By Eric Struck
One of my favorite and most universal tools on offense is the use of Jet or fast motion by our slot receivers.
Whether it is in the run game, pass game or misdirection, the Jet motion provides an offense with an unlimited variety of possibilities. Even if the Jet sweep is not a major part of your offense, there are ways to incorporate it into your offensive playbook and help your team be successful.
There is something about seeing a receiver go in full speed motion right before the snap that catches the attention of the defense. Often, the use of Jet motion will cause a lot of movement from the defense. That could be the secondary rotating toward the motion, linebackers sliding toward the motion, blitzing off the edge or movement/slanting by the front.
These are all effective possibilities to stopping the Jet sweep. However, there are many things an offense can do to take advantage of how the defense reacts.
One of my favorite formations to run the Jet sweep from includes an H-Back in the backfield. This is a flexible formation that provides a wide variety of possibilities.
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The best play to use versus an aggressive defense that is slanting toward the motion or using linebacker movement to stop the Jet sweep is a counter run play.
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In this play, our backside guard kicks out the playside defensive end, and our H-back leads up through the hole. The H-back is looking to come tight off the double team and look inside to outside for the first wrong color jersey.
Maybe the most universal concept using Jet motion and an H-back in the backfield is the power/power read concepts. These work well when the playside defensive end is slanting hard toward the motion in an attempt to not be reached by the offensive tackle.
The power/power read provide the offense with multiple ways to utilize the Jet motion while giving a variety of looks to the defense. It is the hope of the offense to confuse the defensive end and keep him guessing throughout.
For the power play, our H-back is kicking out the playside defensive end. His aiming point is the inside hip of the defender. It is important for him to step with his inside foot to maintain the proper leverage. Our backside guard is pulling and leading up through the hole. He will stay tight to the double team and look inside to outside for the first wrong color jersey.
The power read play is blocked the same way as power except now we will not block the playside defensive end. The H-back and running back serve as lead blockers in case the quarterback has a give read.
Another favorite concept that can be run with Jet motion is the Iso play. We can run this play to the side of the motion or away from the motion.
The H-back serves as the lead blocker. He is looking to insert and block the first linebacker head up to inside. If we run it away from motion, then he blocks it similar to the counter play. He looks inside to outside for the first wrong color jersey as he inserts into the second level.
The center and backside guard look to double team the defensive line to the first linebacker backside. The other linemen block the first defender head to them. The Jet motion receiver carries his motion into a bubble route, and we can treat this play as an RPO. If the playside linebacker is blitzing off the edge to stop the Jet sweep, we can throw the bubble.
We can also utilize Jet motion in the passing game as well. This is an excellent way to get play-action type passes using a basic passing game. Using Jet motion is also a great way to create holes in the zone coverage of the defense if the defense is rotating or moving around to counteract the motion.
Maybe the most basic way of using Jet motion to take advantage of secondary rotation or movement is to throw the backside slant to the one receiver side.
Our Jet motion receiver will continue into a bubble route, and we will have the outside receivers execute three step slant routes and our inside receiver will execute a skinny slant/seam route to hold the inside defenders.
Another simple way to use Jet Motion in the passing game is the stick route.
To the one receiver side we will execute a three-step slant route. Our Jet motion receiver once again continues into a bubble route once he fakes the motion. The outside receiver will execute a fade route. He must ensure that he executes an outside release on the defender to keep the defender’s eyes away from the stick/bubble combination.
Our slot receiver or H-back executes a five-yard stick route. If he is lined up wide in the slot, he will read the nearest alley defender. If that defender is head up to him, he will release inside to a depth of five yards and work to find the soft spot in the zone. If the alley defender is apexing or splitting the difference between our slot and the line of scrimmage, then we will release vertically and find the soft spot.
If we are aligned in the backfield as a true H-back, then we will read the inside linebacker. We will get to a depth of five yards and work away from the linebacker if he stays inside or move to the soft spot in the coverage if the linebacker flows with the motion.
The final way to use Jet motion is through true play action with the bootleg pass.
In the previous pass concepts, we use the motion itself to act as the fake. With the bootleg concept, we look to ride the motion man with a fake handoff then clear the pocket and boot away.
In the diagram above, we are selling a Jet sweep to the right and bootlegging left. To the one receiver side he will execute an 18 back to 15-yard rollaway route. He will push vertically, and when he gets to 18 yards, he will hitch up.
If the QB has released the ball, he will work toward it. If not or if the defender is inside the receiver, we will then work our way flat toward the sideline. We feel this is an easier route to execute as far as running and throwing to compared to a traditional comeback route.
Our H-back runs the shallow drag route. If he aligned in the backfield, he will come back across behind the line of scrimmage and work to a depth of three to four yards. If he is aligned out wide as a slot receiver, then he will drag across the field at the same depth of three to four yards.
Our backside receiver executes the medium drag route. He will look to get across the field at a depth of no more than 10 yards. Our Jet motion receiver will either execute a bubble route or if we see the defense over react to the bootleg then we can send him on the wheel route down the sideline.
These are just a few examples of the things you can do with Jet motion. Like anything in football, it is only limited to your imagination and what you want to invest your time in. For me, personally, I really enjoy the movements and misdirection that the use of Jet motion provides. It is a fairly straightforward to create some confusion within the defense without having to spend a tremendous amount of time on different concepts. All of the above concepts we run with or without Jet motion.
This is just another way to add window dressing to your offensive package. Hopefully, there was something in this article that you can take back to your program and have success with.
Eric Struck is the wide receivers coach, passing game coordinator, special teams coordinator and junior varsity head coach at Washington High School in Sioux Falls, S.D. He has been an assistant coach at Washington since 2001. He also has coached the offensive line and defensive backs. Since joining the Washington staff, the team has appeared in nine state championship games, winning five, going 23-1 the last two seasons. Follow him on Twitter @EricStruck.