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New York Giants: Chris Ault says Eli Manning could run Pistol offense

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Chris Ault, architect of the pistol offense employed by the San Francisco 49ers, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahwaks and others, says a team without a running quarterback can still use many of the concepts.

Would Kevin Gilbride, Eli Manning and the Giants ever run the pistol offense?
Would Kevin Gilbride, Eli Manning and the Giants ever run the pistol offense?
USA TODAY Sports

Could the New York Giants run some of the newly-popular -- and wildly successful -- pistol offense, even with the slow-footed Eli Manning at quarterback? Chris Ault, architect of the pistol, told NFL.com on Tuesday that teams with non-running quarterbacks -- like the Giants -- can certainly implement parts of the pistol running attack.

"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."

Ault is in demand these days because of the success of the pistol, especially with Colin Kaepernick -- his quarterback at Nevada -- having led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.

Ault explained that the pistol creates deception in the running game partially because with the running back close to and directly behind the quarterback impairs the vision of linebackers.

In an I formation the running back is also directly behind the quarterback, who is under center. There is, however, a 7-8-yard space between the two. That, common sense tells you, makes the play develop more slowly and gives defenses more time to clearly see the running back's intended direction.

"When that back sits behind the quarterback, the backers do not have a clear view of what he's doing," Ault said. "And everybody's talking about the read-option, which is a big part of our offense, but you can run downhill power games, counters, gaps and all that from the pistol. And those counter steps and trap steps that backs take in this day and age -- sometimes those linebackers lose it. That's what we really enjoyed about it when we first put it in."

The Giants ran a handful of plays out of the pistol during the year, but never committed to it enough to actually have it become a real piece of their offense.

When the 'Wildcat' was the rage Tom Coughlin never even gave any consideration to adding it to the Giants' attack. Could this be different? Manning makes a living off the play-action pass, and we saw in 2012 how effective Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins were running play-action off the pistol.

Could the Giants benefit from implementing some pistol concepts? Would they actually do it? Should they? Thoughts, Giants' fans?