Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens showcases a decisive run from Vikings running back Alexander Mattison on an outside zone scheme.
Zone runs are multiple-choice by nature:
A. Cram the run at the designed landmark.
B. Bounce the run further outside the designed landmark.
C. Cutback the run away from the schemed side of the landmark.
D. Bounce or cutback before you’ve reached the landmark based on early penetration foiling the design of the play.
The designed landmark is one of the key points that tell you what type of zone run the team is using. Outside zone (or wide zone) is a run where the landmark is where the tight end is pre-snap. Once the runner reaches this spot, he must read the defense to make his decision.
There will be several keys for the runner:
- The position of the defensive lineman closes to the spot of his landmark
- Any unblocked defensive linemen working within the range of that landmark
- Any blocked defensive linemen with leverage to reach him at that landmark
- The flow of the linebackers and safeties behind the line.
The runner must be reading these indicators before the snap until he makes his decision–usually between the snap and when he reaches the landmark or is forced to change direction beforehand. Considering these factors, you can see how decisive Mattison is with this play and it’s one of the big reasons why he’s able to earn yards through contact after hitting the crease.
Good cram by Alexander Mattison. pic.twitter.com/Sjoo0xCmBz
— Matt Waldman (@MattWaldman) August 19, 2019
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