As of 7pm, the choice is close, but it seems that a few more folks want to take a shot downfield. So the offense sets up, the quarterback takes the snap and starts his check down pattern. He sees his Y receiver streaking down the right seam on a double move. He’s got just enough arm to get the ball about 50 yards in the air without it being a total balloon. But it’s early in the game and there seems to be a bit of separation. He sets his feet but as he’s about to rock back to rock into the throw, he sees that the right defensive end has wiped out the tight end’s block, and hit running back hard enough that he’s now horizontal. The adrenaline takes over, and he uncorks a ball as hard as he could possibly throw it... 1 beat too early, and too much off his back foot to keep the nose down.. The wind catches it, and it sort of lollipop sails out past the right sideline, nearly wiping out a 5 gallon Gatorade cooler.
There are lots of... “hey my bad”s and we’ll hit it next times, but the reality is that the deep seam hits once in a blue moon, and certainly not under a heavy rush. It’s one of those low percentage plays that coaches often use to “stretch” the field, and force the defense to cover more territory, both mentally and physically. The problem is that if it’s executed poorly, that impression also sticks in the coaches’ and players’ minds.
So now you’re looking at 3rd and 2 (or so - it still looks like a mile, suddenly). AND you just got handed a serious wrinkle in what would be a pretty routine bubble screen, or shallow out pattern to grab the 3 or so yards needed. Your left Guard and their right Tackle have been jaw jacking and the normal collision of the big men, has turned into more of a shoving match resembling the start of a school yard fight. The Umpire cruises by the Head Coach and drops a hint that maybe it would be a good idea to cool off “Rick Flair” while the other team ices “Rowdy Roddy Piper” for a play because they are getting close to getting laundry thrown at them, but Rick is the first target since he seems to be offering up the most lip.
So, in order to cool things off and avoid a 15 yard hit or loss of down (and therefore a punt) you pull your Left Guard, and have the line coach get him to cool off. Your backup Guard is good, but he doesn’t start for a reason. You’re thinking that maybe this would be a really good time to adjust a few things to get your Quarterback away from their Right Tackle, but then it plays into their star Defensive End who blew up the deep throw at the point of launch.
Pared Down Choices
So, what do you do, now?
This poll is closed
Run the wheel route with the H-Back going out to the left. Pray that your QB can get his feet set as he drifts left in the pocket.
Run a screen pass to your H-Back to go throw the right side of the A-gap.
Run a quick shovel pass to the H-Back through the A-gap (the old 1 hole).
Throw the out pattern into the left flat to the X receiver, the clock stops for the 1st down anyway.
The 2nd Choice - Waive your hand palm facing you flat back and forth in front of your facemask
Let’s see where you go with this one. The number two pick on the 2nd play was the half-back/H-Back Screen pass. That’s the one that I would have run. The deep pass is cool and sexy, but it is super low percentage and unless everything just falls into place perfectly ends up bouncing off of something, and often into the hands of a defensive back. I am not opposed to going downfield, but it’s just a tad early and the players are too fresh. I’d save that one for the future since the Corner got beaten on a double move, but that’s about all we learned with that play.