Split Zone

With many NFL teams using zone blocking concepts to run the ball, the Split Zone is a variation of both inside zone as well as the zone read. It is a great complimentary concept because it aligns with an offense’s zone principles but gives the defense a different look and blocking scheme. Split Zone can be run from both Shotgun and under center. Here, the Seahawks run Split Zone against the Packers for a Touchdown from Shotgun in 11 personnel (1RB 1TE 3 WR):

Split Zone (like inside zone or zone read) entails all lineman taking a play side zone step, or stepping with their play side foot first toward where the run is designed to go. Like Zone Read, the end man on the line of scrimmage is left unblocked by the offensive line. Continue reading

Devin McCourty’s Impact at Free Safety: Awareness, Range, Versatility

With the news that Devin McCourty will be back with the Patriots on a long-term deal, let’s take a deeper look into the X’s and O’s of his game. There are three reasons why he was one of the top Free Safeties on the market: Awareness, Range, and Versatility.


Devin McCourty made one of the best plays of the year from the Free Safety position during the 3rd Quarter of the 2014 divisional round due to his awareness and play recognition skills. On the first drive of the game, the Patriots gave up a big gain on this pass play:

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Peyton to Demaryius: Breaking down the Broncos Tunnel Screen, Now Slant, and Trips X-Drag Concepts

With Demaryius Thomas franchise tagged and Peyton Manning officially returning to Denver for 2015, let’s take a deeper look into the QB-WR duo that has combined for nearly 300 Catches, 4,500 yards, and 35 TD’s in the past three seasons. Peyton gets the ball to Demaryius in a variety of ways, but particularly loves three Pass Concepts designed specifically to get the ball to his favorite Receiver: The Tunnel Screen, the “Now” Slant, and the Trips X-Drag.


The Broncos run the Tunnel Screen (a/k/a Jailbreak Screen) more than any team in the NFL, with 6’3 230 Thomas on the receiving end almost every time. Denver runs the play from a variety of formations. Below is the play, with Denver is in Trips tight:

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Assignments: (#1 WR): Sell Vertical, Bend back square to QB (#2 WR): Block out CB on #1 WR (#3 WR): Arc Block to Safety over #2 WR( Right Tackle): Sell Stretch Left, arc to first defender outside box (Right Guard): Sell Stretch Left, arc to first defender inside box

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