Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Snag Route: Noel Mazzone (NY Jets)

Wahoo, made it to my 100th post!
Now to cover my favorite subject....more quick passing game from a spacing concept, the Snag Route as taught by former NC State and NY Jets coach, Noel Mazzone.

2 Man Snag Concept
Although the same route as Gunter Brewer's 3-step Snag (that essentially is a strong side flat,snag,corner read, ala Coverdale Mesh), Mazzone introduces this as a 2-man game into the boundary. It features a standard mesh split or wider by X (7-8 yards), who's angle of departure is towards a depth of 6 yards of B gap (looks just like shallow cross, mesh, etc). Once the first inside backer crosses his face, he sticks his foot in the ground, spots up, and gets his eyes to the quarterback. Complimenting this spacing is the hot swing into the boundary by the back.

The back takes 3 hard steps parallel to the line of scrimmage (3 steps into the boundary, 5 steps into the field), and then down hill to the landmark of inside the edge of the numbers. He should catch the ball AT the line of scrimmage. The whole point is to stretch the WLB (curl-flat defender) as quickly as possible. The back is trying to out-leverage the OLB as quickly as he can. The explosive quickness of this play is what is important to train with your quarterback. He takes 3 quick steps and is thinking, "give the ball (on plant) to the back, hitch (hit the spot), open and move (hit #3)."
“it just a basketball game off the will backer….1 to 2, simple”
Mazzone cautions,"Don’t make the mistake of telling your quarterback to throw to the back (“I think Johnny was open in the flat. Why didn’t you throw to the back?”) as he’ll start doing what we DON’T want – hold the football." The entire concept is built in hot – for empty protection - it has answers for everything.
This is an efficient concept. This is a 1st down play, to me, this is like calling toss sweep or power. It is a high percentage play.
What problems does snag encounter? 1st problem – man 2nd problem – Cover 2 Versus man, snag just becomes an issue of running away from the defender, and /or turns it into a rub. In both Cover 2 or man, the quarterback can simply convert the snag routes into mesh – it fits with his reads and progression already. Additional Coaching Points against Man;
  • X - if X feels man coverage, he will run through the WLB's inside hip, making him bubble over the X and not come underneath (creates space for the back). With the snag, in the event of blitz, if everything voids, he is going to be hit on the move. Keep the X moving, don’t get him thinking. When in grass, stay in grass - Green grass means go
  • F – if they feel its man coverage, the QB will make a "bullet" call, which changes the hot swing to a bullet – this release is set right through the feet of the X (creates the rub on the WLB) at a severe angle towards the sideline.
Passing game is about spacing and timing It is important to keep the quarterback in a rhythm, to train guys to keep moving. The second hitch should be a throw on the move; plant, hitch, on the move. Coaches should move their quarterbacks into throws - don’t let him sit back there and get nervous. The third throw here should be “on the way out” (ala Steve Young), where he is in position to throw the third receiver or take off on a run (or throw it away). The third look should be drilled as a running throw. Additionally, you've gotta play fast, and you can’t ever question your QB’s decision.
  • If he doesn’t feel it on the hitch to the flare, go to snag
  • If he doesn’t feel it there throw it on the move, throw pivot
For the 3rd read receiver, he is to run a ‘punch and pivot’ route. This punch and pivot is aimed at the first inside backer he sees. This will likely be the MLB. The receiver should get close enough to the Mike to punch him. If the MLB gets aggressive (reroute) then he has to settle his feet in anticipation of contact, so he won't be able to recover and cover/run with the pivot. While at NC State, Phillip Rivers, for his career at NC State in the 2 man game was 88% for 8.2 yards per throw. Rivers was so adept at the Snag concept, that he campaigned Mazzone to run a mirrored version of this, a double snag with both backs flaring (this became what is known as Scat)
We ran it to open a game (vs UNC), to shut him up,
and show him his play doesn’t work…. We ran it, ran it again, then kept running it to show him it wasn't a good idea.... same formation, same play…..9 times in a row (UNC) 9/9 and on the 9th throw it was a TD.
3 Man Snag
Post safety (1-high) – work 2 man snag (weak) Split safety (2-high) – work 3 man snag (strong)

All this becomes is the snag concept with the third receiver added to the strong side. You add a route by Y, just like how Shallow and Mesh are packaged. Its still just 2 man snag, we’ve just added another element to it. With Cover 2, they have 5 underneath, not 4, so you should be looking to work strong, stretch horizontally, and blow the top off the coverage vertically.

Adding Y corner or Y basic (dig) to this 3 man package creates all the answers required.
  • If SLB sits on the snag, then you have the smash with the corner and shallow RB
  • If the MLB is covering the snag mostly, throw Basic ( dig)
  • If the OLB, Sam, is covering snag – throw corners

How do you protect your best plays?
You have to have something in to keep your bread-and-butter plays on the edge. You have to make the defense pay, to hurt them, if they (try to) take away your best plays.

(rocket screen develops just like snag / inside zone) This helps protect 2-man snag, 3-man snag, mesh patterns and inside zone because it all develops the same post-snap but stress the defense in an entirely different way.

Dealing with numbers in the box - How do you deal with it?
When you become effective running the ball or with this inside quick passing game, the defense will have to load the box with 8-9 defenders to stop you. To overcome defensive number superiority, you could gain an advantage with a running quarterback (zone read / fly) …..but what if you don’t want the QB to be a runner? You have TWO OPTIONS “look” and “stay” These concepts are just like throwing uncovered and are just as 'cheap'. LOOK If the cushion on the outside receiver is greater than 8 yards and the corner has outside leverage.....the receiver takes 1 step, right now, and GO! (to open grass)

This guy (Favre) really like to run them
We started calling it in the huddle…
we’d call “I-right 60 Power, X look”
But “this guy” just did it on his own whenever he wanted.
If the receiver is out-leveraged by the DB but has a significant cushion, he takes 1 step, and stays. This is just like a flash screen to the perimeter and works especially well in conjunction with the run game (shown here with inside zone action).
If they add to the box, we’re getting post safety….take advantage of matchups outside when they load the box.


Unknown said...

Excellent stuff. Thank you.

LilyAllen Mao said...

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