Many would argue that DeSean Jackson's best route is the fly route. I mean, he is fast and it's not hard to run in a straight line but if you've read my reviews on him since he was an Eagle, you know I like his comeback the best. Why?He is almost 100% open in Cover 1 or Cover 3. Each team respects his speed and gives him cushion. In Cover 1, Jackson uses his footwork to cross up a defender before breaking off the route. In Cover 3, he eats up the defenders cushion until the defender gets into a full sprint bail and breaks it off. Against the Eagles, the Redskins missed it once and then Jay Gruden dialed it up again. Let's take a look:
1. Here is a play-action pass with DeSean Jackson at the bottom of the screen on a deep comeback. Richard Sherman is playing far off of him. Seattle likes to play that Cover 3 but with man responsibilities.Cover 3/Cover1 hybrid.
When Richard Sherman sets deep, that gives DeSean a target point. He uses his ridiculous speed to close the gap on Sherman. Since Sherman is so deep, it brings DeSean away from the defender that fans out into the flat. When Sherman starts sprinting to not give up his deep 3rd, Jackson breaks off his route.
With Sherman's hips turned inside, Jackson breaks outside, giving him even more room and he's still far enough away from the flat defender. Kirk Cousins has time but doesn't look at DeSean because he slides left in the pocket.
Cousins ends up scrambling for a gain of 4. Jackson was open for more.
2. Jay Gruden saw the opening and goes back to the well. Play-action pass with DeSean Jackson running the comeback at the bottom again. This time Richard Sherman is playing tight.
Jackson makes a hard inside move off the line of scrimmage and Sherman moves inside of him to take away any slants/quick hitters.
Jackson then steps back outside of Sherman and Sherman gets back outside of him.
Jackson then makes a move back inside of Sherman and at this depth Sherman is bracing to defend against a fly or a post. Then Jackson breaks it outside again. Again, Sherman is a step behind.
This time the route doesn't bring him as far away from the flat defender but Cousins uses great touch to drop it in the bucket on the sideline.
I love the homerun play as much as anyone else, and it's flashy, but this is the kind of route that will win consistently in the NFL. Moving the chains on a regular basis is better than a homerun every once in awhile. Hopefully, the Redskins continue to utilize his footwork on these routes to their advantage and let it set up the deep shot.