Three Verticals

Three Verticals:

The Three Verticals concept is very similar to the Four Verticals concept discussed previously because it too places pressure on the deep defenders.

The outside receivers will typically run corner or post-corner routes.  If the outside receiver is running a simple corner route he will head straight upfield as if he were running a go-route for about 10-12 yards and then break towards the near pylon.  If the outside receiver is running the more complicated post-corner route he will again head straight upfield for about 10-12 yards, but before cutting for the near pylon he will he cut towards the opposite pylon for one step.  If the receiver is being bumped at the line of scrimmage he can modify his route by head towards the center of the field for his first 1 or 2 steps turning his corner or post-corner into a c-route (so named because it looks like a C facing the sideline).

Here is a diagram of this play thanks to Chris Brown:

The slot receiver runs a route that is very similar to the bender route described in the Four Verticals post.  However, instead of choosing between a go-route up the seam and a post route the receiver runs either a post route or a deep-in receiver.  He will make a M.O.F.O. and M.O.F.C. read like the slot receiver running the “bender” or “divide” route in the Four Verticals concept.  If the receiver reads M.O.F.O. he will run his post route, he will run up the seam as if he is running a go-route for about 10-14 yards and then will cut towards the opposite pylon and should get the ball in stride for a big gain.  If the receiver reads M.O.F.C. he will run his deep-in or dig route, he will run up the seam as if he is running  a go-route for about 10-14 yards and then will cut at a 90 degree angle towards the opposite sideline, he should be cutting underneath the deep safety, but above the lbs in shallow zones.

Here is a video of this play being run by Texas Tech’s Air Raid offense, thanks to otowncoach:

The other receiver, often running backs and tight ends, will run flat or shoot routes.  These routes are aimed at no more than 2-3 yards past the LOS and have the receiver running straight towards the sideline.  These routes should occupy the defenders in shallow zones.  Some coordinators choose to have one of these receivers run a drag, by doing this the Shallow Cross passing concept can be combined with the Three Verticals.

The quarterbacks reads here are very simple, in this concept it is the throw no the read that is difficult.  The quarterback reads the weak safety and will throw to the opposite side.  Once the QB reads the safety he will then check the slot receiver, the outside receiver, and the receiver running the shoot route.  If chooses any receiver besides one running the shoot route he will “throw him open”.  Meaning that he will throw the ball in such a way that the receiver must break from his defender and go get it, this is only possible because of the way these routes break.

Here is a video of the New England Patriots running this play out of a Four Wide set, where the receivers line up tight.

Here is video of this same play being run in Madden 10 practice mode:


If you are looking for more on this concept I recommend Chris Browns article, which can be found here:


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