(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
We saw this play a lot, last year. Anthony Fasano (pictured) averaged under 8.5 y.p.g. while in Dallas. Last year, he neared 30. That's because, as the season wore on, Chad Pennington realized he had a better rapport with his tight ends than any of his wide receivers.
He and, offensive coordinator, Dan Henning, also realized that, in the Jumbo set, outside linebackers were cheating the run, allowing the smaller Fasano to squeeze through the front seven and burn the OLB for a big gain.
In weeks 10-13, Fasano's numbers went down. This was because strong safeties started protected against his stunt blocks-turned-dashes down the field.
Henning responded with a little hook and go action (for Fasano) from the slot, that would give the wide receiver (only one is deployed on Jumbo sets) the chance to get down the field before Fasano.
Fasano would stop and turn as the WR cuts across the field, drawing the safety away. Fasano would then run an '8'... the corner route. The hope would be to draw away the safety with the WR, and catch the CB on the wrong foot.
This worked a lot, last year, and should definitely work more this year, especially with David Martin also lining up (two tight ends in the Jumbo package) as a decoy for the middle linebacker.
Of course, the best defense for most Jumbo formation pass plays are pass-zone 3-4 formations. This way, the safeties take a step back to discourage the deep pass, thus keeping the play in front of them with only one wide receiver to spread the field out for the quarterback.
Plus, in the 3-4, there are two middle linebackers, so one can hover and resist the bait from the down tight end on the line of scrimmage.
The advantage for the offense is that you have two running backs to block for the QB, or step out for passes. Sometimes, Miami tips their hat when they want to pass by removing RBs Ricky Williams or Ronnie Brown for Patrick Cobbs.
Cobbs was the team's sixth leading receiver, last year.
It's not rare, from the Jumbo set, to see him line up on Pennington's strong side, and dash to his right (the open side of the field) where there's probably no opposing corner, unless they're assigned to cover David Martin (the second tight end). This is doubtful.
This is a good play with many options for Pennington, and two possible screen options if an opposing blitz bursts through the o-line.