ITP Glossary: Wheel Route – Inside The Pylon

    Football is full of specialized terminology. from the punt gunner to scaling the pocket, commentators rarely explain everything you need to know before the next play. the pylon interior glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations as well as image and video examples. Contact us with any term or phrase you’d like to know more about.

    A wheel route is a pass pattern where the receiver circles toward the sideline as if running a swing route or a flat route, but then breaks vertically. This is often seen in a switch concept, where the inside receiver and outside receiver cross paths and after about five yards, the inside man breaks outside, up the sideline. The outside receiver will run a deep pattern to the inside of the field, typically a post route. The inside receiver – who can be in the slot or lined up in the backfield as a running back, executes the wheel route.NFLReview10TBPlay1Still2

    The artwork above shows tampa bay buccaneers running back doug martin running a wheelie course.

    In this example, Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams is in the shotgun with 10 personnel on the field, in a doubles alignment with slot formation on each side of the field. Running back Taj Griffin (#5) stands to the left of the QB in the backfield, running the wheel route:CFBReview10OUStill2

    Reading: What is a wheel route in football

    the ducks use the mesh concept on this play, and the target here is griffin, who runs out of the backfield. the runner is completely lost in the fray:

    [jwplayer file=”″ image=” /2015/11/cfbreview10oustil2.jpg”]

    The secondary’s actions here indicate perhaps lost cover, with some defenders settling into lower zones, while some seem locked into man cover. the only player who is completely uncovered is griffin. adams identifies the open rb immediately and throws a pinpoint shot to griffin along the sideline. from there, the running back can force a missed tackle and runs into the end zone for the 49-yard touchdown.

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    Here’s another view of how the running back got lost in the confusion of the defense:

    [jwplayer file=”″ image=” /2015/11/cfbreview10oustil3.jpg”]

    This is the perfect execution of the wheel path outside of the mesh concept.

    the saints that roll

    The New Orleans Saints use the wheel route frequently. Here, they use it to assist Willie Snead in creating separation against man coverage:Willie Snead first NFL TD on wheel route markup

    buccaneers show press man coverage in high school, and saints mark a common response to the press: a massage or a route of choice. Snead lines up in the right slot while outside receiver brandin cooks (#10) executes a quick route to cornerback alterraun verner (#10). 21), who is aligned in snead.

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    the cooks hit the corner and open. he cuts to the ground and then cuts upfield on a wheel route where drew brees finds him for the touchdown.

    On this play, the Saints clear out the backfield, placing running back c.j. spill (#28) in a narrow slot on the right, with trips on the left. The Dallas Cowboys, and their linebackers, try to figure out their responsibilities as they prepare, settling on cover 1 in the secondary. the spill executes a fast wheel path to the outside.

    brees, perhaps sensing the confusion before the snap, promptly calls for the snap. or maybe he only saw the matchup indicated by the coverage:

    [jwplayer file=”″ image=” /2015/10/nflreview4saintsplay1still2.jpg”]

    The quarterback hits the spill in stride, and now the wily running back just has to make Barry Church‘s free safety fail. he does, and the spill takes this play the distance.

    See also: UK Football Trials – UK Football Trials – Helping Players Get Scouted For Football Trials At Pro & Semi Pro Football Clubs

    click here for more glossary entries. follow us @itpylon.

    mark schofield & dave archibald wrote this entry. follow mark on twitter @markschofield. follow dave on twitter @davearchie.

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