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Football 101: The Route Tree (6-9)

Detailing all the routes of the route tree and how your favorite receiver makes a living off of them on Sundays.

NFL: New Orleans Saints OTA Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Today we’re going deep...

Another week closer to the start of training camp means excitement and anxiousness around every fan base. With it being just a few weeks away, we will finally conclude our route tree section of our Football 101 series detailing routes 6-9.

Dig (6) - sprint vertically to 12-15 yards and break off your outside foot towards the middle of the field

The “Dig” route is designed for the intermediate area of the field. It is a route that you want some of your toughest receivers running for the simple fact that there are linebackers and safeties waiting to take your head off. A super reliable route to convert on third-and-long if you got the right guy for the job. Another route Michael Thomas is phenomenal with.

Corner (7) - sprint vertically anywhere from 10-15 yards and break on a 45-degree angle to the sideline

The “Corner” is a route that can be run by almost any offensive skill position. Tight ends, receivers, even running backs on some occasions. The route also depends on personnel and how you want to attack the defense. If you are anticipating a man-to-man look, you might want your speed guy to run right by his defender using this route. Or you might want to use your tight end to size up a linebacker and have the quarterback put the ball high and to the sideline. I did not even mention how commonly used it is in the play-action passing game as well. Overall, a very versatile route if there is such a thing.

Post (8) - sprint vertically anywhere from 10-15 yards and break on a 45-degree angle to the goal post

The “Post” is literally the opposite of a corner route. The same way you would run a corner is the same way you would run a post you are just breaking the other direction. The post route is another route usually run by faster receivers and is used for deep shot plays for the most part. There are different instances where there are a few different ways to run it versus certain looks on defense, but we won’t go that far into detail on here. Chris Olave in particular made this route look effortless at the college level.

Go (9) - sprint vertically on a straight angle

Probably everyone's favorite route or at least the route everyone should know... The “Go” route. The absolute easiest route to learn in the route tree. To run the go, you simply take your release inside or outside (most likely outside) off the line and run as fast as you can past your defender. This route is another one where you want some athletic advantage on offense whether that’s speed, size or strength on your side of the ball. One of the things that goes unnoticed however, is how important a great release off the line is when running the go. A great release off the line is what will get you open at least initially. Once you get that clean release, the ball is coming out of the quarterback’s hands if he likes your one-on-one matchup.

This wraps up our full breakdown of the NFL route tree. Stay tuned for more on our Football 101 series, you won’t want to miss it.

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