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The dirty little secret about the trips formation

  • August 3, 2016 2:48 AM PDT

    Here's the thing about the passing game: Even when you've got an incredibly accurate passer with a quick release like Aaron Rodgers, you'd still prefer to avoid risky throws whenever you can.It doesn't matter how many books you read on the topic of how to coach quarterbacks, a recurring theme in all schools of coaching is the importance of limiting the amount of time the football is in the air.For one thing, the longer the ball floats up there, the more opportunity the defense has to snatch it away, so the distance of the throw, as well as the defensive picture around the intended receiver, are all taken into account.So enough with the tease, what does any of this have to do with that click-baity title I got you here with?Do you want to know what that "dirty little secret" is about the Trips formation?Here it is:The Z receiver almost never gets the ballIt's true, I swear.You probably think I'm full of crap, but remember this the next time you're watching a football game and the offense lines up in this set.I just spent the past few paragraphs talking about spacing, the distance of the throw, and the time the ball spends in the air.These are all reasons why the Z receiver in the Trips formation actually doesn't get the ball thrown his way a whole lot.Allow me to make my case in visual form.You may not believe it, but that extra half second in the air makes a big difference, and a good coach is like an accountant, hard at work trying to eliminate excess waste and risk in the game plan wherever he can.Examine most modern passing attacks, at all levels, and you'll find that most of the time, the Z receiver is used as a decoy, a distraction, a way to clear out the coverage for one of the other two receivers.The Y Stick concept is a great example of this. The Z receiver goes deep and the two interior receivers work to get open underneath.A lot of coaches are split on the topic of tendencies, and staying predictable. Still, everyone agrees that you need the ability to keep your opponent off-balance, even if your scheme doesn't feature a ton of bells and whistles.So how do you get the football to your widest receiver in the formation, the guy furthest away to the strong side?All kinds of ways, really, but in this post we're gonna be looking at one play call I thought was very creative.The PlayThe Packers receivers have a very good understanding of where they are on the field, how they fit in with the other pieces in the offense, and when the football is supposed to come out of the quarterback's hands.This concept is designed with all that in mind, as well as the particular style of defense they're expecting to see.When you're playing a team who specializes in zone coverage, or maybe you're just facing a long yardage situation, it's not enough anymore to simply drop back, invite the pass rush up the field, and then dump it off to the tailback behind a wall of blockers.Defenses have gotten smarter, and even the ones who haven't have still gotten faster. It doesn't matter how well you fool a guy with that perfectly-timed screen pass if he has the speed to chase you down from behind.So what's to be done? Well Kennard Backman Jersey, you've gotta find other ways to get the football to your speedsters with blockers in front, and Green Bay has done just that.Look at the diagram below.You've got a corner route by the tight end, a very shallow slant by the Z receiver, and the slot receiver is blocking the guy across from him .The tight end's route is timed up to break to the corner once he's passed the alley defender in the flat, and he'll immediately look to his outside shoulder.As for the Z, he'll burst aggressively off the line of scrimmage and pivot on a sharp angle to get underneath the block of the slot receiver.The block of the slot receiver? How do they get away with that?I've written other places about how Green Bay's timed passing attack allows their receivers to be more aggressive when blocking for a quick screen, so I won't go into too much detail here. Still it's important to emphasize that the block itself isn't as important as the ability to get to his assigned depth in a hurry, and establish himself in that spot so he can avoid drawing an offensive pass interference penalty ball should be coming out in a hurry regardless, and by the time he makes contact with the defender the Z receiver should already have the football in his hands and be trying to turn up the field.The corner route by the tight end is designed to provide another option in the passing game if the defense clamps down, but also to clear the coverage in the middle of the formation and open things up for the Z receiver once he brings in the football Kentrell Brice Jersey.Against a soft zone coverage, it's like stealing.ConclusionFor as productive and exciting as this offense has been for so long now, it's amazing how little people have focused on the design and creative genius behind Green Bay's attack.Mike McCarthy isn't really interested in being known as an offensive guru, so long as Green Bay keeps finding ways to win games. He knows what all good coaches know, which is that without a proper focus on the fundamentals, you won't get very far.That said, it helps to have a great plan, and having little wrinkles like this one for common situations only makes the unit stronger as a whole.What will they think of next? FanPosts are designed to be used to start a conversation on a specific topic, not unlike a front page story. They have a 75-word minimum: If you don't have much to say on a topic, consider using a FanShot.

    • 4 posts
    June 6, 2017 12:17 AM PDT

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