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Basics for people who don't know what the hell I'm talking about, buddy, when I do UFRs. Endeavoring to have this heavily linked in them for future usefulness.
What's a "technique"? What's a one-tech, three-tech? What the hell are you talking about, buddy?
"Techniques" refer to where defensive linemen line up relative to the offensive line. As with all good indexing systems, it starts with zero, which is head-up over the center, and increases the farther you get away from the center. Helpful diagram:
Basically: 1-tech = 4-3 nose tackle, 3-tech = 4-3 defensive tackle, 0-tech = 3-4 style 350 pound space eater nose tackle.
What's the difference between strongside, weakside, playside, and backside?
Strongside and weakside are pretty self-explanatory: if there's a tight end (or two) in the game or an offset H-back/fullback, the side with more players on it is the strongside and the other side is the weakside.
Here, the strongside is to the top of the screen as that's where Kevin Koger is aligned. Some formations don't have a strong or weak side.
Playside is basically the direction the play is run in, and is important on stretch plays mostly. If the offense is running to the right, the right is the playside and the left is the backside. These terms usually get mentioned in the following ways:
- The "backside" defensive end is the player who doesn't get blocked by the defense and is instead read by the quarterback.
- I'll often refer to a good block by an interior lineman, usually the center, as sealing a guy "lined up playside of him". What this means is that the defender lined up outside of the OL—closer to the area where the running back will attempt to cut the ball up—and still sealed him away.
- Other blocks will be described as an OL "getting playside" or failing to do the same, which basically means the OL gets between the DL and his attempt to flow down the line of scrimmage and tackle as the back cuts up.
What is cover one, two, three, zero?
Cover X describes how many players are playing in a deep zone. Here's a look at a conservative cover three out of the 3-3-5 stack:
And here's a cover two out of a 4-3:
Higher X means a more conservative pass defense and more holes open underneath as more defenders are dedicated to the deep area of the field. Note that cover two usually has two deep safeties on the hashes and cover 1 or 3 usually makes do with one, using the other safety in a shorter zone or as a run defender or blitzer.
There's also a variation of cover three called "quarter-quarter-halves" where there are three deep defenders but one is tasked with half the field and the other two split the other half. This is usually a response to formations with lots of receivers on one side of the field.
What's this route you named?
- Flare: running back originally lined up in the backfield runs mostly parallel to the LOS and receives a pass behind said LOS.
- Flat: usually a slot receiver or TE but can also be a fullback or RB. Basically a really short out route that attempts to exploit cover three, which usually doesn't have defenders out there. Example.
- Out: player runs some distance downfield and then takes a hard 90 degree cut to the sideline.
- In: player runs some distance downfield and takes a hard 90 degree cut to the middle of the field.
- Drag: TE or slot receiver drags across the field maybe a yard to three downfield. Usually a checkdown that comes open late if it does at all.
- Slant: Outside WR runs diagonally up the field into an area that should be good against either man or zone coverage. Usually a short route good for 6-8 yards.
- Fly: also "go": receiver runs as fast as he can straight down the field.
- Seam: basically a fly route run by an interior receiver. Called a seam because usually there are deep middle safeties and the quarterback has to find the seam in the zone between the linebackers and said safeties.
- Post: variant of fly where after 10-20 yards, depending on the coverage, the receiver breaks his go route to the inside at a 30-45 degree angle.
- Corner: A post that breaks to the outside, usually run by slots or tight ends.
- Circle: route with an inside feint on which the receiver comes to a stop and then breaks to an out. This usually results in something of a circular path. Michigan won the Notre Dame game with one. Example.
- Wheel. Running back hauls ass out of the backfield, running what looks at first like a flare route before turning it up as he nears the sideline to attack areas a wide receiver has already dragged through to clear out a zone. Example.
- Bubble screen. Slot receiver runs parallel to the line of scrimmage in an effort to get behind the block of the outside receiver and spring downfield for 6-10 yards.
Comment or email for expansions.
DO: "Dead on." Generally reserved for impressive throws above and beyond the call of duty. Examples:
- A bomb that hits a guy in stride.
- A fifteen-yard cross into a zone with only a narrow window between defenders.
- A useful completion in the face of heavy pressure that would normally be an incompletion.
Generally any throw that can be thrown on a three-step-drop (slants, quick outs, screens of all varieties) is going to receive a "CA" at most.
CA: "Catchable." Run of the mill accurate throws. Encompasses a rather wide range from perfectly thrown short throws to downfield stuff that's a bit off but still feasible to catch. There's a subset of throws that live on the CA/IN boundary, which are...
MA: "Marginal." A slant that takes a guy off his feet, or a seam that is way behind a guy but catchable, or a deep ball that is way short but is a jump-ball situation. These are iffy throws that are still capable of gaining yardage... just not as much as they should.
IN: "Inaccurate." Passes that are plain uncatchable but for extraordinary intervention on the part of the wide receiver. All passes destined for Tacopants, Jason Avant's invisible 11-foot-tall imaginary friend, end up here. Completions can show up here if they're relatively simple throws that require a receiver to make a circus catch. Screens that have their timing disrupted because of a quarterback error also show here, as do open three-yard TE outs that would go for first down but for a late throw. If that should ever occur.
BR: "Bad Read." The grand bull-moose category of quarterback errors, these are throws that should not have been made due to excellent coverage, a lack of awareness of the situation, or inability to locate an open receiver.
UPDATE: Lately, I've started calling things "BRX" for XTREME. These don't get filed separately and are just for discussion of QB performance.
TA: "Throwaway." Passes which are not intended to be caught since the quarterback can find no one open. If the QB clearly has an open receiver that he did not find, these throws are usually slotted in the "Bad Read" category, though they're venial sins compared to throws into coverage. Due to the limitations of television coverage this reclassification is rare, but when there are a lot of these despite the quarterback having good time an eyebrow is officially cocked.
BA: "Batted." Balls which are deflected at the LOS. These are generally regarded as fluke occurences and are not held against the quarterback.
PR: "Pressure." Instances where the quarterback is snowed under before he has an opportunity to make a throw. If he hesitates and does not throw despite being given time, that's either BR or TA. PR is reserved for plays that are blown up because of pass rush, not coverage.
SCR: "Scramble." Instances where a quarterback sees a bunch of running room and takes off to good effect. Usually this has to be an obviously good idea--pick up the first, get eight yards on first down--for it to get filed here. Running for three yards on third and eight will get filed under TA.