Ace Set: a staple in every offense.

ace set

The Ace Set is a common name for an offensive formation that uses one running back. It is run with the QB under center. The running back generally lines up behind the QB but can be staggered off to one side.

Each of the generic sets shown  are variations of the Ace Set, which are also known as single back sets, lone back sets and obviously the 1-back set.  These sets have been utilized in a lot of proficient offenses from Joe Gibbs running it with the Hogs in Washington, to more pass happy versions utilized by the top quarterbacks over the last two decades . Each team has variations of it as staples in their offenses.
Ace set formations

  1. 3WR/1TE set with a four-wide look
  2. 2WR/2TE with the 2WR in a Twins left look
  3. 2WR/2TE with the LTE and X in a Twins look
  4. 4WR Trips right look
  5. 4WR Trips left look

ace set

6.   3WR Twins on the right

7.   3WR with the Y in a wing/slot opposite the TE to even up the formation

8.   2TE/2WR

9.   4WR with 3WR in a bunch/trips set to the left

10.  4TE Heavy set

The Ace Set is a very dynamic formation system since it allows the receivers to line up multiple places, giving the defense various looks. However, they can run the same routes, same play same call, just based on the various formation and where they are positioned.
Screen Shot 2018-09-11 at 7.41.58 PM
11.  3WR/1TE with 2WR in a tight wing formation on the right hand side

12.  3WR/1TE with the back offset to the left and 4 receivers on the left hand side of the offense

13.  3WR/ 1TE with the TE/Z stacked in a “Queens” look and the back is offset to the right

14.  4WR and TE in the back field

15.  2TE/WR with the back offset to the right. The TE/WR are stacked in a “Queens” look.

 

Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks: read what the NFL is looking for

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. The first was quarterbacks. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the backs in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used.

Scouting halfbacks and fullbacks gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting backs, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for.

Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge. They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual one below is based on, had photos showing:

Style

  • one cut
  • slasher
  • compact
  • upright/erect
  • pick & slide
  • screen type
  • slippery

Overall Size

  • bruiser
  • diminutive
  • lengthy
  • high cut

Inside run

  • acceleration in hole
  • strength
  • balance
  • effort
  • burst

Outside run

  • stride
  • speed to corner
  • cutting ability
  • elude

Elusive run

  • make defender miss
  • vision
  • darter vs weaver
  • iline & open field

Routes

  • precise cuts vs round off
  • gather body
  • separation quickness
  • body stiffness to adjust on move
  • flexibility to adjust

Run after catch

  • acceleration
  • elude
  • toughness

Fumbler? Reason

  • carriage
  • carelessness
  • extra effort
  • physical make-up

Pass Pro

  • willing? effective?
  • adjust
  • vision/blitz recognition
  • inside power
  • outside lateral adjust
  • chip
  • cut block

This is an important list scouting halfbacks and fullbacks

  • instincts
  • vision (cutback), hole/block read
  • pad level
  • durability
  • stamina
  • workload limitations
  • center of gravity
  • ball security
  • suddenness
  • best in open space
  • hands? extends to pluck vs gather
  • balance after contact
  • elude (in open field)
  • balance
  • make defender miss
  • bender?
  • explosive speed
  • burst through hole
  • initial quickness
  • lateral bounce
  • leg/fee management on contact
  • short strider

All the lists above will have remarks, numbers, grades. In addition, after watching games and film, the scout could make notes like these, which were after a game. Each paragraph is a different player.

  • Squirter. Elusive, low to ground runner. Does not take a hit square. Good vision that belongs between tackles. Strong legs, keeps them driving. Runs through, not around you. Power game runner, question his vision. 1 cut and go. Not a HR hitter.
  • Keeps legs pumping. Tough, quick burst back. elusive, but one cut guy. Low center of gravity. Doesn’t get squared up to get t tackled. Little target. Can break away.
  • Nice hands, smooth mover. Breakaway speed, hides behind and sets up blockers well in screen game. Low center of gravity. Hard to hit. N/S runner. Great vision and elusive player. Doesn’t stop legs.
  • Shifty, breakaway speed. electric. Open field=gone. Runs through arm tackles. Low center of gravity. Good hands. Good patience and vision. Really pops off the screen.
  • Like him, more of an outside the tackles RB. does well squaring up his shoulders. Lines up in the slot at times, ran a fairly sloppy 5 cut, but cuts looked fine. Has ability, but for being a speedster, I question his breakaway.
  • Breakaway speed. elusive, but not a dancer. Downhill runner. Big body. Tall, but runs low. does not give a big tackling target. Long legged strider. Tough runner. does not turn down a tackler. Like this kid as both a spread and dot back.

