Leafing Through Pages: Analysis of Sports and Other Topics

11/30/2009

A Look At Mouse Davis’ Playbook From The 1985 Denver Gold

Here are some notes and tips from the 1985 Denver Gold Run-and-Shoot Playbook.

Motion Movements
– Rip = Motion Right by W Receiver
– Liz = Motion Left by Y Receiver
– Early Rip = 3 WR on the Right Side (Trips Formation)
– Early Liz = 3 WR on the Left Side (Trips = Triple/Triplets Formation)
– Rip Left = Motion Right but returns by W Receiver
– Liz Right = Motion Left but returns by Y Receiver
– Rip Wide = W Receiver lined up outside Z Receiver (Trips Formation)
– Liz Wide = Y Receiver lined up outside X Receiver (Trips Formation)
– Rip Wide Left = See RW but W motions inside of Z Receiver (Trips Formation)
– Liz Wide Right = See LW but Y motions inside of X Receiver (Trips Formation)
– Rip Wide Liz Right = Y Receiver motions left but returns to spot
– Liz Wide Rip Left = W Receiver motions right but returns to spot
– Early Rip Liz Right = Y Receiver motions left but returns to spot
– Early Liz Rip Left = W Receiver motions right but returns to spot
– Early Rip Left = W Receiver motions left
– Early Liz Right = Y Receiver motions right

4 Basic Pass Patterns used along with the 90 Pass Series
1: Rip 61 X Choice and Liz 60 Z Choice
– X runs a Streak
– Y (Left Motion) runs a Streak
– W runs a Drag/Dig
– Z runs a Choice (Slant, Post, Out, or Fade)

Progression Read is Z (Primary Receiver), Y, then W. X largely acts as a decoy. If a blitz, progression changes to Z, W, then Y.

On 61 X Choice, the Z Receiver has the following options…
– If DB plays off 5-7 Yards = Runs a 7 step Out route or a 7 step Post route
– If DB maintains a 5 yard cushion = Run a 7 step Out route
– If DB breaks the cushion (i.e. tries to get closer) = Runs a 7 step Post route
– If DB plays Cover 2 Man = Runs a Streak
– If DB plays Cover 2 Zone = Runs a Fade
– If against an all out blitz = Runs a 3 step Slant route

On 61 X Choice, the Y Receiver has the following options…
– If FS is playing deep and stays deep = Alter Streak into a Hook in open area
– If FS is playing deep but shallow = Run the Streak
– If FS is playing deep but comes towards you = Alter Streak into a Slant to “break” across his face
– If FS is playing deep but moves away from you = Run the Streak
– If playing 2 Deep Safety Zone = Alter Streak into a Slant across closest safety and try to hit the area in between them
– If playing Man = Alter Streak into a Slant to “break” across his face. The two Man coverages will be a S crossing with or a LB crossing with

On 61 X Choice, the W Receiver has the following options…
– vs. Man Coverage = Continue the Drag/Dig route
– vs. Zone Coverage = Turn the Drag/Dig route into a Hook in the open area between linebackers

Rip 60 Z Choice Special has the W and Y Receivers switch assignments

60 Z Choice Even has the X Receiver run a Switch Route out of the base formation without motion. This forces the safeties to stay on the W/Y Receivers and allows the X and Z Receivers to get one on one man coverage in their routes.

2: Liz 61 X Go or Rip 60 Z Go
Progression Read in a Zone Coverage is Y in a Flat route, W in a Corner Post, then Z in a Fade route. Could also be W, Y, then Z. Against Man Coverage is Y, W, then Z.

3: Liz 61 X Slide or Rip 60 Z Slide
Progression Read becomes Y in a Streak route, Z in a Post route, then W in a Bubble Flat route (rounds back behind line of scrimmage before running up farther east).

Variations on plays can be called for example 60 Z Slide Y Hook, which involves the Y Receiver performing a Hook route with the Z Receiver now running a Streak. Other plays can involve different primary receivers and 2 receivers running different routes.

4: 81 Z Switch or 80 X Switch
Progression Read becomes Y in a Streak route then X in a Switch Route.

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11/24/2009

A Look At Mouse Davis’ Run and Shoot Offense Playbook from the 1984 Houston Gamblers

In looking over Mouse Davis’ original Run and Shoot Playbook from his tenure as the 1984 Houston Gamblers head coach, here are some tips and notes I came upon.

