In his second game as the Cleveland Browns Interim Offensive Coordinator Freddie Kitchens decided to get creative with a formation rarely seen in the NFL in the early second quarter against the Atlanta Falcons. After serving as the team’s running backs coach for the first eight weeks of the season, Kitchens wanted to find a way to get all three of the team’s talented running backs; Nick Chubb, Duke Johnson, and Dontrell Hilliard involved in the game plan.
With this in mind, he went to a Full House, 31 personnel, Wing T-inspired formation for an entirety of a seven-play drive in which the offense drove 42 yards. Although the drive ended in an interception thrown on a halfback pass from Dontrell Hilliard to Baker Mayfield, the creativity displayed in the run game stood out.
As you can see in the video, the backside tackle gets just enough of the 3-technique to keep him from chasing down the play from the backside. The center and backside guard do a great job of reaching the 1-technique. The front side tackle leads and kicks out the front side inside linebacker. The running back fakes the pitch to the tailback and the C-gap defender takes the bait. He then keeps the ball and replaces the defender with speed. The backside inside linebacker outruns the block by the front side guard but not until after the play has already gained 9 yards. This is a great concept for a team who wants to enjoy the advantages of using Lead Option, but does not want to put their quarterback at risk of taking more hits.
As shown in the video, the front side of the play is blocked well, but the tailback hesitates to bend the ball back into the A-gap because the backside 3-technique outruns the reach block by the backside tackle. Just as the tailback begins to make his cut the 3-technique gets into his vision. He continues to press the block by the front side guard before hitting the B-gap, following his lead blocker through the hole. This leads to the guard losing the leverage battle and the play side 3-technique coming off to make the tackle after a 2-yard gain.
The full house, wing-T-inspired formation gave the Browns the ability to get their best athletes all on the field at the same time. Although they did not run a bunch of plays out of the formation, they were able to move the ball by getting it into playmaker's hands. Think players, formations, plays in that order when creating a successful game plan.
Photo Courtesy: Joshua Gunter/Cleveland.com
Reinforce your playbook and improve your knowledge with Coaches' Notes. Create your account and start your 7-day free trial!