Throwing the perfect pass on a fade route in the corner of the end zone requires both skills to separate from the wide receiver, as well as good timing and touch from the quarterback delivering the pass.
As the Cleveland Browns transitioned to the West Coast offense under the guidance of then first-year head coach Pat Shurmur, the team “tried to throw fades” at the beginning of the season with mixed results. With the team in the midst of offseason organized team activities and minicamp practices this month, the players and coaches are working to improve the offense as a whole.
“We didn’t hit on them at a percentage high enough,” Shurmur said following Wednesday’s practice. “The slant means a lot more if the defender has to defend the fade. In our offense, we like to throw slants. (Quarterback
Asked who would be good candidates to be on the receiving end of a fade route, Shurmur said “you’re talking about
“I think all of our receivers that play outside have the ability to be good fade runners,” Shurmur said. “We tried to do it with
Little, a rookie in 2011, caught a team-leading 61 passes for 709 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 11.6 yards-per-reception and played in a variety of positions in multiple formations.
“In a three wide receiver set, I was in the slot and when we were just in regular personnel, I was out wide,” Little said. “I’ve pretty much gotten used to and accustomed to where I’m going to be and knowing what I’m going to do.”
While Little progresses toward his goals of catching more touchdowns and having less drops in 2012, he will do so while working with Weeden, a 28-year old rookie first-round draft pick. Since being drafted by the Browns, Weeden has been taking snaps from under center and delivering the ball to his corps of wide receivers.
“I expected it was going to take a minute to get him going, which he did a good job of getting it going,” Shurmur said of Weeden. “I think he understands our concepts. I think he’s quickly getting a feel for his receivers. Some things have shown up in practice that may not be as obvious to people watching that aren’t coaching. It’s understanding what each receiver can do and why you have mirrored routes and why you pick one side and not the other. Some of those things have shown up and he’s showing me he understands how to play this game.”