General Notes
– Always draw up any pass package against 3 deep coverage (Cover 4 look with 1 deep safety).
– A lot of motion is used to help the QB and receivers determine whether the coverage look is man or zone based. Note that with recent developments/complexities in defenses, may not be as advantageous.

Blocking Terminology
Ace – Double Team block by G and C on man (NT or DT) lined up over C.
Cal – C blocks LB.
Cob – G pulls back to block NT/DT lined up over C. C then pulls around G and blocks LB.
Combo – OT and W or Y receiver wall off DE and LB.
Deuce – Double Team block by G and T on man (DT or MLB/ILB) lined up over G.
Dog – Used in Short Yardage/Goal Line situations. Double Team block by C and G play is aimed towards on man (DT/MLB/ILB) lined up over G.
Dot – Used in Short Yardage/Goal Line situations. Double Team block by C and G play is not aimed towards on man (DT/ILB) lined up over G.
Dudad – Combo Block by G and T on a DE/DT and a LB.
Drive – A bull rush block man on man aiming to drive through the opponent’s numbers. Key block technique in the running game.
Four – Double Team block by the TE and W receiver.
Gee – Combo Block by TE, T, and G. TE and T block against the grain (i.e. block left when play goes right and vice versa) and G pulls out to take on the SLB.
Help – Occurs in pass situations. RB has to block outside while the OL blocks the gaps.
Slip – General term for Combo block by 2 blockers on 1 DL and 1 LB.
Solid – General term for man on man blocking.
Trey – Double Team block by T and TE on man (DE/OLB) over the T.

Major Coverages Faced
Cover 4 Invert: Generally out of a dime (5 DB) package with only 1 safety back deep. The 5th and 6th DB play along the linebackers line.
Cover 4 Buzz: Generally out of a 4-3 package with only 1 safety back deep. The SS takes over for a LB and plays at essentially what looks like a 4-4-3 defense.
Cover 4 Cleo: Generally out of a 4-3 package with both the FS and SS playing deep. The SCB plays tighter on the WR while the WCB plays shallower.
Cover 4 Across: Generally out of a 3-4 package with both the FS and SS playing deep. Utilized against streak routes as all 4 DB drop back.
Cover 4 2: Generally out of a 4-3 package with both the FS and SS playing deep. Both CB play tight up on their respective WR.
Cover 4 5: Similar to the 4 2, however, the big difference is that the WLB and SLB play tight up on the W and Y receivers.
Cover 4 1: Generally out of a 3-4 package with a FS playing deep. LILB has option of blitz/zone drop while SOLB blitzes. SS plays up slightly along ILB lines.

Blitz Terms
Cat – MLB and WLB blitz at the same time.
Smack – MLB and SLB blitz at the same time.

WR Routes
vs. Bump & Run and Cleo Looks – All out routes turn into fades
vs. Bump & Run and Cleo Looks – All post routes turn into out routes
vs. Man Coverage – All curl and in routes turn into out routes

Route 1 – Slant (Break is made at 6 yards)
Route 2 – Quick Out (Break is made at 8 yards)
Route 3 – Hitch (Break back is made at 9 yards)
Route 4 – Pressure Out (Break is made at 14 yards)
Route 5 – Slide (Break is made at 7 yards)
Route 6 – Choice Out (Break is made at 17 yards)
Route 7 – Choice Post (Break is made at 13 yards)
Route 8 – Post (Break is made at 20 yards)
Route 9 – Corner (Break back from Route 8 is made at 23 yards)
Route 10 – Go and Fade
Route 11 – Cross and Square In (Break from Route 5 is made at 27 yards)
Route 12 – Switch (Break from Route 5 is made at 28 yards)

W and Y Receiver Routes
Route 1 – Flat
Route 2 – Switch (Continues off Route 1)
Route 3 – Streak
Route 4 – Flag (Continues off Route 1 and Break is made at 16 yards)
Route 5 – Post (Continues off Route 3 and Break is made at 16 yards)
Route 6 – Drag/Hot (Break made at 4 yards)

S Back Routes
Route 1 – Screen
Route 2 – Swing
Route 3 – Flat (Continues from Route 1)
Route 4 – Delay (Block then move up to inside zone area)
Route 5 – Drag
Route 6 – Hook (Continues from Route 1. Break back made at 6 yards from line of scrimmage)
Route 7 – Rim (Continues from Route 1. Also known as a wheel route)

Handling Safety Blitz
On 60 and 90 series pass plays, the X and Z receivers must find the safety on their side. The “sight adjust” will be a slant if the corner is playing off or a fade if the corner is playing bump and run. No “sight adjust” if the W or Y receiver is on a flat route towards the side of the pattern.

