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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Colts Stretch Play

I got this from, guess who, Bill Mountjoy. The Colts and their offense are constantly being discussed. Obviously, they have great personnel with four very good receivers including their tight end, one of the best single backs in the league, and a $60 million quarterback to put them in the correct play every down. However, it is still worth analyzing a bit what they do.

Their favorite run play is the stretch play, also known as the outside zone. They are also extremely effective at play action passing off the stretch action, where Peyton Manning makes those great run fakes that the announcers go crazy about. (From what I can tell their favorite routes from their play action from the stretch are post/dig, double posts, and post/corner/post combinations).

Anyway, they run their stretch a bit differently, since instead having everyone step and reach playside and getting movement that way, they run a kind of "pin and pull" scheme, which at the college level the Minnesota Golden Gophers also run with great success.

The diagrams/explanation is not directly from the Colts but it is what they do.


The Indianapolis Colts and The "Pin and Pull" Stretch Play


[In this terminology, the play is called "flex."]

FLEX is a strong side play.

The aiming point for the Single Back is 1 yard outside of the TE.

If the “A” is play side he is responsible for blocking the force (strong safety) defender.

If the “A” is aligned on the backside of the play he must start on an inside path and block the most dangerous pursuing defender
After the exchange the QB will set-up like he does on PISTOL protection

If the “A” is in motion prior to the snap and we want him to block the force defender on the play side we will call FLEX BOSS.

BOSS means Back On Strong Safety

Against "Under"

If the Center can reach the Nose he will make a “YOU” call to the Strong Guard telling the Strong Guard to pull and block the M(ike) linebacker.

The Strong Tackle and Tight End will “TEX”. The TE must block DOWN and not allow any penetration. The Strong Tackle needs to pull and RUN TO REACH the S(am) linebacker.

Against "Loaded"

If the Center cannot reach the Nose he will make a “ME” call to the strong guard telling him to block the Nose and the Center will pull to block the M(ike).

The Strong Guard must block DOWN and not allow the Nose to penetrate.

The Strong Tackle and the TE will “TEX," as described above.

Against "Adjusted 4-3"

The Tight End is responsible for blocking the DE wherever he aligns.

The Strong Tackle is responsible for pulling and blocking the SLB’er wherever he aligns. Stay square and see the Sam linebacker during the pull.

The Center is responsible for blocking the Mike linebacker. The Quick Guard has a difficult block and must be prepared to SCRAMBLE block the Nose.

Against "4-3 Wide"

The Tight End is responsible for blocking the DE wherever he aligns. STEP-CROSS-STEP to reach the DE.

The Strong Tackle is responsible for pulling and blocking the Sam linebacker. Stay square and see the Sam linebacker during the pull - you could go around OR inside of the TE’s block.

The Center is responsible for blocking the Mike linebacker & the Quick Guard blocks the Nose.


Chris said...

If anyone wants to learn a bit more about these schemes, check out this thread on Coach Huey's message board:

Zennie said...

How many college teams use this? I was at the Cal / Stanford "Big Game" and saw Cal's version. I've also seen USC's version of the play.

Testing snippet said...
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Jon E said...

This isn't the Colts bread and butter, though it may be one version of the stretch. The Colts ran 3 basic running plays for a few years: The stretch (C-D gap play), The Belly (The B-gap play), and the Inside Zone (A-gap).

The inside zone ran to the weak side, as it takes advantage of A-Gap defenders, who in pro 4-3 defenses usually are on the weak side.

The Stretch was ran as shown on very few occasions. Mostly the Colts ran the stretch using zone principles- no pulling. They ran it a lot, but you would see something more like Center to Mike, Gaurd to 3-gap defender, Tackle up on Sam, and TE on the End. The back runs to 1 yard behind the TE's butt or 1 yard outside the TE and either burst outside if there is no Safety flowing up, or burst in behind the Tackle in the space created. The play was consistently good for 4 yards.

The Belly is similar, but it does not try to go outside and was key for 3-4 defenses who sometimes do not have a defender in the 1-3 gaps.

The zone works best when a triangle of defenders is present- usually 2 DL and 1 LB. A seam is created when one OL goes up on the LB and the other OL engage the DL well. Where the zone will be run depends entirely on the front the defense shows.

Terms like BOSS or TED are usually reserved for toss or sweep running systems, though TED has been used as a stretch option when the defense provides certain looks. However, Inianapolis was most frequently and successfully running zone system plays, not gap system plays with pulling linemen.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the above...this is not the base outside zone stretch play the Colts run. Either this post is mislabeled or you got some misinformation it appears. The Colts don't pull their guards or the center on their base OZ plays. Might want to fix the diagrams when you get a chance. Lots of clinic video available on the stretch play by different OL guys in the NFL. Nice work otherwise especially on the passing game.

Anonymous said...

The pulls end up being zone switches along the LOS. They block downhill and track different targets to play side. If the person eats dirt the back sees it for a cut.
Your space finds a target, track until there is something to hit.

You aim the back's mesh wide so his cut point in behind the TE's block. He's usually looking to cut against teams that spill over the point. Nobody forces the play, keep running uphill until you reach the corner....


Anonymous said...

I did not think of that...good point. My point above is incorrect. Nebraska ran their version of the stretch play in the 90's according to OL coach Milt Tenopir with pull and overtake principles for uncovered lineman. It depends upon the front of course and the ability of the lineman. Nebraska reduced their splits for the stretch play to one foot as well. Nice work as always.