With Gillman, he transformed football from the rugged, beat-em-up rugby derivative it was into the orchestrated, finely tuned passing game we see now. He basically invented the concept of "timing," and calibrating quarterback drops with receiver routes. And, unlike many such "bridge" innovators -- who connect an older time to a newer one -- he continued to be on the forefront largely up until his death: he coached many great NFL teams in his later years, most notably helping with the Philadelphia Eagles when Vermeil was there and further consolidating and perfecting the "pro-style" offense. (Basically everyone nowadays who talks about being "pro-style" is trying to be like Sid Gillman.)
Anyway, here are some notes from Gillman on passing offense, courtesy of Coach Bill Mountjoy.
Sid Gillman Passing Game
Timing of Pass:
1. The timing of the delivery is essential. It is the single most important item to successful passing.
2. Each route has its own distinct timing. As routes and patterns are developed on the field, the exact point of delivery will be emphasized.
3. Take mental notes on the field on timing of the throw.
4. If you cannot co-ordinate eye and arm to get the ball at it’s intended spot properly and on time, you are not a passer.
5. Keeping the ball in both hands and chest high is part of the answer.
6. Generally speaking, the proper timing of any pass is putting the ball in the air before, or as the receiver goes into his final break.
7. If you wait until the receiver is well into his final move, you are too late.
1. You must know the theory of all coverages. Without this knowledge, you are dead.
2. You are either attacking man for man, or zone defense.
3. Vs. Man for Man Defense, you are beating the Man. Vs. Zone Defense, you are attacking an Area.
4. Not knowing the difference will result in stupid interceptions.
5. Study your coverage sheets so that by merely glancing at a defense you know the total coverage design.
6. Man for Man Defenses
a. Hit the single coverage man. This will keep you in business for a long time.
b. Stay away from receivers who are doubled short and long.
c. Do not throw to post if weak safety is free unless you are controlling him with another receiver, and even then it can be dangerous.
d. Flare action is designed to hold backers. If backers are loose, HIT flare man.
e. The secret to attacking Man for Man is to attack the single coverage man who is on his own with no help short or to either side.
f. You must know the individual weaknesses of our opponents and attack them.
g. There are many methods of dropping off by deep secondary men. Each method provides a weakness – know them.
7. Zone Defenses
a. To successfully attack zone defense, concentrate on attacking the slots (X-Z Curl, Y Curl, Cross Routes).
b. Flare action is a must to hold the backers close to the line to help open up the zones behind them.
8. Exact knowledge of defensive coverage and the patterns to take advantage of these is a must.
1. Spread the field horizontally and vertically with all 5 receivers;
2. Pass to set up the run (not the other way arouhind);
3. One-Back formations are a must.