Friday, September 26, 2014

Football Fundamentals: Play Action Pass Protection

As a philosophy, I think an optimal offense needs to be able to threaten to run from every pass look (draw, screen, etc) and pass from every run look. This doesn’t just mean be able to do both from any formation, but be able to give an initial look while attacking with the other. Play action is a fundamental piece to almost every offense, even the most pass heavy, but particularly the more run heavy. However, it’s not enough to simply call play action, it is essential that the correct protection is paired with the run action look given the situation. Likewise, the correct type of fake should be employed  by the QB.




Editors Note
This is terminology that I’ve used before, developed from a West Coast Offense scheme. I’ve looked through many schemes and playbooks, and the one thing you’ll notice is that there is very little similarity in nomenclature between systems. Some will even have the same nomenclature but have it mean different things (for instance, in one system, a bootleg is QB releasing strong, Waggle rolling weak, but that’s not what will be described below). A lot of teams utilize a numbering and lettering system that gives a protection scheme and a backfield route scheme. Some teams will simply have a couple different types of play action for each type of run, maybe with a strong and weak PA and a release scheme for the backs. Etc. So this is by no means universal, because it’s football and we like to make things difficult.

It's important to see how these protections can be utilized in a variety of personnel groups and formations as well. Essentially any of these protections can be utilized from shotgun. Likewise, the FB can be an H-back or another TE in many cases. On top of that, FB can move to the slot any many of the protection schemes can be run without him; similarly, the TE can be split out and many of the schemes with the TE in a route can be run the exact same way.

Lastly, for our purposes, playside is toward the run fake, backside is away from the run fake.

QB Fake
Most likely the fake will occur between the second and third steps of a QB’s drop. It is important that the QB get the ball out in front of the RB to sell the fake. Push the ball straight out and pull it directly back; do not over ride the fake, especially with one hand.

Hard Fake
A hard fake is intended to be a great fake to the point of getting the RB tackled. The QB should follow his front hand with his eyes as his arms swing with the back. Through the fake the QB should keep the ball tucked and keep the ball out of the LB’s sights.

Standard Fake
A standard fake is intended to move the defense, it’s a good fake. The QB should extend the ball so the defense can see it and disconnect from the mesh point at the last possible second.

Weak Fake
This is your token fake that is intended only to freeze the defense. The QB simply shows the ball but it does not affect the timing of the route structures and should allow the QB to get the ball out of his hands before the defense can recover. The RB is primarily responsible for carrying out the fake.

High Level
Bootleg: Generic term. QB will roll away from action and have a lead blocker (a bootlegger sneaks away).

Naked Bootleg: Generic term. QB will roll away from action without a lead blocker.

Keep: Generic term. Roll toward run action.

Play Action Protections
These are different types of protections that can be employed. They involve different blocking schemes from the OL, as well as different possibility for TEs and RBs to go on routes.

Straight Drops
Burn: Slide Protection. TE release in route.



Burn
PositionAssignment
PSTSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
PSGSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
OCSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
BSGFan #1 on LOS
BSTFan #2 on LOS
TERoute - Free Release
QBDrop back
FBBlock EMOL call side
TBBlock 1st LB call side


Torch: BOB (Big-on-Big; Back-on-Backer) Man Protection. TE release in route.


Torch
PositionAssignment
PSTBOB Rules: On, Outside
PSGBOB Rules: Combo On, Inside to LB
OCBOB Rules: Combo On, Inside to LB
BSGBOB Rules: Combo On, Inside to LB
BSTBOB Rules: Combo On, Inside to LB
TERoute - Free Release
QBDrop back
FBBlock 1st LB call side
TBBlock 2nd LB call side

Fire: Slide Protection. FB and TE release.



Fire
PositionAssignment
PSTSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
PSGSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
OCSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
BSGSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
BSTSlide Rules: On, Inside, First Backside LB
TERoute - Free Release
QBDrop back
FBRoute - Free Release
TBBlock Playside Gap


Act: Front (OL, TE, FB) block as designed run without going downfield. RB in route.


Act
PositionAssignment
PSTBlock playcall. Don't go downfield.
PSGBlock playcall. Don't go downfield.
OCBlock playcall. Don't go downfield.
BSGBlock playcall. Don't go downfield.
BSTBlock playcall. Don't go downfield.
TEBlock playcall. Don't go downfield.
QBDrop back
FBBlock inside zone.
TBFake inside zone. Route.


Barnyard: OL blocks playcall. RB sells fake. TEs/FB release in routes.


Roll Away - Bootleg
Similarity: OL blocks play. RB sells play, FB/Backside TE blocks backside EMOL to allow QB to break pocket and can then release in route, frontside TE in route.

