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History Lesson: West Coast Offense and the Redskins

Bill Walsh is frequently credited as the genius behind the West Coast Offense for the sick units he produced with the 49ers in the '80s. But, as's Jeremy Stoltz points out, it predated him significantly in a Coaching tree that included Coach Joe Gibbs, among others. The entire article is a fascinating exploration of where the West Coast Offense came from, how it worked (revolutionary pass opening up the run, as opposed to the other way around), and where it's going. I won't bother posting the entire thing, but the bits relevant to Redskins fans are entertaining:

It was during Gillman's days with the Chargers that San Diego State head football coach Don Coryell began frequenting the Bolts' preseason camps with his two young assistant coaches, Joe Gibbs and Ernie Zampese. They loved what they saw of the offense and began developing it further for their Aztec teams.
Of course Coryell put his own stamp on it when he took over the San Diego Chargers in 1978, just as Coach Gibbs did when he left for Your Washington Redskins:
Joe Gibbs then took the offense with him to the Washington Redskins in 1981. His tinkering with the system involved adding the bunch formation - three wide receivers lined up together, each darting off in confusing patterns - and the two- and three-tight end alignments, resulting in two Super Bowl championships.
Two Super Bowl championships?

Another of Joe Gibbs innovations was the addition of an entirely new position: The H-Back. Typically referred to as a hybrid Fullback/Tight End, the position requires the versatility of both. H-Backs line up in the backfield (to pass protect, run block, or go out on routes) or at the line where a traditional Tight End might be.

We discussed the Coryell-Gibbs Coaching Tree last August which, incidentally, also included current Redskins OC Al Saunders. If you're interested, take a gander.