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Article: In the Xs and Os: A Young Quarterback Quandary Unveiled


I'm intrigued to delve into the reason why this young quarterback opted not to pass to this wide-open receiver on this play. 

Following the Week 2 game, he faced substantial criticism across various social media platforms. While he does bear some responsibility, I aim to shed light on how inadequate play design also played a significant role in the situation.

Let's examine the specific play in question, where you'll notice that the seam route is glaringly wide open.

While the Seam came open you can see that the young Quarterback had already moved on based on where his feet are pointing.

First and foremost, it's crucial to highlight that young quarterbacks must maintain precise timing in their footwork and progress through their reads seamlessly. Fans, announcers, and coaches often express frustration when a quarterback fails to move beyond their initial read. Achieving this requires steadfast trust in their timing.

Lets Dive In

The defense is in Cover 3

A great way to attack this coverage is

  1. Hold the Free Safety (FS)
  2. Attract the Corner with someone
  3. Then throw a seam in this blue pocket below

However, in this play design, the coach is

  1. Asking the Z receiver to run from Egypt to get in front of / affect the Free Safety
  2. Asking the slowest position player on the field Y (like a Tacoma Truck vs Formula 1 cars) to quickly influence the Corner
  3. And having the Seam route by H start 6 yards behind everyone else in the race

The Decision Making Moment

At the moment he's making his decision (below) the

  1. Z is still on his way from Egypt - nowhere near affecting the FS yet
  2. The Y aka Tacoma Truck is just getting out the driveway not pressuring the Corner - allowing the DB to muddy the read
  3. H who started in the backfield arrived on his seam to find Z hanging out on his couch in his living room

But Gibran, could he have just held on to the ball a bit longer?!

Of course, he could've and frankly, that's something a veteran QB might have done for an easy touchdown throw. But this youngster is in a development phase and not quite there yet. He's been spending a lot of his young career like this ↓

What's a better way to have done it with the young QB?

This offensive coordinator has likely forgotten more about football than I'll ever know.

In this case, he was just trying to be a little too cute. I'd argue - at this point in the quarterback's career - he needs less cute and more straight to the point. He could've easily called it like this below.

  1. Y has a shorter distance to go which immediately affects the FS
  2. Z is quickly threatening the Corner and keeping him wide
  3. F - a speedy option - stays in motion and attacks the seam quickly

Design Matters!

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