Route Breakdown: Post Routes
In an effort to add to the reams of data that we already collect at PFF, we took the passing game to a whole new level in 2013.
Instead of just tracking each receiver’s targeted route, we went ahead and charted every route run on every pass play in the NFL and continued this work in 2014. We can now tell you how often each receiver ran a particular route, at which depth he ran it, and whether or not he was targeted.
This data becomes quite useful when analyzing each receiver’s role, but it’s also handy when determining passing concepts for each team. The ante was upped further this past season as we added exact WR splits as well as shifts in motions to our charting data. We now have the data to break down how often teams run their favorite plays, and the corresponding tendencies that come with them.
How often did Peyton Manning run his staple “levels” concept? How often did Chip Kelly have a built in bubble screen for his slot receivers? Which team’s receivers run the deepest routes? This is the type of data that can only be found in the PFF database, and it’s a big reason why NFL teams are adding our information into their weekly scouting reports.
While much of this data remains exclusive for NFL team usage, we’re pulling back the curtain to show some of the passing game trends, starting on a route-by-route basis.
Here’s a look at the post route.
Our route charting is extremely detailed, but for the sake of this exercise, routes will be sorted into the basic families above. So while we can tell you if a wide receiver’s “go” route had an inside or an outside release, or if it was run up the seam or with a back shoulder throw, all of these unique routes will be lumped into the “go” route category for simplicity sake.
The Post Route
The post route is a long stem route breaking to the deep middle of the field (22.4 average depth of target). It can stress the safeties against quarters and cover-2 and last season yielded an average gain of roughly 25 yards. This data also covers the skinny post variation, which breaks at a more acute angle than a regular 8 route, and any double moves that end in a post.
– Brandon LaFell edged out Panthers rookie Kelvin Benjamin for most post routes run and they accounted for 12.7% of his total routes (15th-ranked).
– No tight ends made the Top 10 and overall tight ends ran very few posts last season compared to receivers. Rob Gronkowski was the highest ranking TE (30th overall) with 60 post routes.
– With six more targets than second-ranked Julio Jones, it’s no surprise that Calvin Johnson also tied to lead the NFL in receptions (15) and ranked second with 298 yards gained) on posts.
– Of the five players that finished with 18 total targets, Marques Colston saw the ball on the highest percentage of routes run (18.6%).
– Two Broncos round out the list with Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas both at 16 targets.
– Julio Jones saw six fewer targets than Calvin Johnson, but managed to match him in receptions with 15 and best him in total yards on post routes.
– Watkins is the only rookie receiver to crack the Top 10 in yards. He was also among the top players in Yards per Route Run after gaining more than 38 yards per reception.
Yards per Route Run
– DeSean Jackson ranked 15th in total yards (177), but managed an NFL-high 59 yards per catch and a second-ranked 6.10 YPPR when running the 8.
– The only tight end to rank first in any of these stats, Jordan Cameron gained more than 8 yards per route, although 125 players ran more posts than he did.
Follow Thomas on Twitter: @Maneyt