The New Orleans Saints ended up finishing in the middle of the pack in 2019 when it came to 40+ yard pass plays, but towards the end of the season one man kept finding ways to make big plays happen. Taysom Hill might not fit the mold as the prototypical pocket quarterback but he sure is shaping up to be an impressive flex receiver/tight end.
One of the plays Sean Payton drew up that helped get Hill in the end zone involved using the Dagger Concept. This route combination is typically a three man concept with a vertical route, a deep dig route (usually 12-15 yards) and a crossing pattern underneath to stretch the field. While the primary receiver in this concept will Michael Thomas running the deep dig route, Hill still has to pace and space his route correctly to give Drew Brees the check down he might need.
Against Tampa 2, which is what you’ll see the play run against in the below video, the idea is for the vertical route (in this case a deep post route) to draw both the play-side safety and the middle linebacker deep into the field. This will hopefully open up the ‘hole’ for Thomas to create separation and have an opportunity for yards after the catch with his dig route. However, Thomas will get bitten by the turf monster which means now its Hill’s turn to step up and take over the play.
Running the play out of a two by two set allows Hill to have the entire field to run his crossing pattern while Payton leaks Alvin Kamara into the flat that Hill is vacating to help hold another defender. Every route except Taysom’s is pushing to the left side of the offense which in theory should draw the defense in that direction. It’s a great draw up by Payton to take advantage of a defensive look he’s used to seeing from the Carolina Panthers.
This 40+ yard touchdown is a mix of great route running by all of the receivers, quick reading by Brees as he scans the field and Hill being one of the best athletes to force his way into the end zone. Hopefully we see more of Hill being used as a mismatch in 2020 as he’ll be joined by Emmanual Sanders and hopefully earlier appearances from Jared Cook. More playmakers could mean less offensive stalls and more plays like the one below this season.