Steelers-Patriots play to watch: Shotgun 3 wide tight end seam route
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 10:04 p.m.
You think Tom Brady was happy to have tight end Rob Gronkowski back from injury two weeks ago?
Brady threw the ball to his All-Pro tight end 17 times and in every way imaginable — to the left, to the right, over the middle and deep down the middle on the shotgun 3 wide tight end seam route.
At 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds, Gronkowski does his share of damage around the line of scrimmage, but his freakish speed and athleticism create terrible matchups for opposing defensive coordinators.
If you put a linebacker on him, he will run by you.
If you put a defensive back on him, he will overpower you.
“He is young, but he is savvy,” Steelers safety Ryan Clark said. “When he draws that contact and you try to fight with him, it gives him opportunities to push off and create separation. And when you are 6-6, all you need is a tiny window to put the ball into.”
That's one of the reasons the Patriots like to use Gronkowski in their vertical game and especially with seam routes.
NFL tight ends aren't going to run up the seam and allow a safety to sit on the route, and nobody adjusts his route to create space better than Gronkowski. His vertical release on the seam route includes a slight outside stem that creates space when he eventually bends it back toward the middle of the field.
A safety can't allow a tight end the size of Gronkowski to break in front of him in deep half alignment. Gronkowski will just use his size to shield the defender away from the ball for an easy catch. That means the deep safety has to be accurate with his angles.
The Patriots' favorite version of the seam route will have a bunch formation to left of the field with Gronkowski standing up just outside the left tackle. Receiver Julian Edelman is in the slot to Gronkowski's left and Danny Amendola is split to the far sideline.
Kenbrell Thompkins is split wide right with running back Brandon Bolden behind right tackle Marcus Cannon and Brady in the shotgun.
At the snap, Edelman and Amendola run a combination route with Amendola crossing in at 10 yards and Edelman cutting out right inside of him. On the other side of the field, Thompkins runs a deep in, with Bolden going out into the pattern or helping to block, depending on whether the opposing team blitzes.
The play is designed to get the ball to Gronkowski down the seam of the field on a vertical route. The seam route basically is a go route with adjustments depending on coverage.
Against man coverage, Gronkowski will try to beat his man with his speed. Against Cover 2, he needs to split the safeties to create a throwing lane. Against Cover 3, he needs to adjust his route wide, and against Cover 4, he needs to break off the route underneath.
Teams try to knock Gronkowski off his route at the line of scrimmage, but as big as he is, it rarely happens.
With the Steelers likely to play a lot of press coverage in their quarter package and having only one single high safety, Brady will take a shot or two with Gronkowski deep and down the middle of the field on the shotgun 3 wide tight end seam route Sunday.
Mark Kaboly is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @MarkKaboly_Trib.
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.
- Steelers pick up defensive end Heyward’s option for 2015 season
- Rice cornerback among 3 draft prospects to visit Steelers
- Steelers sign former Texas cornerback McCain
- Steelers take flier on ex-Colts WR Heyward-Bey
- Steelers sign Blount, fill need at RB
- Despite many moves, Steelers’ depth still a work in progress
- Draftees’ longevity key for NFL success