BWTB: Terminology of Watt's TD catch


The JJ Watt mic'd up segment was as advertised. NFL Films personnel mentioned that it was one of the best they've ever seen/heard and it was all that and then some. But, one thing stood out to me more than any other during the segment.

Down on the goal line, Watt entered the huddle after first notifying the ref that he was eligible. If you listen closely you'll hear QB Ryan Fitzpatrick say "run to the flat". Then, you see RB Alfred Blue help Watt get aligned at fullback. Of course, then he shifted to a slot position, ran the flat route, caught the ball and blew the roof off...well, it would have had the roof actually been open.

Either way, on Wednesday when Watt met with the media he noted that he had no idea what the offense is doing. Ever. He just knows his gambit of plays.

I'm sure for some that sounded a bit odd, but the difference in a defensive play call and an offensive play call is night and day.

A defensive play call might be as simple as "Okie cover 4". Trust me, I played defense for a reason (oddly enough, so did the Houston Texans head ball coach, bit I digress).

An offensive play call? Different story.

See photos of Andre Johnson & J.J. Watt's touchdowns against the Titans.

So, what all goes into an offensive play call?

Good question. All offensive coaches have a different way of calling, well, just about everything. But, here are all the items that one singular play call must include.

Formation - where should all the eligible receivers align?
Motion or shift or pre-snap adjustment
Shotgun or pistol, if applicable
Protection, if it's a pass
Numbered run - "47 gut"
Pass route - "689"
Pass tag - an added route beyond the 3 numbered pass play call "689 H flat" - H flat is the tag
Snap count

So something like this perhaps...

"Bandit right, Zip, Gun, Scat right 178 H seam...on one, on one...READY BREAK"

(That's short in comparison to some West Coast offensive schemes too)

Then walk to the ball, call out the Mike linebacker...uh oh, they just stemmed the front (moved the defensive line). Time to change the...

Formation
Motion or shift or pre-snap adjustment
Shotgun or pistol, if applicable
Protection, if it's a pass
Numbered run
Pass route
Pass tag
Snap count

...all at the line of scrimmage. It's no wonder JJ doesn't know exactly what the offense is doing. Just keep "running to the flat" and you'll be fine, 99.

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