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Author Topic: 2 Worthless Formations  (Read 2011 times)
Winters in Holland
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« on: Oct 24, 2007 at 10:35 »

Prior to this year, we've seen these formations before, but I'm worried about the frequency with which they're appearing this year, as I think they are greatly hindering our offense.


Horrible Formation #1:  The Empty-Backfield Set

Reason I hate it:  It basically tells the defense "WE'RE PASSING" in large bulletin-board style.  IMO, one of the biggest reaons offenses "work" is because of the uncertainty of whether it's a run or a pass.  Even pass-heavy offenses like the Colts keep opponents on their toes by keeping the effective Joseph Addai in their backfield.

When you empty it out, you've eliminated the defense's biggest dilemma for them.  Even if they don't have the *perfect* pass defense called, their chances of being effective rise dramatically, as they can audible to some pass coverage.

How I'd change it:  If the Steelers insist on doing it, run more QB draws with Roethlisberger to keep the defense honest, and/or only use the formation on obvious passing situations anyway.


Horrible Formation #2:  The Single-Back Backfield

Reason I hate it:  This formation (and derivations of it) has been our primary run offense.  The problem with it is that, without a fullback, there is zero room for error.  If one DL/LB breaks through the line, he's going to make the play, because the FB isn't there to engage him/clear the hole.  Play actions are less effective out of this formation as well, because defenses can see the fake handoff easier without a FB obstructing the view, which is probably part of the reason our play actions haven't fooled anyone lately.  

How I'd change it:  Only use the formation on probable passing downs, forcing the D to keep at least one extra player in the box to watch for the run, but allowing Parker less of a defense to have to break through for a big gain.  It's no surprise that the draw plays we have run out of this formation have generally been very effective.  On 1st downs or other obvious running situations, I'd use a lot more I/offset I formations to provide Parker with that extra mobile FB blocker.


So far, I have mixed feelings about Arians.  I sense we're getting away from the run-first philosophy that makes up Steelers' football.  And we all know what happened during the one time period in the last 15 years that the coaching staff went to a pass-based offense.

.WiH.
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« Reply #1 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 10:52 »

Am I wrong, or have we not really used the empty backfield all that much?  Maybe I've blocked it from memory.  I think empty backfield formations can work, and work well, if you vary how the receivers run.  I'd like to see Parker split wide, or get out in front on screens to receivers, for example.  Maybe someone has stats on how many empty backfields we've actually used?

On the one back set, I agree that it's best used in passing downs, where the HB can block, or block and release to the flat.  

IMO, we've used more traditional HB-FB sets, and plenty of TE sets.  Moreso than these two.  
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msdmnr2002
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« Reply #2 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 11:32 »

I'm not a big fan of the empty set either.  Seems like you can accomplish the same thing with a single back (getting 5 recievers in the pattern) without making it so obvious.

If you eliminate the one back set also, you've really limited your offensive formations.  I think we still use the fullback on short yardage a good bit.  the fullback is a dying breed, however, so I don't know how much longer we'll continue.  
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Preacherman0
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« Reply #3 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 11:40 »

The Patriots succeed with the no-back set...so, it must be good for all of us...right???

No, the empty-back is pretty pointless.  The only time it really works for anyone is if you throw and extremely quick automatic or you use it on a running down, when the defense doesn't have the correct coverage personnel in the game.
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sage
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« Reply #4 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 12:13 »

Empty set puts a strain on a defense. Typically there is always a "hot" route so if the opposing team blitzes. Many differenrt ways to use it, but they typically have 1-2 short routes, 1-2 intermediate routes, and always 1 deep route. Crossers and zone overloads are staples of this formation. The key though is 1. having 4-5 good or at least servicible wide receivers.......which we don't have!
« Last Edit: Oct 24, 2007 at 12:45 by aj_law » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 12:16 »

Did you really have to stretch the page like that? :huh:
« Last Edit: Oct 24, 2007 at 12:17 by PittsburghPA » Logged

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aj_law
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« Reply #6 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 12:46 »

IMO, no formation is ever completely useless.  It's all about context.
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« Reply #7 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 12:55 »

Quote
IMO, no formation is ever completely useless.  It's all about context.
Excellent point.
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steelerfaninCO
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« Reply #8 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 13:01 »

I don't think the Steelers should empty out the backfield a lot but I also don't think its completely useless. If a team doesn't have its dime out there you can pretty much match FWP on a slower LB. If they cover him tight, someone else is going to be open, and if they leave him open he will make them pay*. He says he wants to be like LT, so give him the chance. Once or twice a game on like 3rd and 3.
  The 1 back set is OK for some 3rd downs. Is it me, or have we not seen the telegraphed "Run Verron Run!" Haynes draw on 3rd down this year, with Davenport? FWP has said he would prefer a FB, so once again I say let him do what he wants to do..





*catching ability of FWP not documented enough to take this statement to the bank
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« Reply #9 on: Oct 24, 2007 at 13:08 »

The one thing that would help the Steelers is if they had a Mack Strong type of FB that could function as an H-back to either run block or become another pass option.  That seems to be the role that Arians is envisioning for Carey Davis, except that Davis is nowhere near Kreider's level as a blocker.
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