There you have it, what scouting halfbacks and fullbacks look like, the type of items they look for and some notes they’ll make. Obviously, the bulleted items above will have numbers or notes and on their RB/FB eval sheet will have many hand scribbled notes.

Hope this was helpful, you can comment at the bottom of the page or send a direct message to @the_teal_zone on twitter.

NFL Scouts: read what they look for in Offensive Linemen

Nfl scouting offensive linemen

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group, giving you a glimpse into what NFL franchises look for. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the player(s) in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used. Scouting offensive linemen gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting offensive linemen, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting offensive linemen gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.
They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual report below is based on a player, had photos showing:

  • punch & let feet work vs grab & let feet recover
  • create/generate movement of LOS
  • uses good angles
  • contact balance/sustainability 
  • technically sound
  • on the ground?
  • can he drop hips/weight & anchor
  • positional leverage
  • sink weight (vs bull)

The report also had notes on all of the following:

Technique

  1. set
  2. punch
  3. mirror
  4. recover

Movement

  • 2nd level adjust
  • 2nd level engage/sustain
  • pull on a track (and adjust)
  • pull & trap
  • pull & lead around corner
  • pull & flip hips to seal short
  • lateral slide
  • response to counter move
  • cut blocker in space
  • linear footspeed
  • initial quickness to get position
  • best in 1st steps?
  • inside redirect
  • adjust when coming off doubles
  • slide adjust
  • short area quickness

Style

  • mauler
  • road grader
  • quick boxer
  • swing player (multiple positions)
  • short area (limited ability in space)
  • wide grabber/clamper
  • positional blocker
  • space athlete
  • drive blocker

How does he handle upfield speed? Can he sink & stop the Bull?
6’7″ or able = shows up in throwing lanes for QB
Get pulled on the edge, short arms?
This list was on a player (yes, in the NFL). There’s a lot of good, but some bad.

  • awareness (stunt/blitz)
  • ducks head
  • pad level good
  • gets overextended
  • top heavy
  • late to extend arms
  • explosion
  • sustain (on 1st contact)
  • short jab/arm extensions in pass pro
  • arms to leverage
  • pump arms in pass pro? (compressing for feet)
  • Hip sink/hip explosion
  • rolls hips on contact
  • hands (discipline)
  • placement/patience/timing/reset
  • works to re-position
  • heavy hands
  • active hands
  • punch
  • wide base/narrow base
  • lower body tightness
  • light in ass
  • knee bender vs waist bender
  • base strength/leverage
  • initial quickness
  • movement off ball
  • ankle bend
  • overset
  • heavy feet
  • linear foot speed

Scouting offensive linemen notes on several players:

OT-Like his punch. Very athletic. Gets to 2nd and 3rd level with ease. Almost too anxious in screen game. Nasty in drive blocks. Stays on his feet decently. Questionable leg strength. He’s beating inferior players.
G-Explosive and gets to 2nd level well. On the ground a lot. Not overly athletic. Stands tall in his pass block and doesn’t use his hands very well.
T-Athletic big man. Gets to second level well. For a big guy, has low center of gravity. Finishes blocks. Needs to work pass pro hand usage. Has some issues blocking in space. Wide body. Question leg strength. Not a road grinder.
G-Punisher on run blocks. Athletic enough on pass sets. Gets to 2nd level pretty well. Needs to lower set. Kinds gives a runway to mediocre pass rushers. Tips the play off with his stance.
What we have in all this is notes from several players, a kind of cheat sheet of what they look for and in the top section, an actual player. Hope this gives you more knowledge in watching training camps so you can see why some guys don’t make your team.

Any questions your can comment way down below. Or send a DM to @the_teal_zone. Thanks for reading.

Run-Pass Option-Learn about RPOs: Football 101

I was asked about the emergence of the Run-Pass Option (RPO) with 21st century QB’s. Until very recently, we rarely heard about the RPO in the pros except for when Aaron Rodgers would do it in Green Bay or Ben Roethlisberger in Pittsburgh.

I’d say the #1 reason we haven’t seen them much until recently has a lot to do with coaches. Run-Pass OPTION gives the QB a lot of power because he’s deciding where the ball will go, not always the coach. In read-options the QB hands the ball off or keeps it, either way, it’s a run. In play action, the QB fakes a hand-off for a run, but throws because it’s a pass play. Neither has the choice to run or pass.

