Many of the lessons Coach Smith shared with me still live on in our QB manual:
Some key points to consider:
- A way to teach beyond rote memorization. Here, we are specifically referring to the quarterback. Some schools of thought lock the passer into a set progression for a given play; however, with the way patterns are structured here, we give flexibility (and, moreover, situational awareness) to the attack. This can be done because the verbiage allows for understanding on the part of the QB, combined with the allowance for skill players to just “play fast.” We use numbers to dictate the frontside of the route, and names for the backside. We are able to mix-and-match patterns, allowing us not only to maximize our best player’s abilities, but allow us to capitalize on valuable practice time as well.
- While some have voiced concern with verbiage slowing down tempo, we have alleviated that with our communication system. Verbiage and tags are never a concern because we use wristbands. In addition, it is to be noted that a single word for a play name actually involves more memorization for the player if that offense will be diverse enough to move people around in search of the matchups needed. Further, we never miss a signal or tag, and can be assured that we can practice everything we bring into a game. Moreover, we save time – as the wristband program floods to our game plan and practice scripts.
- Defeat all coverage categories, but have special consideration for defeating MAN COVERAGE. Because we can add looks without having to re-teach assignments, valuable planning and practice time can be spent on skill development and technique. In doing so, combined with the manner in which patterns can be assembled, viable answers can be provided. More and more, even zone coverages have man-to-man elements involved, so it is important that separation techniques are prioritized.
In 2 of the next 3 Super Bowls, the Patriots encountered the same defensive structure and philosophy (the Seahawks in Super Bowl 49, and the Falcons in Super Bowl 51), and threw 37 and 43 completions, respectively. While it is easy to point to the skill of the quarterback, few would argue that Brady plays with receivers who are on the lower end of the NFL’s skill spectrum. How did they do this? By making man coverage players ACTUALLY have to cover, and by attacking interior defenders who found themselves in peculiar positions, the Patriots were able to possess the ball when others could not. Simply, they made man defenders turn their hips.
On a high school or college field, offenses can get some very similar match ups, as zone teams will rely on man techniques in match-up zone coverages. In the following teaching clips, it is easy to see how the principles explained can be valuable.
- SPOT – our acronym for “SPEED IN WITH AN OUTSIDE 2”, it places a skilled player at a #3 position to attack the MIKE linebacker, usually the last linebacker a defense will substitute for.
- BENGAL – our term for a “BACKSIDE ANGLE”, this is a deep cross, and the applications are invaluable, especially given how defenses will push the backside safety to get extra defenders on the strong side of a 3 x 1 formation.
- SHAKE – gives a little more variety on our underneath routes, and allows for a terrific change of pace to teams that like drags and pivots. Not only does it offer a high-percentage pass, but the timing allows for a variety of applications (either an object read, or an outlet to a downfield zone concept).