ITP Glossary: Tosser Concept

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From green dog blitz to NCAA concept, 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.

Tosser Concept

Tosser concept is a route combination consisting of two slant patterns from the same side of the field.

New England Tosser Concept with Tight End Flat Route

The New England Patriots utilize two passing concepts on this play, one to each side of the formation. On the slot side they set up a smash concept. To the trips side they run the tosser concept: Julian Edelman and James White running slant routes with Rob Gronkowski releasing into the flat:NEKCReviewStill3

Tom Brady hits Edelman on a slant route for an 11-yard gain:

[jwplayer file=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NEKCReviewVideo1.mp4″ image=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/NEKCReviewStill3.jpg”]

From this angle, we can see how the route ‒ and coverage ‒ work in concert to open a throwing lane. As Gronkowski releases into the flat, the linebacker races outside, following the TE in coverage. Edelman pushes vertically on his first few steps, holding the defender in place, then abruptly cuts to the inside. This move coupled with the pre-snap cushion and outside leverage from the DB creates separation.

On this next play, Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty works the tosser concept to the right side of the field.  The Hilltoppers face a 1st and 10 near midfield. Doughty is in the shotgun with 10 offensive personnel in the game, in a 2X2 alignment. Louisiana Tech has their 4-2-5 sub package in the game, showing Cover 1 in the secondary:DoughtyOnTwo1Play1Still1

Prior to the play, the running back sets in deep motion to the left, and a linebacker trails him. The offense runs the tosser concept on the backside of this play, and Doughty now knows that he will face man coverage on the outside, given the linebacker shifting outside in response to the motion:DoughtyOnTwo1Play1Still2

At the snap, the QB looks first at the inside slant route. As the shorter (easier) throw this is his first read. But the second linebacker, Beau Fitte (#6) drops into the underneath “hole” in this coverage, to help against slant routes and other shorter pass patterns:DoughtyOnTwo1Play1Still3

As the play develops, Doughty checks the inside slant but the linebacker is breaking under this route. The QB quickly resets and shifts his eyes to the outside (you can see a slight reset from Doughty) and then fires to his second read, the outside slant route:

[jwplayer file=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/DoughtyOnTwo1Play1Video1.mp4″ image=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/DoughtyOnTwo1Play1Still1.jpg”]

Not only is this a quick illustration of working progressions, even if just from first to second, it gives us a glimpse at Doughty’s arm talent and ability to see (or feel) the underneath coverage. The pocket is collapsing at the QB’s feet, so he cannot step into this throw. But given the narrow throwing window, he needs to put enough velocity on the pass to squeeze the throw into his target. In addition, Fitte keeps rotation from the inside slant to the outside slant, meaning not only does Doughty have to zip the throw into a narrow window, he needs to somehow fit the throw around the LB. The replay angle shows just how he does this:

Not only is this a quick illustration of working progressions, even if just from first to second, it gives us a glimpse at Doughty’s arm talent and ability to see (or feel) the underneath coverage. The pocket is collapsing at the QB’s feet, so he cannot step into this throw. But given the narrow throwing window, he needs to put enough velocity on the pass to squeeze the throw into his target. In addition, Fitte keeps rotation from the inside slant to the outside slant, meaning not only does Doughty have to zip the throw into a narrow window, he needs to somehow fit the throw around the LB. The replay angle shows just how he does this:

[jwplayer file=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/DoughtyOnTwo1Play1Video2.mp4″ image=”http://cdn.insidethepylon.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/DoughtyOnTwo1Play1Still4.jpg”]

The pass tracks just over the outstretched arm of the LB, perfectly placing the ball into the waiting hands of wide receiver Antwane Grant (#3).

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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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