My offensive passing philosophy has a heavy West Coast Offense influence, meaning I'm partial to using a lot of short, high percentage passes. I've developed a better appreciation for the long ball as well over the past few years, both in complimentary fashion as a way to keep defenses honest and not smothering short routes, and as an unexpected change of pace that can catch defenses by surprise. This means that most of my deep throws have been products of opportunity and not design, I take what the defense gives me when it's available. While an effective approach it can become too easy to get comfortable with the safe and easy short routes if you don't have many plays designed explicitly to push deep. Enter Banshee, a play with deep strike first mentality that manages to retain a bit of West Coast rhythm.

Wiz Gun - Banshee

At first blush Banshee might look a lot like many of my other passing plays. Four routes, indicating a need for quickness instead of depth. A mix of fast developing routes (including a double dip of my favorite, the quick slant) with a deep route thrown in to keep the DBs spread. Look closer and you start to see more. Besides the obvious deep fade its adjacent slant route, while breaking quickly, takes a shallow angle designed to get the WR deep down the field and is aimed between the safeties distracted by the fade and the tight end slant underneath. This throw needs to be hard and accurate, it's risky but the longer gain and YAC potential are well worth it when executed properly. The curl route is a deep 12 yards, far enough to move the chains in one shot, and more with any run after tha catch. Throw in the fade and the average completion should go about 15 yards with this play.

If all this talk about the long ball worries you WCO types, you can breathe easy. Dual slant routes provide effective safety valves against the blitz, or simply ways to eat up soft man coverage. The fade, while intended to be completed deep, can also be thrown early. The running back stays in to block this time, but hey, you can't have everything. To make up for it play with Antonio Gates or Tony Gonzalez and really juice up those slant routes.

Player Assignments

Position Action
O-Line Pass Block
QB Dropback 2yd
RB Pass Block
Left Flanker N2W1-N4W1-N3 (open)
Left SE N1-N8E6 (open)
TE N1-N4W6
Right Flanker 12yd Curl

See the Madden Playbook Guide for a description of these symbols.

Read Progression

  1. TE slant
  2. Left SE slant
  3. Left flanker fade
  4. Right flanker curl

The read progression for Banshee is fairly direct, though a couple routes may warrant double looks depending on circumstances. The TE runs the shallower of the two slant routes and is the first look. Whether this is open depends more on the linebacker shifts than the actual coverage in many cases as the TE often must fight through traffic. Next is the Left SE slant. This receiver tends to have a bit more space to work with and usually gets a cleaner release. Although this might make the SE a slightly better blitz defeater than the TE, this deeper slant offers greater rewards at about 15 yards deep over the middle. If you read blitz before the snap you can look here first, but come back to it again later for a big gainer if the protection holds.

The third route is the fade. While intended as a deep threat, fade routes actually work best with long, high arcing passes which can be thrown fairly early. If the QB is pressured quickly throwing the fade deep and to the outside is a good way to prevent a sack while sending a message to the defense that you aren't afraid to go for the home run. With an all-out blitz this route will be single covered and may actually be your best shot for a big play. Against more basic coverages a later throw can work as well, but watch for safety help. The final route, the curl, is the only one that really requires patience. The easiest mistake to make is to rush this throw, even after completing the earlier of the progressions. Make sure to hold the ball until the WR starts his break. The benefit of a deep curl is that it takes too long for the LBs to keep the underneath coverage disguised; by the time the WR starts his turn it will be clear if anyone is waiting to undercut the throw.




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