BSJ Classroom

BSJ Classroom: Inside the Patriots’ passing offense — The Option Route

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(Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Over the course of my writing career, I’ve been able to learn from some of the best in the game during one-on-one discussions, film review, and coaching clinics. I’ve been behind the scenes with the Texans as they game plan for an opponent, watched film with the likes of Bill Belichick, Bill O’Brien, Charlie Weis, Paul Alexander, Jim McNally, Bob Wylie, Rod Rust, Ron Jaworski, Greg Cosell, Geno Atkins and a host of others. I’ve just tried to be a sponge and accumulate any insight they’ve shared, and then I’ve tried to pass it on to my readers.

In this series, I’ll try to answer questions BSJ members have about certain things they don’t understand about football — from the simple to the complex.

First installmentAn overview of the Patriots’ complex passing offense.
Second: Inside the Patriots’ passing offense — Route conversions
Third: Sight adjustments

Today: The Option Route


If there's one route that distinguishes — if not separates — the Patriots from the rest of the NFL passing offenses, it's the inclusion and execution of the route labeled as "22) OPTION" in the playbook in the individual route descriptions.

With Julian Edelman suspended for four games and returning from major knee surgery, and Danny Amendola in Miami, the ability of the Patriots' other targets to not only execute the route properly but to be on the same page as Tom Brady will likely be a big point of emphasis in training camp. In fact, we already saw it being taught more intensely in the offseason practices even without Brady there.

Make no mistake about it: the option route is the bread-and-butter path of attack for the Patriots' passing game. They have to run it efficiently or else the offense will be stalled.

Let's go through the basics, go over some coaching points and go through the video to get a better sense of the engine of the passing game.