And it's true, no NFL team runs the pure 'shoot anymore (though some high school and small colleges do, and of course June Jones does at SMU). But the concepts live on, and the "spread 'em and shred 'em" philosophy the 'shoot engendered has found more and more converts over the last two decades. But the offense is not particularly well understood; it is still considered an outlaw approach. And true, the dedication the offense requires to be run well also requires something approaching exclusivity: not much time is left to devote to doing other things.
But, I am a big believer that the 'shoot both can be a very viable offense in and of itself (hello June Jones!), and, even more than that, I think that understanding the offense is one of the best ways to really understand passing offense generally. This is evidenced by the fact that the offense's concepts live on in the playbooks of every NFL team and a great swath of college and high school ones.
So, this offseason I am starting a multi-part series on a "Simple Approach to the Run and Shoot." The series' purpose a few-fold: (1) to explain what makes the Run and Shoot distinct from the larger umbrella of "spread offenses" (including Mike Leach's Airraid, with which it is often compared and confused with); (2) to explain the offense's core tenets in a way could provide insight into all passing offenses; and (3) to provide a possible real-world system that distills the run and shoot's major points (and combines them with some of the best of the modern passing game) into something that could be used at the high school or small college level.
In this introduction, I will begin with some of the offense's core philosophy. In future posts I will address some of the specifics.
Philosophy and tenets
There are four major points that make the 'shoot the 'shoot, and then a few ancillary ones that have come into play over the years.
As Mouse Davis, who did as much to develop the modern 'shoot as any human could, has explained: "We are always going to adjust on the run to the defensive coverage," he said. "If the defense sets in one look, we are going to make one route adjustment. If the defense sets in another look, we are going to make another route adjustment."
There are a few ancillary points that have been part of the offense, but to a varying degree. For my purpose in this series they are important but not imperative.
This is enough for now. In future parts of the series I will address topics like adjusting pass patterns on the fly, the basic run and shoot concepts like "switch," "go," and "choice," pass protection, marrying other pass concepts with the shoots, and quick passes and screens. Below are a few more run and shoot clips.