While reviewing Cincinnati’s preseason games for the last time, there was a play I noticed being run in every game. It wasn’t always successful, but you could tell they were working on the concept while adding a new wrinkle each time.
I chose the week 2 play against the Titans because it allowed for the best footage to illustrate this design.
* The Bengals were using 12-personnel (1RB, 2TE) for the majority of this drive as they leaned on the run game.
* This is a balanced formation with both Tight Ends (orange) on the LOS and the Bengals QB in shotgun.
* Both of the WRs will run 9-routes with outside releases. This is to carry the CBs to the outside and keep both safeties deep.
* With each of the Titans safeties outside of the hash marks and 13+ yards down field, this is an easy pre-snap read for John Skelton. We’re probably looking at a Cover-2 variation.
* The Bengals TEs will be asked to get an outside release and really flare out and “bend” their vertical route just inside the numbers.
* The Bengals will show run by pulling their LG (red) to the right (your left) and blocking down with the remaining OL.
* The pull, combined with the play-action fake to the RB will help freeze the Titans LBs.
* You can see both of Tennessee’s OLBs run up to take on their run responsibilities.
* This will leave a huge window (pink) for both TEs and Skelton to throw to.
* This is as the Bengals’ QB is about to throw. You can see the wide open gap. This is a very quick play from snap to pass and that keeps the LBs from reacting and getting back into coverage.
* Finally, here’s the catch by Tyler Eifert and you can see just how wide open he is.
After seeing this play run in each preseason game and in some training camp videos/highlights from around the web, I think this is a concept we can expect to see plenty in 2013. With the two-TE set figured to be featured in Cincinnati and A.J. Green forcing a safety deep, look for that same gap to be available after play-action. This also allows Andy Dalton to get into shotgun — where I think he’s best — and Giovani Bernard into the ballgame — because they’ll use him in most passing/shotgun situations.
I especially think this play with be successful against the Chicago Bears and their Cover-2 in week 1.