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FILM STUDY: Shane Vereen as a Slot Receiver

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Metaphors, Aug 11, 2012.

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  1. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    Apologies to Ian for stealing the theme and thread title, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. One situation that I was looking for in this game was splitting Vereen out as a receiver. Got to see it in 2nd half TD drive and thought it was worth breaking down since it is a dimension that was underutilized last year.

    [​IMG]

    Pats go empty on 3rd and 3. By having a RB and TE on the field, the Pats keep the option of striking to a running play (Saints were in the dime). Saints show man with 2 deep safeties (no shown). Vereen is outside the TE and matched up with a DB.

    [​IMG]

    At the snap, the DB is sitting at the 1st down marker so Vereen has the potential to break inside or outside. The trailing TE would just do the opposite.

    [​IMG]

    Mallett takes a quick 3 step drop and looks right. He has 3 potential targets to keep the defense honest, but the primary read is Vereen. The RT has to chop down the DE to give him a lane and the right-side WR needs to clear out the area. Vereen's quick outside cut and the threat of a crossing route freeing the TE outside (with the LB too far away to cover) forces the DB to stay at home for just long enough to give separation.

    [​IMG]

    Mallett gets the ball out on-time and Vereen makes the catch past the 1st down marker. It is at this point where the play transitions from "dink-n-dunk" to a potential big gain. With the WR clearing out that side, Vereen can use his quickness to turn the corner.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately, at this point you need to start using your imagination. The DB does a good job closing and not allowing Vereen to get around the corner clean...but imagine that same situation against a LB or a slower safety. Also, the CB should have been engaged with the right-side WR since it is doubtful he was ever a serious target.

    [​IMG]

    Vereen is able to get an easy 10 yard gain with almost no downside risk. If he was covered by a slower player and the WR decided to block a little, Vereen could have been going full speed with only the safety (15 yards past the LOS) in front of him.

    This is a variation of the 4th-n-2 play from 2009 (Faulk was on the "weak" side in that case) but it shows the potential in getting Vereen out in space. If this were a base defense or even a nickel, Vereen is likely going against a LB. With Hernandez or Gronk on his side, he is likely to have even more separation to get the corner.

    This is particularly bad news for teams like the Jets and Ravens. Their LBs just can't cover laterally. If they press up the safeties to compensate, Vereen has shown the ability at Cal to run an effective wheel route to get downfield. I'm not sure how a team defends this without going zone, which Brady would destroy with his other targets. This formation needs to be used at least a couple of times a game this season.
  2. italia44

    italia44 Rookie

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    Is it possible to put this in the LIKE HOF?......I noticed the same when I saw them split Vereen out wide....This is the Josh influence,imo......This will be a problem for most opposing LB's......A BIG problem.....They must commit the inbox safety to Gronk or AH,or Dime,it will influence the defense to declare zone,as the OP suggests.

    But what I especially like is the slip screen option.....The pats love this.....Usually it's done on the left side,as Brady is right-handed,and it is a faster set-up on the left side.However,if you use a fast running back on the right offensive side,who then loops back towards the formation on a screen,what you get is:.......A back "running in space",rather than a wideout or a TE.Speed is not the most important factor in a slip screen....patience and vision are.

    This is also why Aaron Hernandez is more dangerous on a screen than any other TE or WR on the Patriots.....because he has the qualities of a running back in space.

    Lastly,I always have the image of the Ravens running a screen to Ray Rice.....What's the first word out of your mouth?.......SH-T!

    I hope Josh can develop Vereen,so that other teams will say the same thing:rocker:
  3. patfanken

    patfanken On the Roster

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    NIc Post, Met. I think we will see a lot of this kind of thing. Last season....and the season before, I think we erred in not using our RB's enough as passing threats. It allowed the defense to squeeze the middle of the field in tight man or zone coverages. and use pressure to force Brady to get the ball out quickly.

    I think the revived screen game we expect to see is just part of the strategy to get teams out of those tight man coverages. They'll have to because if we are successful in getting the ball to our RB's (Vareen, Ridley, and Wdeoody) in space, it will wreak havoc on their man coverage, because the rest of the secondary will take themselves out of the play running with their receivers, so if the RB beats just one man, it can turn into a very long play. Against a zone, the defenders can react up to the ball much more quickly.