Typically, in RPO there will be three options: the QB gives the ball to the RB, or he keeps it himself, or he picks one of two throws to make. This means the coach has no clue what’s going to happen until he sees the play unfold. Same for the team. Power given up.

RPO’s are practiced, they’re not like a QB sneak or he runs because it’s a busted play and he’s running for his life. RPO’s are in a team’s playbook, part of their offense. Which is why when teams use them, it’s not a one time occasion.

To make this simple, they work when a defender has both run and pass responsibilities (usually a MLB or safety). The quarterback reads what that guy decides to do; cover the pass or run, and then the QB does the opposite. This is a cat and mouse: see zone, pass, see man, run.

It’s vital the QB and RB give the same look no matter what. No tells. That’s also crucial. If either give a sign before the snap or right after they’re going to run or pass, then that LB/S cuts off the play. This works best when the receivers are spread out three wide, etc. The QB receives the ball, he sees that defender’s movement and makes a split decision. Until he does, that RB has to act like he’s getting the ball.

Can’t say this enough: While you need a good offense to pull run-pass options off, this is about the defense being fooled.

For a while, GB was really the only team that had a modern twist on the WCO because they had Eddie Lacy and Jordie Nelson. One-two punch. Suck up for the run, Rodgers throws a 40 yard bomb. Stay back because you think he’s going to pass and he runs. They were built for the RPO. Able to play WCO and a spread, plus a QB who could do it all with weapons teams feared.

When Rodgers was first doing these, he often kept the ball himself because that is an option in this. However, as time went on, coaches saw that the same principle that allowed a QB to keep the ball worked for his back, too. So, why sacrifice your QB four, five times a game when you can let your back do it?

If he runs, the QB is going up the gooch. The OL blocks for a run no matter what the QB does. That’s crucial. That helps the QB if he throws because the defense is caught off guard thinking it’s a run play. However, this is the NFL, their off-guard lasts a second, so no matter what, the QB needs to dump the ball quickly.

Why are we seeing more of these? I’m no expert, but it’s young guys coming from college systems where they often ran these. They’re used to doing them and…going to say young, again because what happens after you run the ball? In college, the QB often is the one who runs after reading the defense.

Some coaches are smart and use college plays/schemes to help their new signal callers to make the jump. The thing is, often these plays work. If you’re a QB who came from a spread system where you threw a lot and do the same in the NFL, the defense is going to back up. Run-pass options are based on getting defenses to keep an even number on the line, so you can run the ball. If they don’t believe you will or can throw deep, then it makes it a lot tougher to use RPO’s.

Will we see Bortles do them this season? Yes, he did them this pre-season. Teams have to fear the run (and should fear the QB could run, too), plus that RB needs to get out the way the instant he realizes he’s not getting the ball, sounds simple but it requires him to know where he’s out of the way.

As far as the coaching side, Nate Hackett is a fairly open guy, he seems like he’d have no problem allowing Bortles to do this.

Remember, the run-pass option is about the QB deciding where the ball will go and defenses being tricked into thinking it’s one thing and he does another. If the defense doesn’t think they have to worry about your run game or passing game, RPO’s become useless because the defense will force you into your weakness.

Front 7 Techniques, learn about them here – Football 201

Most fans think, Nose Guard, Defensive Tackle, Defensive End and Linebacker when Front 7 is mentioned. However, Front 7 techniques are what determines who plays where and how. 4-3 and 3-4 defenses have different philosophies when deciding who to man their teams with.

Since a 3-4 uses three defensive linemen, they’ll use two linebackers or dual positional guy to play on the outsides of the DL to create more of an even match-up. Therefore, what they look for in their “front 7” will be different than in a 4-3.

A 4-3 uses four DL, and typically only one LB because they only use three, not 4 like in a 3-4. If a team uses a 12 personnel (1 RB, 2TE), they need to be blocked, hence seven players, nine spots.

defensive line techniques

Teams don’t use a 12 man front often, and certainly not part of their standard offense, so defenses won’t want to waste a roster spot on a guy who may only play a few snaps a game. Therefore, franchises want guys who can play two different techniques when the needs arises. When bringing in new players, they also decide who best fits what they have already. Chicken or the egg.