Uncovered Receiver Signals
A hot call by the receiver with the QB recognizing visually and making the throw or the receiver will grab his facemask with the QB recognizing visually and making the throw.

S Back’s Role if QB Scrambles. X and Z’s routes if QB Scrambles.
S Back is to move in the direction that the QB is scrambling, right or left.

If the QB is scrambling towards, the X/Z receiver changes most routes to a Go/Fade route. An X/Z receiver on a Choice Post, Corner, Cross, Switch route will instead change to a Hook route. If the QB is scrambling away, the X/Z receiver changes all routes to a Drag route.

Basic Rules for all Receivers
Release – Get off the line quickly and try to avoid contact as much as possible. Any physical contact can disrupt the route.
Hot Call – Receiver will make the call in blitz situations by waving hand and screaming “Hot!”
Hook Up Signal – If the opposing DB is giving the short plays or receiver can’t beat DB deep, receiver can throw an arm up and change a Go/Fade into a Hook route.
Perfect Position – When possible, cut back “across” the DB’s face (i.e. force the DB to roll their shoulders and turn). If running a Go/Fade and the DB is in perfect coverage, the receiver has the option of cutting back towards an open area.

Additional Receiver Notes
1: Always read the alignment of CB, S, and LB before the snap. Look for a tip off to what coverage you’re facing.
2: Find out how the DB covers you in relation to the sideline and adapt to it or force the DB to alter it.
3: Always know your position relative to the sideline/goal line/end zone but focus on the catch first.
4: Study the tendencies of each DB and Secondary. Do they play loose or bump & run? Do they gamble a lot? Do they line up inside or outside of your body? How fast are they and know when they start to slow down on Go/Fade routes.
5: Run every single play at absolute full speed. Always expect the QB to throw the ball in your direction.
6: Vary the release you get off the line of scrimmage when going outside, straight ahead, or inside.
7: Change of Direction during the “weave” (i.e. in between the release and break of your route) should be made in a N/S direction and never E/W unless you’re breaking.
8: Vs. Man Coverage fake the man and not the area. Get as close as possible and force the DB to move/react.
9: Vs. Zone Coverage think position and try to find an open area rather than faking the DB.
10: Never shorten the designated depth of the route on a break.
11: When you’ve beaten a DB, be aware of holding/tackling. Separation is imperative!
12: Try to catch the ball in stride and run through the ball.
13: Attack the ball and prepare yourself for a hit whenever the ball is caught.

Play Designs
50 Pass Series – QB has a 2 or 3 step drop. Quick pass game. S Back reads LB on call side of play. If LB comes, block him. If LB drops back, run designed route. On even numbered plays, the Y receiver has a free release and W receiver has a check (block first) release. On odd numbered plays, the Y receiver has a check release and W receiver has a free release.
60 Pass Series – QB will roll out towards the right side.
460 and 461 Pass Series – Designed SBack or W/Y receiver screen plays. QB is to sell play as if a 60/61 pass play.
900 Pass Series – What is termed as pick plays. Involves the W/Y receiver forcing the MLB/ILB to set a “pick” against own SLB/SOLB.
84-85 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed inside dive.
88-89 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed outside stretch play.
80-81 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed draw play. QB is to sell play as if 60/61 pass play.
74-75 Run Series – SBack goes on a designed counter trey play. Aimed inside tackle.
18-19 Run Series – Speed Option plays with QB pitching to SBack.

The Choice (Option) Route
Usually a route concept assigned to a single receiver in a given play. It generally offers the receiver the option of 2 different routes to take, depending on the play of the opposing DB.

The Switch Route
Usually a route concept assigned to two receivers who “cross” each other forcing the opposing DB to catch up or switch coverage designation.

11/19/2009

The Pass vs. The Run and Wins In the NFL

A thought popped into my head when thinking about the fact that teams winning a ballgame will “run out” the clock with a heavy run game because they want to ensure the victory. I noticed the Patriots are very well known for going with short passes, even with an underrated run game, and started wondering how a winning record correlates to pass to run ratio.

