Anatomy of a Play  

GMC  

Falcons' execution of route has Ryan and Co. flying high

  • By Paul Monusky NFL Films
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The term "skinny post" does not strike fear in most people who hear it. But if you are facing the Atlanta Falcons, it should.

Thanks to the excellent footwork and mechanics of Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, along with the superb timing he has with his receivers, Atlanta has turned the skinny post into a dangerous weapon.

Ryan has turned the route into his bread and butter, starting with a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins in 2008 on his first career NFL pass.

The play works best when the opposing defense is either in a Cover 3 (three deep defensive backs) or a Cover 1 (man-to-man coverage and one deep safety). Ryan goes into a five-step drop, staring at the deep safety. On his fifth step, he plants, turns his hips toward his receiver, and fires a strike to his wideout, who at this point is 17-20 yards down the field.

The receiver's job is to beat the corner to the inside on the post route. It is Ryan's job to look off the safety long enough to create a window between the corner and the safety that the receiver can break into. The Falcons have used this play for big gains this season, including a 42-yard completion to Jenkins in Week 6 against the Eagles.

Atlanta running back Michael Turner is currently second in the NFC in rushing yards, meaning opposing defenses must stack the line of scrimmage. This leaves opposing secondaries susceptible to the skinny post, and Ryan's ability to execute this play to perfection is a big reason why the Falcons are tied for the best record in the NFL at 10-2.

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