On The Chalkboard: Cover 3 Beaters- The Sail Combination (Video)

Ronald Martinez

As we prepare for the 2013 NFL Season, let's go back to the Chalkboard to look at a popular route combination used to attack Cover 3, a coverage we will see very regularly from the Dallas Cowboys under Monte Kiffin.

Editor's Note: if You Are Experiencing Trouble Watching The Video, You Can Go To YouTube Here

A Few Notes To Remember:

- This route combination puts a vertical stretch on the Curl-Flat defender, if he attacks the flat route the ball goes to the corner route, if he sits underneath the corner the ball goes to the flat. This is where guys like Jason Witten, James Hanna, Gavin Escobar, & Dante Rosario come in handy for the Cowboys offense. They can get down the field and are athletic enough to stress defenses in these types of combinations.

- This is a variation of a "Flood" where you put 3 receiving options on a side of the field covered by only 2 defenders.

- As Rab mentioned, there have been murmurs that the Cowboys are leaning towards the "Erhardt-Perkins" philosophy of play calling, this allows the play call for this route combination to no longer be 279 U Flat or 479 U Flat(depending on the X's route) and become simply Sail. This allows you to run this with any personnel group from any formation and the players all know that Sail means there is a Go (#1), a Corner (#2) and a Flat (#3). Although using the numbers system theoretically allows you to run any combination of routes, you can only practice so many combinations. But if you can simply call "Sail" and everyone knows the combination, the QB knows the progression, it doesn't matter what personnel group, or formation you are in, you can run the play, and as we've talked about before, most of the "creativity" in the NFL game, is simply window dressing for base concepts.

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