Sunday, September 16, 2007

Football 110

[image removed]Once again, my respects to FOX, the NFL, and the Dolphins (by the way).

Mandich was right to a point. After the play I showed in the 109 class, Miami had to punt. It was a boomer, but Miami was offsides, and the play was blown dead shortly after it started. Then, Miami lined up again, and the punt was another good one. Jason Allen (if you can believe it) got in good position and made the tackle to prevent the receiver from taking off.

... but there was another penalty on Miami, which made it 4th and 17 (rather than the original 4th and 2), and the punt was shorter, and there was a good return on it. The returner is right below the arrow. Allen is shown in the circle. He has a bad angle on the play, and is hopelessly behind the returner. There's no way he can catch him. And Michael Lehan is being knocked down right in front of the returner and that creates a lane for the returner to go 48 yards.

So, those two penalties cost Miami a ton of field position and changed the momentum, but only after the blown opportunity on 3rd down.

And now a word about the punt unit. Like the offense, you have to lineup 7 men on the line. There's the long snapper in the middle, and 4 blockers. On the end - spread out far - are "flyers." They are wideouts or defensive backs who can quickly get downfield and make the tackle. On the ends of the line, you have the wing backs. They stand at an angle to the line, and help to protect the punter from a speed rush from the outside. Behind the line is the upback. He's watching the defense line up and makes the calls for the punt unit. He calls for the snap of the ball, as well. And finally you have the punter, the specialist whose job it is to get the ball downfield. There are specific things you may have him do, like get a high punt, so the tacklers can get down there. Or, he may do a positional kick, like intentionally kicking it to a corner.

The object is to get the flyers down the field to make the easy tackle should the returner turn outside. Or, they force the returner inside where there's a lot of traffic. There's a rule quirk you saw on an earlier punt where the return team may force the flyer out of bounds to try and stop him from getting downfield. But, he has to get back into the field of play as quickly as possible.

Allen was playing flyer, and he did turn the receiver in, but he also has to be aware of the flow of the play; and each player should be in a lane (an area) to prevent such a thing.
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