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Seahawks on tape: Brian Schottenheimer’s Play-Action Slide

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Seattle Seahawks v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Seattle Seahawks’s “Seahawks Mic’d Up” video series has provided excellent insight into the methods, techniques and scheme of various Seattle coaches. In Brian Schottenheimer’s Training Camp edition, taken from day 2 of practice, the offensive coordinator was recorded whooping, hollering and running around. It’s that movement that was most intriguing.

Schottenheimer was seen sprinting in front of a quarterback like a lunatic. Some detective work and some reference to Xs and Os reveals Schotty to still be sane. The drill is a good one.

In the clip, you can hear Schotty explaining the drill to his quarterbacks. “So beat me with speed, throwing the slide. If I make you pull up, throw that [points left].” Combined with the video provided of the quarterbacks executing the drill, we can figure out what’s going on here.

Seattle is drilling their play-action slide concept. It’s a bootleg play-fake, with an outside zone run faked one way and the quarterback then rolling out to the opposite side. The pass protection is “naked”, meaning that the quarterback is left alone in space after faking the hand-off.

Essentially, the fake of the run is the quarterback’s pass protection. The defense must believe the run action they see—so the tailback has to do some crafty acting and the offensive line often run blocks for three steps.

The “slide” element to the play comes from a receiver lined up to the run-direction side. After the snap, the receiver “slides” underneath the offensive line. He is the primary option for the quarterback in the flats.

Schottenheimer was playing the role of the contain defender, the conflicted man the quarterback must beat outside. Here you can see Schotty acting as the contain defender attacking the quarterback—the most frequent result as an unblocked, overeager defensive end gets excited at hunting a passer. If the quarterback gets the contain player in their face, they must try beat him outside—”beat me with speed” as Schotty described—and pop it over his head to the “slide” route.

The passer reads low-to-high, the next progression being an over route. (When Schotty pointed left, talking about if he pulled up, this was presumably the coaching point.) Deep coverage on this side of the field is run off by an alert route. Here’s Seattle running it against the Oakland Raiders from shotgun. The conflict the play-fake puts in each defender is also illustrated below.

Russell Wilson was faced with a contain defender running after him so he popped it over him to Doug Baldwin’s slide route. This is simple, easy yards for Seattle’s offense and a staple concept to their play-action game. It’s good to see Schottenheimer getting involved in such an effective drill.