NFL Year Teams W/Winning Record Teams W/Greater Pass Ratio Teams W/Greater Run Ratio
2008 16 10 6
2007 13 9 4
2006 12 8 4
2005 17 8 9
2004 13 5 7
2003 14 8 6
2002 16 13 3
7 101 61 39

It’s interesting to note that after the extremity of 2002, the ratios slowly balanced back to favor the run until 2005 when the ratio shifted back to the passing game (in part due to the great teams having guys like Brady, Manning, Brees, etc.) Also the number of teams with winning records tends to consistently be between 12-16 teams over the past 7 years and the 2009 season should be within that window as well.

11/17/2009

Is the 4 Wide “Spread” Formation Becoming More Common In the NFL?

Many fans and members of the media have seen how the “Spread” offense has taken college football and high school football by storm, an offshoot of the classic run-and-shoot formation from the mid 80’s to mid 1990’s.

Has that translated to the NFL? I decided to take a look at the percent of pass plays attributed to certain QBs who snap the ball in a 4 or 5 WR formation, the consensus “formation” of pass focused spread offenses. Names are in “order” of NFL team (i.e. Rodgers – Green Bay listed before Brady – New England).

Kurt Warner: 4 WR formation ran 47% of the time. Closest team to a “run-and-shoot”/”spread” style offense in the NFL formation wise.
Matt Ryan: 4 WR formation ran 16% of the time.
Joe Flacco: 4 WR formation ran 17% of the time.
Trent Edwards: 4 WR formation ran 10% of the time.
Jake Delhomme: 4 WR formation ran 26% of the time.
Jay Cutler: 4 WR formation ran 9% of the time.
Carson Palmer: 4 WR formation ran 20% of the time.
Aaron Rodgers: 4 WR formation ran 20% of the time.
Tony Romo: 4 WR formation ran 10% of the time.
Kyle Orton: 4 WR formation ran 16% of the time.
Matthew Stafford: 4 WR formation ran 3% of the time.
Matt Schaub: 4 WR formation ran 16% of the time.
Peyton Manning: 4 WR formation ran 11% of the time.
David Garrard: 4 WR formation ran 9% of the time.
Matt Cassel: 4 WR formation ran 17% of the time.
Chad Henne: 4 WR formation ran 11% of the time.
Brett Favre: 4 WR formation ran 12% of the time.
Tom Brady: 4 WR formation ran 22% of the time.
Drew Brees: 4 WR formation ran 14% of the time.
Eli Manning: 4 WR formation ran 11% of the time.
Mark Sanchez: 4 WR formation ran 16% of the time.
JaMarcus Russell: 4 WR formation ran 5% of the time.
Donovan McNabb: 4 WR formation ran 12% of the time.
Ben Roethlisberger: 4 WR formation ran 16% of the time.
Philip Rivers: 4 WR formation ran 16% of the time.
Alex Smith: 4 WR formation ran 16% of the time.
Matt Hasselbeck: 4 WR formation ran 17% of the time.
Josh Freeman: 4 WR formation ran 3% of the time.
Marc Bulger: 4 WR formation ran 7% of the time.
Vince Young: 4 WR formation ran 9% of the time.
Jason Campbell: 4 WR formation ran 14% of the time.

Interesting that for a majority of teams, the “acceptable” range seems to be around 14-16% of all pass plays being 4 or 5 WR sets. Eye opening is the Colts but they run their 3 WR set over 70% of their pass plays so it arguably balances out.

Note that most of the conservative, defensive minded coaches have extremely low percentages: Jim Schwartz in Detroit, Raheem Morris in TB, Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, Steve Spagnuolo in St. Louis, Tom Cable in Oakland, and Dick Jauron (fired on 11/17) in Buffalo.

Worth mentioning is Tom Brady and Kurt Warner, both well known for their aerial games, also have two of the higher (and in Warner’s case, the highest) percentages in terms of 4 and 5 WR sets.

11/13/2009

Turnovers and Effect on Wins In the NFL

Everybody knows that in order to win games, the team that commits fewer turnovers wins the game by a rather large percentage. Here’s how the best regular season teams of the last 5 years have done with turnover differential.

