Nobody is happy with Greg Knapp being rumored as our next Offensive Coordinator, and I am included in that. There is a lot of panic and a lot of finger pointing and questioning of this move. We need to cool down though, sometimes second chances work out for the best. I know it feels way too much like the rehiring of Chuck Bresnahan for any of us to feel comfortable with it, but that does not mean it will automatically fail the way Chuck 2.0 did.
I know he is still associated with those horrible years with Jamarcus Russell and that he was the play caller at that time. He does deserve some of the blame for that offense being as terrible as it was, but there was no offense in the NFL that could have succeeded with Russell at the helm. Our running game with Knapp calling the plays was an amazing 6th in the league in yards. I say amazing because everybody knew that we could not pass the ball and we were going to run. They still couldn't stop us, problem was they just had to wait for Jamarcus to stop us instead.
The team was deflated every single time Russell was in the game and there was nothing any of the coaches could do about it. Russell was Al Davis's guy and he was the one who was going to play no matter what every indication he ever gave us said. The guy was a complete failure and there was no way to structure an offense around that man. Knapp worked with what he had and did his best, but it was doomed from the start no matter what he would have tried to do. If the entire team refuses to play for the quarterback that you have no choice but to start then there is nothing as a coach you can do to change that perception. The problem was going to remain no matter what the coaches did and nobody that was "playing" had the heart to give their all knowing Jamarcus was their quarterback.
I am actually excited that we are going to be running a west coast offense with the players we have and I am even more excited that we are going to remain a running team. Carson Palmer is one of the classic timing quarterbacks, and that is what the west coast offense is all about. I did not want us to become a pass first team, you can still be very dangerous in the passing game without it being what your offense is built on. I want us to utilize the speed we have at WR by using short, quick routes and letting the receivers make plays but still run more than pass. The west coast offense is built to get the ball in the hands of the playmakers and to let them do what they do, which is make plays. Quick slants and a lot of runs makes the defense play up and then we will hit them deep. This is an offense that really does fit our team.
Just because Knapp is not known to be aggressive doesn't mean he can't be. I believe Dennis Allen when he says he wants the offense to be fast and aggressive, and that is something that can happen with the west coast offense. Its built on short plays that develop very quickly and getting the ball out to them. You need to be aggressive to be able to hit those quick slants and you need to be fast to make them turn into big plays. We have the offense that can do that. It is also an offense that wants to control time of possession which would keep less pressure on our defense.
I do not want the zone blocking scheme (ZBS) either, but I believe if we change to it we will be more successful than we were in the past. We have players that are quick enough on the line to make it work. These are not the same guys we had back in 08, half the line is young and quick and the other half we probably want to look at replacing no matter the scheme. I have no doubt that little Wiz is going to be just fine at the ZBS. He is so athletic that he is going to be able to excell at it. It is up to the Center to make sure that the ZBS works because he is the one that is going to be making the calls and do a lot of the lower blocking involved with it. I have plenty of faith in Stefen to be able to do that.
As for McFadden not playing well in the ZBS before, I dont think that matters very much. Darren is a completely different player now and is in a much better position to succeed. When we ran it before he did not have the support around him to make it work. He felt so much pressure to perform and show that he is a great back and he was still learning the NFL at that time. He has proven what he can do now, and he is hungry to get out there and play. He is much more capable now of making the one cut and running than he was before. His confidence is at an entirely different level, and what he has to prove is far less now than it was before. He would be fine adjusting to this new system again, and his previous knowledge of it will speed up his transition. He was battling being called a bust back then, now we all know the player he is and what he is capable of.
I know almost all of us wanted Al Saunders or somebody else with HC experience to come in for our OC job, but if this is who Allen wants to work with we have to assume he would know best. I understand there will be people that are going to be angry until given a reason not to be, but I am going to try to look at it the opposite way. If Knapp comes in and bores us to death with an unproductive offense I will get angry but until then I am going to give Greg his second chance with us. I don't have a problem with him being associated to our dark days because I do not believe anybody could have won with those players. We need him to take full advantage of his second chance, because we have been burned far too often when we offer them out. The offense's success is on your shoulders Greg Knapp, make it happen and prove you are worthy of this extra opportunity!