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Lonestar
06-02-2010, 03:22 PM
Q&A: The X's, Y's and Z's on Broncos' receivers
By Jeff Legwold
The Denver Post
POSTED: 06/02/2010 01:00:00 AM MDT
UPDATED: 06/02/2010 01:23:49 AM MDT


Broncos wide receiver Eddie Royal (Denver Post file photo)
Welcome back, and I will try to answer some questions from time to time as the offseason rolls along. Today's comes from Jim Burnett:

Q: Could you review responsibilities of the receiver slots? I assumed that the outside slots were for speedsters, but Eddie Royal is seen more as a slot guy. He has got some speed, plus he's smaller. I thought the slot tended to go over the middle.

A: Jim, with the bevy of four- and five-wide receiver formations in the league these days, things are slightly different from time to time in terms of which players have certain responsibilities on any given play.

But the roots of most pro football playbooks feature X, Y and Z receiver spots. The X is usually what was known as the split end.

The X would usually line up on the "weak" or open side of a basic formation the side with no tight end in the classic one-tight end formation. With the rules requiring seven players on the line of scrimmage at the time of the snap, this receiver is usually found on the line of scrimmage when the ball is snapped.

Most teams run the ball to the strong side, so this receiver is often on the back side of running plays in terms of blocking responsibilities. In the passing game while players move around and do different things, the X receiver is often a team's No. 2 receiver and faces a right cornerback, which is often a defense's No. 2 cornerback.

This would be the more classic speed receiver working down the field in the longer routes.

The Z receiver is, again in a basic formation, usually on the strong side the side with the tight end. The position was known as a flanker and has often been a team's top receiver over the years.

He lines up slightly off the line of scrimmage, giving him a little more room to work against his defender before getting into the 5-yard area where the defensive back is allowed to contact the receiver.

This is usually considered the classic wide receiver spot where a player has enough strength to work short and intermediate routes if needed, but enough speed to stress a defense deep as well.
Again, over the years this has often been the No. 1 guy who ran a bigger variety of routes.

The Y is usually the slot receiver, which puts him in the area between the outside receiver and the end of the offensive line on that side, either the tight end or tackle. This receiver has to be a tough, physical player who is also rather fearless because he consistently runs his routes in the high-traffic areas in the middle of the field.

And when he catches the ball the contact is coming fast from bigger players like linebackers and defensive linemen at times against zone blitz defenses that drop the big guys into the passing lanes from time to time.

The slot receiver also has to have more quickness than raw straight-ahead speed. He has to make quick, sharp cuts to get himself open. The slot receiver also has to think fast, because the routes are shorter, the defenders are closer and the ball comes quickly.

That said some teams line a second tight end up in the slot at times or even a running back so it varies.

The Broncos like to move their receivers into multiple spots. Josh McDaniels has used Jabar Gaffney in all three spots because of his experience in the offense.

McDaniels would also like to use Eddie Royal in all three of the spots as well at times as the Broncos continue to try to figure out more ways of getting him the ball.

Jeff Legwold: 303-954-2359 or jlegwold@denverpost.com

Bosco
06-25-2010, 06:02 PM
Can't believe I missed this article. The next time Arapaho or TXBronc tell me I have the designations mixed up, I'll just refer them to this article.

NightTrainLayne
06-25-2010, 07:15 PM
Can't believe I missed this article. The next time Arapaho or TXBronc tell me I have the designations mixed up, I'll just refer them to this article.

They'll just tell you that Legwold is wrong. ;)

Bosco
06-25-2010, 11:45 PM
They'll just tell you that Legwold is wrong. ;)

Then I'll just bring out the big guns as I have a copy of the 2004 Patriots playbook in a PDF file. :laugh:

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