Inside The Play Book
October 10 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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In this weeks edition of Inside The Play Book I analyze the ‘square out’ pattern and how the 49ers should be utilizing it as a key route in their playbook. The square out pattern is run on either side of the field, and can very from a ‘skinny’ to ‘fat’ pattern in the same way a ‘post pattern’ can. Receivers line up, run down field, fake a cut into the middle of the field and then break towards the sidelines. This route can be altered with various double cuts that make it rather unpredictable.
The pattern is one of the most lethal in football, and that is clearly evident in the large role the route plays in two minute offenses. It’s effective because receivers can exploit zone coverage and they can also take defensive backs out of the play in man coverage by simply turning their bodies in an opposite direction. Placement of the pass can be high or right at the numbers depending on the separation and type of pressure the quarterback is faced with. The play can be run short or down field, but it is the down field play, usually between 10-15 yards that the 49ers should focus on bringing in to their every day offense. It is the diversity of this pattern that makes it so lethal.
In running the pattern towards the sideline, the play gives quarterbacks the luxury to throw the ball before the receiver makes his break. If the pass sails high or low, it more often than not ends up out of bounds. Meanwhile the timing of the pass is obviously crucial, and when run effectively is virtually an unstoppable pattern.
When the 49ers run the square out it is run mainly by JJ Stokes and on third downs or in the two minute offense. While the team is effective in using the pass in these circumstances, they almost only run it when they are ‘forced’ to do so. The team should be running the pattern on first and second downs as well. By running this pattern, and variations there of the team can get the ball further down the field, without Garcia jeopardizing his body. Every completion with this pattern should be good for a first down and so it keeps the offense moving. It also gets the receiver the ball behind most other defenders, thus giving them greater opportunity to make plays.