Football is littered with specialized terminology. From punt gunner to climbing the pocket, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.
On an outside zone run, the running back has three options: bend, bang, or bounce. As the offensive line flows to the playside, the running back takes the handoff at the mesh point and reads the defense. He can bend back to the weakside, bang into an open rushing lane, or bounce to the edge and try to out run the defense to the sideline.
To The Left
The San Diego Chargers (play below) run the zone play to the left, with the line firing out in unison. On the backside of this play, tight end Ladarius Green (#89) is responsible for the defensive end and, right tackle Joe Barksdale (#72) handles the defensive tackle. This allows right guard D.J. Fluker (#76) to attack the second level and Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey (#58). Center Trevor Robinson (#60) and left guard Kenny Wiggins (#79) execute a combo block on the playside defensive tackle lined up in the A Gap, while left tackle Chris Hairston (#75) blocks the playside DE.
Melvin Gordon will take the snap and choose where to take the football. He can bounce this play to the outside, bend it back to the weakside, or make the bang read, angling inside on the left:
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The defensive end on the left has outside leverage on Hairston, and the playside linebacker is also flowing down toward the sideline. On the backside, again the DE has outside leverage, with a defensive back crashing inside. With both the “bounce” and “bend” angles taken away, Gordon takes his third choice, and knifes straight ahead for a big gain.
To The Right
The Miami Dolphins in this sideline view show the reads for the running back (dashed red lines): the bounce to to the outside, the bend to the weakside, and the bang up the middle:
Watch how the blocking comes together here, allowing Benny Cunningham to take the handoff and attack the defense with his bang read:
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The backside blocking here is incredible, as LT Greg Robinson (#73), LG Jamon Brown (#68) and center Tim Barnes (#61) execute perfect cut blocks simultaneously, bringing three defenders to the turf. Playside, RG Rodger Saffold executes a perfect reach block on the Stephon Tuitt (#91). The defensive end lines up in a 3 technique on this play, between Saffold and RT Rob Havenstein. The guard shows quickness off the snap, driving his body to the outside by pushing off his big left leg, and getting his helmet to the outside shoulder of the defender. From there, Saffold is able to win with upper body strength, getting his back toward the sideline and turning Tuitt away from the play. Because of the great block from Saffold, the RT is free to block out on the playside DE, opening up the bang read:
With a hole that big, Cunningham’s read was easy.
Defending the Bang Read
Michigan gets tremendous penetration, effectively taking away the bounce read. The back tries the bang read, but runs right into the arms of LB Joe Bolden (#35) who has flowed to the hole and is waiting to stuff this for no gain:
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(Apologies for the video starting after the snap: Blame the TV Networks for privileging commercials over football.)
The quick penetration works in two ways to slow this play: 1) It prevents combination blocks from being effective because the DL is now in the backfield and behind any help; and 2) It works to take away running lanes, forcing the RB into a spot where defensive help is waiting.