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02 Offensive Personnel
02 offensive personnel is an offensive personnel package where the five eligible receivers consist of 0 running backs, 2 tight ends, and 3 wide receivers. This personnel group is primarily used to spread out the defense and create mismatches with the opposing secondary.
On this play from 2015 against Texas A&M, the Bulldogs trail by 14 early in the game, and face a 3rd and 6 on their own 29-yard line with 12:14 remaining in the second quarter. The football is on the left hash mark, and quarterback Dak Prescott (#15) stands in the shotgun formation alone with 02 offensive personnel on the field. The Bulldogs line up with a tight end in a wing alignment on each side of the field, and put two receivers to the right side, and split a single receiver to the left. The Aggies have their 4-2-5 nickel defense in the game for the this play and show two high safeties before the snap. Both cornerbacks are in press alignment on the outside, with the nickelback giving about five yards of cushion over the slot receiver to the right.
Just prior to the snap the cornerback to Prescott’s right begins to drop, while the safety to the left of the quarterback starts to roll forward. This is an indication to Prescott that the coverage will be rolled at the snap:
On the left side the WR releases vertically while the tight end runs a quick out to the flat. From the three-receiver side, the wing TE stays in to help with pass protection before releasing to the flat. To the outside, the middle receiver runs a deep in cut and the outside receiver runs a deep comeback route. Prescott reads this play from left to right, first checking the vertical route on a “peek.” If he can get a quick play in the vertical passing game he will take his shot, otherwise he will come to the middle of the field on the deep in cut from his WR. If this is covered, his third read is on the right, and the deep comeback route:
They roll into a Cover 3 Buzz look with a matching concept to the three-receiver side. On the right side of the defense, the safety drops into a robber technique while the CB stays with the receiver on his vertical release. To the other side, the cornerback drops to the deep outside while the safety stays in the deep middle. The nickelback stays in man coverage on the middle receiver.
Off the snap Prescott opens to his left, to peek at the vertical route. He then identifies the safety dropping down into the robber technique, forcing the QB to come off this read and move to the second step in his progression:
Prescott moves his line of sight to the middle of the field, where he finds the nickelback locked in tight man coverage on the dig route. In addition, the free safety is lurking, as is the linebacker to that side, who reads the TE as he leaks to the flat. With three defenders in the throwing lane, this second option is a no-go for flight:
Prescott now must move to his third option, and given the information available to him, he knows that he has a single defender to contend with on the outside, who dropped into a Cover 3 technique. The receiver on the right running a deep comeback is a very effective route against this scheme. Prescott trusts that he can make a play to the outside. He climbs the pocket and delivers a strike, releasing the football just as the receiver makes his cut back toward the line of scrimmage:
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The pass is perfectly placed as well, leading De’Runnya Wilson (#1) toward the sideline. With the football thrown low and to the outside, the WR gains additional separation after his cut, and when he secures the catch Wilson is in great position to pick up additional yardage. Progression reads, good timing, and perfect ball placement add up to a big third-down conversion for the offense, and it begins with the execution at the QB position.
Here, Green Bay uses this package against Arizona and nearly executes a big play. The Packers face a 1st and 10 on their own 20-yard line, and align with Rodgers under center and 02 offensive personnel on the field. Tight ends Rodgers and Andrew Quarless (#81) set in a wing formation to each side, with Quarless next to left tackle Don Barclay (#67). Green Bay has three receivers on the field, and they put Jones to the right and Jared Abbrederis (#84) to the left. The third WR, Randall Cobb (#18), aligns in the backfield behind the QB:
Arizona has their nickel package on the field with Minter and Buchanon in the LB spots. They show Cover 1 with the outside CBs in press alignment, and the safety Tony Jefferson (#22) and nickelback Jerraud Powers (#25) down in the box over the tight ends.
The Packers fake an outside zone run to Cobb, using a split zone blocking scheme with Quarless cutting to the opposite edge. When Rodgers drops to throw, he has a two-receiver over concept attacking the Cardinals’ secondary, with Abbrederis running the deep over route and Adams running a post:
The underneath defenders drop into zones, while the outside cornerbacks stay in man coverage, matching the vertical releases from Abbrederis and Adams. But watch as the run fake sucks in the underneath defenders, creating a big throwing window for Abbrederis on the deep over route:
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Rodgers comes out of the fake and uses a half-roll, and delivers a well-placed throw, but the WR cannot make the catch.
Mark Schofield wrote this entry. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.
All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass.