After finally getting a little bit of sleep on Monday night, I sat down to watch the Texans All-22 film on Tuesday. Trying to determine what made the most sense to point out through the film review, I thought back to an email I got from Eric SanInocencio, my football consigliere and our digital media manager for the Texans.
He had an idea, which was probably a good thing considering my mental state after a long Monday after an intense weekend. Translation: my brain hurt.
*Paraphrasing…"John, you are the wisest football man on the planet. Can you teach me some things?"
*Okay, wait, sorry that was the dream that I had a few nights ago in which a swimsuit model wanted me to teach her football then she showed up for our lesson wearing Ryan Fitzpatrick's Harvard jersey. It was more like a nightmare but I digress.
Paraphrasing Eric's email "We've all heard a lot about what it means to be a one-cut runner. Arian is supposedly a one cut runner. How about showing that to the people?"
Eric's story idea was fantastic and I'm a tad embarrassed that his idea was my football film review B12 shot. But, he hit on something that I love to do. I love teaching people what things mean in football. When you hear that announcer say something and it sounds like he's speaking a different language, I like to translate for the masses. How often have you thought "What is...
"One cut runner"
That last one...a "one cut runner" is used often and it seems to make common sense but why is it so valuable? Eric was right, Arian Foster is one of the best one cut runners in the NFL and has been for the past five or six years. But, how does that help him? Why is that seemingly so valuable to a running back, hence, the Texans?
Arian's touchdown run pretty much tells the story. So, let's put the film on and take a look.
1st and goal
6 yard line (although the yard line was hotly debated by Marc, Andre and myself on the radio broadcast)
Texans are in 11 personnel
3x1 to the wide side of the field
On the snap, Foster took a handoff from Fitzpatrick seemingly headed to the left side. But, the play will develop on the right side.
This scheme is new for the Texans this year and is based out of power scheme principles. The right side of the line blocked on and down. TE Ryan Griffin drove the DE solo. RT Derek Newton and RG Brandon Brooks "combo" blocked the DL, up to the linebacker. C Chris Myers block on the nose. LG Ben Jones pulled to the right and turned up in the hole, looking for LB No. 55 Sio Moore.
In this shot, you can see the blocks as they developed and Foster start on his path to the end zone.
This is where Foster's one cut ability is so evident. The red arrow points to his right foot because at this exact moment, Foster saw the end zone. Know how I know that? Look at the end zone shot from behind the play.
With that still shot, it looked like any of us could've walked through that hole, but in real time that hole is like a camera shutter. It opens and closes in the blink of an eye. That's exactly why Foster's ability to make one cut and make it decisively, and immediately, got him into the end zone. Many running backs need to slow down to make a cut, then they'll dance a bit, not sure where to go and then…
WHAM. Stopped for a one yard gain.
Arian isn't like that. His vision is out of this world, but his ability to make that one necessary singular cut is special. He never slows down to cut up or burst outside. He doesn't dance, even though he's patient. When he knows, he goes. In this case, he went.
Right into the end zone.
Namaste, black hole.
Simply put, a one cut runner is just that. He sees one hole, determines one read, makes one decision, plants one foot in the ground and goes one way. When he "cuts up the field", he'll explode off his outside foot and gets "north and south" right now. Foster does that better than anyone in the NFL.
The Raiders found this lesson out the hard way.