(Disclaimer: I understand college football and pro football are way different and that running the spread in the pros is difficult because of the speed of the defense. Still...)
I'm probably revisiting an old topic here, but I caught some video of a 2007 game between Oregon and Washington the other day and it got me thinking: why shouldn't we use Dennis Dixon for 5-10 snaps a game this year as a situational change-up on offense? In terms of the coaching and the personnel, it makes sense. Like it or not, Bruce Arians is already committed to the zone scheme, meaning the foundation is in place for the zone-read concept Dixon ran so beautifully at Oregon. And with Hines Ward in the slot, we have a wide receiver who is tough enough to block outside backers or safeties who would be the primary alley defenders against Dixon when he pulls the ball and runs. Plus, the addition of Mike Wallace gives us a speedster to play in the opposite slot (should we go four wides) to take advantage of matchups against underneath coverage (Sean McDonald might work there, too, as the crafty veteran who can find holes in a zone). Throw Mewelde Moore into that package at TB, who can both blitz protect and catch the ball out of the backfield, and Santonio and Sweed on the outside, both of whom should be able to exploit one-on-one matchups, and the foundation for a formidable spread package is in place. Here's why I think we should use it:
1. it'll get Dixon valuable playing experience, which he'll need since he's likely to be the #2 QB in 2010 (and possibly in '09, depending on his progress). It should help Wallace learn the slot as well, which is a position he may inherit from Hines when he retires.
2. it'll get Ben off the field for 5-10 snaps a game, which will reduce the number of hits he'll take by 1 or 2 a game. That might not seem like much, but 20-30 less hits per season has to be a good thing for Ben.
3. defenses would be forced to prepare for it. Any time they spend game-planning for something other than our base package is a good thing.
and 4. Dixon is dynamic. Many of us remember the early days of Kordell Stewart, who was electrifying in a limited role. Dixon can provide that spark as well. As persuasion, check out this video of him at Oregon:
The key is to trust that the coaches will know when to use the package and what in a particular situation they're trying to exploit. Me? I trust the coaches. Even BA.
How about you?