What was Gabbert thinking on the ‘pick-six’ vs. Colts?

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I want to take a quick look at Darius Butler’s “pick-six” vs. Blaine Gabbert last night in the Colts’ 27-10 win over the Jags. A good opportunity to talk technique and breakdown some coaching points on a questionable decision from the QB.

Colts vs. Jags
Personnel: Ace (2WR-2TE-1RB)
Alignment: Bunch
Route: “Spacing”


– The “spacing” route is a concept we see across the league out of a bunch alignment (can also get a backside slant). Sit down at the sticks and get your eyes back to the QB. A quick, easy read with No.1 bursting to the flat.

-I’m calling this a “quarters” technique with the SS inside over No.2 in his pre-snap alignment and the OLB dropping to the curl-flat to the closed (strong) side of the formation.

– Butler is off and to the outside. Read through the 3-step (called a “flat-foot” read) and drive downhill. No reason to give ground when you aren’t threatened vertically up the field.


– I always talk about technique in the secondary. Look at Butler here. Because he has a cushion (distance between DB and WR) in a zone scheme, the CB can read inside through the initial stem of the WR. Butler is square to the ball and in a position to jump the route.


– Is Butler sitting on this route? Of course he is. As I said above, there is no need to give ground or open the hips when you read a 3-step concept. If the QB is going to look outside to No.1 (and give you a target) then go get it.


– I think Butler makes this play regardless of the ball placement, but Gabbert also does him a favor by leaving the throw to the inside shoulder of the WR. Remember, on any outside breaking concept you have to put the ball on the up field shoulder—away from the defender.

– This was a poor decision from the Jags’ QB, but let’s also give some credit here to Butler. Because he reads through to the QB and drives on the ball this plays out like a DB drill in spring OTAs.

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