I'll show a second play to show how the same protection call works for two different plays


Similarity
PositionAssignment
PSTBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
PSGBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
OCBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
BSGBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
BSTBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
TERoute
QBBoot Away
FBBlock EMOL, release
TBFake play call. Check #4. Route.

Waggle: FB/Playside TE and backside TE release in route. Playside OG pulls to to lead for QB, backside OT scoops EMOL (if OT can't scoop you may want to make a G call (see below) and fold so the OG can scoop the EMOL, to be communicated at the LOS)


Waggle
PositionAssignment
PSTOn, outside on LOS
PSGPull to TE area. Personal protector for QB
OCBlock playside A-gap, fill for pulling OG
BSGOn, inside.
BSTOn, outside on LOS
TEBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
QBBoot Away
FBBlock backside B gap. Leak.
TBFake play call. Route.

Identical: Playside OG pulls to lead for QB, backside TE pins EMOL then releases. Rest of OL in slide protection. FB/Playside TE release in route.


Identical
PositionAssignment
PSTOn, outside on LOS
PSGPull to TE area. Personal protector for QB
OCBlock playside A-gap, fill for pulling OG
BSGBlock gap playside.
BSTBlock gap playside.
TEBlock EMOL, release.
QBBoot Away
FBBlock backside B gap. Leak.
TBFake play call. Route.

Jump: Backside OG pulls to lead block. Block play from rest of OL. RB/FB run play. TE in route.



Jump
PositionAssignment
PSTBlock Playcall
PSGBlock Playcall
OCBlock Playcall
BSGPull to TE area and seal. Personal protector for QB
BSTRoute - Free Release, cover for Pulling OG
TEBlock and release.
QBBoot Away
FBBlock Playcall
TBRun Playcall


Roll Toward – Keep

Exactly: Front (OL, TE, FB) blocks play as designed. RB in Route.




Exactly
PositionAssignment
PSTBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
PSGBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
OCBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
BSGBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
BSTBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
TEBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
QBKeep Toward
FBBlock playcall. Do not go downfield.
TBFake play call. Route.


Jump Keep: Frontside OG pulls to lead block. Block play from rest of OL. RB/FB run play. TE in route.



Jump Keep
PositionAssignment
PSTBlock Playcall
PSGBlock Playcall
OCBlock Playcall
BSGPull to TE area and seal. Personal protector for QB
BSTRoute - Free Release, cover for Pulling OG
TEBlock and release.
QBKeep Toward
FBBlock Playcall
TBRun Playcall


Roll Keep: OL/TE blocks play. RB lead block on edge. FB leaks. (Roll would have the RB lead block and no PA, FB still leaks; Smoke is a sprint out FB/TE lead blocks, RB blocks backside)



Roll Keep
PositionAssignment
PSTBlock Playcall
PSGBlock Playcall
OCBlock Playcall
BSGBlock Playcall
BSTBlock Playcall
TEBlock Playcall
QBKeep Toward
FBRelease in Route
TBSell run. Block Playcall


Add-Ons
Stay: Added before any roll out. Indicates to the QB that he won’t intend to break the pocket and will set at the Ghost TE alignment.

G: Add to any play action protection roll out to have the roll-side OG take EMOL, typically used when the rest of the OL sells away from QB roll.

Links
Smart Football - Pulling OGs on PA

Another Common System
For awareness, I'll briefly explain a couple other systems.

Numbering System
This utilizes letter and numbering three digit system. In this system, the nominal play is for the TE to go into a route, but other route combinations can be added on after the numbering.

For example:

123 Stay; 1 = Sets the protection (pivot is in first gap); 23 = sets the backfield motion; Stay = TE blocks.
P46 FB; P = Sets the protection to look like power); 46 = sets backfield motion; FB = FB in route (so is TE as there is no stay call).

In these systems, like most systems, standard drop backs utilize a two digit system.

Act System
The act system is essentially the same as it's described above. You say "Act" and then the run it's designed to look like, then you can use add on words to designate other assignments.

For example:

Act 46 Power; Act = Play action; 46 = Run scheme it's designed to look like; Power sets the blockers
Act 45 Naked; Act = Play Action; 45 = Where the run scheme goes (No play call here indicates it's a zone scheme); Naked = TE and FB will run routes and QB will have no lead blocker;
Act 47 Counter Boot; Act = Play Action; 47 = Run Scheme; Counter = Sets blocking like Counter; Boot = Boot away, FB lead (in this case, the playside OG can't lead because of blocking scheme, but if it was 47 Boot, it would indicate 47 zone run with playside OG pulling to lead for QB).

There are other systems out there, nothing is ever consistent throughout football, but just so you are aware of some different ways it is done. 

2 comments:

  1. My god you are detailed! My head is spinning from trying to digest all this information. Great stuff! Keep doing what you are doing. Are you on twitter?

    ReplyDelete