The XFL has been really, really fun to watch in the early parts of the season, especially the St. Louis Battlehawks. They’re flying high at 2-0 and coming off another comeback victory over the Seattle Sea Dragons. Their most crucial play came on third and two, with the Battlehawks driving to try and win the game.
To convert on the first down and eventually win the game, Battlehawks offensive coordinator Bruce Gradkowski pulled a play straight from the Patriots playbook. The play is called Hoss Y Juke, and on the broadcast you can hear Gradkowski call it in to QB AJ McCarron (one of the benefits of the XFL is having that mic access to match plays up to what’s being called). Hoss Y Juke is designed to isolate the inside receiver on their weakest defender—a linebacker or safety. In this case, the Battlehawks best wideout, WR Austin Proehl, is lined up in the slot. He’s running the “juke” portion of the play, an option route designed to attack where coverage is the weakest.
Hoss Y/Z Juke— Shawn (@SyedSchemes) January 23, 2023
-HOSS=hitches on the outside, seams on the inside
-Juke can settle if uncovered, return if walled, or juke and continue
-against split safety coverages, MLB often ends up matched on 3 so it becomes an iso with a potential matchup advantagehttps://t.co/D2lGY4wMCy pic.twitter.com/Mz0ZHC4i6g
With the RB motioning out of the backfield, it forces the Seattle defense to show their hand early, looking like they’re calling a zero blitz. McCarron was blitzed a lot in this game, but he found success often, such as on this touchdown to Hakeem Butler.
On this play, Seattle has no safety over top—straight man coverage, with the defense bringing more than the OL can block. McCarron and Proehl have to beat the blitz and their man for the first down, and they do just that.
The dynamic Proehl and McCarron have shown in the first two weeks has been really cool to see. The teams have had very limited time to practice together, and being able to establish this kind of rapport in such a short amount of time is really fun. Proehl leads the team in receptions through two games, and is McCarron’s most trusted target. Watching them continue to put on a show should be very fun.