Author Archives: David Weitz

Automatics in the Dodger Formation

Dodger formation Automatics

In the previous article we talked about the Dodger Formation and the best places to put personnel. In this article we will be looking at Automatics and how they can create a system where the Quarterback is able to get the ball to playmakers in space without relying on a call from the sideline. This works very well when used in combination with an up tempo approach.

One of the best things about this formation is that it allows the Quarterback to attack either perimeter immediately, without signaling a new play. By using the automatic checks built into the play you can make sure you are always passing to an advantageous situation or running the ball into a favorable box.

The first automatic is the hitch/fade read with the boundary receiver (X). When in this formation the X will be running a hitch or a fade every time unless he gets tagged to run something different. X will decide this based on the alignment of the CB over him. X will run a hitch every time unless he can beat the CB deep (the base definition of the rule is within 4 yards but it can vary with the speed each WR). The QB will be looking for single coverage or a favorable matchup on X every play. If the QB reads that he has single coverage and can throw a hitch to X he will throw it every time. The matchup of a CB tackling our best WR is something we will take as many times as we can. If he thinks he can throw the fade he has the green light, as long as he is aware of down and distance.

The second automatic built into the formation is the bubble route from the trips. When the QB steps to the line the first thing he is looking for is a favorable matchup on X, if he doesn’t have this he immediately looks to the trips side and counts numbers. If there are less than three defenders from 3 yards inside of the H to the sideline the QB will throw the bubble. Many times there will be overhang players who are threatening to play the run as well as the pass. The best rule for these guys is to ask your QB can the overhang player tackle B on a bubble for less than 4 yards, if so don’t throw it. B should be your best open field playmaker. If you can get him the ball send it out ASAP and let him make a play in space.

Many teams will play with a safety over the trips. It’s important to watch film with your Quarterback so you are aware of how good this player is. There are some safeties you want your players one on one with, but there are also others who can come up and make the tackle for 1 or 2 yards, it’s important to know which one of those you are playing that week. Again you are telling your quarterback to make a judgment call. If he thinks the safety cannot make the tackle for four yards or less based on his alignment and speed he is he should throw the bubble to B.

By using automatics you exploit how the defense is aligning to the formation. If they choose to focus on the trips players you can attack them with your best receiver. If they want to focus on shutting him down it is easy to go to the trips and let your players gain an advantage in space. If the defense focuses on covering both of the automatics then the QB is ready to move into the run game knowing that he now has favorable numbers to run at.