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Let's Talk About: Sticks (route concept)

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Ok, every now and again run across a play allows me to clearly illustrate what the quarterback is seeing and reading on any given play.  I hit on a few route concepts earlier in the year -- in fact I think I hit on this one -- but we love football, right, so let's go over it again.

Both teams Monday night ran a lot of what's known as the sticks concept.  It's perfect against Cover-3 and it can give any type of man problems, also.  But it really wreaks havoc on Cover-3.  

Basically, what it is, is this: you're going to have two receivers to one side.  The outside most receiver is going to run a flat.  The inside receiver is going to release and he has the option to run a hook if it's zone, or and out route if it's man.  The quarterback is going to read the man over the receiver running the flat.  IF THAT MAN runs with the flat receiver, he is going to throw the hook.  Of course, if he sits inside and disregards the flat, then he'll throw the flat.


Now here's the actual play.  Julio is in a tight wing formation next to Toilolo.  We've got 12 personnel on the field.  You can see clearly the routes drawn up and the key defender Matt is looking at.  Now note, this happens fast.  Matt is only looking to this side of the field.  And he's looking at the movement of that defender to tell him where to go with the ball.



Here it is at the snap.  Two steps into Matt's drop and he already knows where he's going with the ball.  #52, Garvin's eyes are all on Toilolo, pretty much disregarding Julio.  



Matt gets to his last step.  Before that back foot hit, #52 is screaming where to go with the ball.  He's turning and running right at Toilolo.. and Julio sees it too.  Don't ever let anyone tell you playing receiver is just about athleticism.  There's a lot of nuance, a lot thinking that goes into this position.  Receivers at the NFL level are oftentimes put in positions where they have to be able to read coverages as well as quarterbacks.  



Easy money.  Nothing that groundbreaking.  This is in every offense in the NFL.  Something nice and simple to get your QB some rhythm and some easy yards.  This is almost that long handoff you often see associated with the WCO.  And you can run it from any formation, with any personnel grouping.


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