Tim Layden's book "Blood,Sweat, and Chalk" is so flawed, I hardly know where to begin. I'll concentrate largely on the chapter on the West Coast offense.
All the play diagrams are terrible; rounded, cutesy chalk drawings that are inaccurate, the kind of stuff you see in print advertisements during football season - ten to twelve X's and O's per side, arrows and blocks in all kinds of crazy directions. If you are writing a serious book about innovative developments in football strategy, then it follows that you should have real playbook schematics,i.e., diagrams that are both precise and correctly drawn.
One of the signature plays of the West Coast Offense is "Flanker Drive". Traditionally run out of a two-back set (usually Near), the flanker (or Z) motions tight to the formation before running a "Drive", a crossing pattern at 4-6 yards. The tight end runs an In at 10-12 yards; the halfback runs a Corner at 12 yards; the split end (or X) runs a Streak. The book's diagram illustrates the play out of a singleback set (a rarity for Walsh). There are only 10 players shown because apparently there is no running back. The slot receiver (or Zebra in West Coast terminology) is designated as the flanker(!?); he goes in motion before running a corner pattern. The flanker, designated here as no. 80 (for Jerry Rice) runs the drive, the tight end runs the In, the split end runs the Streak. This play is not a secret, you can find it in any West Coast Offense playbook. For crying out loud, it's been in the Madden videogame for years! And more accurately drawn, I might add.
The chapter consists largely of material cribbed from other sources. No mention of the slant pattern is made, a strange oversight, considering how effective Montana was in throwing it to Rice and Taylor, and how effective they were in yards after the catch. There is the bizarre assertion that Andy Reid brought "zone-blocked power running game"(!) to the WCO, which will come as a surprise to Mike Shanahan, Alex Gibbs, the Denver Broncos and Andy Reid himself.
The chapter on Buddy Ryan and his sons shows the worst depiction of the "46" defense I've ever seen. As far as I remember, the traditional setup featured the D-line covering the guards and center, with Richard Dent in an outside shade over the left tackle. The two outside linebackers, Otis Wilson and Wilbur Marshall were aligned on the line of scrimmage, one shaded inside the tight end, one outside the tight end. Middle linebacker Mike Singletary set up behind the D-line over the strongside B-Gap, while the strong safety aligned over the weakside B-Gap. The book's diagram of the "46" gets everything wrong. The D-line is set up in reverse; yes, the center and guards are covered, but the lone defensive end is set up in the strongside C-gap between the right tackle and tight end. The two outside backers are shown on the weakside, aligned off the line. The Mike backer is over the weakside B-Gap and the strong safety is shown stacked behind the defensive end on the strongside. What the hell?...
I can't comment on the accuracy of every chapter, I'm an avid fan, not a football coach. But these glaring flaws render all the material suspect to me. I wanted to like this book, I really did. Tim Layden's prose is likeable enough but his research is sadly lacking.