The A11 Football League is going to give football fans an offensive buffet not seen since the early 1950s.
Thanks to the league’s signature rule change – returning football to its roots by eliminating the jersey-numbering rule for offensive players, and allowing as many as all 11 players in an offensive huddle to have eligible-receiver numbers – the play choices for A11FL offensive coordinators will almost be limitless.
It’s one thing to look at a playbook and see how a play might work on the field. It’s another thing to try to plug in players to see which ones might be the best at running said play.
As with any other offense, an A11FL offense has to have a reliable quarterback. An A11FL quarterback has to be proficient as both a passer and a runner – able to take a rollout and turn it into either a 30-yard touchdown pass or a 30-yard touchdown run. National Football League quarterbacks like Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson could perfect an A11FL offense in short order.
There a few intriguing choices as to who could play beside the quarterback in the shotgun in an A11FL offense. An O-coordinator could go with a lefty quarterback (Michael Vick?) to put a dual passing threat back on certain plays. He also could go conventional, sticking a fullback in for short-yardage plays, or a tailback (like LeSean McCoy, Jamal Charles or Matt Forte) in for draws, screens or options.
At the four wide receiver positions, A11FL offenses will look for a “Z” (Calvin Johnson is the best NFL comparison, but A.J. Green and Andre Johnson also are great choices), an “A” (a Wes Welker- or Danny Amendola-type wideout), an “X” (think Vincent Jackson, Cecil Shorts or Anquan Boldin) and a “B” (Jordy Nelson or Eric Decker).
An A11FL offense’s two “anchors” are, like everyone else on the field, going to have to be versatile players – tight ends like Jordan Cameron, Jimmy Graham or Antonio Gates, or a hybrid fullback/tight end type like Charles Clay, who can catch, take a handoff on an end-around or block.
The most important A11FL offensive player will be the center, who has to be spot-on with snaps all game long in order for the offense to click. With more than half of NFL offensive plays beginning with a shotgun snap, almost any NFL center would do well here. A guard, one who is as good at conventional pass protection as he is at blocking downfield on screens and run blocking, is essential, as is a lineman on the other side of the center who could be a tight end like Michael Hoomanawanui – a high-quality blocker who can catch a backward pass from time to time.
The A11FL is going to have NFL-quality players who fit the A11 game. These are just a few examples of those who would fit the bill. I am sure you can come up with many more when watching the NFL and college football this weekend.