Football 101: The Road Tree (0-2)
As the offseason slowly winds down as teams begin to settle in with their new rosters, I thought it would be the perfect time to explore the intricacies of the game of football and help fans understand more than names. and numbers.
Being a former collegiate player myself, I believe that the knowledge I have acquired over time as an athlete has allowed me to see the game in a unique way and, even more so, to better understand the situational game.
To start, we are going to start with some of the most basic things or what I would call general football knowledge.
Before explaining how these are related, here is a description of each route.
The “Hitch” route is probably the easiest route to learn and master of all the routes in the tree. In the most basic form, you simply run for six yards and turn to the quarterback to find the ball. However, since it is not one of the most complex routes or one that covers a lot of ground, it may be easier for a defensive back to defend. This is one of the main reasons receivers need to master the art of body control and deception when performing the hitch.
Your favorite Saints wide receiver, Michael Thomas, has mastered this route over the course of his career along with many others. Above you can see how deceptive he is by quickly getting off the ball and sprinting to the outside corners. At the top of the road, Thomas is able to use the leverage of the turns against him by throwing him. You’d almost guarantee Thomas’ route was designed to go deep, but due to his understanding of how to threaten the defensive back even with a limited amount of room to work, shows you just how much even the simplest route should be detailed in the league.
The “flat” route or some call an “arrow” route, is another simple route to know where you attack vertically up to three meters and roll your route in the flat area of the pitch or towards the sideline. These routes are run by slot receivers, tight ends and fullbacks coming out of the backfield. It’s designed as a quick pass for a short yardage, to get the ball into your playmakers’ hands, or to open up something deeper on the pitch.
Recently acquired Jarvis Landry has made this route a staple of his game. His unique abilities after the catch make it easy for quarterbacks to give him those types of throws he religiously turns into on first downs.
The “Slant” is another part of the fast game also designed to quickly get the ball into the receiver’s hands. Often tilts are one-step fast lanes or a quick release from the jab to the line, but the traditional tilt is three steps upright and planting the outside foot.
As we all know, the oblique is Michael Thomas’ most effective route and he is considered the best in the game on that particular route. His ability to use his hands and feet on the line with alarming speed while being able to secure every ball that comes his way.
Stay tuned for more route tree outages in the near future…
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