Author Topic: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG  (Read 1857 times)

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MightyGiants

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The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« on: July 05, 2014, 02:13:38 PM »
I have a feeling this could be a topic of conversation come training camp as the Giants try to set their WR lineup.  Just listened to Ross Tucker's Podcast where Greg Cosell, an NFL analyst and a senior producer at NFL Films, discussed the difference between the WR positions.  You can listen to it here (It's RTFP #60 starting starting at 14:25):

http://podcastone.com/Ross-Tucker-Football-Podcast

From my own research over the years I could describe the positions like this:

X Receiver or Split End-  This is usually a team's number one WR.  He is usually tethered to the line of scrimmage and lined up on the weakside (the side without the TE) of the formation.  There are two things about that position.  Because he can't move (he is a LOS guy) and he is right on that line he frequently faces press coverage.  That means he needs to be strong enough or have the quickness and body control to beat that press coverage.   Defenses will also tend to play M2M coverage on him.  So if he can consistently beat M2M coverage he gives your offense a real edge as teams will need to roll a safety to his side to assist. 

The Z receiver or Flanker-  This guy has to line up off the LOS (otherwise the TE is not an eligible receiver) on the strongside of the formation.  As a result of lining off the line he can go in motion and he has room to try and beat press coverage.  As a result this receiver can be a smaller receiver and often the routes he runs will be ones that set up yards after the catch situations.  He will often work combo routes so being a smarter receiver is an asset.  A Z can really enjoy a lot of receptions if the team has good X receiver that demands the defense's attention.  This position will often be called on to do more run blocking. 

The Slot receiver or H receiver-  This receiver lines up inside off the line of scrimmage and can go in motion.  Often the receiver will run his route based on coverage and the route run by other receivers.  So football smarts is key.  The slot guy needs to be able to find the weakness of the defensive coverage.  Most slot receivers tend to be on the smaller size as they rarely will face press coverage and usually don't run routes where size will help (although there are notable exceptions).  Again yards after the catch is often an important part of this receiver's abilities. 

When you look at the Giants receiving corps:

Victor Cruz-  Has shown to be a solid slot WR and good as a Z receiver.   Not an X receiver by any stretch of the imagination

Ruben Randle-  Has the size to be an X receiver.  I don't think he has shown the ability to consistently beat man coverage though.

Odell Beckham-  He is your prototypical Z receiver.  Has great YAC ability and the speed to stretch the field in route combinations.  He would also most likely do well in the slot position.   The interesting thing is he was drafted with people assuming he would replace Nicks (who played the X position).  I am not sure at Beckham's size he will have the ability to consistently beat press coverage.  That will be something to watch in camp and in PS games as it could go a long way to how the Giants use their WRs.   After all of Beckham could play the X then Cruz can go Z and JJ could come in and play slot (his prefered position)

I think Manningham is pretty much just a Z receiver.    I think Julian Talley is a backup X or Z guy. 





 
"THE 2007 and 2011 GIANTS WERE NEVER PERFECT, NOR MEANT TO BE.  THEY WERE FIGHTERS, SCRAPPERS, NOW THEY CAN BE CALLED SOMETHING ELSE....WORLD CHAMPIONS!"

gregf

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2014, 01:31:26 AM »
Nice write up, thanks!  I'm anxiuos to see how the new OC uses Beckham. He had to have input into the offense needs for the draft. I was certain we would take Ebron in rd 1 based on an every down need. I expect a lot of three receiver sets utilizing Randle, Cruz, and Beckham. It will be interesting to see how we field 2 receiver sets.  For all the talk of multiple TE sets, I feel it will be a small amount of plays. To take Randle or Beckham off the field to replace with our second best TE doesn't seem like a good choice talent wise. Furthermore, if fullback plays will be limited, the TE better be able to block competently.
What do you guys think abpout our running game by streching the defense with 3 recivers? Can this be effective without the traditional fullback leading the way? By forcing the defense to honor the receiving threats? Furthermore, will our receivers be effective blockers in the run game? Lastly, I'm excited to see some screen plays and maybe even get Holiday some touches.

bamagiantfan

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2014, 09:27:07 AM »
It will be interesting to see if the Giants work within that framework of pigeon-holing their receivers. While it is hard not to like a guy like Odell Beckham Jr., I thought the Giants needed an X receiver in in the draft or free agency with the losses of Barden, Nicks, and Kris Adams (twice) in successive years. They don't have a prototypical "X" right now unless you have high hopes for the Corey Washington from Newberrry. I guess the only consolation is that Green Bay did not have one either when McAdoo was there. Jordy Nelson has played that spot at 6'2", which is not tall by NFL standards for a #1 WR, but he is not small and goes about 220 lbs. Randle will need to be the X at 6'2" and 208 lbs, and Washington, an undrafted free agent, would be the backup.

