Chargers’ Punt Alert Fails Vs Raiders

By FirstDown PlayBook on Oct 5, 2021

The exasperated sighs you heard last night during the first quarter of the Chargers vs Raiders game was coming from special teams coaches across the nation. The Las Vegas punt return team only had ten players on the field on this first quarter punt. The Chargers recognized it and went right to their punt alert. However, it did not work as the Returner, Hunter Renfro made a great play on it.

The exasperation comes from the fact that you have three professionals announcing the game who never knew what just happened. They called it a fake. It was not a fake, but instead, an alert. This alert is on if one of your Gunners is uncovered. There are a couple of ways this can show up in a game.

Normally a punt alert shows up when a punt return unit calls a desperation block at the end of the game. The return team essentially dares the Punter to throw the ball to the uncovered Gunner. If the pass is incomplete, then the ball gets turned over right there. Most punt teams will go ahead and kick the ball. They may even call the uncovered Gunner down to help protect.

Last night, this happened in this game because the Raiders went punt safe and left their defense on the field. They were defending a possible fake. One of the Raiders’ Corners didn’t get the memo. So #20 for the Chargers, Tevaughn Campbell was standing out there all by himself. This punt alert was determined well before this game started.

We have seen that Brandon Staley is not shy about taking chances and playing aggressively. Evidently, the Punter, Ty Long had the green light to throw the ball out there if the Gunner was uncovered.

If you watch the video closer you will see that the Chargers right Guard didn’t even get set. Long called for the snap early wanting to get the ball out there before the Raiders knew what was happening.

What Can We Learn From This Punt Alert?

The reason we feature this punt alert here on the FirstDown PlayBook All 22 today is that there are some lessons to take from it. This situation can happen if you run shield punt too. This alert throw is better if the Punter will deliver the ball to the uncovered Gunner right where he stands. The Gunner should not drift up the field like he did here. He’s just drifting into the tackle.

Yes, Renfro made a great play on this. However, the Gunner should have had a chance to catch the ball and turn up field before the collision. Trust us, most Returners won’t make a tackle on a skill player in space like this very often.

If your Punter knows that the Gunner is not going to drift, it will allow them to throw the ball out there with confidence and velocity. When you float that ball out there like Long did, it gives the defense a chance to react. The Punter should step and deliver a pass with velocity between the Gunner’s numbers.

So take a look at this video by clicking on the play drawing. Use it to prepare your punt team for this punt alert situation. It can be a chance to take advantage in a critical game situation.

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