The Backyard Football Playbook

A quick glance at the forecast for Fargo this weekend reads pretty nicely. Getting outside is a great option, and a small game of football is one of the best things to do. But before breaking the huddle, here are some plays that will break down defenses for maximum point scoring.

Play 1 – Goal Line Roll Out

The most difficult part of the field is in the shadow of the end zone. Faced with less than 15 yards of space, it is easy for the defense to cover most of the space.

Line up two receivers right, one left in a 4v4 situation. If the safety shows rush on the “Five Apple” count to bring pressure on the quarterback, time is of the essence.

After the snap, the quarterback rolls to his right as the slot receiver hits a quick “zig” route. Hopefully the corner bites inside, leading to an easy completion to the outside.

Otherwise, the left side receiver on a slant route joins the party late. As a last resort, the outside receiver heads to the back corner for a jump ball. Worst-case scenario, he cuts back across the back of the end zone for a last-ditch pass.

Play 2 – Up and Up

The heart of playing a game of football on a Saturday afternoon is the big play.

Again, line up double receivers on the right and one on the left. The slot receiver is again the first read, but the play has to develop.

A post route coming from the outside causes issues for the cornerbacks and hopefully pulls the eyes of the deep safety. Now it is just a solo battle on the outside for the deep ball with the slot receiver.

The second read is the original outside receiver if there is any miscommunication between the safety and corner.

The Eli Manning option is the left side receiver on a crossing route for the check down.

Play 3 – Cauliflower

Don’t ask about the name; it just randomly originated one day.

Single receiver left, two stacked on the right. The combination of routes on the right will make a natural pick play downfield.

The streak route from the front receiver on the right will create a mess of bodies when the back receiver cuts inside. The open field should beckon, even with the safety potentially crashing down.

On the left, a one-on-one matchup is also an option. The quarterback should read this play shallow to deep, as the easy completion up the middle can turn into a big catch and run.

Play 4 – Red Zone Fade

This is the play where you get the Rob Gronkowski types involved. Isolate the strongest receiver out on the left. The island can be created by again spreading two receivers right.

It is up to the slot receiver to be the eye candy on this play in order to occupy the safety. After the snap, the slot receiver sprints right over to the safety and cuts away to delay the defender heading over the first option.

There is only one place the pass is going, and it is to the big guy on the left. Lob it up and let the receiver go get it.

Otherwise, the Alex Smith option is the crossing route from the wide right receiver.

Plays 5/6 – The 7v7 Pair

If the game grows to seven on each side, then it is best to have a pair of blockers and pass rushers to ease congestion downfield.

This pair of plays even sees a running back in the backfield behind the quarterback. The back needs to be the quickest guy on the team because moves will need to be made.

If the linebacker covering the back stays high, then the handoff to the back leaves him to beat the linebacker. Everyone on the perimeter blocks their defenders.

Or they don’t because absolutely nobody expects the run.

The other option comes off the play action. With the linebacker crashing down, the back leaks up the middle and cuts out for an easy completion.

A double-move on the outside also opens up the deep ball on the right. Deep routes from the left side receivers are also a go.

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