Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Know your Options: Inverted Veer

One of the mistakes TV commentators and pundits make is labeling all plays where a quarterback makes a read a "read option play". This generic labeling has led people to believe that it is often the result of just one play that could eventually be out schemed by the brain trust of NFL defensive coordinators.

One of the more exciting facets of the option plays are that they can be run a number of ways and pick on any defender in the box.

The 49ers started to use a new wrinkle on an old favorite with the inverted veer play.

Inverted Veer Video of the play here

There are two major differences in this play and the usual option plays, the guard pull and the inverted paths of the quarterback and the running back.

Normally in Veer (more on that in a later article) the running back dives inside and the quarterback reads the end and then pulls the ball to run outside if the end over commits  to the running back. In this play though the quarterback is looking to dive up the middle and follow the pulling guard to pay dirt, while the back is rapidly stretching the defence.

This play works particularly well if you have a brute of a quarterback (a certain Mr Tebow would be ideal) and very fast skill position players. In the case of the video, the 49ers substituted Frank Gore, who is no slouch, off the field for the even speedier LaMichael James. It is basically a version of power except the end is read by the quarterback instead of being kicked out by a fullback.

In the video, the arc release of Vernon Davis influences the safety, Thomas Decoud (who has to respect Davis as the dominant receiving force he is), so much that he barely moves from his spot, giving Davis an easy block to spring the play. Defensive end Kroy Biermann barely moves an inch while he is being read and yet he is still made to look flat footed by the dynamic James.

The problem with the inverted veer is that it can often be easily read, even more so if you only run it with specific personnel. For instance LaMichael James fumbled the ball in the Superbowl (Kaepernick should probably have kept the ball as well, one of the hazards is a bad read) on the inverted veer play that the Ravens had beaten from the word go, obviously teeing up on the personnel in the backfield and the formation (it also helps when you have Upshaw vs Walker on the edge instead of Davis vs Thomas Decoud).

This is just another interesting wrinkle we could see developing into even more plays as offensive coordinators start to use their personnel to their maximum potential. Imagine a two back attack with Gore and James able to run the Zone Bluff and the Inverted Veer as well as the regular zone read and power plays!

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