Learn how the Browns incorporated Wing-T elements into their Run Game

By Brendan Leister | Posted 1/28/2019

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.

RB Lead Option

RB Lead Option


  • Play Side Tackle: Leave the play side C-gap defender, climb for play side inside linebacker
  • Play Side Guard: With no immediate threat in play side gap, climb for backside inside linebacker
  • Center: Reach the play side 1-technique with help from the backside guard
  • Backside Guard: Double the play side 1-tech with the center
  • Backside Tackle: Reach defender in play side gap
  • Backside Tight End: Reach head up defender to play side gap
  • Play Side Running Back: Lead for the first second level defender outside the box
  • Tailback: Option path with backside running back
  • Backside Running Back: Take hand-off from quarterback with aiming point at outside leg of the front side tackle, maintain option phase with the tailback – read front side C-gap defender.  If he commits, pitch the ball.  If he plays the pitch, keep the ball and replace him.

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.

Outside Zone Lead

RB Outside Zone Lead


  • Play Side Tackle: Reach immediate defender in play side gap
  • Play Side Guard: Reach immediate defender in play side gap
  • Center: Reach immediate defender in play side gap
  • Backside Guard: With no immediate defender in play side gap, climb for backside inside linebacker
  • Backside Tackle: Reach defender in play side gap
  • Backside Tight End: Cut off backside 7-technique; go two for two with the backside running back, climb for backside outside linebacker once he overtakes the 7-technique
  • Play Side Running Back: Lead for front side inside linebacker
  • Tailback: Accelerate downhill with an aiming point of the outside leg of the play side tackle.  Read “bounce, bang, bend” rules; read the end man on the line of scrimmage, if he gets reached, the tailback bounces the ball outside to the C-gap.  If the end man on the line of scrimmage does not get reached, the tailback then reads the next defender inside on the line of scrimmage.  If that defender gets reached the tailback runs through the B-gap.  If he does not get reached, the tailback bends the ball back inside to the A-gap.
  • Backside Running Back: Cut off backside 7-technique, taking over for the backside tight end once he climbs for the backside outside linebacker

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


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