RGIII’s Rookie of the Year Campaign: Running Shallows

The following post is an excerpt from a comprehensive breakdown of RGIII’s 2012 Rookie of the Year campaign posted at The Orange and Brown Report.

In our final example, we will watch RGIII make a progression-based read running another West Coast classic, the Drive concept, or 2 Jet Flanker Drive (the Steelers often run this play to get the ball to Antonio Brown in space).

The offense comes out in an Empty formation with three receivers to the field and two to the boundary. Against many teams the Empty formation is an automatic pass check, but because RGIII is a dangerous running threat the defense must account for a designed quarterback keep here.

The quarterback’s read will vary based on the coverage. On this particular play Tampa Bay plays their base Tampa 2, with two deep safeties, hard corners playing the flats, and a middle linebacker dropping to protect the open middle of the field.

The progression looks to be out, dig, shallow, although you could make a case for wheel/dig/shallow based on the coverage (it is impossible to say with 100% certainty what the read is without the play call). Because the defense is in a Tampa 2, the progression becomes a simple hi-lo read of the seam defender to the left side of the defense. If the defender gains depth to cushion the dig route, throw the shallow underneath. If the defender jumps the shallow, throw over his head to the dig.

The wheel and digs routes force the seam defender to drop, opening up the shallow route underneath. On the other side of the field, notice how the out route by the #2 receiver pulls the opposite seam defender away from the shallow, creating more room for a catch-and-run.

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