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Seeking Offensive Balance

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Let's see what Mike Leach has to say.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

When most people think of offensive balance, they think of the run/pass ratio. Mike Leach, head coach of the Washington State Cougars, and my personal hero, thinks differently. Instead, he thinks balance means getting the ball to all of your players, to spread the ball around (see one statistical analysis here). It means distributing the ball and getting contribution from all of your players. When the defense has to cover all of the players, mismatches happen and big plays happen.

For teams that have a Calvin Johnson-type player, they can just lob the ball up to that player, regardless of if they're open or not, and they'll make a play. The New York Jets don't have that type of playmaker. For most of last season, it was a group of scrubs and bums. By spreading the ball around to all of your players, you make them all weapons. Clyde Gates is not a good player, but if he's left wide open because the defense is trying to cover two other receivers, a tight end, and a running back that have all been targeted multiple times, even he can make a big play.

Until the Jets get a game breaking weapon, and honestly, even when they do, this is what Marty Mornhinweg needs to strive towards. Get everybody involved and you make them all legitimate threats. That's how you make a game breaking offense without game breaking weapons.

Here's what Leach had to say on the subject:

We want distribution. We expect a high completion percentage, and we want to be over 65 percent and we want good distribution," Leach said. "In other words: contributing to the offensive effort, we'd like 1,400 yards-plus out of the running back position and then out of the other positions, we'd like 1,000 yards each. The inside receiver positions will probably get 1,000 yards on more touches than the outside guys. The outside guys, when they touch it, tend to go a little further.

There's a whole myth about balance, and it's really stupid. The notion that you hand it to one guy half the time, and then you throw it to two other guys the other half of the time, and maybe you connect, maybe you don't. There's nothing balanced about it. There's two skill positions left out.

Balance, whether you run it or throw it, is getting contribution from all the skill positions. Ours is a balanced offense. The wishbone is a balanced offense. Some I-tailback offense, it may be a great offense, it may be great for the team that they play for, where you're giving it to the back 40 times. There's nothing balanced about it. It doesn't even add up to balance. We try to be balanced based on contributions by all the skill positions.