A Great “Third & Medium” High Percentage Pass Concept

Looking for a good third down and medium (4-7 Yards) play?  Do you use two TE groupings?  If you answered yes to both, then I’ve got a good play for you to consider.  It’s an easy throw for the QB, can be run 4-5 times a game (if you also hide it with a WR motion), and gets your TE’s involved.

Ace Flow

As you can see from the diagram, it is a “Hash” play that is best utilized as a 3 x 1under center, 7-step drop play.  The following is a description for each position as it pertains to the play.

 hancock11-17-14-3rd and medium


The QB takes a 7-step drop, keeping his eyes downfield to sell the deep ball, gathering himself on the 6th and 7th steps to allow for an accurate throw as this throw must be just in front of the TE so as not to slow him down.  The ball should be thrown as the “boundary” TE clears the tackle box on the “field” side.  This is the only read on this play for the QB so if the TE doesn’t come open the QB must “burn” the ball or tuck and run.  It is easy to add other players into this play as possible reads, but I try and keep this a simple play for the QB.


The RB will run a “swing” route into the boundary to try and help pull the LB’s out from the tackle box.

Field TE:

The key to this route is to get moving quickly on the snap and get across the field and into the boundary at a depth of no more that 6 yards.  This route is also designed to help pull out and occupy LB’s (underneath coverage defenders) as is the RB’s route.

Field Outside WR:

This WR runs a “post” route and is allowed to round this as he breaks his post.  The key to this route is to clear out the field side of the play and occupy the deep defenders.

Field Inside WR:

This WR runs a “dig” or “In” route and also is allowed to round his break focusing on clearing out the field side coverage as well as any deep defenders.

Boundary TE:

This is the player that we are trying to throw the ball to.  He must do a great acting job and sell that he is involved in the pass protection for a two second count.  If your OL is having trouble protecting then you may want to go with just a one second delay.  He cannot get hung up with a rushing defender and he must not get his shoulders turned out or in because this will slow up his release out into his “shallow” route (stay low, stay square).  As he releases into his route, he must get across the tackle box quickly expecting the ball to come as he flattens out his shallow route at 5 yards.  This TE must get no deeper than 5 yards as he may run into a LB, and he must be no shallower than  5 yards as a defensive lineman may disrupt the pass from the QB.  Once the TE catches the ball, he must look to get vertical as quickly as possible (unless time is an issue).


As I mentioned earlier, motions can help you “hide” or “window dress” this play.  The easiest one is to line up in a 2 x 2 (Ace) formation and motion the boundary WR to the field.