    At worst its easy yardage without much sweat, but at best it will not only yield some long gainers, it will also loose up the coverage for the rest of the team. Kind of like the short threat yin to Lloyd's deep threat yang, and Welker, Gronk and Hernandez benefit.
  4. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    This is just phenomenal stuff. Really great work. I agree with putting this in the "Like HOF".

    This is also why I was so excited when we got Vereen in 2011, why I was so disappointed at his lack of involvement last year, and why I had high hopes for him when Josh McD came back. McDaniels used Knowshon Moreno in much the same way in Denver when he was HC, with good success, and Vereen has a similar skillset (I keep hoping Denver will cut Moreno and we can pick him up for depth as a "flex back" along with Vereen). Having a back with those kind of receiving skills and ability in space just magnifies the options available to the offense, especially when combined with a guy as versatile as Aaron Hernandez and the blocking/receiving prowess of the multiple TE formation. It's nearly impossible for opposing defenses to adjust.

    BTW, regarding the comment about the Jets' and Ravens' LBs and lack of lateral mobility, Gregg Rosenthal had this tidbit on the Jets-Bengals preseason game last night:

    Lessons learned from Friday's NFL preseason games - NFL.com

    :D Imagine what Vereen out of the backfield could do if the Lawfirm was able to operate effectively as a receiving option against Scott.
  5. BananaRepublican

    BananaRepublican Banned

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    A lovely thought especially for Los Jets.

    Maybe they'll counter with Tebow in a Double Dime.

    Tebow disguised as the hot dog vendor?

    I smell something tricky coming.
  6. BananaRepublican

    BananaRepublican Banned

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    Abso-effing-lootly.

  7. ausbacker

    ausbacker Brady > Manning. PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Thanks for the read Metaphors. It's great to have football analysis threads as such again! It must be football time soon.
  8. Crazy Patriot Guy

    Crazy Patriot Guy Rookie

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    Metaphors, when I read the post earlier, I literally stopped halfway through, scrolled down to the bottom of the post, clicked like, and went back up to finish the rest of it. I couldn't wait until I was done with the whole post to like it, that's how good it was. Very well done.
  9. brady199

    brady199 Rookie

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    I knew something did add up when you said "Mallett" and "quick" in the same sentence :D That was Hoyer at QB.
  10. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    The passing game, where the sideline tight camera angle really bites the breakdown people in the ass. The All-22 video can't come soon enough.

    You can't see the safeties, so you really can't tell what coverage the Saints are in on this play. But if you look at the top of your screen, you'll see classic hard Cover-2 technique from the outside corner: he's sitting at five yards, on the outside of the wide receiver, ready to jam that outside shoulder and deny the release up the sideline.

    You also see that inside defender up there is not pursuing his "man" running that out route, and is instead drifting back into the hook/curl area between the numbers and hash. Furthermore, the linebacker in the middle of the field is just opening up at the pass read like he's heading for a zone drop, and he basically follows the QB's eyes the whole play.

    So to me it actually looks like some sort of split-field zone coverage scheme. Or perhaps the Saints are rolling a Cover 3 shell to the weak side. Who knows without those safeties in the picture.

    The vision cone was a nice touch.

    I think a particularily interesting aspect of this play is that it appears from your pics that the Pats have Silvestro chip the left end, #93, who then of course gets cut. That opens up the throwing lane on the out, so as you otherwise noted it's very much a quick-read, short yardage play, with everything designed to make that out as easy to complete as possible, and every other route essentially meaningless.

    Also I'm pretty sure that QB is Hoyer, not Mallett.
  11. Metaphors

    Metaphors Rookie

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    It is hard to see what they were doing without the safeties in view. I made the assumption they were splitting the deep field, which was reinforced as the play progressed. As the play runs, the 5 defenders actually do match up but they are ready to switch on crossing routes (which the weak side WRs do).

    Again, it is hard to draw conclusions from these snapshots in time. The LB and slot DB look to have man responsibilities but like the weak side DBs, they are playing off and I would assume they would hand off if the RB/TE crossed.

