Broncos' '4 verts' poses threats
The NFL has transformed into a quick-throw, underneath crossing route league, and nobody does it better than the Denver Broncos.
There surely will be more than a handful of “rub” routes run by Broncos receivers against a physical Seattle defense Sunday in Super Bowl XLVIII, but if the Broncos win, it will be because their “4 verts” created critical plays in the middle of the field against the Seahawks' stop-the-run-first cover-3 defense.
Against this scheme, the “4 verts” comes down to a 2-on-1 with the free safety. Incidentally, Seattle's free safety Earl Thomas is considered the best in the NFL, but he will be tested, mostly by slot receiver Wes Welker and tight end Julius Thomas.
Earl Thomas must not cheat to one side or break until the ball is on the air. It also is imperative for the linebackers and/or strong safety in the box or the nickel back to re-route the slot receivers.
The Broncos set up in 11 personnel (one tight end, one running back, three wide receivers) with Welker in the slot to Manning's left, receiver Demaryius Thomas wide left, Julius Thomas on the end of the line to the right and receiver Eric Decker wide right.
Manning lines up in the shotgun with running back Knowshon Moreno to his right.
At the snap, Demaryius Thomas and Decker get an outside release to force the corners away from the middle, making more ground for Earl Thomas to cover.
Julius Thomas and Welker — who must get off the line cleanly — have options in what to run depending on the free safety.
How Earl Thomas reacts will determine whether Julius Thomas and Welker run down the seam, cut off the route with a curl or come across the field to the corner, the latter of which is difficult for the free safety to cover.
The play isn't designed to be a deep pass, but it can be effective, and its success depends on the free safety. However, a good quarterback-receiver combination with “4 verts” can be successful against the cover 3 regardless of the safety.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.