Front 7 guys can line up head up, off or inside a shoulder of a C/G/T. When they are off to either side, that’s the odd numbers, except when playing across from the TE, that’s 7 technique. To add more confusion, a player can be in an even position and be an I, like in the diagram below.

Here’s the explanation of the types of defensive linemen, where they play and body type. Remember, 3-4 and 4-3 look to different types, but both change players based on the play.

Front 7 Techniques

0 Technique-

A true NG in a 34 defense. Needs to be country boy strong (or Poly Power guy) and eat up 2 blockers and not get moved.  Athleticism is overrated at this position. The job isn’t to make tackles, it’s to allow the LB’s free to roam and stop the run. Squatty body, big ass, thick legs.

1 Technique-

Similar to the 0 Technique. He is lined up on the inside shoulder of the guard.  He needs to be able to eat up both the center and guard on run plays.  If he can split the double team and take the tackle in the backfield, great. If not, he shouldn’t be moved off the ball and eat up blockers. Also needs to have the ability to slant across the guard’s face and get into the B Gap.  This requires a little more athleticism than the 0 Technique. This is something that happens during both blitzes and line games. Squatty body, big ass, thick legs, more athletic than the 0, but better be able to eat up blockers.

3 Technique-

This guy is not only strong (Not as strong as the 1T), but athletic. Lines up on the outside shoulder of the Guard. Must be able to beat double teams by using a variety of techniques. Need both quick feet and quick hands. This is a rush the passer guy, but needs to stay gap sound and make sure to stuff the run. Must be violent with his grip and able to disengage from the G/T, also able to cross the face of both the Guard and Tackle. He is the most violent player on the field. Needs to be a quick twitch player.
Screen Shot 2018-08-20 at 11.07.05 PM

5 Technique-

Pound for pound, this is probably the best athlete on the field.  This is guy rushes the passer, sets the edge, and disengages while having a variety of pass rush moves. Must be able to convert speed to power, power to speed on his rushes. If 5 Techs are only a speed rusher, after about 3 games of film, he will be stoned by Tackles. They will set deeper and then get their hands on you and you’re finished.

If he is only a power rusher, he can be taken out with the help of a TE because there’s no threat of him going around the tackle. If he can do both, he’s getting a big pay check. He must be the guy who gets home to the quarterback and finishes first, not the guy who gets there late and is finishing off the tackle.

Not only can he rush the passer and make sacks, he also must set the edge for the run game. That is all about funneling everything inside where more player are there to to take him down, keep the back away from an open field. He should line up on the outside shoulder of the T.

7 Technique-

This is the DE who lines up either heads up or on the inside shoulder of the TE. Needs to be quick, twitchy, and able to get his hands on the TE to re-route/disrupt his get-off in the pass game. This guy lines up opposite the 5T.  Also needs to be strong enough to defeat double teams of the Tackle/TE while setting the edge. Not a glamour position.  Still need that edge set.

9 Technique-

These are the fastest of all the DL.  They are also the best twitch players on your team. They have one goal in mind…get to the QB. They can also stop the run on the way to the quarterback. He guy may be smaller, but needs a host of moves (similar to the 5T) because he can’t only rely on speed to get to the QB on the edge. He needs to use a spin/rip/swim move to get home. He is your “specialized pass rusher” who plays a lot on 3rd Down. Very little concern for the run game.

Hope this helps build your football knowledge. As always, you can comment below if you want more help, or send a DM to @the_teal_zone Thanks for reading!

Rugby tackling techniques could help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules

rugby style tackling for the nfl

As most know, the NFL changed the rules on how players may tackle each other – a player can’t lower his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules
Not sure about y’all, but I’m wondering how it will affect the players and the game from beyond the LOS. We know the linemen will have issues, but what’s the ripple out affect? From reffing to the play level. I asked a coach (who wants to remain anonymous, like the scout) what he thought about the change.

“I think everybody who has listened to football and interested in football needs to understand that things are changing right now,” Carroll

Jules: Could how the linemen play increase, rather than decease, injuries because they’ll now be playing differently. Could see them standing more up and less squatting.
Coach:  don’t know how this will effect injuries. I couldn’t even speculate about head injuries. What I can say is that I’m concerned about making players think, especially defensively.

The league and this stupid competition committee that is run like a political party with the stark difference being that there’s never any changes as to who’s on the committee have made playing both offensively and defensively very difficult. The head rules are going to make guys think. And if they’re thinking about it, they’re gonna get hurt.

