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Hazard's Huddle: Sail Concept vs. Philadelphia Eagles

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An All-22 film look at the sail concept the Redskins used agains the Eagles

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
First of all, I want to wish a Merry Christmas to Hogs Haven and their readers. HH has become a large part of my year and I can't thank you guys enough for the response I receive each week.


The things a win can do, huh? After upsetting the Eagles and ruining their season, Redskins nation went from "can this season just end?" to "I can't believe there's only one week left!" While the win doesn't squash 85% of the problems that plague the Redskins, it did give a reason for hope. Robert Griffin III made some pro level throws, showed confidence in the pocket, and made both big plays and small. All of which were lacking in previous appearances this season. I'm going to diagram one specific concept from the game and how Griffin attacked it. Jay Gruden called this concept twice, both on third down, and both should have had a larger impact on the game.


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1. This is a Sail Concept. It's a fly-corner-flat combo. You can run this concept from a bunch of different sets like trips (as you see above), from twins with a TE on a speed out to the flat or twins with a HB/FB leaking into the flat. It's a three route combo that attacks three levels of the defense; deep, intermediate and short. It's a Cover 3 beater and a Cover 2 zone beater. If it's man coverage, you take your best match-up. In Cover 3, the deep route is designed to take the CB deep and clear out the area underneath him for the corner route to break into. In Cover 2 zone, the deep route clears out the deep safety and the flat route is designed to suck up the CB so the corner route can break into the hole between the CB and the S. If the CB jumps the flat route immediately, you could hit the fly route down the sideline before the safety can get over the top. Eagles show a single-high safety here, which should alert Griffin to Cover 3 or Cover 1. It ends up being Cover 1.

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Andre Roberts (who is running the corner route) takes an inside release off the line of scrimmage. Taking an inside release on an out-breaking route typically raises the difficulty of the route because now you have to go through the defender in order to get back outside. Cary Williams played with outside leverage but that can be beaten off the line. As you can see, Williams is in Roberts back pocket while Roberts still needs to get back outside.
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Roberts pulls away from him just a bit up-field giving himself a hair of room to break his route back to the outside. This is where Robert Griffin III comes in. One of the knocks on Griffin has been not knowing the difference between "college-open" and "NFL-open." This is NFL open. Also, credit the offensive line for giving Griffin plenty of time.
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Griffin lets go of the ball with authority. We haven't seen the ball jump out of Griffin's hand in quite some time. He threw Roberts open here by leading him to the sideline but Roberts drops it. This should have been a big 3rd down conversion.
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2. This one came late in the game. This time, Santana Moss is running the corner route. Once again, same principles apply. Eagles show the single-high safety so Griffin should know it's either Cover 3 or Cover 1. It ends up being Cover 1 again.
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Santana Moss takes an outside release (as I noted, this makes it easier), he stacks the CB (gets past the CB then gets over top of him making the CB guess which way he is going to break), takes a hard jab step inside which gets the CB to go inside as he breaks outside. The ball should be coming out now. It doesn't.
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Griffin hold on to the ball just a little too long. He double-clutches and while Moss is still open, a pass rusher is able to get in Griffin's face.
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The delay gives Bradley Fletcher the time to get back in the play and knock the ball down.

When Jay Gruden benched Robert Griffin earlier this year, it wasn't just about drops, reads, and missing throws. It was also because when Griffin did throw, the ball spun with indecision. It's hard to start a guy who looks like he questions absolutely everything he is doing. Against the Eagles, there were a few times where the ball just jumped out of his hand. While the confidence made him overzealous on one play that lead to an interception, he stood in the pocket and showed off the arm talent that made him a #2 overall pick. He still has a lot to work on but hopefully, he continues this trend against the Dallas Cowboys this week and that leads to a strong off-season.