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Route Concept - Bunch Spacing

In my first entry discussing basic route concepts, I wanted to pick a personal fave... this play was automatic on 3rd and medium throughout my career and has been there for me like a good friend.

We all know that coaches come and go, in today's game there is more coaching staff turnover than ever before. Offensive schemes and plays can be switched up mid-season if the Head Coach decides he doesn't like the direction of the offense. As a Quarterback, are you prepared to play for any coach, in any offense, at any time?

One thing to think about, is how important it is to understand basic route concepts and what the goal of that concept is. You will find variations of the same basic route combinations in all types of offenses, similar to how Cover 2 is a staple in any defense. There are just some pass plays, no matter how you package it, it's the same old play. There is an old saying in football referring to making old plays look different or new, "We're just putting lipstick on the pig." At the end of the day, it's still a pig.

This is the Bunch Spacing concept. It is a straight forward, pure progression read. As a QB, we are going to read it outside to inside, #1. Flat ➡️#2. Return ➡️#3. Center. We start outside because you never want to be late to the flat, if the receiver running the flat outflanks the defense, take it every time with haste. If the flat gets covered, there should now be room for the return route in that newly vacated area. If the return gets grabbed, look to the center route which develops late, giving you time to work your way to it. The only time you would work the backside route combo is if you've got 2-on-2 man coverage and you have a pretty good idea that they are not just going to switch it off.

If nothing is there, don't be afraid to put the ball 3 rows deep into the bleachers. Especially in the example given, the Broncos are in the Red Zone, a sack here will kill the drive and possibly take them out of field goal range, be smart with the football.

This should be a low risk, high percentage pass. You will see a variation of it in most any offense that uses bunch formations. The Patriots will run some form of this play no less than 3 times a game, it is very difficult to defend no matter what scheme the defense runs against it.

Until next time...

Nate Longshore

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