It seemed obvious that the Denver Broncos weren’t worried about the New England Patriots receivers because they blitzed five or six guys on pretty much every play. The Patriots can counter that by running play actions more often.
This diagram shows an example of a play action pass out of the I formation. Typically the Patriots like to utilize a fullback to help with blocking for runs, which is why this would work better in this formation. Play actions are designed to trick to linebackers and safeties into thinking the play is a run. So if you have a steady diet of runs, and the box is loaded with five or six guys expecting a run, a play action is perfect to catch them off guard.
So when this is run, the idea is to catch to two linebackers sinking towards the line of scrimmage. This frees up a space in the field behind them, and underneath the safeties. This diagram shows a tight end running this route, but it would be more effective for this offense with Julian Edelman in the slot. And if the safeties bite on the run, that opens up one on one match ups on the outside for Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry. Byrd can fly, so stick him on a go route, and Harry can make contested catches, so stick him on the post route and let him get behind the defender, and go to work.
This is a simple play that can easily open up the passing and running game. It keeps the defense on its toes, which would be helpful because the offense felt very predictable yesterday. You can easily run this out of a shotgun formation too. It would be better on 3rd and shorts I think where you could fake it and hit Harry on a quick slant. Either way, this is the best method for the Patriots to get the offense back into a rhythm on Sunday. We will see if they agree with me. (Probably not because it’s Josh McDaniels)
(Originally posted on October 19, 2020)