Breaking Down Davone Bess, Brian Hartline and the West Coast Offense
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The West Coast offense is a timing and rhythm offense, but there's much more to it than that. Bess' ability to find the soft spot in coverage, get open by maintaining leverage and create yards after the catch will allow him to remain one of the Dolphins' top options in the passing game.
Hard to argue that that's not a strong point in his game.
And those abilities were on display in the Dolphins' 38-24 loss to the Patriots in Week 1 of the 2011 season.
In that game, Bess hauled in five receptions for a season-high 92 yards, racking up 55 yards after the catch.
Let's take a look at how he did it.
Bess breaks inside as Patriots linebacker Gary Guyton drops into a soft zone. Henne is pressured quickly by Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich, but having found a soft spot in coverage directly in front of Henne, Bess allows his quarterback an easy checkdown.
From here, Bess puts his quickness and speed on display to get some extra yards after the catch, resulting in a gain of 11 and a much more manageable 2nd-and-4.
Bess and Hartline have worked together for three years, but the West Coast offense calls for its receivers to run route combinations, and the two teamed up on an early touchdown catch against the Patriots.
Against a two-deep zone, Bess and Hartline are both attacking safety Josh Barrett, and they force him to pick who he's going to defend.
ESPN Monday Night Football analyst and former NFL head coach Jon Gruden on the call:
Henne sees it's two-deep zone, and they're going after Josh Barrett the young safety with Bess on a little option route, and you're going to see Josh Barrett jump Bess, and right behind him goes Brian Hartline.
Route combinations like the one Hartline and Bess ran against the Patriots offense are exactly the type of tool that will help them succeed in the West Coast offense. The two are familiar running them off each other, which bodes well for them as they make the transition.
Hartline didn't do as much damage after the catch as he usually does (he had only 94 YAC in 2011, according to PFF), but he's been adept in that role in the past. He's shown the ability to create YAC in the past, and his ability to run multiple routes and also do damage in the seam will be a major point of emphasis for his role in the Dolphins offense.
As two of the more experienced receivers on the roster, it will be interesting to see how early and often they are utilized with the West Coast philosophy. From this perspective, the presence of the two can only mean good things for the Dolphins offense.
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