Del Rio smartly changes scout team offense

September, 22, 2011
9/22/11
4:42
PM ET
To have a rookie running another team's plays as the scout team for the benefit of the defense seems wasteful.

A) He doesn’t have the experience to give the defense a great look and; B) He’s not learning anything about his own team’s offense while running another team’s plays.

I give Jack Del Rio huge credit for coming up with a system that’s been far more beneficial to Blaine Gabbert through the first two weeks of the season. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter spelled it out for the Jacksonville media Thursday.
“The way we’re doing it this year on scout team is different than we’ve done it in the past. In past years on offense and defense when we did the scout teams, you hold up a card that the other side of the ball drew and you’re saying, ‘Run this play off this card.’ This year Coach Del Rio came up with the plan to, we’re actually not carding anything on the scout team. So for the last two weeks when our scout team’s been going instead of a random defense coach holding up a card, they’ve been giving me a list of what they want. I’ve been putting the plays in or terminology and then I’ve been coaching Blaine. So instead of those 50 reps a day that he was taking on scout team for the last two weeks, we’ve been making those assimilate the best we could to our game plan. Not just because of that but I think just because of playing in the preseason, Blaine has taken a major jump in the last two weeks. I think his understanding of, ‘Hey, we’re in the season. It’s a full-time job.’ He’s got a great mentor in Luke [McCown] in how to prepare and he has taken a big jump and it has shown in practice. And I thought when it got into game, when we got down in the fourth quarter Coach Del Rio and I spoke and said, ‘This is a good time to get him some live chances in an NFL game,’ and I thought he handled himself well.”

It’s a significant change of something usually looked at as written in stone. Usually the offense is reviewing the last period or getting ready for the next period during a defensive practice period.

“Now what we’re doing is whoever the scout team quarterback is, I’m coaching him, all the offensive coaches are coaching their guys and Coach [Mike] Sheppard is taking the other quarterback and working with him just on some individual type stuff,” Koetter said. “I think it’s helped our team on both sides of the ball but I think especially it helped the young quarterback.”

I think it amounts to a clever way to add value to practice and I applaud Del Rio for coming up with it.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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