NFL Draft Playbook: Coby Fleener vs. Notre Dame

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Stanford’s Coby Fleener is projected as the top TE prospect heading into the draft and could come off the board in the first round after his Pro Day on campus. Today, I want to go back to the Stanford-Notre Dame game, talk some Xs and Os and breakdown the “Spot” route (7-curl-flat) out of Tank personnel.

Before we take a look at the video, here are two examples of the “Spot” route that I broke down from this past NFL season:

- Bears vs. Eagles (Tank bunch)
- Raiders vs. Packers (Empty bunch-4 TE personnel)

A route concept you will see in every NFL playbook (run out of multiple personnel groupings) that shows up in crucial game situations (red zone, 3rd downs).

Scheme: Spot route
Personnel: Tank (1 WR, 2 TE, 2 RB)
Coverage: Cover 0 (blitz-man)

Quick coaching points…

- Check out Fleener’s initial alignment. With Tank personnel on the field, the Stanford TE replaces the “Z” receiver to the closed (strong) side of the formation.

- This isn’t considered a true bunch look (I formation in the backfield), however Stanford uses short “divide” motion to reduce the pre-snap split of Fleener. That forces the CB in coverage (Robert Blanton) to walk in with the motion and adjust his leverage.

- Looks similar to “Hi-Lo Crossers” underneath, but I call this concept the “X Spot.” Bring the open (weak) side “X” receiver across the formation to take the place of the curl. Window dressing to disguise a base concept—and you will see this often at the pro level.

- I love the 7 (corner) route from Fleener. Inside stem at the release, get vertical and then break to the corner. Look at the technique of the corner. With that initial inside stem, Fleener forces Blanton to open his hips and use the “head turn” to try and regain leverage on the route. Clean route right here that allows QB Andrew Luck to target the TE.

- The matchup. We talk about it consistently at the NFL level. Align the TE out of position to create those favorable matchups. Exactly what we see here from Stanford’s pro style system with Fleener finishing the play vs. an undersized CB.

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