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Coaches Film: How Khiry Robinson high-stepped his way to a game winning touchdown

We break down our favourite play from the weekend’s NFL action.

LIKE THE SAN Diego Chargers, Coaches Film has been a bit pass heavy this season so we’re going to change things up with a run play this week, specifically Khiry Robinson’s game-winning touchdown for the New Orleans Saints.

This week is also slightly different in the sense that a lot of the key action takes place after the snap and will, hopefully, show just how important the fat guys in the trenches – the offensive line – are to the run game.

For those who didn’t see Robinson’s score, here’s how it looked on TV:

Source: Fox

As we’ll see below, Robinson’s job is made easier by his team-mates and a terrible attempt at a tackle by Buccaneers safety Mark Barron.

Pre-snap read – Offence

The Saints have lined up with their Tank/22 personnel on the field. As we’ve discussed before, the 22 part of that personnel grouping refers to the fact there are two running backs (blue and red) as well as two tight ends (green and yellow).

The Tank aspect stems from there being seven players on the line of scrimmage with both tight ends lining up directly beside the offensive line, two running backs in the back field and just one receiver out wide right.

With more players on that side of the field, it is referred to as the strong side and the play here is known as a Stretch T (weak) which means a run play to the outside of the offensive line (stretch) on the left (weak) side.

As we’ll see later, the T part refers to the tackle (purple) on that side moving out of position – a technique known as pulling – to block downfield. 

Pre-snap read – Defence

The Buccaneers are in a Cover 1 defence with just Barron (orange) covering the deep zone while the other three defensive backs are in man-on-man coverage at the line of scrimmage.

Tampa has a 4-3 defence which means there are four defensive linemen and three linebackers. The linebackers are known as Sam (blue), Mike (green) and Will (brown).

Which linebacker is which is determined by where they line up:

(S)am – Linebacker covering the (s)trong side of the field
(M)ike – Linebacker covering the (m)iddle of the field
(W)ill – Linebacker covering the (w)eak side of the field

At the snap

As you can see above, the blocking scheme for the Saints requires that every offensive player not named Robinson or Drew Brees is assigned a player to block.

Instead of blocking the man in front of him the Saints left tackle Terron Armstead (72), pulls out behind the tight end to his left to block corner back Jonathan Banks (27) and create a running lane for Robinson.

The left guard Ben Grubbs (66) takes care of the Mike linebacker Dane Fletcher (50), while the right guard Jahri Evans (73) is blocking the Sam linebacker Lavonte David (54).

The Saints’ Austin Johnson (35) is charged with the task of taking out the Will linebacker Danny Lansanah (51) and helping the pulling tackle Armstead in creating a running lane for Robinson.

What happens next?

Source: NFL

Well, as you can see above, it’s fair to say absolutely everyone picked up their assignment and though Evans needed a second bite at the cherry to stop David, the right guard does his job and creates a running lane for Robinson.

The strong side tight end Benjamin Watson (82) also does a great job of blocking his man, safety Bradley McDougald (30) the entire width of the field, delaying his attempts to get to Robinson.

Of course, the running back deserves some praise here too. He runs parallel to the line of scrimmage for three steps to allow the blocks to develop before cutting downfield once he realises they’re established.

Notes

As good as the blocking is on this play – and it’s textbook – the defence still have a chance to stop the score through their safety Barron (23) who really should make the tackle on Robinson.

However, instead of attempting to warp the running back with a ‘rugby-style’ tackle and pulling him to the ground, Barron tries to knock him over by hitting him with his shoulder.

It’s a big hit from Barron but it’s a high-risk technique, especially when you are the last man.

Instead of attempting the ‘Hollywood’ hit, the safety would have been far better putting his facemask to Robinson’s chest, wrapping his arms around and trying to pull the player down.

There’s a reason NFL commentators are always talking about fundamentals.

Read more from our Coaches Film series

Percy Harvin scored three touchdowns last night… and none of them counted

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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