An "X" receiver was my #2 need going into the draft. I still see it as a gap and a player Manning truly missed in blitz situations where he did not have someone he could just throw it up to in one-on-one situations. I like the rest of the receiving corps which has a number of 6'0 guys who are big (200 lbs), along with Manningham and Jernigan. It will be interesting to see how McAdoo arranges his pieces on the board.
Go Giants!

MightyGiants

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2014, 09:54:48 AM »
The lack of height takes away the killer Goal line fade.  That's a pattern former DB Matt Bowen says is nearly impossible to defend.   As for the X needing to be tall, I want to see how Beckham does.  I believe it's possible for a shorter WR to play the position if he is a gifted route runner with the agility and body control to beat the initial press.
"THE 2007 and 2011 GIANTS WERE NEVER PERFECT, NOR MEANT TO BE.  THEY WERE FIGHTERS, SCRAPPERS, NOW THEY CAN BE CALLED SOMETHING ELSE....WORLD CHAMPIONS!"

vette5573

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2014, 10:07:09 AM »
Nice write up, Rich!


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vette5573

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2014, 10:57:46 AM »
Just a note. Four players can legally line up in the backfield. Very often the slot receiver has traditionally been off line in Gilbride's Offense to my recollection.

Painter

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2014, 12:54:36 PM »
It is a good reference. Quality stuff, Rich. As you suggest, it almost certainly will be a topic of conversation here.

Your assessment of the three players in terms of alignment is reasonable although coverage could vary widely. In general, it is true that the X is viewed as the No.1 WR, which often reflects big play ability as much or more than number of receptions. It also is true that the X most often is covered by the opponent's best CB, and if he represents a real threat, he may see double or bracket coverage.

As for Manningham in that context, I view him more of up the field X-receiver than route-savvy Z.

But whether the X, or Z sees m2m or zone, press, squat, or off depends on the nature of opponent's defense, and game plan. Moreover, even when the CB presses, it doesn't automatically mean he's playing Man. If the X makes an inside move, and it's Zone, the CB may pass him off. We saw quite a bit of that from Seattle in the SB where their press Cover 3 may have been a counter to Denver running 2x2 and 1x3 sets which they often use to try to exploit m2m coverage with a pick play.

I too will be interested in who sets up where and with how many WRs, and how often. We then may get some idea as to whether there will be a meaningful increase in multiple (3 and 4 WR) sets which might be a first reflection of the difference between the Packer's pass offense and the Giants which otherwise is not all that different. For example, over the past couple of seasons, GB passed out of 3 and 4 WR sets almost 90% of the time compared to the Giants 73%.  While the Pack passed with 3 WRs about 65% to the Giants 60%; they used a lot more 4 WR sets, 25% to the Giants 10%. Perhaps, we will see a bit more in the way of twins and trips.

We know, of course, that TC has never been comfortable with 4 WR sets for reasons of pass protection ever since Eli's has been his QB. That must have been a factor in countering Gilbride's instincts toward the wide open and multiple. Will it be any less so now?

As for motion, neither the Coughlin/Gilbride Giants or the McCarthy/Clements Pack have employed it.

I'm sure that they will try to get the Backs more involved in the passing game, but even so the biggest benefit to the passing offense would result from a solid improvement in the running game.
 
Cheers!
« Last Edit: July 06, 2014, 03:30:45 PM by Painter »

vette5573

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2014, 04:08:39 PM »
I'll be happy with execution regardless


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Painter

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2014, 06:10:33 PM »
You're not channeling your inner John Mc Kay are you, Ed?  ;)

Cheers!

Eli10

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2014, 06:56:44 PM »
Painter - I am all for their execution..

Painter

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2014, 08:19:47 PM »
The Bucs, you mean. Right, Eli?  =))

Eli10

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Re: The difference between the X, Z and Slot receiver and NYG
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2014, 08:47:18 PM »
Spot on Painter...

Rich McKay saying that was one of the funniest sports lines ever..

My second favorite and I am probably misquoting it I think was Frank Layden asked a player if it was ignorance or apathy and the guy responded "I don't know and I don't care"