The Giants, Cowboys and the Post-Wheel Combination

[dt_divider style=”thick” /]The Post-Wheel route combination is one of the more frequently run plays in the NFL, college, and high school. Many offensive schemes have their influence on this route combo, ranging from the Air Raid and Hal Mumme to the Run and Shoot. This two man combo, like many concepts, is flexible in its application. The wheel portion can be run by slot receivers, in-line tight ends, or running backs. The post portion depth can vary really from the slant or glance route depth of 5 yards to far deeper down field. See the below play from Texas Tech‘s Playbook under Air Raid guru Mike Leach, referred to as 108 T Cut with mirrored Post-Wheel routes:

The combination is also very flexible against secondary zone coverage or man coverage. Adjustments to the routes based upon pre-snap looks from the secondary can run both receivers through the deep landmark zone at the same time which can cause conflict for the defense. It is particularly deadly, however, versus man coverage when the wheel route is isolated against slower apex and hook defenders.

This is actually a way for the the New York Giants to isolate rookie running back Saquon Barkley in their 2018 Week 2 match up against the Dallas Cowboys. The Post-Wheel is a staple of the Pat Shurmur Playbook, a play that QB Eli Manning must certainly embrace after running it for years under Run & Shoot offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. Please see the below video that shows how the Giants featured it in Week 1 vs. the Jaguars, and the near success the Panthers found against linebacker Sean Lee:

As the video showed, linebacker hybrids like Telvin Smith (6-foot-3, 215 pounds) are making it difficult for some of the best running backs in the league running wheel routes. The convergence of the safety and linebacker positions will continue to grow as spread personnel groups and formations continue their proliferation at the highest level of football. We shall see if the Giants take advantage of a Cowboys team without one on Sunday night.

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