With the ability to run, return, receive, and even pass, Christian McCaffrey’s yards are all-purpose, purposeful, and purpose driven (shoutout to my west coast Christians). Most NFL coaches will look at the young Cardinal and think, “Great, we can get a return specialist and a decent backup RB all in one.” A few might even think, “Also, we can swing him out to the slot receiver position to change things up.” With thinking like that, he would be a decent addition to the Seahawks, Osweiler’s Broncos, or the Cardinals (NFL edition). I however, think he could be more. And the fan in me wants his talents to be exploited to the fullest.
The H-back (not a half-back) was a position created by Joe Gibbs in the 1990’s as the redskins answer to this minor problem known as Lawrence Taylor. The position was created for agile TEs and larger FBs to be a sort of love child between the two semi-blockers. Closer to the line than your average RB, an H-Back normally lines up too far back to be a TE and too far wide to be a FB. The position was mostly used for receiving and blocking out of the back field but with McCaffrey’s all-purpose ability, you could use this position as more of a run/receive option. Here’s how:
Combining McCaffrey’s speed with an H-Backs proximity to the line would make the timing really awkward for defenses. Especially if he were to get a direct snap while the quarterback is in shotgun or even in the pistol.
Also, out of the shotgun, you could run a read option with your main running back and utilize McCaffrey’s ability as a receiver to make him a quick out if the run isn’t available. The crossing motion of the two backs should cause most LBs to hesitate.
Although he could take a direct snap in the Pistol, I think he would be more effective as a decoy effective in some sort of play action run play where the main RB gets the ball instead.
Or you could also just, you know, hand him the ball (duh). And use the other back as some sort of lead block.
Under center, you can also just give him the ball to keep defenses honest with the timing issue. Or even change it up by having him cross behind the QB.
Also, you can run that same play action run from under center but this time the QB’s body can shield where the ball is going.
Heck, if your O-Line can give you the time, run a double play action pass. Now you have two receivers out of the back field.
Ok maybe that last one is a tad out of control BUT I WANT TO SEE THIS HAPPEN.
You might be thinking. “This offense looks a bit college-like and NFL defenses today are two fast and too smart to fall for any of this.”
- I got two words for you: Tim Tebow (R.I.P. NFL career). The dude literally got to a playoff game and won one off of using zone-reads 1000% of the time (and a great defense shh). Ever since then, teams have found ways to utilize option offences. Weren’t the Seahawks one bad call away from back-to-back rings?
- McCaffrey would pair great with a shifty east-west RB (I’m looking at you Buffalo and the Atlanta Falcons). The perfect counter to defenses stacking the box is to have backs that can spread the field and thin out the defense.
- The man can catch. THE MAN CAN CATCH. You can do more than just slick running plays with him. He’s “Reggie Bush-y” enough to motion out of the back field and run routs from there too.
Last point: there are many of these plays that, in theory, could be pulled off without an additional RB in the backfield. But I think that defenses would have to stop and consider so much more if there is an extra weapon paired with him.
Ok, I’m done fanboying. Also, I know he’s still a year too young to play in the NFL, but I’m just excited for what could be.
Photo Credit: http://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/Stanford-s-Christian-McCaffrey-similar-to-Glyn-6554632.php