    Can't be definitive about anything, but it looks like a man under, split safety. If you have the game on DVR, check it out in motion and see what you think. With an empty backfield and only 3 yds for a 1st down, even zone concepts will look like man.

    That is what I thought at first, but after watching it again he just seems to use his hands to get around him. He also should have been called for a false start, so this won't be on his highlight reel.

    I obviously had Mallett on the brain coming out of halftime.
  12. neuronet

    neuronet Rookie

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    I saw the first half of the game, and it seemed the QB was in shotgun on many 3rd downs. The McDaniels way. I tend to get frustrated by this: are we that unsure of our running game that we need to go into shotgun even on 3rd and 3, or 3rd and 4? Is McD going to honor the run enough?
  13. patsfaninpa

    patsfaninpa Rookie

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    Been a Vereen fan since I saw his video from Cal. The slot receiver and draw game is perfect for him. Don't know if he's ever going to be a short yardage hammer. Hoping Ridley develops into that. Great job with pics.
  14. Shockt327

    Shockt327 Rookie

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    Hey guys, this play is called "Empty Right - 78 Y-Hook" It can be found in the old Charlie Weis playbook. It's a pretty basic football concept, too; know commonly as the "Y-stick." Great for preseason.

    Oh, they also ran this play at 11:20 in the 1st Q; with Gronk making the catch and Ridley being the RB out in the flat. Same formation, too. Just 3 to the left, not right.

    The Smart Football blog has a great write up on this very concept; and they literally take a page out of Weis's playbook, too.

    (Oh, I'm not using their diagram (though it's the same one) - I looked it up in my pdf copy of the 03-04 Pats playbook, just to be sure)

    Attached Files:

  15. Shockt327

    Shockt327 Rookie

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    Oh, the only difference between the playbook diagram and the play itself is the backside combination (not playside)....

    The diagram uses "Tosser," which is a double slant. The play itself uses "D-Slant," which is one slant paired with a diagonal.

    So, I'm guessing that the call in the huddle would have been: "Empty Right - 78 Y-Hook - D-Slant"

    "Empty Right" refers to the formation.
    "78" refers to the OL blocking assignments (also in the playbook,too long to discuss)
    "Y-Hook" is the playside concept
    "D-Slant" (or Tosser) is the backside combination

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012
  16. Pat the Pats Fan

    Pat the Pats Fan Rookie

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    thanks, this is fantastic. i love these types of nuts and bolts explanations of plays. really wish we weren't subjected to the tight camera work.
  17. mayoclinic

    mayoclinic PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    From Yates today:

    Camp Observations: Day 18 - New England Patriots Blog - ESPN Boston

    I love it. Larsen better get back to practice if he wants a shot at making the team. I'm happy with a Vereen-Ridley-Woodhead-Bolden RB group. Love the "pony" personnel grouping, especially with Vereen's ability to split out wide or play the slot. Lots of versatility, especially with Vereen and Hernandez on the field at the same time.
  18. Shockt327

    Shockt327 Rookie

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    Oh, I uploaded a video on to You Tube to make the comparision easier

    The play I have here is "Empty Left - 78 Y-Hook" and "Empty Right - 78 Y-Hook" It can be found in Charlie Weis's playbook from 2003-2004. It illustrates a passing concept known commonly as the "Y-stick."

    Two plays are shown. Both at regular speed. Then at half speed, with the second play flipped to make the comparison easier.


    NO @ NE pre wk1 2012 (Y-Stick)

    (can't wait for all-22, btw)
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012
  19. Avenger

    Avenger Rookie

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    I'd like to see a super pony with Woodhead, Riddley, Vereen, and Bolden on the field.
  20. unoriginal

    unoriginal Rookie

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    Great comparison. It is particularily noteworthy comparing Gronk's speed getting into his route in the first play vs. Silvestro's slowness in the second. The Y Hook is supposed to be the first progression! In the first play, Ridley breaks wide open, but the ball goes to Gronk because he sits down right as Ridley makes his cut. Pretty impressive.

    In the second play, the one Metaphors broke down, Silvestro gets caught up in the 9 tech and doesn't get to his spot until well after Vereen makes his cut, so he got skipped over entirely.
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