What? Design an offense around a gutless pass-dropper?
I'm designing an offense and a formation around a speedy player who may have suspect hands and suspect route running abilities. "Good luck with that" you say?
There are four players on the roster who are absolute dynamite in the open field IF they have the ball in their hands:
The problem is obviously getting the ball into their hands (without dropping it) and finding a way to get them into space.
Facts to consider:
- Some NFL teams put their best receiver in the tailback position in the backfield and have them run their route from there. Sometimes it allows them to get a favorable matchup on a LB.
- Ricky, Teddy, Pat, and Kory would all be great on kickoff returns if the risk of injury /muffing the kick were not so great.
- If teams continue to stack the box against the Fins to stop their rushing attack and a speedy guy were to break through the line somehow (managing to hold onto the football), it would be an automatic TD (how's that for chunk yardage) and to counter the threat, the defense would be forced to back off the line.
Here's the formation:
Put Ted Ginn (or Ricky or White or Sheets) as KR/WR deep in the backfield...like 20 yards deep. Hopefully Henne won't be joining him on a 15 yard sack :)
BH _ _ _ _ _ _ _ LT LG C RG RT _ _ _ _ _ _ _GC
_ _ _ _RW _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _RB
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _CH
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _WR/KR
You can have the KR/WR start in a three-point stance or sprinter's stance and start running at the snap of the ball toward the line of scrimmage at full speed zig-zagging in misdirection as needed to position himself for an open "return lane". Note that the "kick returner" DOES NOT HAVE THE BALL at this time.
The QB (Henne or Thigpen) is in a shallow shotgun or pistol formation.
Option 1 occurs as the "kick returner" comes within 5 yards of QB depth. A decision has to be made whether to flip/pitch/pass the ball to the up and coming KR/WR. The reason this must happen at this moment is that the transfer will be considered a backward lateral. For someone like Pat White, but also for Ginn and Williams, it would allow him the option to throw a forward pass. I have no information on how well Sheets can throw the ball. Catching this "pass/lob" would be similar to fielding a soft-tossed punt/kickoff.
Option 2 occurs after the KR/WR passes the QB depth position and before the KR/WR arrives at the LOS. Now the transfer is considered a forward pass. This is now basically a Bubble Screen, but the KR/WR is in full stride and running primarily north/south. To catch this pass will require more skill, but it is still a rather easy and somewhat short throw. A pump fake toward the KR/WR would be a good strategy here to try to get the defender to bite or at least freeze the run defense.
Option 3 occurs as the KR/WR passes the LOS. This is basically a slow developing slant play. The advantage is that instead of the WR/KR beginning to speed up and catch and run on a slant, the WR/KR is now at full speed hopefully catching the ball in stride. A pump fake would also be advantageous here.
Option 4 occurs as the KR/WR attempts to finish the "go" part of the "slant and go" hoping to run by a defender trying to stop the bubble screen slant or at least stretch the defense deep and leave the underneath routes open.
Clearly with all the running, you will need multiple WR/KRs and I feel that Ginn, Williams, Sheets, and White would be a deep enough rotation that you wouldn't wear them all out.
Bottom Line: you have a dynamic runner in space catching an easy throw behind the LOS at top speed with defenders scrambling laterally to "tackle a kick returner" as a distraction/side show to your normal spread offense play calls. Precision route running and great hands not a requirement here. Just really fast legs. You utilize Ginn's talents and make use of Pat White's skills as well as Sheets and Ricky.
We don't have a go-to receiver to make the defense back off. Could we use this gimmick to do the same thing with the players we already have (and some wish we didn't). Your thoughts?