Options for the Vertical Threat in the 8 (Corner Concept)
The 8 Concept in the Air Raid is one of the best Red Zone plays in the book. It can be ran by either the H or Y receiver. It is in someways the “cousin” of 618 (H/Y stick), and a staple play for those that commit to the offense. Inside our Open Grass 6 concept, we employ options for the receivers to take advantage of what the defense gives us. Remembering that the Air Raid offense is more of an attitude that it is an offense, progressing this idea into the concepts allows a team to morph this idea into the other concepts. What I plan to explain is how you can use the Open Grass Reads mentality and move it into the concepts to make your offense more potent.
The basis of our Open Grass Reads mentality is Freedom, Production, and Efficiency. More information can be found here: http://www.coachpatricktaylor.com Why not allow your players to make the vertical threat in your offense have an option to make them right? If you think it is too difficult ask yourself can your receiver read one player? If so then keep reading.
The quarterback in Open Grass Reads Progression has some simple pre-snap questions that he will ask himself,
before snapping the ball on each play. These questions will lead him into a cognitive process for the post snap reactionary movement. The picture to the right takes us through this. In the base play the corner route is the vertical threat inside the concept. Pre-snap the quarterback ask himself: How is the Grass for the first read? This allows his mind to create a mental process for the concept. With the X receiver running a slant or slant sit based on man or zone and the shoot route stretching the flat the next question he asks is: Who is the 2/3 flat player? Since his is the player who is getting the horizontal strain of the concept. The next question he ask: Is there any sign of blitz? and the last if there is any “Grass” I can take now on the backside because of alignment. For the sake of this article we will look into just the concept side, to look at the options of the vertical threat.
The concept side safety is the one we will read in the vertical concept, for the option route. What he does can allow
us to adjust the vertical threat of the route to make the defense potentially wrong. When the H/Y gets to the top of his vertical stem if reads the safety he can make the coverage wrong. As he is stemming if the safety comes down, the coverage tells us that the corner must be bailing into his deep third leaving the seam vulnerable. If we continually run the base corner concept then we could easily allow the defense to take away the vertical threat of the play more often allowing them to force throws into 2 defenders for 2 receivers. This requires more precise throws, hard collisions, and potential turn overs. If the Safety Retreats and bails according to the vertical stem of the route, then we know it is some type of quarters coverage and
we will still stem the corner route. This is because we now know that the defense has to get an ISLB involved in the
horizontal stretch of the coverage, allowing us to more efficiently run the slant/shoot combination (as seen on the left). No danger and no need for an option route. So rule for the H/Y what is the Safety doing at the top of my vertical stem? We can concede the vertical threat if the safety is staying honest, and work down to the 2/3 read. It changes nothing for the quarterback or the concept as a whole.
The option route comes into play when the safety inverts down as we are running the concept. In the Air Raid there is a 66 play that is a hitch/seam combination. We have adapted this idea into the corner concept to eliminate the
ability of the defense to feel safe about rotating to a one high safety. If the near safety rotates down or away from the concept, then the receiver will now run a width seam route instead of breaking into the corner stem of the route. It is an easier route to throw and complete, and allows the quarterback to throw the receiver open. The defensive corner is now outside the throw, and there is a clear window direct from quarterback and receiver to complete the pass. The corner bailing into the deep third takes away the corner routes grass, and gives the defense a 4 under 3 deep coverage ability, this making covering the underneath a higher percentage for them. But allowing the receiver the ability to read the one player who can tell you everything you need to know, can make the defense have to cover the full extents of their “circle overlaps” of coverage in there most vulnerable spots in the coverage they have ran.
The ability to give options inside a concept limits the defense ability to play coverage that takes away the vertical threat and placing strain on the underneath. This whole idea came forth during one of our practices by our slot receivers from running this concept over and over again. They asked could they make that adjustment in this concept, so I simply asked the quarterback and receiver if they could do this in the post snap process, and they all agreed they could. The repetition of the offense allows us to create more without adding shot plays or another concept.