground and Pound”, it was Marty Mornhinweg. The West Coast offense, in and of itself, is based more on short passes than it is on running the football. It’s a concept that actually bases running off of the pass, rather than the other way around.
Marty himself, has a reputation for throwing the football more often than running it, despite having top flight running backs in his backfield like Shady McCoy. Marty addressed that reputation yesterday after practice:
You score points throwing the ball. I mean, now you’re getting into a philosophical situation here. Look, we don’t care how we get it done, running, passing, we don’t care who gets the credit, whatever it takes to win the next ball game. There are going to be times that we game plan and we’re going to run the football quite a little bit in that game if we can and if the situation dictates (it). And then there are going to be other times where we’re going to throw the football. It’s just that simple. Every game is different. I’m talking game planning. Every game’s different, how you go into it and what the circumstances are. We were down by two scores, and then we cut it, and then we’re down by six, and then we get a sack fumble, and then we’re down by two scores again. So, we were tempoing and hurrying up, and even (running the) two-minute (offense) quite a little bit in the fourth quarter. So, you’re not going to run the ball quite as much.
It was an interesting way to address the question. You saw a real insight into his theory by the first sentence, then he kind of backtracked to talk about gameplanning. Of course, if they are losing they will throw more, and if they are winning they will run it more. That is just logic. But the idea of scoring by throwing, is actually a departure for this team, which should be exciting to watch.
Incidentally, here is what Marty had to say about the success against the Lions:
Well this is a player’s game. Ultimately players win ball games. So it’s a detail which is played, players at times played with great detail, and it looked just terrific. (And) then you saw the game, we had four holding calls, and eight offensive penalties, and we were beaten to the punch a couple of times, that bothers me just a little bit. We want to use our snap count as an offensive weapon, and we used it against us a couple of times. You saw the game. So there it is, that’s our starting point. I’m pleased with quite a little bit of it, I was disappointed in a couple of things. Not too many things surprised me, I think the fellas played reasonably well in those situations that we put them in and wanted to see them in. Getting back to the running game, that disappointed me just a little bit. We had I believe six big plays, one in the running game. That’s not good enough, we’d like a few more than that. Those big plays now were twenty-something yards, looking for a little bit more. Let’s catch and run, let’s drive the ball down the field just a little bit more.