The West Coast Offense features short pass plays to replace the running game while still controlling the ball. The quarterback takes a three or five-step drop, reads the defense and has his progression of receivers to look to. Ideally, all five receivers will release in the pattern giving the QB plenty of passing options.
The 49er West Coast offense relies on short passes turning into big plays with the ability of the skill players. Steve Young has the patience to continue to throw the short pass if that is what the defense is giving him. Eventually, the big play will come either with a long pass or a short pass with a missed tackle resulting in a touchdown.
Arizona's West Coast offense uses the theory of reading the progression from deepest to shortest. The Cardinals flood one side of the field and let QB Plummer read the defense from deepest to shortest. If the big play is there, Plummer will take it. If not, Plummer continues down the ladder until a receiver comes open. Plummer also has a knack for creating things on his own when the play breaks down.