Oakland Raiders No-Huddle Possibilities: A Chalkboard Preview

5 of 6

Slugging It Out With the Passing Game

Dec 28, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) drops back to pass in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

One of the tenets of Kelly’s No-Huddle philosophy that Musgrave would be wise to adapt is to punish the defense with the occasional deep pass when they get too antsy about defending the run. This is part of the concept of forcing them the defend the entire field at all times. For this play Musgrave has to look no further than the “Sluggo” concept he’s used before in San Francisco, Jacksonville, and less so in Minnesota.

Say the defense manages to get another linebacker in the game and/or drops the safety into the box. Now the numbers are not in the offenses advantage for a run, so they’ll call a pass play. The Sluggo (a term Bill Walsh coined for slant-and-go) concept takes advantage of defenses cheating up to defend the run or short pass. With the same personnel on the field, Oakland can go back to a 4 receiver look and attack with the passing game.

With the Sluggo it’s important for Carr to be very disciplined about two things. Firstly, he needs to be clear in the pre-snap read to check for blitz. Depending on the blitz read he can tell Reece (F) to stay in or block or not, which affects blocking assignments. If there’s a blitz from the Mike or Jack backers (middle linebackers) perhaps Carr keeps Reece in to help the O-line and allow him time for the play to develop a bit. If he reads no blitz or a blitz from the Will (weak side backer), he lets Reece run a route into the flat, which could be wide open.

Secondly, its important that Carr does his three-step drop and looks at the X receiver immediately while raising the ball to pass. This will sell the slant to the corner and the safety, which hopefully gets them both to bite. If they bite the X will be wide open when be breaks upfield for a huge gain. If not, Carr moves to his second progression. Carr’s eyes will have naturally looked off the deep safety and hopefully option number 2 is open.

The second progression is Rivera on the dig route. Against a stacked box, Rivera has shown a ton of success in running crossing routes, and Derek Carr is extremely comfortable throwing them. There are a few possibilities here. If the defense is in zone this route will be the safety’s to stop. Even with a disciplined defense it would be difficult to see all the linebackers get appropriately deep in their zones after all the action to the left side. If the safety bites on the slant fake he’ll be closer to the dig, but leaves the sluggo open. If he stays home atop the play the dig should be open. There’s another wrinkle in this though. The dig is actually a choice route, in which Rivera can turn it up field if the safety leaves it open, further stretching the field. If the defense is in man coverage this might be the better decision with a trailing defender

Carr’s third progression is the deep curl route on the right side or the bubble to Murray. The combination of these with the vertical stem of Rivera’s choice route puts a vertical and horizontal stretch on the right side of the defense, forcing coverage declarations in man defense, or hesitation in a zone.