Tuesday, June 1, 2010

New Orleans Saints Passing Game (Part II)

Continuing the New Orleans Saints Passing Game, we move from their vertical-stretching 5-step game into their deadly 3-step horizontal stretch.

If you have to defend four vertical receivers, you’ll be looking to keep a cushion on the receivers and safeties deep to prevent them from getting over the top. What happens when those receivers bolt out of their stance only to come up short (quickly)? With four deep defenders, you’re not left with many bodies left to cover the 53 1/3 yard width of the field underneath (horizontal stretch). This leads us to the spacing concept and its variations.

After threatening and torching DBs with the 5-step game, what do you do when those same receivers come up short on their stem and break short? You're left with a big cushion between the receiver and the ball.
Previously covered here, with its variations stick , scat, and snag, these short concepts allow receivers to gain immediate horizontal leverage on underneath defenders, gain separation, and allow the quarterback to quickly throw a completion.

Again working off the 5-step passing game, the utilization of screens to trap an over aggressive defense underneath creates another dimension of attack. So for a defense, just wildly attacking the quarterback won't get it done (because you only open up the effectiveness of the screens). Getting full use out of the athleticism of their running backs and tight ends, the Saints can further isolate less athletic defenders in space by showing a ‘deep pass threat’ (drop back action) then throwing to a back (feigning blocking) with a linemen leading on the perimeter for them.

RB Screens
Here we'll see backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas athleticism exploiting linebackers and safeties to get to the perimeter.

TE Screens
With versatile players like Jeremy Shockey, David Thomas, Billy Miller, and Heath Evans (now Jason McKie), the Saints can create a 3-way threat H-back. Using these players in such a role further aids the run game and deep passing game.

As with any good zone / stretch running team, the bootleg off of run action is a great way to slow down and victimize backside defensive edge pressure. A back or tight end will release backside (of run action) with a post (playside of run action) creating a two-level horizontal stretch that a quarterback can be assured of an easy downfield completion.

The flood concept creates a three-level sideline stretch after freezing the defense with run action. With a receiver deep (outside the hash), a receiver intermediate (outside the hash), and a back flaring to the flat; the quarterback is assured a completion by overloading a defense to one side.

I hope this overview of 5-step, 3-step, and complimentary passes provides a 100-foot perspective of how these concepts are employed to keep a defense on their heels. With a myriad of ways to attack on any given play, every down becomes a "passing down" regardless of field position. This versatility also alleviates pressure on the offensive line both in pass protection and run blocking. Because the defense cannot pin their ears back and focus on one or two game plan elements, they are forced to slow down and react, allowing the offense to dictate the tempo of the game (and why you'll often see Sean Payton open games with up-tempo/no-huddle drives).



charliemeans said...

I love Drew Brees. Watching the quick game concepts makes me think why we do not do it more. Its just a long handoff. If the defense gives up a 5 yd throw, they will take it. As soon as tehy start squeezing off tose under routes, then bang here comes a 4 vert, sail, flood multilevel, over your head ball. The scat is great especially with all of the zone dog stuff going on. If they drop a dline guy, he might get in the way, but he aint gonna get 'unerneath' anything. qb/wr gotta see the field with the same eyes. love it.

Chris said...

The biggest question I have..... where do you get the awesome film?

Coach Hoover said...

I love watching Drew Brees operate the Saints offense. Spacing and Flood are the two best pass concepts they run that I have seen in my film study so far.

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