This was the first play that Charlie Weis called in Superbowl XXXVI. Zero is the base formation. Flood Slot Hat further modifies this formation to a set with one back in motion, two tight ends and two wide receivers (which is to say five potential receivers in total). Seventy-eight is the base play number, a three step drop play. Shout tells the three potential receivers on one side of the quarterback what routes they should run, while Tosser tells the other two potential receivers their patterns. During the actual game, Tom Brady threw the ball to Troy Brown for a twenty-one yard gain, 17 of it after the catch.
Why in the H-E double tooth picks is Aiken posting this stuff? I have been doing some research on the Erhardt-Perkins offense to see if I could shed some light on why Todd Haley made some of the decisions(in this case specifically starting LJ instead of Charles)that he made during last season. While it is, of course, impossible to know for sure why he did certain things, it may give us a bit of encouragment going forward to know that there was a reason.
Erhardt-Perkins was developed by Ron Erhardt and Ray Perkins while they were assistant coaches to Chuck Fairbanks when he was HC of the Patriots in the 1970s. It seems that EP(for short)has at times had a reputation of being a traditional "smash mouth" style of football that does not frequently use RBs as receivers. In fact, Erhardt was famous for saying "pass to score, run to win". This offense in it's original form frequently uses the run to set up the pass via play action passing. Now, as the NFL rules began to change and favor the passing game, Erhardt began to run this offense wide open(even garnering the knickname "Air Erhardt"). That means that he had an empty backfield and as many as 5 potential receivers in the game. The Patriots commonly ran this with 2WRs, 2TEs and a back in the slot(five potential receivers). Actually they ran this type offense in 2007 with the addition of Randy Moss and Wes Welker and set records. The play that I mentioned in the subject line is one of the plays that can be run just like this.
Why is all this important? I think it tells us why Haley chose to run LJ in the offense. As the offense was being installed, the base part(probably where it got the rep for being smash mouth football)had to be learned first. LJ is much more of a smash mouth runner(or at least had the potential to be)than anyone else on the roster. Why wouldn't you put him in the game if he better fit the offense you were trying to teach? When Haley arrived, Charles was known as a young back that had trouble holding onto the ball(he has indeed shown that proclivity)and was, supposedly, being used more as a receiver out of the backfield. That part of the offense was not being included in the first half of the season. In fact, it hasn't really been used much yet at all. I would look for more of that next year once our WRs are upgraded(if indeed they are). I do think that Charles has gone a long ways to proving that he can be a back in this system. I hope he can still catch the ball!
Anyway, LJ was so bad at being the 'smash mouth' runner that he used to be that his poor performance slowed down the offenses ability to run pass plays. That coupled with the o-line inadequacy made us one dimensionally bad. Defenses were not worried about stopping the run and were able to 'cheat' towards the pass. I think that his is why there were so many drops. Defenders were always close to the recievers and effective at harrassing their catches. I think this might have been why the receivers started talking about how the drops were becoming contagious. They were so used to having a defender on top of them that they got the shakes even when they were open. Even after Charles became the starter, the defenses didn't honor his presence until the last couple of games. This is also why Cassel had to make many passes behind or too high for the receiver. The defenders were right there. Chris Chambers actually used physicality to make several of Cassel's passes look much better than they actually were. Can you imagine the difference next year if Charles can be the beast he looked like in the last few games?
If you think back about the Patriots offenses in the last few years, their most effective ones didn't have that big bruising back. Rather they had a back that was good at catching the ball. I think that this was why Bellichick limited LaMont Jordan's touches a couple of years ago. Why do you think Kevin Faulk hangs around? This is probably Laurence Maroney's biggest detriment. I believe that this is where Haley is going and what Weis brings to the table.
So go ahead and shoot holes in my theory of why LJ played instead of Charles. I can't prove that I'm correct. If I am though, I am very excited about next season. EP has many parts and we have only begun to really start using it. Bill Parcells used this offense during his years with the Giants. This is where Charle Weis learned it. It is worth noting that in the 1986 season, the Giants under Parcells amassed a 14-2 record running this offense with Phil Simms as QB, Ottis Anderson as RB, and guess who was the FB? MO CARTHON.
Haley and Pioli are no fools. If any of you still think that Haley starting LJ was because of Haley's lack of ability to discern the better back, I challenge that. I think LJ was the better back(given their backgrounds)for what Haley was trying to do. LJ and Charles are different backs and were used as needed. Haley was following a plan. He still is. He and Pioli are recreating a SB winning formula with guys who were part of the original show now on the coaching staff. Year one was about installing the base offense and giving those players that remain blocks on which to build. It's going to be alot more fun watching the draft with some idea of what they are trying to do.
One side note is that the EP system is based on the precepts of emphasized team mentality, equality among players and lack of individual egos. It has a military feel. Parcels did coach at army and Bellichick's dad was an assitant coach for Navy. I think this may be why Haley took away TGs parking space. You cannot be an equal team member if you are not treated equally. This philosophy probably explains Haley's attitudes and actions concerning Bowe, Waters, DJ, LJ and Pollard. It's ironic that Haley's perceived egotistical attitude was caused by actions he took to eliminate individual egos and situations that were stifling a team mentality. Go ahead and tell me I'm wong, but at least I offered a possible reason for the man behind the curtain's actions.