Natural pick action

An analysis of the "X Right" pass pattern

Added 2009-09-16

Here's a beautifully executed "X right" play by the Washington Redskins last Sunday.

The receivers make their breaks, the inside receiver going first

Washington tight end Fred Davis, number 86, is lined up on the right side of centre, with wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, number 82, on his outside.

The blue line superimposed on the field is the NFL line of scrimmage; in the MTTFL, imagine this as being 8 or 9 yards downfield from the line of scrimmage, which is where the X pattern first becomes evident to the defence. Davis, the inside receiver, has made his corner move, and Randle El, the outside receiver, has just planted his right foot to make the cut into the middle.

Randle El is running a post from the outside into the middle, underneath the corner by Davis from the inside. Their patterns resemble the letter X and hence the name of the play: "X Right." The key to the X is that both receivers must know which of them goes first.

With the inside receiver going first, it is the outside receiver who should be open. Davis, making the first move from the inside to the corner, takes his defender with him, and these two effectively create a wall, underneath which Randle El makes his break.

The inside receiver's corner clears the way for the outside receiver's post

The pass was completed over the middle to Randle El for 13 yards and a first down. Troy Aikman, commenting on the replay, described it as a "natural pick action."

Please note that picks are illegal in the MTTFL. The inside receiver must not attempt to block the outside defender, but if he's just running his route, there is no penalty.

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