There is no better way to open up the run than by having, and calling, a good play action concept. By throwing the ball deep after faking a run the offense will open up space to run by keeping perimeter players out of the box. The best part of this concept is that even when the pass is incomplete, just the action of throwing the ball deep is enough to scare defenders and make them want to stay back.
Using the V Route to Attack Cover 2 & Man Coverage
While Play Action passes are effective, the question always becomes what are the best routes to run that will bring the perimeter players in. While there are varying opinions on this my general rule is that I want to give the defensive players every possible reason to attack the runner. This means that the receivers need to have similar routes to what they would do on a run play and, in an ideal world, I want to make sure the defenders see the run action. Therefore, the V route from the number one receiver is one of the best play action routes in football.
The V route will come from the outside receiver and is an incredibly easy route to teach. The receiver is going to take an inside release and aim for a spot two to three yards in front of the Safety. This is the same path that he would take if he was going to block the safety, which he does on almost all of our runs. In addition to looking identical to the run blocking assignment, it brings the Cornerbacks eyes into the backfield. This gives the defender a chance to see the run and react to it. This is why the V Route is still effective vs. man coverage, where an outside release would just take the Cornerbacks eyes away from the backfield.
Once the receiver has gone 10 yards deep on his path to the Safety, he is ready to make his move. He will drop his hips and plant off of his inside foot to make a 90-degree cut and attack the space that the Cornerback has vacated. When run effectively, the only way a Cornerback can cover this route is by completing a full turn and rallying to catch up to the receiver.
Related Content: Shallow Cross Passing Concept
There are lots of different routes that can be run off of play action concepts, but the V Route is the only one that can both mirror the run blocking action of a receiver and bring the Cornerbacks eye back in to the run action. That is part of the reason it has been a staple for effective play action passing combinations for decades.