The end-around is a play in
American Footballin which a wide receivercrosses the backfieldtowards the opposite end of the line and receives a handoff directly from the quarterback. The receiver then may proceed to do one of two things: he either runs the ball towards the line of scrimmage in order to gain yardage, or more rarely, attempts to pass to another eligible pass receiver. Both versions of the end-around are uncommon and can be considered trick plays.
The end-around is should not be confused with an
end reverse, in which the receiver takes a handoff from a player who has already taken a handoff from the quarterback
End-arounds are usually preferred to reverses in the
NFL; although they are less convincing, they offer lower risk. End-arounds offer less chance of a fumble, as there is only one handoff rather than two. Also, end-arounds require less time to complete, thus reducing the chance of a large loss of yardage.
A derivative of the end-around has the quarterback hand off to a running back, then pretend he still has the ball, and is giving it to the wide receiver circling behind the action. This causes the defenders who should be covering the end around to 'stay at home' and not participate in pursuing the actual ball carrier, and desensitizes the defense to the threat of the actual end-around play when it is run.
Another variation has the quarterback fake the end-around handoff, then either run with the ball himself in the other direction, or pass to a receiver, including the one to whom the fake was made. This is a form of
play-action pass; some of the pass rushers may slow down the attack on the quarterback because of the fake, allowing more time for the receivers to get open.
Often, a team will alternate between running an actual end-around and running a fake end-around on a large percentage of running plays. This technique is intended to increase the effectiveness of the play as the game develops, due to defenders becoming much more hesitant to commit either way. Early on the play may not be as effective, but gradually the defenders may lose their aggressiveness and thus the play can be relied on for a decent gain late in the game. A good example of this usage can be seen in the
New Orleans Saints. Under Head Coach Sean Paytonand Offensive Coordinator Doug Marrone, they run either the actual play or the fake early and often in the game. The recipient of the hand off usually will be Reggie Bush, and Deuce McAllisterat Runningback, or Marques Colston, or Devery Hendersonat Wide Receiver.
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