Welcome to a new series at Turn On The Jets called “New York Jets Playbook.” In this series, we are going to look at a successful play out of the Marty Mornhinweg or Rex Ryan playbook from last season and explain why it worked, in the hope that we will see similar production on similar plays next season.
Today we look at Geno Smith hitting Kellen Winslow Jr for a 30+ yard gain against the Miami Dolphins in week 17.
The View (Television, Sky Cam, Rear Cam)
Personnel: Two tight ends (Jeff Cumberland, who is the point man on the bunch and Kellen Winslow Jr, who is lined up to his inside). Two wide receivers (Santonio Holmes, who is the lone receiver backside and Jeremy Kerley who is the outside receiver on the bunch). One running back (Alex Green, lined up to the right of the Geno Smith, who is in shotgun).
Pre-Snap Activity: Kerley motions across the formation, to form the bunch to Geno Smith’s right.Routes:
- Holmes – Backside “go” route. Attack vertically to the outside shoulder of the cornerback.
- Kerley – A “drive” route. Hesitate for a second, cut under the two other receivers in the bunch and work across the field horizontally, 2-4 yards down the field.
- Cumberland – A deep “seven” route AKA a post-corner. Push up the field vertically, quickly sell to the post and then break on a 45 degree angle to the corner.
- Winslow Jr – A 10 yard “hitch/option” route. Push up the middle of the field for ten yards and then work back to the quarterback in the soft spot of the zone or off the linebacker in man coverage.
The Jets come out with tight twins at receiver on both sides of the formation. Miami has seven people on the line of scrimmage, with one high safety.
Jeremy Kerley is then motioned across the formation to form the bunch to Geno Smith’s right. Why did the Jets do this instead of just start out with Kerley in the bunch? The motion helps indicate what type of coverage Miami is running. Since nobody on the Dolphins runs with Kerley in motion, it indicates they are more than likely running zone, not man, coverage. Since they are unlikely to run zone with just the four players in coverage they are showing right now, it also indicates some of the personnel up on the line of scrimmage are dropping into coverage.
The Dolphins actually only rush four, which the Jets are equipped to protect with their offensive line and Green checking in pass protection. Miami drops four into coverage underneath (players circled in red) and have their safety and corners cover deep thirds. (circled in yellow).
If this were man coverage, Kerley likely would have been the primary target. The thought being that he would free himself up on the drive route by running off the traffic created by Cumberland and Winslow in the bunch. He is still open right now for a minimal gain but look at the attention he is drawing from three Dolphins defenders, helping open up a big window for Winslow (circled in red) in the middle of the field. Green takes up another defender with his release into the flats after checking on the pass protection and both Cumberland and Holmes occupy the corners on their respective side of the field.
Winslow finds the window between the linebackers and safety. Smith then delivers the football in the perfect location. He throws to his outside shoulder, leading him away from the linebacker (shown more clearly in the bottom shot from the rear cam). Winslow breaks a tackle and picks up a big chunk of YAC, which helps turns this from a 12 yard gain into a 34 yard gain. Also shown below on the rear cam is the impeccable pocket created by the Jets offensive line, which gives Smith a perfect pocket to throw from.
This is a well-designed and well-executed play from everybody on the Jets offense. Winslow runs a very “veteran” route by sitting in the proper window and giving Smith a good throwing lane. Smith throws the ball in the right location and to where the coverage dictates. The other receivers run their routes hard and to the proper depths, which further help open up Winslow. Finally, the offensive line communicates well and picks up all their assigned pass rushers.