Understanding the NFL Running Game

Understanding the NFL Running Game:

Just like with the passing concepts in the NFL the running concepts themselves are fairly limited in number.  That is not to say that all the running plays in the NFL are the same, instead just a few concepts are hidden by a wide amount of formations and personnel groupings.  These runs are suppose to be hidden from Defensive Coordinators who dedicate their entire lives to understanding the game, so the decoration with the formations can be quite complex.

To understand my descriptions of the running concepts it is first necessary to understanding the gap lettering along the offensive line.  The gaps are lettered as follows:  the gaps between the center and the guards are the A gaps, the gaps between the guards and the tackles are the B gaps, and the gaps between the tackles and the tight ends are the C gaps.  Below is a diagram:


I will cover the following basic running plays:

  1. Inside and Outside Zone
  2. Power & Counter
  3. Iso & Draw/Sprint Draw


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