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Short Passes vs. Deep Passes


DMan77

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Or, slot vs. outside receivers.

I was reading this article here. It's over a season old, but it's interesting.

This isn't breaking news or anything, but the long and short of it is that slot receivers have been steadily gaining ground as the much more valuable pieces of an offense, and the fabled super deep outside threat is slipping into more of a luxury category than a necessity. The idea that you need someone to "stretch the field" is being dis-proven by slot receivers and TEs making quick catches and getting yards after the catch.

Obviously this isn't new at all... Some teams have been doing this for a decade, and many others have been trying. But there are still teams trading and signing for the big name deep-threat only receivers, and the stats are saying that might be a mistake in the long run. 

From the Jets angle, it sure feels like they've put an emphasis on the slot this season, so it makes me feel like they're at least trying to keep up with the trends. Between Crowder, Herdon, and Enunwa, and now (maybe) Trevon Wesco, and (long shot) slot guy Greg Doritch, they've got small and big bodies to run a short and intermediate passing game; which the stats show is the smartest way to a successful offense. 

Just a random observation.

 

 

 

 

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While actually throwing deep may be less effective than short passes as they are less likely to be completed the reason that teams still want deep threats is two-fold:

1) The league has become penalty happy and until the rules change or Pass Interference is no longer a spot foul, deep passes can still be a huge reward even when a completion isn't made. 

2) If the team doesn't put a deep threat out there you are effectively transforming your QB into post-surgery Chad Pennington. Defenses no longer have to worry about the deep ball or balls outside the numbers so they collapse the D and make those slot receivers less effective. 

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3 minutes ago, JetFreak89 said:

While actually throwing deep may be less effective than short passes as they are less likely to be completed the reason that teams still want deep threats is two-fold:

1) The league has become penalty happy and until the rules change or Pass Interference is no longer a spot foul, deep passes can still be a huge reward even when a completion isn't made. 

2) If the team doesn't put a deep threat out there you are effectively transforming your QB into post-surgery Chad Pennington. Defenses no longer have to worry about the deep ball or balls outside the numbers so they collapse the D and make those slot receivers less effective. 

Good points. Football is a lot more complicated then just chuck it deep and win. You have to setup the deep balls, and only have a few chances each game to hit on one. When you do they can be game breaking/momentum swings, but that doesn't just happen in a bubble. Effective offenses utilize the ENTIRE field and force Defenses to react. For example hitting with underneath stuff/runs until the defense starts to cheat up, then you take a shot downfield. 

If your QB can't throw deep, and you have no speed on the outside, like you said the defense doesn't get punished for cheating up and forces offenses to become predictable. 

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37 minutes ago, Larz said:

The last time I looked into it something like 80% of passes travel less than 10 yards beyond the los 

cheaters won the super bowl with option routes over the middle out of the slot 

The same freaking play....over...and over again with Edelman. Pats use the Parcells approach, do it so freaking well that the other team can't stop it. 

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I think I read that article as well, but I'm not sure I agree with it.  The slot receiver and intermediate passing with YAC is a big plus in today's game, centered more around getting the ball out quicker, but you need threats to the safety for it to work.  NE had that threat with Gronk, which always got the safeties' attention, which is why their dink and dunk game works so well.  They can single out the one on one match ups, along with an all time QB.  As soon as Gronk left, they went for a mismatch WR (albeit one I didn't particularly like) to bring back that dynamic.

I think the results are better for slot receivers because teams haven't adjusted speed wise on defense.  Linebackers were slow, that couldn't guard for long, as teams were concerned with "thumpers and run defenders" which leaves the slot guys open.  Even in college, a guy like Darron Lee can be a good cover LB just because he's faster than his competition, but lack the nuances to cover in the NFL.

No. 1 in slot on that list was JuJu, who had Bell in the backfield (LBs moving up) and Brown on the outside (safeties shading).  No 2 is Rishard Mathews, Henry in the backfield ((LBs moving up) and......well that didn't last.  I believe for them, Delanie Walker, Decker, and Davis spread it out.  No. 3 on that list is Ginn, who had Thomas wide with Kamara/Ingram that year.  

The main issue is, slot receivers make their money in the intermediate area.  You have space to go left or right at the line of scrimmage, so defenses have to play reactive to both sides.  You make the cut, and you are open for a pass.  The dangers being the linebackers dropping back into the route tree, as we saw often with Kerley.  To counter it, you need a running game that holds the linebackers (we do now I hope), plus outside threats to shade safeties over (which Anderson can accomplish), so the slot receiver is in a true one on one match up.  

In theory, the offensive set up here should work for Crowder.  Q and Anderson are versatile enough that they can move around, but also fast enough to concern the safeties.  Anderson is a one on one nightmare, and Q has potential to be.  However, injuries are the concerns with them.  If one of them goes out, this whole dynamic is thrown out the window.   Bell should pull the LBs up as well, which was why I was really excited about the signing of Crowder.  

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8 minutes ago, New York Mick said:

Slot receivers and TEs are more important now then they ever been. 

And pass catching RBs 

And I don't think we've even seen the peak of this trend... Despite the success we've seen other teams have, it continues to grow more and more important. We're still on the up slope until something changes.

At somepoint, every starting CB will be a Nickle guy built to stop the slot. Then the down field recievers will swing the pendulum the other direction by beating those CBs... But right now there's been no sign of it going that way.

 

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1 hour ago, DMan77 said:

Or, slot vs. outside receivers.

I was reading this article here. It's over a season old, but it's interesting.

This isn't breaking news or anything, but the long and short of it is that slot receivers have been steadily gaining ground as the much more valuable pieces of an offense, and the fabled super deep outside threat is slipping into more of a luxury category than a necessity. The idea that you need someone to "stretch the field" is being dis-proven by slot receivers and TEs making quick catches and getting yards after the catch.

Obviously this isn't new at all... Some teams have been doing this for a decade, and many others have been trying. But there are still teams trading and signing for the big name deep-threat only receivers, and the stats are saying that might be a mistake in the long run. 

From the Jets angle, it sure feels like they've put an emphasis on the slot this season, so it makes me feel like they're at least trying to keep up with the trends. Between Crowder, Herdon, and Enunwa, and now (maybe) Trevon Wesco, and (long shot) slot guy Greg Doritch, they've got small and big bodies to run a short and intermediate passing game; which the stats show is the smartest way to a successful offense. 

Just a random observation.

That was the basis of the West Coast offense in the early 80s.    Ball out, on time, make a move and break it.   Different formations, more 3 WR sets than Walsh used in the 80s, same concept.   Walsh just used a FB to catch passes instead of a slot WR.

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1 hour ago, New York Mick said:

Slot receivers and TEs are more important now then they ever been. 

And pass catching RBs 

Herndon and Wesco (see his receiving video I and others posted) are 2 way TE's and can be employed in 2 TE sets.

Crowder was a productive slot receiver for Skins...now for the Jets.

LeVeon is a premier receiving RB.  In 2017 he placed in the top 10 in the NFL for receptions.

With these options, Jets are poised to give Darnold the opportunity to complete 60+ % of his passes this year.  With short passes...screen and bubble passes, timing routes up the seam, etc.

Then you got Robbie and Enunwa, that can work immediate and deep parts of the field more effectively then last year...due to the deep ball being set up with the TE's utilized in run/pass situations...Crowder...and in coordination with Bell, who also has those same options too.  

And so far Jets have added Osemele and Edoga to bolster the OL, help protect Darnold, and execute the plays.

Jets offense is no longer easy to defend with all these pieces for Gase to game plan with.  It should be fun to watch.

 

 

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2 hours ago, GreenReaper said:

Herndon and Wesco (see his receiving video I and others posted) are 2 way TE's and can be employed in 2 TE sets.

Crowder was a productive slot receiver for Skins...now for the Jets.

LeVeon is a premier receiving RB.  In 2017 he placed in the top 10 in the NFL for receptions.

With these options, Jets are poised to give Darnold the opportunity to complete 60+ % of his passes this year.  With short passes...screen and bubble passes, timing routes up the seam, etc.

Then you got Robbie and Enunwa, that can work immediate and deep parts of the field more effectively then last year...due to the deep ball being set up with the TE's utilized in run/pass situations...Crowder...and in coordination with Bell, who also has those same options too.  

And so far Jets have added Osemele and Edoga to bolster the OL, help protect Darnold, and execute the plays.

Jets offense is no longer easy to defend with all these pieces for Gase to game plan with.  It should be fun to watch.

 

 

Wesco is an eligible outside OT. 

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4 minutes ago, New York Mick said:

Wesco is an eligible outside OT. 

He certainly looks like one.  

But he has soft hands and understands route concepts...since he was a QB one season in high school. 

That's why I appreciate his swiss army knife skill set compacted in a mammoth sized TE body.  

IMO he will build on the receiving skills he showed last year, when he was given the opportunity to showcase them.

Download video

 

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It is much more than the Jets keeping up "with the trends".  It has much more to do with the fact that this is exactly Adam Gase' philosophy on how you structure, design and run an offense. 

This roster was built with this exact approach in mind, that's why I'm so excited for the upcoming season and future. Crowder is the perfect example of this principle in action.

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6 hours ago, DMan77 said:

Or, slot vs. outside receivers.

I was reading this article here. It's over a season old, but it's interesting.

This isn't breaking news or anything, but the long and short of it is that slot receivers have been steadily gaining ground as the much more valuable pieces of an offense, and the fabled super deep outside threat is slipping into more of a luxury category than a necessity. The idea that you need someone to "stretch the field" is being dis-proven by slot receivers and TEs making quick catches and getting yards after the catch.

Obviously this isn't new at all... Some teams have been doing this for a decade, and many others have been trying. But there are still teams trading and signing for the big name deep-threat only receivers, and the stats are saying that might be a mistake in the long run. 

From the Jets angle, it sure feels like they've put an emphasis on the slot this season, so it makes me feel like they're at least trying to keep up with the trends. Between Crowder, Herdon, and Enunwa, and now (maybe) Trevon Wesco, and (long shot) slot guy Greg Doritch, they've got small and big bodies to run a short and intermediate passing game; which the stats show is the smartest way to a successful offense. 

Just a random observation.

 

 

 

 

The problem with this line of thinking is that it ignores the distorting effect on a defense that a deep threat has, opening up windows for those short throws. When the defense can pack into a short area because there's no threat of a deeper throw, shorter throws get tougher and less yac

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2 hours ago, Doggin94it said:

The problem with this line of thinking is that it ignores the distorting effect on a defense that a deep threat has, opening up windows for those short throws. When the defense can pack into a short area because there's no threat of a deeper throw, shorter throws get tougher and less yac

Right, well sure... Like you and others have mentioned the long held believe is you need someone to keep the defense honest... Someone to not let them stack the box with every safety and LB.

But I think the point I was more going for was how exactly you allocate resources to achieve this... It makes sense to have a burner on the team, or a big tall dude that can just run a fly route and jump for the ball... But you don't need an elite, high priced talent to do that... Especially if signing that guy costs you the statistically more productive slot guys.

So for sure, the offense needs balance. Every team would be happy with elite deep, mid, slot, and a RB who can catch... But if you're building a team, and you're weighing your options with the cash you have on hand, the stats are saying pay the slot guy, and just find a mid-level deep guy to keep things honest, not the other way around.

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