I have been getting inquiries about the nuances of the Outside Zone/Stretch Play. I am going to share some basic concepts of the play with you, then I want you to use your NFL Game Pass (click here for FREE Trial), go to week five and view the Dallas Cowboys offense vs the New England Patriots defense. Use the coach’s copy. On the attached spread sheet you will find the quarter and the time in which the play was run and it will be followed with some comments.
Outside Zone Rules:
Use as many formations as possible to run the play. You can run it to Wing Trips strong (expands the front) or weak (generally a loose end or LB in support, with late secondary support at best).
The Cowboys like to use TE Jason Witten in motion to chip the edge defender.
Most running backs would prefer to run from the “I” or pistol formation as it allows him to get downhill now, although it can be run out of the gun with an off set back. The running backs aiming point is the outside leg of the play side tackle. If there is a fullback, his aiming point is the same as the “I” back. He pushes the edge as long as he can to STRETCH the defense horizontally. The goal is to get the edge; most times the RB puts his outside foot in the ground and gets vertical inside the tackle. The RB must get to the heels of the offensive lineman to force the play side LB to commit, otherwise the LB can fold back into the play. The Patriots, by aligning a loose contain player on the edge, force the ball back inside on every play.
The offensive line blocks their play side gap. The play side OG & OT drop step with their play side foot aiming 6” outside their defender’s play side foot. The second step runs through the crotch of the defender. The inside hand aims for his sternum and the outside hand aims at the far arm pit. (If the play is run to an attached TE or Wing he has the same rules).
The last man at the POA sets the edge. If he can reach the defender, we can get out the front door. Most times, the defender won’t allow that to happen. If that defender stretches, the blocker takes his inside arm, locks it out, and torques the defender and allows the RB a clear picture to turn up inside.
The center on back flat pulls for five steps, facing the side line with a low pad level. His objective is to get to the next down defender’s far side knee and then roll and cut him down. (Do a Google search on Coach Alex Gibbs Redskins/Broncos. He was the master of teaching this skill). If no defender crosses his face, he climbs to the second level and cuts the LB. Never chase a defender who goes back side.
LET’S GO TO THE TAPE
(See attached Excel file for play descriptions)Add to My RFN