For the first half of the season, I will be bringing you The Thursday Three. This article will cover three schematic points as related to the NFL; the three points may connect to a game plan, specific concepts, or something else interesting across the league.
To this point, I have written about Miami’s motion adjustment, the Crunch run concept, the differences between Cover 6 and Cover 8, the coverage concepts Zeus and Ring, the run concepts Counter Solid and Duo Kick, and Cover 2 Invert.
This week I am covering Lookie Jaguar, the Wipe tag to Outside Zone, and the shot play Hiccup.
When Brandon Marshall asked Kyle Shanahan what his go to play call was, Shanahan, after asking what the coverage was, firmly delivered Lookie Jaguar.
Lookie Jaguar is a pass concept with the goal of giving a star receiving threat a two-way option based on the coverage, almost always run from an Empty formation. Defenses generally will line up their nickel defensive back to the three-receiver side in the above picture, which can leave the unenviable task of covering the Lookie route to a linebacker.
The Lookie route is a type of option route that gives the receiver a two way go. If the receiver is being defended from the outside, they can break inside on a quick slant. If the defense commits to blocking off the inside, the receiver can instead break out into open space.
The Jaguar part of the concept refers to the three receivers to the right side in the above picture. The two inside receivers will both stem vertical for around five yards and break outside to make it look like they are running stick routes. After that, the inner most receiver will break up the field on a stick nod and the other receiver will return on a horizontal line across the field.
The two outer most receivers to each side will run outside release go routes that allow the concept to maintain proper spacing.
For the quarterback, the play unfolds sequentially from the Lookie route, to the stick nod, to the stick return. The two double moves off stick routes allow for receivers to run away from defenders and work into the quarterback’s vision if the Lookie route is double teamed.
Kyle Shanahan was not lying when he mentioned Lookie Jaguar as his go to call, as evidenced by the 49ers offense in huge games:
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) January 24, 2022
In Week 3 against the Giants, the 49ers ran Lookie Jaguar after shifting out of a condensed set:
49ers in 22 personnel I formation with the defense in base. O shifts to empty and runs one of their favorite pass concepts. Earlier in the game, they used a similar alignment and shift to get to a screenhttps://t.co/Q5yzKwo1WQ pic.twitter.com/svOFMGyImR
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) September 22, 2023
Here is an example where a linebacker vices Lookie route with another defender and forces the quarterback to their next read:
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) August 21, 2022
Outside zone is a versatile run play that has built in answers to deal with different defensive fronts (more details hyperlinked here). For defenses that place one defensive tackle in the B gap between the offensive guard and tackle, offenses can run zone away from that side to capture the all-important B gap bubble.
In the clip below, pay attention to the Center and Left Guard. They are responsible for double teaming the player lined up on the inside half of the left guard and working to the linebacker.
Beautiful mid zone rep from the Vikings. Flow helps pull the LBs in and sets up Cook’s cut. K.J. Osborn (17) in on the blocking too pic.twitter.com/c4lvGUBkXc
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) September 26, 2022
Another way to deal with this sort of look is with a Wipe call. Wipe flips the responsibilities for the Center and the Guard to the play side. In our weak side zone example, Wipe allows the Guard to slam down with a leverage advantage against an interior defensive lineman, while the Center pulls into space with a running start at a linebacker.
It takes a certain type of Center to be able to do this, and Jason Kelce is more than happy to oblige. Here is an example of zone weak with a Wipe call based on the defensive front:
Wipe call with C/LG on zone weak for the Eagles. LG can pin the 2i while C pulls up to LB and avoid an awkward double team angle. Compare it to how they run zone weak to a 3 techhttps://t.co/rHcMGmZbEu pic.twitter.com/Z7MS61sEnB
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) January 31, 2023
The second clip in the below reel shows a Wipe example. The other clips show zone running against looks that would not be conducive to a Wipe call:
The Eagles ran more wide zone with D’Andre Swift against Tampa Bay (clips here) after leaning heavily on inside zone against Minnesota pic.twitter.com/MLTsUQHtos
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) September 26, 2023
Here is another example just for fun:
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) September 19, 2022
To keep the defense honest on the back side of outside zone, offenses run play action movement/keeper plays. These plays generally include receivers on three different levels to stress the defense. Keeper passes often include a corner route as one of the levels of the concept.
In the below example, the receiver to the top of the screen is running the corner route:
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) August 26, 2022
A shot play off the base keeper concept is Hiccup.
The goal of Hiccup is to sell the usual keeper pass to the defense. The offense wants every defender to feel like they have seen this play a thousand times. Once the defenders are comfortable and commit to the corner route, Hiccup sends a receiver or tight end on a corner post double move into wide open space.
The Lions ran it for a huge touchdown in Week 3:
Lions running Hiccup, details below pic.twitter.com/IBIaIbmuaW
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) September 26, 2023
Teams will also run Hiccup out of shotgun and with different receivers on the corner post:
— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) September 20, 2023