Use of Secondary Receivers

Submitted by StephenRKass on September 14th, 2010 at 10:24 AM

The Michigan Monday at O-Zone yesterday said that Denard was only passing to primary receivers. Obviously, on a beautiful play action pass where Roundtree is wide open and scores a TD, that makes sense. Won't work  so well against a lockdown defensive secondary.

I am not football savvy enough to know how to tell who is the primary receiver, and who is secondary. When Roundtree and Tay Odoms and Koger and Hemingway are all lined up, what gives away who is the primary receiver? I'm sure that if Denard uses all his receivers, it will open up the field even more. Is this just a case of the game getting slower and slower for Denard, as he gains experience?

I do think our OL has done a great job, and is responsible for a lot of our success this year.



September 14th, 2010 at 10:28 AM ^

You can tell who the primary receiver is on many routes by...

a) watching who the QB looks to first.  Self-explanatory.

b) watching how the route combinations develop.  Sometimes it's clear when a receiver is running a route to drag a defender away from the primary target.  For example, when an outside receiver and a slot receiver cross, often the outside receiver will try to "pick" the defender in order to get the slot receiver open on a wheel route up the sideline.

c) watching the deepest route.  This is often the first read/primary receiver, because obviously teams want to hit the deep guy for a big play if he's open.


September 14th, 2010 at 10:35 AM ^

I appreciate the education. Plus one to you, not that it matters. However, this is one of those things that I think you can see a lot better at the game rather than on TV, which cuts out the whole field. Nonetheless, I'll try to pick up on this more the next game.

So, is Michigan Monday correct about Denard locking on primary receivers, or off base? And if Denard is only throwing to primary receivers, is this mostly because they have been wide open, or because he still is developing as a QB?

Fuzzy Dunlop

September 14th, 2010 at 10:41 AM ^

They are correct.  Denard's passing is much, much improved from last year, but he's still not a traditional passing QB.  For Denard, the run sets up the pass, and our fairly simplistic passing offense can be effective because of the fear of the run.  (See what Michigan Mondays referred to as the one-man play action touchdown to Roundtree). 

Robinson will continue to develop over time, and hopefully next year is passing game is more complex, but it's probably best to keep things simple for this year.  


September 14th, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

it's moreso due to the fact that he is still developing as a QB

usually the hardest thing for new QBs to learn is working through the progressions.  typically rookie QBs tend to find a "favorite" receiver and lock onto that receiver.  If you watch the last couple games carefully, you do notice that dilithium has a tendency to lock onto his primary receiver and thus giving away the play (case in point, the roundtree throw which almost got him killed in the uconn game)

this is something that can be fixed with repetition, timing and trusting your receivers to be in the right places (imagine how good he'll be when he get's this down)

i hope it is sooner rather than later because good secondaries are going to take advantage of this and jump his routes


September 14th, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

From what I've seen, Denard hasn't exactly been "locking on" to receivers.  When I think of "locking on", I think of watching that receiver and holding the ball too long.  It seems like Denard makes his first read and if the guy's not open, Denard will pull the ball down and scramble.  He'll throw to a secondary receiver once he starts scrambling, but he won't really sit in the pocket and scan the whole field very often.

He is still developing, though.  I'm sure he'll get better with more experience.

Bo Lytle

September 14th, 2010 at 11:03 AM ^

I was happy to see Grady involved at the end of the game to mix it up.  Denard seems to get everyone involved.  If you're open and he has time, he'll get you the ball.  Denard doesn't care what number jersey you wear.  Although #12 looks pretty good right now. 


September 14th, 2010 at 11:53 AM ^

but I think the pressure the run game puts on the defense makes getting the receivers open a little easier, so it probably reduces the number of times his primary receiver can't be thrown to.

Promote RichRod

September 14th, 2010 at 5:27 PM ^

As long as Denard is throwing catchable balls to open receivers, I don't care if it's his first, third, or fifty third read.  By virtue of being Denard Robinson, primary receivers are going to be open all day.

If he wants to scramble, there's not a team in the league that can stop him anyway.  If the OL keeps playing like they have been Denard is just going to kill teams, whether on his feet or through the air.


September 14th, 2010 at 7:27 PM ^

Denard is making the proper reads.  The first direction he looks tells you who the secondary receiver is.  After that he has a series of primary receivers, and then a "hot" receiver where he needs to go with the ball if there is a blitz that's giving him pressure.  Watching the first two games Denard has made mostly all of the correct reads, and will only continue to get better as the season goes on, and as he studies more film with the coaches.