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Anatomy of an NFL Play
Peter King
September 05, 2005
Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel doesn't waste any time, installing one of his favorites, PFB Double Square Out, on Day One
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September 05, 2005

Anatomy Of An Nfl Play

Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Fassel doesn't waste any time, installing one of his favorites, PFB Double Square Out, on Day One

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And if worst comes to worst, the quarterback has the two backs as options. That's what Fassel means when he says the play has everything: five receiving options.

The play was originally designed by Bill Walsh in the early 1970s, when he was an assistant under Paul Brown with the Cincinnati Bengals. With quick skill players in the backfield and at wideout, Walsh saw the wisdom of scattering the secondary so the defense couldn't focus on any one receiver. "We don't call it enough," Fassel says. "This year I could see us calling it three times in some games. That's a lot for one play."

Why would the Ravens use it so often? Because their receiving options are much improved this year over 2004. Heap has recovered from an ankle injury that slowed him all season, and the wideout position has been fortified by the signing of free agent Derrick Mason, who led all NFL wideouts last year with 96 catches for the Tennessee Titans, and the drafting of Mark Clayton, an All-America at Oklahoma who was the 22nd pick in the draft.

On the field the morning after that first offensive team meeting, Fassel paces behind his unit. He has PFB Double Square Out slated to be run twice in practice--once in a seven-on-seven drill, when the linemen aren't on the field, and once in a full 11-on-11. Because the four quarterbacks take turns during practice, Boller won't get a shot to run each play. In fact, when PFB Double Square Out is run for the first time, Wright ducks into the huddle.

"Twos are up!" Fisch calls out. "Regular! Regular!" (The second-team offense is in with the standard two-wide, two-back, one-tight-end personnel group.)

"Let's make it work!" Fassel barks. "Come on, men!"

Wideouts Devard Darling and Randy Hymes split left and right, respectively. The first-team defense is on the field. Darling is single-covered by Deion Sanders.

"Blue 18!" Wright calls, his hands under center. "Blue 18! Hut!"

At the snap Darling sprints 10 yards upfield with the wily Sanders giving him space. Wright stares a hole in Darling, and just as the quarterback throws, Sanders breaks to the spot where the ball is headed.

"Awwww, s---," Fassel mutters angrily.

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