Take The Top Off Your Curl Flat Concept

By FirstDown PlayBook on Jun 14, 2023
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The curl flat concept is almost as old as football itself. At least as old as the days when they started throwing the ball. It has taken on various names over the years. “Hank” is the one that seems to be the most common. Of course there are those who call their pass plays using the numbering system. For the sake of these coaches, we are looking at 896 F Flat today.

On this 3×1 formation curl flat concept we have a go or seam route included. On 896 F Flat the Tight End is responsible for running a full speed seam route and recognizing if the middle of the field is open or closed. He is a viable option vs cover 2. This is not mandatory. If just you need a receiver to take the top off of the coverage you can assign them to run a 9 route and take them out of the read.

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For the sake of this play we will keep the seam in the read. Against a middle of the field open coverage the seam runner must keep this route thin. They need to hug the front side safety because there is a backside safety to be concerned with after the catch.

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We coach the F to expand the curl area with his flat route immediately and try to out flank all defenders. Without this the entire concept gets ver muddied for the quarterback to read. You have to expand the curl throwing lane and be willing to take the flat throw if the defense does not expand with it.

The Z will push the defenders with initial vertical speed but at the top of the route he will put his outside foot in the ground and drive straight back to the quarterback. He does not need to run a 4.4 40 back to the quarterback but instead come back with tempo into the hole that has been created.

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The X will also read if the middle of the field is open or closed. He will run a go route vs cover 2 to hold the backside safety. He will run a deep post route vs middle of the field closed man or zone. This is designed to hold the Free Safety.

The quarterback will, in most cases, work the strong side only. If the middle of the field is open and the tight end runs good seam routes then you may want to give the quarterback the green light. If not, then it is a simple Flat-Curl-H Burst read.

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If the F out leverages the defense get them the ball now. Next, If the curl defender expands then look to get the ball to the Z. In the event that both are covered progress to the back.

The X is pretty much based on personnel and experience. If the receiver and quarterback have a great feel for this route then it can be an alert. This can be an added weapon, particularly vs man coverage.

Check out the clip below and if you need ideas for your 7on7 team this spring and summer please check out FirstDown PlayBook. There are thousands of plays and technology that allows you to find the one right for you in seconds.

New York Jets Nate Hackett