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Pitfalls: What a Drag

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One more before I go commit a felo--eh, legally provide a piss test. Yeah, that's the ticket. Before you ask, I'm not on probation or anything, just fixin' to pick up a second job with football season nearing a close. Let's rejoice while we can, because though the Hawks are a considerably better team than the Redskins, in 1 game, funny things can happen. Looks at last season's Cowboys, they should have rightfully ripped the Hawks 3 new a-holes, especially with Seattle starting a pair of blasting caps in the secondary. But, on one of the most automatic plays in football, Tony Romo couldn't wipe the BBQ sauce from his fingers fast enough and flubbed his place-holding duties. Play that game 10 more times, and you likely get 10 Cowboys victories. That's sports, though, God love 'em.

How might Seattle blow a perfectly lopsided contest? Well, cue that swinging stripe of pixels, Pitfall Harry, as we debut another trap the Hawks must account for, Antwan Randle El. Were El matched against Kelly Jennings, I wouldn't sweat it. Jennings' quickness and coverage skills are very well matched for the agile, athletic El. Unfortunately, El doesn't have a predefined starting spot like his teammate Santana Moss. Occasionally, he'll sub for Moss at flanker, but mostly he works out of the slots. From the slot he presents two very real and very frightening mismatches: one on one against Jordan Babineaux, or dragging underneath against the Hawks deep zone. Babs is frighteningly self-explanatory, he's clueless in coverage, has not improved an iota since the season started, and even regularly hamstrings his own best ability, blowing tackles attempting the big hit. We've been there, done that. El isn't the yards after catch demon you might expect from such a talented punt returner, but given a little room and he can still make you pay.

That sentiment transitions nicely into one way El may get, y'know, a little room in the open field: The drag route. Here's a sample play, simulated from one the Skins pulled off against the Vikings.

The split back runs a deep post, ideally to pull in the deep corner and force the right outside linebacker to lose a step against the slot receiver. With any luck, the split back will pull the deep corner away from the left sideline, and the outside linebacker will be down a critical step, in trailing position against a faster receiver.The Hawks have fallen victim to a similar play in back to back weeks against the Rams and then the Eagles. It's an excellent way to take an inherent weakness in the Hawks typical third down coverage, that is, lots of deep zones, and turn it into a potential low risk/high upside play. The drag is an atypical play in that way, it's a short pass designed as a big play. El can work it to perfection, if only given the opportunity. It's not really a homerun threat, as the deep corner and deep safety are both ahead of the receiver, but it is a potential big gainer, and an excellent first down producer.