Using the no-huddle offense

One of the frustrations in the years since the Browns returned has been the complete lack of imagination on offense. This was true with most of the coaches we had.

Butch Davis was probably the worst. Say what you want about Tim Couch, but he excelled when running a no-huddle offense that permitted him to move around and improvise.

Of course, Davis would never throw in the no-huddle during a game to mix things up, even if he had a QB that might excel in that scenario. Romeo was generally clueless, as he hired Maurice Carthon and then had to work with Chud. Last year it became obvious that the regime couldn’t make real adjustments on offense, and they let Jerome Harrison waste away on the bench.

Now, this season, we have Eric Mangini, who just might be more aggressive than many expect on offense. He seems to take the same approach that Bill Belichick learned after he left Cleveland – being predictable on offense gives the defense an advantage.

Here’s Mangini’s answer in his press conference to a question about using the no-huddle offense.

(On if the Browns will use the no huddle this season) – “I like to have the ability to go in and out of it at any point in a game. If you want to start off a half with it, you want to change the tempo with it, if you’re getting a team that maybe is going to disguise a lot, you want to take that away.

We’ve used it for all those different reasons. Coaching against it, as a defensive coordinator and a defensive backs coach, it does add some pressure to the defense. It forces you to think through tendencies quicker. Now it’s second-and-seven, instead of being able to look down at your sheet, get a reminder, you have your calls, you have your things you’re thinking of.

They’re getting to the line of scrimmage. You have to honor the fact they can run a play right now. It speeds that up. It speeds the communication. It speeds up the adjustment. The nice thing is, you can get to the line with 30 seconds left, 25 seconds left and then just assess, change the play and do whatever you want to do. I like it for those reasons.”

(On how the quarterbacks have done with the no huddle) – “Good, we’ve been running it, really, since the first day of OTAs and we run it every day in practice. We do different periods of it. It’s just second nature, go in and out of it, everybody’s used to it. Defensively, it’s great work, because if you face two or three teams that do that, and that’s all they do, and they do it a lot better than you do it, it’s hard.”

Can you imagine Romeo or Butch Davis giving that answer?

Mangini seems to understand the importance of creating tactical advantages. He wants to keep the defenses guessing, and he wants to be able to execute the offense from a variety of schemes, including the no-huddle offense.

They seem to be taking the same approach on defense. They’ve even discussed using the 46 defense at times during the season, including some 4-man fronts as well.

I’m starting to look forward to this season.

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