The Passing Chronicles: A Toenail from a Touchdown (aka, Surge Dagger)

Dusty takes a look at a play that almost went for a TD in the Packers Week 11 win against the Chargers

After looking at a play in a loss to the Steelers this week, we now turn our direction to a victory over the Chargers that kicked-off a three-game win streak for the Packers. 

A bit like last week, the call today revisits a bit of a call from earlier in this season. In this case, one of the passing concepts here (Dagger) is one we looked at in Week 2. But this one gives us a different look at what they can pair Dagger with, so I thought this would be fun.

Enough yapping. Let’s go.

We’re looking at the call itself and the responsibilities. As a reminder, this is how the Packers structure their calls (although not every section is used in every call):

  1. Motion/Shift
  2. Formation & Strength
  3. Formation Variation
  4. Motion
  5. Run Concept or Pass Pro
  6. Pass Concept

Playcall: Motion Gun Bin RT Z Fly 2 Jet Y Surge Z Dagger

Here’s how that may sound when called in the game:

Motion: Motion

Just the word "Motion" to indicate that there will motion instructions after the formation.

Formation & Strength: Gun Bin RT

A 3x1 formation, with a bunch on the right side of the formation - with the Y TE aligned as the point person of the bunch - and the X receiver alone on the left.

Motion: Z Fly

This tells the Z receiver to run full speed under the line. With this being a shotgun formation, the receiver will cross in front of the QB.

Pass Pro: 2 Jet

This is a 5 man slide protection. Against this front, the left tackle, left guard and center will slide left, while the right guard and right tackle will slide right. The RB will read inside-out for additional rushers, then release into his route if he is not needed.

Pass Concept: Y Surge Z Dagger

(As always, I used Dan Casey’s Play Caller’s Club book as a template for the above image. It’s a really fun book to mess around with.)

It’s 2nd & 6 and the Packers have paired a 3 step concept (Surge) with a 7 step concept (Dagger). Surge is - more or less - what I typically call Hank: a hitch route from the outside and a flat route from the inside. It’s designed for the hitch to work as a natural pick for the flat. If the flat is open, Jordan Love [10] hits the back foot and drives on the flat. If the flat isn’t open, Love transitions his footwork to a 7 step drop and moves to Dagger. 

Dagger is a key passing concept across the NFL and has been for some time. It consists of the inside route running a vertical route and clearing room for the in-cutter behind it. The QB reads the vertical route, then works down to the in-cutter.

Pre-snap, the Chargers are showing a Quarters look, with both boundary corners playing off and the safeties splitting the middle of the field at around the same depth. That changes with the motion from Christian Watson [9]. That sees the safety to the motion side bailing deep, while the other safety stays in place. Love is reading the safety and the coverage over the Surge concept. If that safety drives down, it would change coverage responsibilities for the other defenders and the flat may not be open.

At the snap, the safety bails slightly, likely looking to carry Tucker Kraft [85] on a vertical route up the field. The linebacker over Kraft doesn’t get caught up in the natural pick from Luke Musgrave [88], but the initial vertical release from Kraft keeps the linebacker from bailing to the flat.

Love sees this, hits his back foot and fires to Kraft in the flat.

Kraft turns the corner, breaks a tackle and is off to the races. He attempts a hurdle - nearly a Kraft trademark at this point - but isn’t quite able to stay in bounds. Still, a 27 yard gain off a quick-game concept is something you would take every time if it was offered.

I love this because it shows Love operating a quick-game concept, but it also shows off part of what made Kraft special down the stretch. That man simply hates being tackled and will do whatever he can to avoid it.

If you want to go back through the rest of this series, I thought I'd gather all the links up here. Hope you're learning half as much reading this as I am writing them.

Week 1: Gun Trio RT Open 2 Scat H Choice Buffalo
Week 2: Motion Sink LT Zoom Z Fly P19 Waggle Z Dagger
Week 3: Shift Gun Trips RT G Open H D 3 Scram Z Shot Bow
Week 4: Gun Dyno RT 2 Jet Coco Stitch
Week 5: Bunch LT FK 19 Keep LT
Week 7: Shift Crush LT Z Insert 12 Dos Shield
Week 8: Shift Gun Crush RT Z RT 365 Shield Return
Week 9: Motion Gun Trips RT F Behind FK Mirror Swinger Y Cross
Week 10: Motion Gun Crip LT Open F Counter 2 Jet Coco Swab

Albums listened to: Pixies - Surfer Rosa; Lightning Bug - No Paradise; Mclusky - Mclusky Do Dallas; Songs: Ohia - The Magnolia Electric Co.




Dusty Evely is a film analyst for Cheesehead TV. He can be heard talking about the Packers on Pack-A-Day Podcast. He can be found on Twitter at @DustyEvely or email at [email protected].


3 points

Comments (3)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Leatherhead's picture

May 29, 2024 at 06:53 pm

Not much you can do about that. Love gets rid of it too quickly, and throws a hard strike to Kraft, who does the rest.'''';

I see that some people are predicting 40 TD passes for Love this year. I'm going to go out on that limb, too.

2 points
T7Steve's picture

May 30, 2024 at 07:36 am

My coach used to always complain about that when we were watching game film on Mondays. "The field is 50 yards wide, and you decided you needed 51?" One time it was when a fullback who'd broke through and around the edge and got his shoe ripped off. His sock was coming off when he broke free, and it touched the sideline as he was running to the end zone.

Dusty got us familiar with the dagger concept then has to throw in these subtle nuances just to prove to me that I have to go through all the old plays again every week if I'm going to keep up with the rest of the class.

Even as fast as that play went off, I thought it was blocked well till the very end. All you can hope for in the NFL.

Dusty, do they do this play with blocking options (besides the back) due to how the D lines up when they get to the line to run the play?

1 points
GB@Germany's picture

May 30, 2024 at 10:25 am

For me the breakout play from Tucker Kraft.
It‘s also a play showing that you can go on the quick reads and do not need to wait for the big play ever time.
Usage of first and second reads need to stay mixed in with the big throws down the field. And finally a win- how much sweeter to rewatch these than the avoidable losses rhe weeks before….

1 points

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