In today's video we look at some of the most popular concepts in the NFL.
At the beginning of the video, I talk about how the NFL is a copycat league and every team has almost every concept in their playbook. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are no exception to this. However, this does not mean that come Sunday that all teams are the same. Almost every coach will have a different idea about what it takes for their team to win the game. I highlight this difference in the video where I discuss how the Packers and the Giants run the levels concept differently. Like the Giants, the Bucs love to take shots down the field and most of their plays are designed around doing so. We can see this within a variation of Y-stick the Bucs ran against the Chargers for a touchdown.
As discussed in the video, this is how Y-stick is normally ran.
In quick summary, the outside receiver runs a streak or a fade, the middle slot receiver runs a short out, and the inner slot receiver runs a stick route. The quarterback takes a 3 step drop, or a 1 step from gun, and looks to quickly hit the out or stick route. Y-stick is one of the fastest thrown plays in the NFL and it requires the short defenders to make split second decisions to get in front of the routes.
Here, the Bucs run an extension of Y-stick called stick-nod. Stick-nod is just Y-stick with two double moves.
The stick route now fakes stick and then runs vertically up the seam and the out route takes one or two steps out and then pivots back inside underneath the vertical receiver. This play works particularly well when the offense has run y-stick a few times and the defense is anticipating it. Very often the defenders will hesitate or bite on the double move and the seam receiver will come open. However, the pivot route can also have a ton of success when an inside defender chases the stick-nod.
Watch the play here- the NFL doesn’t allow us to embed.
After watching the play, you can see how Cameron Brate ran the stick-nod to perfection. He didn't waste much time on the fake and did just enough to get his defender to take one or two missteps to the outside and gave Jameis a NFL size window for the touchdown.
There are a few cool things I like about this play that compliments the Bucs. First, the Bucs are on the 13 yard line. There is still a decent amount of space on the field the defense has to cover. If the Bucs were any closer, the amount of field the defense has to cover starts shrinking astronomically and scoring gets harder. This is a perfect spot on the field to take a shot at the end zone instead of a short completion. Second, its 2nd and 5. A good first down play has put the Bucs in a position to take a shot and still have a manageable 3rd and 5 to convert if they miss. Third, its the fourth quarter. At this point, the Bucs have probably run y-stick a few times and have been setting up this play for just this moment. I don't know if it would have the same success if this was the first quarter. Fourth, the Buc's receivers are not the best after the catch. It is in their personality to take shots and get yards through the air. This version of Y-stick does just that. Lastly, we have Mike Evans all alone to the bottom of the field with a bunch of space to work. As noted in the video, Y-stick almost never throws to fade/streak receiver in the concept. Smartly, the Bucs move 7th(?) string receiver Freddie Martino to that spot and move Evans to the bottom of the play for a one-on-one.
In conclusion, this play embodies a lot of what last years Buccaneers liked to do: they want to get vertical, take shots, and get their yards through the air. They can use a short pass like Y-stick to help set up a counter play like stick-nod to get explosive plays later in the game. A lot of winning in the NFL revolves around getting small edges. Being able to get a single defender to hesitate or miss-step can be the difference in winning or losing. That day, the Bucs were on the winning side.