Danny broke down the Seahawks' use of packaged plays last week and the specific look that he talked about is something that I've been calling "Trips Right/Left Read Option." The Seahawks may call it something else, but that's an easy name to remember and gives you a visual idea of what's happening.
I want to break down one play the Seahawks ran out of this look last week against the Bears -- a look that could an inside read-option handoff to Marshawn Lynch, a quick pass to Percy Harvin for a bubble screen, a Wilson keeper and run to the open side, or a play-action fake with a Wilson pass downfield.
It came at 13:00 minutes left in the first quarter -- Seahawks' opening drive. This play shows what could/should be a very common outcome of what the triumvirate of Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and Percy Harvin can accomplish when they run out of this packaged play look I call Trips Right/Left Read option.
A couple things:
- The play requires an in-line tight end, in this case, Zach Miller. "Strong Left" opposite the Trips - and this tight end is key for the inside handoff, because in theory, if the deep safety stays deep and the backside (offense's left) edge defender holds still to watch Russell Wilson on the backdoor read-option, it should allow Seattle to have six blockers on six defenders. In Seattle's case, six very good run blockers on six defenders, as Seahawks offensive line coach Tom Cable tends to value run blocking highly, and we know Zach Miller is a good blocker in both the run game and pass game.
- The play starts off as a common 3WR set (2 x 1), but Percy Harvin crosses the formation in late motion (this creates the "trips", causes the defense to think (even for a split second) or change schemes, and also causes them to watch for the fly sweep, meaning they're less aggressive to the middle of the field).
- The play is usually run with the "trips" receivers to the wide side of the field. Seattle snaps the ball on the near hash -- the left hash -- so, in this case the wide side of the field is the right side.
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- The "edge" defender, in this case, is a safety -- #21 -- and as Travis Williams wrote to me in an email, "The reason is because the defense changes coverage when Percy motions across the formation. Initially it looks like the Bears were going to play a Cover-2 cloud. However when Seattle motioned into trips (a formation that Cover 2 is notoriously weak at defending), the Bears automatically adjusted the play into man-free. However the corner who moved across the formation was the guy responsible for contain in the original call, and now he's on the opposite side of the formation! So, the safety (who has Lynch, if it's a passing play) has to come down and set the edge in order for the formation to retain it's integrity against the run."
- By leaving the edge defender (#21) unblocked, the Seahawks are now left with six blockers on six defenders, four on the line of scrimmage and two linebackers.
- The Seahawks run inside zone blocking and Justin Britt and Zach Miller single block the edges. This leaves C Max Unger and RG J.R. Sweezy to combo block one defensive tackle, with LG James Carpenter and LT Russell Okung left to combo block the other DT. If the combo block works -- this should allow one man from each combo to release into the second level. You can see Okung and Sweezy moving quickly into the second level into the linebackers.
- Marshawn Lynch has an easy read into the backside B-gap -- with Carpenter and Okung blowing a hole through that section of the line.
- This creates the happy outcome Pete Carroll and Tom Cable are seeking without any superhuman results (crazy broken tackles or huge explosive play). Just a solid six men blocking in-line against six defenders, with the run going for six yards on a first down. The threat of Percy Harvin and the three wide receiver "trips" look keeps the deep safety "deep", and the threat of Russell Wilson on the edge in run or pass holds the edge defender.
This play is one reason why, even though Wilson & Harvin & company may make the passing game more explosive, you may actually see the same amount of rushing attempts in 2014 as you saw in 2013, or even possibly more.