The stem portion of a pass route is the first burst part where under total control the receiver starts-off in one direction for the purpose of getting his defender going that direction and then moves-off in a different direction after the cut to gain separation from the defender during which time the quarterback throws the pass to the receiver knowing where the receiver is going on the route. The defender at the cut has to adjust unless he jumped the route guessing it making that the key moment for the pass to be more wide open.
We don’t have a receiver on the team who does this well. Thus when you look downfield there aren’t open receivers. A natural or good receiver is one who does this so well that you don’t even recognize that he doesn’t have the speed to get open. In 2017 it is very difficult at any level to separate yourself from the defender just on speed. Even Julio Jones with all his speed gets open more on his stem and cut than on his speed. And Julio Jones runs a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash far quicker than anyone on our roster receiver or defender. And of course Julio Jones is 6’ 3” and 220 lbs. of all muscle.
How does Julio Jones get open every play ?
One it is that brief moment at the transition from the stem move on his great pass route running and his cut when he is open and two he is 6’ 3” and 220 lbs. being covered by men slower than 4.39 forty-yard dash time and by men not as tall as well. And thirdly because Matt Ryan puts the ball in a very small window while getting good offensive line work for him with a quick release in the pocket meaning the other receivers block well downfield for each other and that the running backs pick-up the blitz when the defense calls that.
It’s all intertwined why our receiver corps has been wholly unable to get open. So I wanted to explain that to you since I played this position and understand it.
There are other skills as well such as catching the ball with your hands and not with your body which receivers such as Isaiah McKenzie NEVER DID learn which are pre-requisites to being that pitch-and-catch combo which we have NOT had here so far this 2017 year did not have 2016 and did not have 2015 either nor did we have 2014 either.
All of THIS has contributed to our Offense being TOTALLY FAILED.
Good route running is part-and-partial to being that 3rd Down go-to receiver.
The money guy.
The size of your hands contributes mightily as well as your leaping ability and the ability to get your toes inbounds.
You have awareness of the sidelines on every route. You get there and stop and lean over.
Of course the quarterback has to be able to hit the out-route and neither Greyson Lambert the year before last nor Hutson Mason the year before that were either one capable of that.
We did not run any out-routes for Hutson Mason OR Greyson Lambert. That severely limited the passing game both years 2014 and 2015 for us as it also is indicative of both of their inability to stretch the field and open-up the defense stretching them because if they could not even hit an out-route then they certainly could not execute the deep routes either.
Last season we had a quarterback for the first time in 3 years who could hit the out-route and who could stretch the defense with accurate deep routes. An arm in other words. But we did not call those plays which typically are run on 2nd down and SHORT when they are BEST UTILIZED.
You just have to understand this to understand just why it is that our Offense is so FAILED and has been for 3 years in a row now. So when Kirby states he is going to OPEN-UP the OFFENSE 2017 he means THIS PRECISELY EXACTLY that he is going to HIT the out-routes and deep routes and have receivers who RUN those routes adroitly.
You have flag and post routes and go routes for example all designed for opening-up the field for the offense by stretching the defense. When you stretch the defense and make them cover the outs and deep routes you open-up your running game which of course was our number one failing 2016 with Kirby’s offense. This opened-up offense is the complete opposite of what we saw ALL YEAR LONG LAST YEAR 2016 BY EVERY DEFENSE AGAINST US EVERY SINGLE GAME where they all stuffed-the-box often lining-up 8 and even 9 defenders on the line of scrimmage to stuff the run because the COACHING STAFF refused to CALL any of these out and deep routes.
That and because we haven’t had for the previous 3 years in a row receivers capable of the stem and move routes such as out-routes go routes with a juke post routes or flag routes.
These routes take time. With all these Offensive Linemen we have for 2017 if Kirby PLAYS THEM we can block for them but the receivers have to block downfield too on BOTH the pass routes and the run options.
Run Options also go hand-in-hand with RPO run-pass-option and Option Reads. Now you are getting-in to the TYPE OF PASSING PLAYS Jim Chaney 2016 CATEGORICALLY REFUSED TO CALL because Kirby told Jim Chaney what plays Kirby wanted Jim Chaney to call.
By necessity every football team MUST have a pitch-and-catch combo. These are 2 guys who like Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are in-tune with each other.
They are so in-tune with one another that THEY then OPEN-UP every OTHER receiver on their routes because you only have one best cover guy on ANY team. This opens up the other guys. You need to know when to call the run and when to call a pass or screen or when to hit the tight end to open-up the offense but YOU HAVE TO CALL those plays too.
Not only did we NOT CALL those plays 2016 Jim Chaney running Kirby’s offense per Kirby’s insistence on running the ball every first down every game all season long but to make it all the more predictable Kirby REFUSED to allow Jacob Eason to CHECK-OUT of the play call at the line of scrimmage even if he read the defense was TOTALLY PLANNING on stuffing the box and stopping the run which was sent-in by Jim Chaney. So we looked like crap on offense.
The QB and the WR pitch-and-catch combo are the guys who PRACTICE TOGETHER ALL DAY EVERY DAY FOR YEARS and they KNOW each other well enough to know that the other sees what they see of the defense.
Last year we blindly called an in-route and gave Jacob Eason NO AUTHORITY to check-out of that at the line to an out-route. We were PREDICTABLE.
We FAILED as an offense as result thereof.
OPTION READS are where the receiver and the QB are so in-tune with each other and WHAT THEY SEE the defense is lined-up to do that the play call is an in-route and both QB and WR see the defense set-up to defend JUST THAT in-route that mid-route the receiver stems then cuts to the OUT-ROUTE. This Option Read is what can only be accomplished by a QB and receiver who PRACTICE together.
Who play with each other.
Who throw that route OVER AND OVER AND OVER AND OVER.
This time last year Greyson Lambert practiced EVERY SNAP with the # 1 unit. Every single one. There was NO CHANCE for us to prepare the eventual starter on ANY of this nor the receiver RB or OL either with one another.
If you are going to talk about the offense being stale or predictable or run almost exclusively on every first down all game all year then you must be conversant on these parts of an OPEN OFFENSE that Kirby SAYS HE IS GOING TO RUN 2017.
That’s because he has a QB capable of it – IF KIRBY would only line-up whomever it is he intends to be his pitch-and-catch combo 2017 at receiver and let the 2 get in-tune.
Kirby today : “I think you’ve got to be careful because is Charlie Woerner normally lined-up as a tight end better than your fourth receiver? Is Sony Michel or Brian Herrien both normally lined-up at tailback better than your third receiver? So there are a lot of things that we’re doing out there to get the best football players on the field.”
Now you’re thinking and talking Kirby.
Kirby today : “We’ve got to improve as a receiver group starting with the toughness. We hope we improved that through our recruiting because some of the kids that we signed have got some stature to them. Somehow we’ve just got to play better at all the receiver positions and be more productive. That doesn’t just go on the receivers. That goes on the quarterback and on the offensive line as well. But that’s one position – receivers – we’ll be watching closely.”
Kirby today : “Mecole Hardman Junior has got to become a more natural receiver. He was more of a guy with the ball in his hands – they snapped it to him. There’s a big difference when you’re talking about stemming and moving. All of the things that Terry Godwin is really good at are things that Mecole Hardman Junior has to improve at. Some of the things that Mecole can do Terry is still developing at. Terry’s been a really good helper for Mecole as far as playing the slot receiver.”