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05.7 - The Weis Offense - Year 2

The Following was posted on Rock's House by ugoirish

As most here know, Charlie Weis' two previous jobs before becoming the Irish Head Coach were the positions of Offensive Coordinator for the New York Jets (under Bill Parcells) and New England Patriots (under Bill Belichick). In the case of both teams fortunes, Weis was part of significant turnaround. The Jets were 1-15 the season before Parcells took over and played in the AFC Championship Game two years later (1998), losing to the Broncos on their way to a second Super Bowl win. The Patriots were 8-8 and foundering (under Head Coach Pete Carroll who had inherited a Super Bowl runner up team from Parcells) before Belichick famously coached them to a Super Bowl win in his second year (2001).

Both of these teams followed a somewhat similar path in their resurgances. A year of rebuilding followed by a spectacularly successful second year. To be sure and to be very clear, Weis was only a part of this process. He wasn't the Head Coach nor was he the Personnel Director. However, he did run the offenses in both cases so I thought it might be interesting to look at how those offenses of the two teams compared between their first two seasons with Weis as their coordinator.

A couple of notes. Fristly, if you look at Weis' official resume it will say that, in 1997, he was the Jets Wide Receivers Coach. The Jets had no titular Offensive Coordinator that year but Parcells later stated that Weis was the de facto OC. In '98 he was named OC and Wide Receivers Coach. His first year of his second stint with the Patriots (Weis was also an assistant under Parcells when he took New England to the 1996 Super Bowl) Weis' title was Running Backs Coach and Offensive Coordinator. The next year Weis was RB Coach, QB COach and OC.

Secondly, in the case of both teams there was primarily a different quarterback running the offense in each year. For the Jets, Neil O'Donnell was the starter in '97, Vinny Testaverde in '98. Drew Bledsoe started all 16 games for New England in 2000 while, famously, Tom Brady stepped in for an injured Bledsoe early in the 2001 season. Bledsoe did fill in when Brady was injured during the AFC Championship Game.

Here are the comparisons:

1997 (9-7) / 1998 (12-4) New York Jets:

Points Scored

97: 348 (#12 of 30 in the NFL)

98: 416 (#5 of 30 in the NFL)

Total Yards

97: 5040 (#24 of 30 in the NFL)

98: 5911 (#4 of 30 in the NFL)

Passing

97: 3555 yards on 564 attempts (6.30/attempt)

98: 4032 yards on 532 attempts (7.58/attempt)

Rushing

97: 1485 yards on 431 attempts (3.45/attempt)

98: 1879 yards on 500 attempts (3.76/attempt)

2000 (5-11) / 2001 (11-5) New England Patriots:

Points Scored

00: 276 (#25 of 31 in the NFL)

01: 371 (#6 of 31 in the NFL)

Total Yards

00: 4851 (#22 of 30 in the NFL)

01: 5119 (#19 of 30 in the NFL)



Passing

00: 3461 yards on 565 attempts (6.13/attempt)

01: 3326 yards on 482 attempts (6.90/attempt)


Rushing

00: 1390 yards on 424 attempts (3.28/attempt)

01: 1793 yards on 473 attempts (3.79/aatempt)


What's obvious is that just about everything improved in the two second year for both teams. Points and yards gained increased dramatically. Both the passing and running games became more efficient. The only stat that got worse was yards passing by the 01 Pats, although they were still more efficient than the previous year. But here's what popped out at me: in both cases Weis ran the ball more and passed less his second year compared to the year before, even though he ostensibly had a better QB both times. In '98 this jump cooincides with Curtis Martin joining the Jets. Interestingly Weis was Martin's RB coach for his 1487 yard rookie season. Also interestingly, the next year Weis became the Patriots WR coach and Martin did not exceed those rookie numbers until 2004. Antowain Smith got the bulk of New England's '01 carries pushing the Pat's previous year's leading rusher Kevin Faulk into the background. Weis has often said that he's not afraid to play the best player regardless of age and his use of both Brady and Smith in '01 doesn't belie that point.

One more note - Weis is most renowned for his work with Tom Brady but I sometimes believe that his greater achievement was Testaverde. If you think I'm crazy, take a look at Vinny's career numbers. 1998 just about jumps off the page. Also, it's amazing how particular player's greatest years seem to coinside with being coached by Weis. In addition to Testaverde, Brady and Curtis Martin (not to mention Quinn et al) consider that Ben Coates' greatest season occured when Charlie was the Pat's TE Coach in 1994.

If Weis can affect the same progress in this year's offense versus last year as he did in these two previous cases we should be in for an amazing display on that side of the ball in 2006.



And Irishlaw07

As I recall, players under Weis had a knack for making the Pro Bowl:

1991-1992 RB Coach for Giants = Rodney Hampton, RB: 1992 Pro Bowl

1993-1994 TE Coach for Patriots = Ben Coates, TE: 1994 Pro Bowl

1995 RB Coach for Patriots = Curtis Martin, RB: 1995 Pro Bowl (R)

1996 WR Coach for Patriots = Terry Glenn, WR: 1,100 yds (R)

1997-1999 WR Coach for Jets (OC 98 & 99)= Keyshawn Johnson, WR: 1998 & 1999 Pro Bowl

2000 RB Coach (OC?) for Patriots = [well, it was a rebuilding year]

2001 QB Coach & OC for Patriots = Tom Brady, QB: 2001 Pro Bowl, Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl Champions

Oh, and he tacked on another couple of Superbowls after that.

So consider ND:

2005 Head Coach for Fightin' Irish = 9-3, Fiesta Bowl - Brady Quinn 4th in Heisman voting, Jeff Samardzija Biletnikoff finalist, Anthony Fasano Mackey Award finalist

2006 Head Coach for Fightin' Irish = ??? you do the math

(edit)Link is to my old (no longer updated) website that has a chart with Weis' career accomplishments.