Eli in The Pistol? Never Say Never

In order to employ the “pistol” formation in the NFL, it is widely thought that a mobile QB is needed to run it effectively. Our man Jimmy Kempski reports that is a misconception. Anyone can run it:

Former Nevada head coach Chris Ault, who coached Colin Kaepernick in college, thinks Eli Manning can run the pistol.

Popular thinking suggests you need a highly mobile signal-caller to make the pistol work, but Ault shot that down, suggesting that more plodding passers like Eli Manning could find success leaning on those concepts.

“They could run the pistol formation,” Ault said Tuesday on ‘NFL AM.’ “They don’t need to run the read part of it. When we first put the pistol in, in 2005 and 2006 (at Nevada), that’s all we ran. We ran the power, the gaps, the counters, the zones, the outside stuff. We did not run the read at that time. So, the pistol offense, the most important thing there, is you can run any offense you’ve been running. And this is how we created it, and then we advanced the pistol run game — the read part of it — two years later.”

The pistol is just a formation. It is not a way of life.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

I agree the Giants have the pieces to insert and integrate this formation into their playbook. Ault is correct, the “read” part is not applicable to the Giants for obvious reasons. Eli is not a scrambler nor do the Giants want him to become one at this stage of his career.

I like the pistol because not only does it provide the QB a better view of the defense and aids in the QB’s ability to audible. It also puts added pressure on the defense to react quicker, which leads to breakdowns in coverage, missed tackles etc.

The running game is assisted by the ball being handed off closer to the line of scrimmage and you know how we’ve been harping on hitting the holes quicker.

But, as always, here’s the rub…..does the Giants’ coaching staff have the forethought to make a change of this type and stick with it? 

They have dabbled in several similar formations, but with Eli not being able to sell the “read” part of it, the pistol becomes limited. But, as Ault states you can still do a myriad of other things out of it to make it worth your while.