Another week, another Madden staple of mine. “92”, or “Mesh” (as it is more commonly called) is a staple not just in the air raid but can be found in any scheme from the West Coast Offense to the Erhardt Perkins.
It’s pretty easy to see why. To quote our friend Ron McKie; “Coach Mike Leach has taken the Air Raid Mesh Concept and turned it into an art form. When he doesn’t know what to call…
...or when he wants to determine how defenses will defend him…
...he calls HIS version of the Air Raid Mesh Concept to dissect the defense.”
Like the Y-Cross*, it has answers for both man or zone. The concept consists of two shallow crossing routes run by receivers on opposite sides of the field. One receiver, typically the Y, will set the depth of the mesh - usually no further than 6 yards - and the other will run underneath the Y. The goal is to run so close that the receivers can clap hands, and indeed you will often see that done in-game.
Now you have a pick play, (or rub). Against man, the receivers will continue the run the routes across and eventually carry up the field. Against zone, they’re finding soft spots in the coverage to sit in... they’re looking for grass.
Despite being the concept the given play is designed around, it is not typically the first read. In the play above, we have a triangle read. Starting with the corner route, then to the crossing route heading right, with the flat being the third read.
As you can see in the above illustration and the gif below, 92 can be run out of Blue (Blue, Green and other colors are variations of two back formations.), 3x1, 2x2, etc, etc. Combine that with tagging routes like the wheel onto it, and your options are limitless.
Here’s 92 in action, courtesy the 2018 Cardinals. Sherfield sets the depth with Kirk underneath. The ball winds up in David Johnson’s hands as the flat outlet.
*Last week I illustrated the play using what I incorrectly referrred to as the Ace Formation. It’s actually the Ace Rip. In Ace, the far right receiver would be off the ball, and the receiver next to him on.