As a result of the Russell Wilson trade this offseason the quarterback room consists of Geno Smith, Drew Lock, and Jacob Eason, meaning it is an open competition for the starting gig. The smart money is on Geno Smith to become the team’s Week 1 starting QB, but if Drew Lock wows in preseason the job could still be his. With the possibility of Lock winning the job down below we are going to evaluate what it is that Lock offers to the Seahawks and what kind of play calling could we see with him behind center.
What does Lock bring to the table?
— NFL (@NFL) August 22, 2021
I believe in Drew Lock. pic.twitter.com/VF2qZUntLo
— Eric Robinson (@_Eric_Robinson) August 14, 2021
The former second-rounder has two things going for him as a player:
1.) His overall arm strength which is showcased in both plays above.
2.) He is only 25 years old and still on his rookie deal. There are a lot of things that Lock does struggle with including his decision making, accuracy and footwork all of which need work if he is ever to become a full-time starting quarterback in the NFL. Due to his struggles in those areas Shane Waldron is going to have to tailor the offense in a way to make Lock’s life as easy as possible. With that in mind, what are some of the concepts we could see the second-year play caller call this season for Lock?
Leave it to Kyle Van Noy to come up with a clutch play vs one of the best OTs in football.
Hill gets wide open on a mesh concept with Kelce, similar to the way NE uses it. Before Mahomes can find his open man, KVN converts speed to power and bench-pressed Scwartz into the QB pic.twitter.com/0rpK0ObTrE
— Taylor Kyles (@tkyles39) December 10, 2019
The mesh concept is a great way of getting a playmaker the ball over the middle with a pick potentially set on their man defender. This style of mesh works really well against man coverage because of the traffic it creates over the middle, as well as the deep crossing route run by Sammy Watkins and the flat route run by the running back. Importantly, a mesh concept prevents Lock from having to survey/process the entire field — if both drags are covered, he either moves to the flat route by the running back or the deep cross. Mesh’s are something that can be run against zone coverage as well as it does a great job of putting players who are covering the short to intermediate middle part of the field in conflict. For example, rather than running a deep crossing route, Watkins could instead run an over-ball route. This would force the middle hook zone defender to either commit to Watkins before the drags clear his zone or stay with the drags giving Lock an easy completion over the middle.
The #Browns may look to ignite their offense vs. the #RavensFlock Zone 3 looks today w/ the levels flood concept in the pass game. Here, @MattBowen41 shows QB Baker Mayfield connecting w/ WR Jarvis Landry on the corner post. #NFL @GregCosell | @larrytouchdown | @__bbell pic.twitter.com/Dj5Qe1hQxP
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) December 12, 2021
Byron Leftwich and Bruce Arians have the @Bucs passing game in full effect. Here, @MattBowen41 shows how their levels pass play concept is used in combo with the verticals to neutralize the Cover 2 Zone Sink Blitz. #GoBucs | @GregCosell | #NFL pic.twitter.com/LBhsyFuyyz
— NFL Matchup on ESPN (@NFLMatchup) September 25, 2021
Levels are another great play design that schemes players open and makes it easier for the quarterback to decide where to throw the ball. This concept is all about putting zone defenders in conflict by overloading their area of the field. On the first play we see the go route clear the outside corner, who is taking a deep third and the out route occupies the defender covering the flat. As a result, Jarvis Landry is left wide open, giving Baker Mayfield an easy completion.
The second play is a little different as rather than isolating one side of the defense Tampa instead isolates the hook zone defender with a high low. If he drops back to take the post route run by Chris Godwin, Tom Brady has an easy throw over the middle to Camerson Brate and if he steps up then Brady has an open Godwin down the middle. Seattle could easily run this concept with DK Metcalf and Noah Fant, which would put a significant amount of stress on any defense. This is a concept we could see with some regularity this season due to the fact that it will both scheme open Seattle’s playmakers and it will make Drew Lock’s life easier as it reduces what he has to read post=snap.
.@Eagles @JalenHurts run curl/flat combo 2 plays in a row to @DeVontaSmith_6 and @jalenreagor . One with success and one that was defended. Good concepts v a wk side overload. Keep working. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/iHvVXUQBFP
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) October 15, 2021
The curl flat is a great way of getting the ball out of Lock’s hand quickly by putting the flat defender in conflict. This is another play run against zone coverage, although this is a quicker read for Lock. If the flat defender pinches in on the curl route, then he instantly gets the ball out to the running back running the flat route. If the defender slides outside to the running back, then he hits the curl route. There are other variations of curl flat concepts including ones that are run from tight bunch sets where the tight end runs a flat route, and the receiver runs a short curl off it. Like the two concepts shown above this is another great way for Lock to read one defender in zone coverage and get the ball out based on where they go.
This is what you want to see out of Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith. Mac stares down Smith’s shallow cross which pulls the linebacker in the low-hole out of the middle, and Henry wins his route 1v1. #Patriots pic.twitter.com/v5QbVpeRyS
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) September 14, 2021
One route that Allen has always struggled with was the shallow cross. 1st clip is from 2018 in a game situation, the 2nd clip is vs. air (Obviously ideal conditions).
Just to give you an idea on what the differences look like and how it affects the throw. pic.twitter.com/xwgtjlJ6Rm
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) June 20, 2020
Shallow crosses are routes that are effective against both man and zone coverage. On the first play we see the hook zone defender stay with Mac Jones’ eyes and fly to Jonnu Smith. This immediately tells Jones that Hunter Henry will be in a 1v1 situation, a matchup in which he wins. Seattle has the personnel to run this with DK Metcalf running the deeper cross and Noah Fant or Tyler Lockett running the shallow cross which will create 1v1 mismatches across the board. On the second play with the defense gaining depth in zone coverage it is a really easy read for Josh Allen to throw to the wide-open receiver who is running the shallow crossing route.
— RPO.Football (@FootballRpo) October 10, 2021
— RPO.Football (@FootballRpo) January 3, 2020
RPO’s are going to be critical for this Seahawks offense no matter who is under center, but especially if Lock ends up being the guy. With how run-heavy this offense is anticipated to be this upcoming season defenses are going to stack the box against Seattle. Like all of these plays shown above, the RPO is designed to allow the quarterback to only have to read one defender on the play post snap. On the first play the Mike linebacker is the read, with him stepping up that means the quarterback pulls it and throws it to the slant. Had the Mike dropped back into zone coverage then the read would’ve been to hand it off. It is the same read on the second play, with the linebackers flowing up to defend the run the slant is open. There are other variations of RPO plays including RPO bubble screens, flat routes, etc. but regardless of the type RPO’s are going to be critical for Drew Lock this season.