But the ability to believe in it, just like believing in a quarterback or trusting a receiver to get the ball, is the number one strength Steve has.
The number two strength is that he teaches it extremely well. I can't overemphasize that enough. He, more than any coach I've been around, takes the gray area out of the teaching method. That's the key in any endeavor, whether it's first grade reading or college calculus. It's communication.
He absolutely has faith in it and his ability to communicate that is number one and two.
Number three is he understands the elements of what makes something successful.
It's almost like a chemical reaction. He knows how to do the basics. You can't invent the cure for cancer without knowing the steps of the periodic fields. He understands that extremely well and insists upon those basic things being done right. That foundation of the fundamentals, he almost has a Vince Lombardi commitment to them. It might not be off-tackle run to daylight, but it's the same commitment.
Number four is that I don't think it's all that complicated. Steve believes that as a coach. He once told me if you can go deep left or right, the defender has a tough time covering you. He sticks to that belief that a good receiver with a good route and a good throw will beat a good defender, which I totally believe. When you get greatness in one of those three categories he can pound you. But he believes, 'You give me a good receiver who runs a good route and throws a good ball, you can beat a great defender.' He's not trying to outcoach himself.
That's the foundation of his offense. It's not often that I'd walk out and think, 'I've never seen anything like that before.' But he teaches it extremely well.
The fifth point is that he runs it himself. His communication lines all come from him. He's a tremendous teacher of how the receivers should run their routes, not just how the quarterback should throw the ball. There's only one voice speaking and everyone hears the same voice. It's as simple as that.
Steve has tremendous credibility. Whatever he says, people believe he's right. It's almost like a preacher. Sometimes just believing in it can make it true: 'It must be right because Steve's telling us.' All of that combines to make a great winning soup.Throw it all together and it's like a great chef. Now the people believe in it too. The really impressive inventions in the world seem to be so simple. The key to any movement or advancement is simplicity. That's what I see. Steve can cut to the bone and he teaches it.
John Keim covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.