ITP Glossary: 20 Offensive Personnel

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From tosser concept to green dog blitz, 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.

20 Offensive Personnel

20 offensive personnel is an offensive personnel package where the five eligible players consist of 2 running backs, 0 tight ends, and 3 wide receivers. This personnel group is primarily used to spread out the defense and create mismatches with the opposing secondary.

20 personnel is an offensive grouping with flexibility. Often used in shotgun formations, having two running backs allows for the run game to be effective with off-tackle plays and, more recently, with read-option action. In addition, teams can throw the ball effectively out of this formation, especially if the two running backs are versatile in the passing game with blitz protection and receiving out of the backfield.

The New England Patriots deploy 20 offensive personnel, with the running backs flanking the quarterback in shotgun:JGPlay4Still

In this example, the TCU Horned Frogs have their quarterback in the pistol formation, with one running back alongside, one positioned as a tailback, and three receivers:TCUPlay1Still1

Here the Philadelphia Eagles use 20 offensive personnel, splitting running back Darren Sproles out wide:NFLPreviewWeek1Play1Still1

The Baltimore Ravens roll out a 20 personnel package on this play, in an offset i-formation. Patriots strong safety Patrick Chung (#23) draws slot receiver Kamar Aiken (#11). The plan is to use space and movement to isolate Chung and Aiken:Kamar-Aiken-19-yard-touchdown-markup

The play starts with great run action to the left, with the offensive line and running backs all flowing like this is a typical zone run play. The Patriots defenders follow the run action. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (#5) keeps the ball, however, and bootlegs back toward the right, away from the flow of the defense. The outside wide receiver runs a vertical route, drawing the cornerback with him, and opening up the right side. Underneath, Aiken runs a “whip route,” cutting in initially and then reversing direction to cut outside.

The sudden change of direction makes the whip a demanding route for a defensive back to cover, and Chung gets beaten so badly that he’s too far behind to make the tackle after Aiken catches the perfectly placed pass. Aiken bursts into the end zone for an early Baltimore lead.

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Mark Schofield & Dave Archibald wrote this entry. Follow Dave on Twitter @davearchieFollow Mark on Twitter @MarkSchofield.

All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass.

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