Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens examines a Keenan Allen touchdown from Week 1’s NFL slate against the Chiefs that illustrates why all wide receiver movement is part of the route.
Keenan Allen earns praise around the league for his route running, especially his releases. He has a vast array of moves that trick defenders. One aspect of route running many people don’t consider is pre-snap motion.
As with any sport or physical activity, all movement has an inherent rhythm. Our brains track the movements we see. When we watch these rhythms occur, our brains can’t resist the urge to recognize it’s a rhythm.
This leads to the brain’s desire to categorize, count, anticipate, and acclimate to the rhythm. This is likely what the Chiefs cornerback is doing as he witnesses Allen motioning at a slow pace across the formation to the right side of the field.
A lot of receivers don’t take advantage of pre-snap movement as part of their route story but Allen does. He begins the release with the same pace as the motion so he can lull the defender into a reaction that’s not as lightning-quick as it would otherwise be if Allen exploded from a static position at the line of scrimmage. It’s that decision that makes the difference with this route.
Wide Receivers: Motion is part of your route. Keenan Allen Illustrates pic.twitter.com/freeL7qQPP
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) September 10, 2018
Like all highly aware players (regardless of position), Allen understands how to use every resource to his advantage — even parts of a play that don’t seem connected to the primary task.
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