Originally Posted by Wolfpack
Thats a great write up and nice that you knew to go back to Brown. Otto Graham was his guy and doesnt get enough credit as an important cog in that machine.
Brown was much like Jimmy Johnson in that he demanded your full attention and would cut you if he didnt get it. That affect on a player, can not be discounted.
I thought Brown went down the field more than you hint at but I dont have any sources in front of me to back that up. You are kind of saying he ran the 1st WCO?
Actually I don't know. I don't know how horizontal Brown's offense was, how much he relied on his RBs in the passing game, or whether he used the short pass to supplement the run. My guess is it did not resemble the WCO that much.
Graham had three years out his six NFL years where he threw more INTs than TDs and only one year with a higher than 60% completion rate. His years in the AAFC were a little better but I'm not going to include them as the competition wasn't as good overall. His completion rate was in the 50s generally which was the norm then. He actually had a year where he threw for over 64% which is really incredible I think.
The Browns then averaged around 7+ yds a pass with one year 10+. In 6 years in the NFL he threw 1565 times averaging almost 22 passes per game. By contrast Romo throws about 25 a game for an average of around 8 per pass. Not a lot of difference there is it? So while I don't know how many passes were 20+ yds per game there's not a lot of difference in the averages. Graham still holds the NFL record for avg gain per reception at 9 which I find amazing (I think they might include his 4 years in the AAFC but I don't know).
Even with Brown as coach and basically the same team, after Graham retired in 1955 the Browns went 5-7 after so much success with Graham over the years.
That's a lot to say after saying I don't know. I will add that Walsh was a protege of Brown and while he has his own NFL tree he still belongs in Brown's tree. Unfortunately he and Brown didn't get along well and Brown did things to sabotage Walsh getting HCing jobs for awhile.
So Walsh took what he learned from Brown and mixed it in with the current state of offenses in the NFL then modified it to fit his own personnel giving us the WCO. Saying it is a variation of the vertical offense by no means distracts from the genius of it. Walsh knew what he had in Montana who was not as accurate as Graham but certainly as heady. He had a great QB to run that offense. Not going to say a lot more as I'd like to get into this in greater detail later.