Cool Play of the Week (15): Trips Right Y Swap 15 Front Read F Slant (RPO) Eli Rogers 18 yd TD
Edit: it has been brought up that this is even more of an aggregious penalty than originally thought. Many users have brought it up to me that the NFL rule is is only 1 yard downfield fo ineligible man downfield. I previously had 2.5 yards as it is closer to the college rule. My mistake.
I am back again and this time I am highlighting a play concept that I have been meaning to put off. The “Run Pass Option”, or colloquially called “RPO”, is the flavor of the year (although it has been popular in college for 5 years minimum, and around for 10 years at least). It is an evolution of the Zone Read out of the gun. Teams were bringing down an extra safety in run to account for the QB running so teams decided lets beat this guy by passing it at the area he vacated for QB run. Here is the main point for why I hate this play:
THERE ARE RULES AGAINST THIS! You can’t call a run and take the time for the QB to read the fake, assess where to throw the ball, and then release it. The rule that stops this is “Illegal Man Downfield”. For beginner football fans this means that a lineman (5 ineligible players) can’t be more than 1 yard downfield during a forward pass (ball passes the line of scrimmage before received. After the ball is THROWN then the lineman are allowed to progress downfield.
Now teams have been calling runs and throwing QUICK game for years. But its different, you tell the team 15 Front but then just throw a fade right off the snap. The lineman move to slow to get too far downfield and you are safe. BUT in the RPO it takes too long to develop and you get stuck and players lineman are downfield and engaged with linebackers.
But heres my issue. My motto when I played was “It is not my job to obey the rules, it’s the refs job to enforce them.” I was not a dirty player by any means but i did everything beyond the letter of the law. Move the ball up on 4th down, grab a guy and then pull him down to me as I get into his legs, an occasional “safe” leg whip you name it I did it. It was about protecting my teammates and getting success when things go bad. SO under this logic I love the RPO. If the refs are not going to enforce this rule and you can get easy touchdowns then like Stone Cold would say “Give me a Hell Ya” run this until the cows come home. I would just like them to actually enforce this rule, especially when they call it like they did on this particular one and then pick it up off the ground.
Ok soap box over. Lets break this play down:
- Trips to the field with Antonio Brown to sideline (get better looking coverage)
- Run Read but with all receivers looking for a quick pass instead of blocking
- Identify middle field open and get it to the F on a 1:1 matchup
Trips Right Swap 15 Front Read F Slant
Trips: 3 receivers to a side, 1 to the other
Right: 3 Receivers to the Right 1 opposite
Swap: Exchange places of the Y and F for Trips
1: QB Run option play
5: Inside Zone read to the Left (odds are left, evens are right)
Front: Open side play side, if danger comes bring whole line (PUSH IT call), Center combination is working to the Will instead of MIKE
Read: Zone read, QB can pull the ball, tackle and backside TE know to leave the DE for read
F: F position is being tagged for a route
Slant: Slant is the tagged route
So the line only cares about running Front Read. They do not care about the F Slant, because if the defensive backfield was different they would be running the ball and they would be live. But the QB is the one who makes the read, and does it both presnap and mid play.
Pre Snap Big Ben sees that they are doubling the X (Antonio Brown) into the boundary. Belichick loves to double the bet receiver and then play man to the rest in these type situations. Normally to trips you would roll to Cover 3 and have the Boundary Safety more in the middle of the field and have the boundary safety rolled down. NE shows a 2 high and Ben sees the middle of the field is open. So he knows the pull is a possibility.
The Y and Z are so weird on this play, they are running like half blocking and just staring at the QB to be ready if they ball is thrown to them. They labor off the ball with eyes in the backfield the whole time.
Mid Snap Ben is reading the MIKE and Boundary Safety. His first target is to get it to the F on the slant. But if when QB pulls it the MIKE is aware of the RPO he gets into his middle zone he needs to have an outlet. Walking Boot Ben is definitely not running it so he goes to his Y or Z as his outlet or he just grounds it at them.
Like stated earlier RPOs are supposed to screw up the extra safety in the run game for the QB. What Steelers do is identify they have the best player in the game and needs to be doubled in the redzone so thats how they get rid of the extra player.
Soapbox, do not read unless you want old man yells at sky
Look at the RG with the MIKE. He is beyond 3 yards (the red line on the screen). Worst off he is actually engaged with the MIKE. 2 hands in the breast plate. Perfect form. BUT THE BALL IS THROWS 7 YARDS DOWN FIELD. With all the “Rub, Pick, Brush” hatred this is beyond that. Why not just have lineman cut the LBS every pass play if we allow this? But hey again if they arent going to enforce it you gotta keep doing it.
Defenders are out of position reading the run, checking the X for the double team, to leave too much space for the F to work on the SAM. Great route, faking the block to get the SAM to jump outside to then jump back inside.
Soapbox, do not read unless you want old man yells at sky
Y, Z, S/S, and CB are just standing around just doing what we called “Isometric Stand-Arounds”. This is what our strength coach would say when you are just trying to get out of doing work and just stand around. This isnt what football is about. Its about fighting for all 7 seconds on each play…Except no its about scoring more points than the other team when the clocks hit the final 0:00.
Last gif. You can see the blocking assignments and how the Lineman are running full speed for the run.
Ben Reads the DE but its actually a give look with him being flat footed. But he read pre snap the middle of the field being open. So he is having eyes on the MIKE as he flows across.
The game has been turned into 1:1. SAM is in rock and a hard place. 2 way go for WR and he has to account for the block. His whole sideline might be screaming RUUUUUUN too and everyone on defense saying it too. Rough spot to be in.
Ben makes a great throw here. Gotta get it over the DE, but also drop it in quickly to the F. F is led and ball is out of reach of the SAM. Great job by Ben and F at executing. Great job by Brown for being so good he takes 2. Great job by the coordinator saying please call the penalty.
I hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know if there is anything else you would like me to cover. I am traveling and there will probably not be one next week as well. Wake up for my flight in 3 and half hours yay! Still need to pack baby lets do this, hard mode or nothing at all.