2008 Season (10 Teams at 10-6 or Better)
13-3 Tennessee Titans: +14
12-4 Indianapolis Colts: +9
12-4 Pittsburgh Steelers: +4 (Won Super Bowl)
12-4 Carolina Panthers: +6
12-4 New York Giants: +9
11-5 Baltimore Ravens: +13
11-5 New England Patriots: +1
11-5 Miami Dolphins: +17
11-5 Atlanta Falcons: -3
10-6 Minnesota Vikings: -6

2007 Season (11 Teams at 10-6 or Better)
16-0 New England Patriots: +16
13-3 Indianapolis Colts: +18
13-3 Dallas Cowboys: +5
13-3 Green Bay Packers: +4
11-5 San Diego Chargers: +24
11-5 Jacksonville Jaguars: +9
10-6 Seattle Seahawks: +10
10-6 Pittsburgh Steelers: +3
10-6 Tennessee Titans: +0
10-6 Cleveland Browns: -2
10-6 New York Giants: -9 (Won Super Bowl)

2006 Season (8 Teams at 10-6 or Better)
14-2 San Diego Chargers: +13
13-3 Baltimore Ravens: +17
13-3 Chicago Bears: +8
12-4 New England Patriots: +8
12-4 Indianapolis Colts: +7 (Won Super Bowl)
10-6 Philadelphia Eagles: +5
10-6 New York Jets: +0
10-6 New Orleans Saints: -4

2005 Season (13 Teams at 10-6 or Better)
14-2 Indianapolis Colts: +12
13-3 Denver Broncos: +20
13-3 Seattle Seahawks: +10
12-4 Jacksonville Jaguars: +11
11-5 Cincinnati Bengals: +24
11-5 Carolina Panthers: +16
11-5 New York Giants: +12
11-5 Pittsburgh Steelers: +7 (Won Super Bowl)
11-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: +7
11-5 Chicago Bears: +6
10-6 Kansas City Chiefs: +8
10-6 Washington Redskins: +1
10-6 New England Patriots: -6

2004 Season (9 Teams at 10-6 or Better)
15-1 Pittsburgh Steelers: +11
14-2 New England Patriots: +9 (Won Super Bowl)
13-3 Philadelphia Eagles: +6
12-4 Indianapolis Colts: +19
12-4 San Diego Chargers: +15
11-5 Atlanta Falcons: +2
10-6 New York Jets: +17
10-6 Denver Broncos: -9
10-6 Green Bay Packers: -14

Out of the 51 teams that finished with a record of 10-6 or better, only 8 teams (16%) had a negative turnover differential. Only 1 team, the 2008 Atlanta Falcons, finished with a record better than 10-6. There were 20 teams (39%) that had a positive turnover differential in double digits. Only 2 of those teams finished with a record lower than 11-5, the 2004 New York Jets and the 2007 Seattle Seahawks.

The 5 teams that won the Super Bowl had a combined +18 with the 2007 New York Giants being the only SB champion with a TO differential lower than +4.

Worth noting is how the worst teams of the past 5 years have fared…
2006 Oakland Raiders 2-14: -23
2004 San Francisco 49ers 2-14: -19
2008 Detroit Lions 0-16: -9
2005 Houston Texans 2-14: -8
2007 Miami Dolphins 1-15: -7
2008 Kansas City Chiefs 2-14: +5

They combined for a TO differential of -61 with only the 2008 KC Chiefs posting a positive differential. Worth pointing out is that KC lost 7 games by a TD or less, including 2 games by 1 point, both against the San Diego Chargers.

What does that mean for the 2009 NFL Season that’s through Week 9?

8-0 New Orleans Saints: +8
8-0 Indianapolis Colts: +7
7-1 Minnesota Vikings: +5
6-2 New England Patriots: +8
6-2 Denver Broncos: +5
6-2 Cincinnati Bengals: +2
6-2 Dallas Cowboys: +0
6-2 Pittsburgh Steelers: -2
5-3 Philadelphia Eagles: +11
5-3 Atlanta Falcons: +4
5-3 San Diego Chargers: +1
5-3 Arizona Cardinals: -6

Currently it looks like the Arizona Cardinals will be lucky to finish better than 10-6. The Eagles, if they can keep up the TO differential, look to finish with a great record while most of the teams sitting at 6-2 or better look like they all have a good shot at making the playoffs.

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