The NFL is a copycat league, and as was the case only a few short years ago, gimmick offenses are all the rage. First it was the wildcat, and now it's the pistol offense that's the "in thing" due to recent success by both the Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers. And while NFL defenses will undoubtedly catch-up and adjust to these fleet-footed quarterbacks and the schemes that go along with them, everyone wants to believe their team is capable of running such a successful offense.
Alas, not every team could run the pistol offense due to personnel … or could they? Chris Ault, inventor of the pistol formation, believes even the slower quarterbacks could pull it off if done properly. Case in point: Eli Manning and the New York Giants.
"[The Giants] could run the pistol formation," Ault said Tuesday on NFL AM. "They don't need to run the read part of it. When we first put the pistol in, in 2005 and 2006 (at Nevada), that's all we ran. We ran the power, the gaps, the counters, the zones, the outside stuff. We did not run the read at that time. So, the pistol offense, the most important thing there, is you can run any offense you've been running. And this is how we created it, and then we advanced the pistol run game — the read part of it — two years later."
Ault pointed out the NFC Championship game between the 49ers and Atlanta Falcons as proof that a non-mobile quarterback could be successful in the pistol offense. Not because Colin Kaepernick is slow – quite the opposite, obviously – but because the Falcons were able to hold him to only 21-yards on the ground, but couldn't stop the power running of Frank Gore. He also points to that as a reason NFL defenses may not be able to adjust to this new-found fad.
Still, when you have a quarterback like Eli Manning who's literally no threat to run, it takes an entire dimension out of the pistol offense. Couple that will Tom Coughlin's old school coaching method, and it's not even a realistic thought to occur in New York. At least not in blue. You can almost guarantee the New York Jets will sign a fleet-of-foot quarterback and give it a try.
Also…Eli Manning, Football, Frank Gore, New York, New York Giants, NFL, San Francisco, San Francisco 49ers, Tom Coughlin, Washington, Washington Redskins
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