NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin’s signature Bang 8 route, also known as a Skinny Post, was tough to stop during the 1990s. The Dallas Cowboys used the route to ignite their offense, and it helped them win three Super Bowls.
Though Irvin’s famous route is not as popular with NFL teams as it once was—the Arizona Cardinals still use it often—it could make a comeback in 2016. Minnesota Vikings rookie wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has the potential to run the route well, since his 6-foot-2, 210-pound frame is similar to Irvin’s (6-2, 205.)
The route is a combination of a Seam and a Post pattern. The receiver runs about 12 yards straight downfield, then performs a subtle break at an inside angle.
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The Bang 8 must be explosive on both ends of the ball. Both the quarterback and receiver must be quick and precise. The QB must throw on the fifth step of his drop back, and his pass has to prevent a lurking safety from lighting up the receiver. The receiver must shoot out of his break and cut at an angle to get leverage on the defender. If he doesn’t get leverage, a safety can nail him over the middle or jump the route for an interception.
The number 8 stems from former San Diego Chargers coach Don Coryell’s “Air Coryell” passing route tree.
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Below is video of a successful Bang 8 route run by Irvin. Watch at 2:14 how Irvin gets the cornerback to open up, but quarterback Troy Aikman gets the ball to him so quickly that he isn’t hit over the middle.
The Bang 8 route can open up an entire offense if it’s executed successfully a few times. When the receiver gets the cornerback to open up on the route, it enables the quarterback to throw deeper passes.
The Bang 8 isn’t used often in the modern NFL because of the way offensive gameplans are run. According to Aikman in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune, more teams are gravitating toward the spread offense, which is popular at the high school and college levels; and most quarterbacks coming out of college aren’t aware of the Bang 8 pass pattern because it’s not a part of the spread offense.
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Treadwell certainly has the potential to run Irvin’s signature route well. He said he ran quick routes at Mississippi, so he isn’t afraid to go over the middle.