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Payton’s Place with the Gulf Coast Coryell

Coach Sean Payton passed the father of the West Coast Offense last year in wins and this year should exceed Don “Air” Coryell too. I would say they have elements of both offenses in the New Orleans playbook. When I was younger the first time I saw Dan Fouts, Kellen Winslow, and Gramblings Charlie Joiner I was totally enthralled. Then the Chargers poached Chuck Muncie and Wes Chandler from my Saints it was easier to pull for them. They never got to the promised land but they were as fun to watch as any offense in NFL history. Coryell first discovered at San Diego State he couldn’t recruit against USC and UCLA at certain positions but there was a surplus of receivers and to an extent quarterbacks. He led San Diego State using mostly junior college guys from a Division 2 program to Division 1. He had John Madden on his staff there among others and won over 100 games with the Aztecs.

Then later Bill Walsh instituted his West Coast system in Cincinnati and later with Joe Montana on the San Francisco 49ers. This was a system that had shorter passes that horizontally stretched defenses and set up longer “shot” plays later. Everyone knows coach Payton loves calling those shot plays around mid field at any time. The West Coast system favored more athletic lineman who didn’t have to hold blocks too long, the Coryell offense called for more sustained blocking because of deeper routes. Coach Payton with Drew Brees is as prolific a unit as any in the history of the NFL and takes from both methods. I call it the “Gulf Coast Coryell” because it harkens me back to my youth when football was new and glorious to me. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery and taking from Don Coryell and Bill Walsh is just smart football. Now as Payton is set to surpass Coach Coryell in wins he makes his own indelible mark.

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