In a new feature here at Bucs Nation, we're going to be looking at some individual plays in games to illustrate some player or scheme attributes. I'm going to start by looking at Mike Williams and his abilities as a route runner. The easiest aspect to identify in any route runner is whether he accelerates out of cuts, and whether his cuts are rounded or sharp. But a good route runner also creates separation with head and body fakes. This is something Mike Williams does very well in the video after the jump.
Mike Williams lines up at the top of the screen and is playing against Nathan Vasher. He starts off running a skinny post-route, cutting at a depth of 8 yards, but then threatens to cut back up field forcing the cornerback to adjust outside. This gives him enough room inside to catch an easy pass and walk into the endzone untouched.
Now, Nathan Vasher is hardly a world beater so he isn't up against the strongest opposition, but it's important to note his technique. Note how he drifts outside just a little before his initial cut, which is sudden and sharp, instead of rounded. On his up-field fake he dips his shoulder and turns his hips to sell the fake, which forces Vasher to adjust. This is a great example of Mike Williams' skills as a route runner.
Also note how the combination of routes gives Mike Williams the freedom to get to the endzone. Sammie Stroughter lines up in the slot and runs a post route. With both Mike Williams and Sammie Stroughter pushing upfield the deep safety stays over the top of Stroughter, even jumping his route when the ball is thrown. This takes the safety out of position to make a play on Mike Williams, who has created separation from Nathan Vasher himself.
Hopefully this new feature will be interesting to everyone here. If any of you has a suggestion for a play they'd like to see me discuss, suggest one in the comments!