Friday, May 19, 2017

Odell Beckham and the art of the slant.


Hi guys,

I was inspired to make this post after seeing the fastest guy in pads thread. I took a look at Odell's previous long touchdowns on slants, and decided to share them with you. The reason I am doing this is to show that a) this is one of the most dangerous plays in the game. Odell on a slant is a grave threat for opposing defense's because Odell not only has great speed, he has a great eye for the endzone. Once he catches the ball, he turns his attention to the endzone and often gets there untouched. b) 40 time isn't everything. Odell ran a 4.43 but is truly a 4.3 guy in pads. It's noteworthy that Odell's patented slant for a long touchdown first happened in his second season. During his rookie year, he has 12 touchdowns in 12 games, but none were for a long slant play. I think this is partially due to the fact he simply wasn't as fast during his rookie season because of a lingering hamstring injury. However, in 2015, Odell was noticeably faster and we first saw this in week 2:

First long slant, 67 yards. This is against the Falcons in 2015, and is impressive because Odell easily separates from Robert Alford, who ran a 4.34 at the combine (incorrectly listed as a 4.39). That's faster than Odell, but Odell is probably faster in pads. Also, a sidenote, Odell's first career touchdown was against Robert Alford a season before this.

The second slant, 72 yards is against the Jets in 2015 and it is a quick slant from the slot designed to get the first down, but if you notice, once Odell catches the ball he turns his hips and has his eyes on the endzone.

The third one I got is from last season against the Ravens. For context, the Giants were down 3 with 1:35 to go and the play is 4th and 1. Eli hits Odell on a slant and instead of taking the open field in front of him, Odell changes direction and runs through the Raven's defense. If you notice, Odell isn't touched after he catches the ball, and realizes he's going to score when he reaches the 25 yard line.

The next slant he scored on was two games later versus the Eagles. Not a long play, but again, you see how easily he separates from the defender and once he catches the ball, he hits another gear. What's interesting about this one is that it's in the redzone (catches it on the 20) and the Eagles are in cover 1 with one safety deep. If a team does that, they are asking the Giants to hit Beckham on a slant which Eli will try to do.

On this next play, the Cowboys make this fatal mistake by having one safety, Barry Church, deep. This spells death for them, and is something they are usually very good at avoiding. The Cowboys play Odell the best of all the NFC East teams, because they almost always double cover him. This is the best way to avoid Odell scoring on a slant.

However, Odell is also a deadly shallow cross route runner, which is another route where you see his speed, and something the Giants deploy often. For example, here is a simple shallow cross/drag route where Odell simply out runs everyone for the first down. Note how he switches hands, which he does often and does very well.

Here is another shallow cross this one is a touchdown against the Browns.

Against the Eagles, Odell again showed his speed on a shallow cross. where he easily outruns the LB to get a ton of yards after catch.

Overall, it's safe to say Odell is indeed one of the fastest guys in pads on the field, but that also has a lot to do with his quickness. Once he catches the ball, he jolts away from the defender, and due to his vision, this works best on a slant. We see that here. Though he doesn't score, he still jolts away from the defender. The moral of the story? Don't go cover 1 agains the Giants.



Submitted May 19, 2017 at 09:45PM by _JJ_Gittes
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