The Dagger Route: What You Should Be Doing, But You Don’t!
This article is about the dagger route but there is more to it than that. Funny isn’t it? When you first dove into coaching and a new play (run or pass) was introduced into the program we were excited and made that play a part of ourselves with numerous requests to run it no matter the down, distance, circumstance, or situation. Remember those days?
But, after a few years in we fell in line with the norm and become a “devils advocate” like the rest. Or better yet, a “What if” guy. This might be better to only run it in this formation because….. What if…… the defensive tackle plays this technique or runs this stunt on this side?
SIMPLE READS FOR COVER 2 & COVER 3
With all of that aside, I would like to talk you through a simple read for your quarterback. This is based off of a Cover 2 or Cover 3 look on how to make the Dagger route more efficient, effective, and simpler for your quarterback. Over the years, I have come across and seen different variations to run the Dagger concept in relation to the other receivers and their routes. In my opinion, it sometimes seems to be too much information for a quarterback to process and read as he goes through the progressions.
These are complimentary routes off of the dagger route that don’t change with a very simple read for the quarterback to make. You can adapt this passing concept to whatever pass protection that you already do. You can mirror it to whatever side you need to to put your players in the best possible situation for success. In doing this we want to sell some type of run action and allow time for the routes to develop. If you want a long touchdown pass or 15 yards on a critical down continue reading below.
DAGGER ROUTE RULES:
X – PRESS VERTICAL TO 15 YARDS AS FAST AS YOU CAN AND COME ACROSS ON A STRAIGHT LINE TRYING TO FIND AN OPEN WINDOW. COME UNDERNEATH THE SEAM ROUTE BY THE H (RUB)
H – RUN THE SEAM AND CLEAR FAST; LOOKING FOR THE BALL AT 10 YARDS
Y – RUN THE SEAM AND CLEAR FAST; LOOKING FOR THE BALL AT 10 YARDS
Z – YOU COME UNDERNEATH (RUB) THE Y AND RUN A DRAG ROUTE 6-8 YARDS. IF THE LB’S DROP MORE THAN 6 STAY IN FRONT. IF THEY STEP UP TO HONOR THE RUN FAKE STAY BEHIND ON YOUR TRACK. LOOK FOR BALL ONCE YOU CLEAR THE OPPOSITE OFFENSIVE TACKLE ON THE OTHER SIDE
T – GOOD RUN FAKE AND BLOCK THE BACKSIDE DEFENSIVE END AWAY FROM THE DAGGER SIDE
QB – RECOGNIZE ONE HIGH SAFETY OR TWO HIGH SAFTIES BEFORE THE SNAP; GOOD PLAYACTION RUN WITH THE T
IF 2 HIGH SAFETIES ARE RECOGNIZED:
Our eyes want to immediately go to the flat defender on the dagger route side
• If he squats in coverage look to throw the dagger route now!
• If he turns and runs with the dagger route throw to the Z on the 6-8 yard drag route coming across once he clears the offensive tackle on the side of the dagger route.
IF 1 HIGH SAFETY IS RECOGNIZED:
We want to immediately look to see whether the Y or the H has the best leverage for the seam route and read to where the free safety goes. Where he doesn’t go we throw.
FirstDown PlayBook Guest Coach Chris Summers is an 18 year veteran going into his 19th year coaching high school football in Colorado. Over his career he has been to the State Playoffs 10 times with 3 semi-final appearances and a state title runner-up in 2016. And has also been a part of two league championships. He is currently entering his 3rd year at Broomfield High School serving as an Offensive Coach & Special Teams Coordinator.