Tampa Bay Buccaneers

RED Chalk Talk: Route Tree (2 of 4)

A look at a few different types of routes.


Welcome to the second in our series covering the common routes of NFL wide receivers. This time we will take a look at some of the mid-breaking routes on the diagram below: the flat, comeback and curl.
Flat (aka Quick Out): The receiver will take three quick steps to appear as they are going long, then quickly break out to the sideline into the area commonly referred to as the flat. It can be a strong weapon with a speedy receiver when no one is directly covering him.

Comeback (aka Hitch): This is possibly the toughest throw for a quarterback to make in his entire arsenal and requires perfect communication and timing between the passer and receiver. After running straight 10-15 yards, the WR abruptly cuts back toward the line of scrimmage, to the sideline at a 45-degree angle. For this play to work, the receiver must create separation by looking that he will run long ("selling the fade" a term we'll cover later) before making his break.

Curl: The curl begins very similarly to the comeback, except rather than breaking 45-degrees in toward the sideline, the receiver cuts 45-degrees back toward the line of scrimmage but to the inside of the field, toward the QB. You will see this paired with a flat often when two receivers line up on the same side of the field before the play begins. It is a very effective route against any coverage, especially with big-bodied receivers.

We'll go a little deeper on the route tree on the next Chalk Talk.

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