All-22 Tuesday is a collaboration between First Down Playbook and the Coach and Coordinator Podcast. Coach and Coordinator host Keith Grabowski and First Down Playbook Founder Charlie Coiner review plays from the past weekend. Joining Coiner and Grabowski is Dan Hatman from the Scouting Academy to focus on the personnel aspects of a play.
To kick things off, the Arizona Cardinals use of the diamond formation against the San Francisco Forty-Niners shows how a compressed formation with a multiple back set can be used to create misdirection to slow the defensive reaction. The diamond formation has been around for a long time and presents some advantages for the offense. The backfield set lends itself to a variety of types of attack including power football, misdirection, and even option football as some like to call it the inverted wishbone. In an era in which defenses are built for stopping spread offense, a compressed set and full backfield which can create the additional gaps across the formation with the insertion of the backs into the blocking scheme dictate that the defense must condense as well. This leaves space to attack on the perimeter which is exactly what the Cardinals do. In this case, a counter play is faked to the left with the left halfback coming across the formation into the opposite flat. The linebacker flow with what looks like a counter allowing the left halfback to outflank the defense in the right flat. The tight end to that side does his job by clearing the space with his corner route. The run after catch opportunity allows for a big gain. Whether it’s from under center, which Kyler Murray does for the Cardinals, or the diamond pistol, expect to see this formation to be utilized across every level of football this season.
The next play presents a similar type of condensed formation. While the Los Angeles Rams utilize receivers on the wings, again, different personnel can present opportunities for an offense. The two tight end set forces the defense to compress to maintain gap integrity. As the Rams do, motion is used to stress the defense and in this case create misdirection. Much like the diamond set, the close proximity to the ball of the wings allow either one to get across to the opposite flank quickly. In this case, the slide-naked scheme allows for an easy pitch and catch from Jared Goff to Robert Woods and a run after catch for the first down.
As the Rams do, everything is created in packages that make plays look alike. While this play put the wing into the opposite flat in a three-level stretch, the same motion was utilized to run the stretch play and inside zone plays. This is essentially the old series football created by the wing-t and single-wing offenses of past eras. The late Tubby Raymond created an entire system with those principles which he detailed in his book The Delaware Wing-T: An Order of Football.
Both of these formations appear to be making their way back into the game as the offense looks for ways to stress defenses that have been created to stop the spread attack. These are trends that will be tracked on in the All-22 Tuesday weekly video and blogs.