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Tight End Usage on the Goal Line

As is par for the course in Southern California this time of year, the early indicators point to another drought over the summer. Water rationing will kick in sooner or later, and that means being especially mindful of usage habits. There's another drought going on as well, but in the news community. There really hasn't been anything of value with respect to Seahawk football for several days. What does that mean? Back to the Football Outsiders playbook! This time, goal line plays involving the tight end.

On the first play, the option rollout, there are some similarities with the screen package from last time. Whereas Mark Campbell had to sell run long enough to get the defense to bite on screen action, Heath Miller now maintains his run block to both sell play action and cause his coverage defender to sell out on the run. The play fake by Roethlisberger holds coverage and his rollout allows Miller to slip open. Again, we also see the coordinated subterfuge of a lineman and the fullback, helping to sell the run by creating a would-be rushing lane for Willie Parker. It's not enough to just set up and block.

The next play design takes advantage of the short field to cause confusion amongst the coverage team. Because interior linebackers usually share responsibility on a back headed into the flat (as he could go either direction), one is left trying to cover Tony Gonzalez. Because Larry Johnson sweeps out toward the strong side of the formation, the far linebacker then has to cover a considerable amount of ground through traffic to get near Gonzalez. He can't.