ITP Glossary: Dino Stem

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From wheel route to Cover 2 Man under, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

Dino Stem

Dino stem technique is used as the receiver reaches the top of his route, bending his path a few steps, faking as if breaking outside on a corner route.  But after a few steps, he then breaks back to the middle of the field using the dino stem technique to complete the post route.

Here is one example of this, from Washington and DeSean Jackson against the Philadelphia Eagles. Jackson is the receiver split to the left, setting up his post route with a dino stem ‒ showing a cut to the outside before breaking back to the middle:

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Washington uses the Yankee concept here, with Pierre Garcon running a deep crossing pattern. The deep middle safety doesn’t overplay and fall for the over route, but his slight hesitation allows Jackson to get inside and behind the secondary by using the dino stem.

This is another example of Washington combining the Yankee concept with a dino stem from Jackson for a huge scoring play. The receiver is split to the right side, and off the snap he gets inside leverage on Jayron Hosley (#28) and beats the attempted jam. As the WR is getting inside of the CB, the safety to that side of the field, Brandon Meriweather (#22), is staring into the backfield and actually takes a step or two down toward the line of scrimmage in response to a play action fake:



When the safety starts to gain depth, Jackson sets up his inside break by using a dino stem, and bends the route to the outside. This gets Meriweather to widen in response, and creates an alley for Jackson to break back to the inside and get underneath the safety:


Meriweather tries the baseball turn to try and stay in position, but it is too late. The ball is coming out and Jackson’s speed will create separation:

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This technique is very effective against single-high coverage, when it shows the free safety a potential route breaking to the outside, causing him to widen as with the Meriweather example. Then, the receiver can break off the dino stem and cut underneath the safety on the post route, and use pure speed to create separation – and perhaps a big play.

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Mark Schofield wrote this entry. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass.

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