They’ve now changed the kickoff rules to where you have to have 8 guys up front on KOR. All this will do will increase returns because most teams are going to kick it to the 5 yard line and bet that with not enough blockers in the back end of the return, they’ll be tackled inside the 25.

The change to the catch rule leaves some pretty large loops. There are going to be an increase in fumbles that were immediately ruled last season as incomplete passes. Defensive coaches are now more than ever telling their guys ‘dive on the ball if it’s even close’. What does diving include? It includes your head! The exact thing that they’re trying to protect, they’re now exposing!

Jules: With the O-line spending more time thinking, could sacks increase? That split second making the difference?

Coach: I don’t know that this will allow more sacks, because the defense is also put at such a disadvantage as well. From a competition standpoint, it pretty much evens out, especially on the line of scrimmage. If they’re going to call it the way they’ve talked about.

I think that the passing game has become so much geared towards the offense regarding rules (and there will be a re-emphasis on calling pass interference this season) that it’s pretty difficult to play in the back end of the defense. Yes, as football players, the first thing you’re taught is to keep your head up.

A form tackle is made with the core and middle of your body, not your head. But players are so good now and so elusive that it’s almost impossible to bring down a skill player using a ‘form tackle’. That’s where the head becomes involved. This is where the league has totally contradicted itself and is going to turn the helmet rule into another edition of the catch rule.

The helmet rule could affect every single position on the field. It will absolutely affect how a tackle sets, it will put a premium on more athletic lineman, which isn’t exactly a bad thing, but it really makes being a 6’2’’ Left Guard a pretty hard position because if shorter than either the 3 or 1 techniques, his head will be highlighted in the block whether he wants it to be or not.

Jules: Or like a Barry Church vs a Rob Gronkowski, it’s often tough for a “fair” match-up and flags can go both ways.

Coach. Exactly, there’s a 1,000 examples. These aren’t robots. They’re human bodies with brains. Something the competition committee still can’t grasp.

I think offenses will have some adjustments for the quick passing game that will help the OL out. I would be more concerned about the run game, especially the old G scheme runs if I was an OC.

Which could mean you’re going to see more zone type run actions (which is already happening anyway) because that’s what college players are more used to as it is. But I certainly think that your short yardage/GL game plan is absolutely in a different place this year than it was last year.

Jules: what happens if a team’s run game gets stifled, will that change a team like Denver’s run-first scheme in a bad way? Put more on the shoulders of the QB to carry the offense? If so, would that help a type who relies on the quick release?

Coach: You’ll see more zone scheme stuff, which plays to more to that kind of QB’s ability. Teams won’t abandon the run game, it will be a slow shift towards getting the ball in your best athletes’ hands as fast as you can. I also think the NFL is entering the age where teams are absolutely going to have to cross train their RB’s to also be able to line up in the slot and play at the very least as an inside receiver, and be a threat.

I’m not saying LF is going there, but I do believe that the Patriots are on to something with that, have been on to it for a while now, and I think the league is now trending that way.

For years and years we’ve cross trained all OL so a lot of them have position versatility. We’ve done it with TE’s lining up as WR’s. The defense answered that by playing big Nickel. Now the offense is throwing the versatile backs out there, and it causes the defense to hesitate as to what personnel to line up in.

Jules: Some coaches have said they’re not going to worry about the helmet rules until they see how they’re called. While Carroll says it’s a very big deal.

Coach: With limited practice time in pads actually hitting each other, it’s not helping young players with some of their bad habits, especially tackling habits. If teams can’t get pads on guys to block and hit, it’s really hard to change much at all.

Dan Quinn and Pete Carroll are visionary because they have talked about getting all the defensive coaches in the league together to make a teach tape on how to use the rugby style tackles. I don’t know that it will happen, but I think it would be beneficial for everyone involved on the defensive side of the ball.

Jules: Pete had a rugby coach come in years ago to help the Seahawks, could we see more of that? The Jaguars’ defense was built by a Carroll disciple in Gus Bradley and now he’s in LA with the Chargers. I don’t recall either D-Lines taking big injury hits last season.

Coach: Other teams have introduced it. They just don’t broadcasted it. I know it’s something they do without pads on during OTA’s, which inherently means it’s a less violent type of hit. So yeah, I guess that is a possible answer to the helmet rules, but like Vance said, we don’t know yet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7HihjPApzCg

 

rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules

rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules
rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules
rugby tackling techniques help NFL players adjust to new helmet rules