Letting wide receiver Robert Woods hit the free agent market was a mistake. His physical yet nuanced approach to the position is what coaches look for and love. So let’s take a look back at one of his touchdowns versus the Patriots from week six on October 12, 2014.
The Bills are losing 7-0 at home versus their division rival and are faced with a 2nd-and-7 situation. The Bills send out 11 personnel and align them in a 3×1 set to the field. Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett dials up a levels concept with Robert Woods running an intermediate in-breaking route.
Post-snap the defense has a safety shaded to Sammy Watkins’s side, and two defenders chase Fred Jackson out of the backfield as he runs a rail/wheel route up the sideline. This puts the receivers to the field in 1-on-1 situations.
Woods is 1-on-1 with Alfonzo Dennard and we get to see his traits shine. On the snap, Woods stems the route inside to make the defensive back think he is running a quick slant. As he releases outside, Woods violently clears his frame with perfect hand placement. He swats the defender’s hand right near the elbow to maximize the movement.
This puts Dennard in a trail position, where he is taught to read the hips of the receiver. As you can see, Dennard is patient and almost anticipating an in-breaking route by playing inside the near hip. So as Woods approaches the top of the route, he changes the pace/speed of the route then gives a sharp head-fake outside as he executes a hip shift, plant and break to the middle of the field.
Woods continues to use all of his tools by throwing a subtle forearm shiver to create separation.
With the middle of the field wide open, Woods has the separation and green to haul in the touchdown. The route by Woods was a great display of his nuanced technique. He used his hands during all phases of the route, changed the pace at the top of the stem, and included a hip shift to compliment the normal “drop, break, line” footwork of this in-breaking route.
So take a look at how his technique maximized the route versus what Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia taught his defensive backs.