20% off at the official 49ers online store with code COACH20 →
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


How Kyle Shanahan uses the run to set up the play-action pass part two

Mar 10, 2017 at 11:56 AM


In an earlier post, I covered the outside zone and the play-action variants that 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan uses in his playbook. Today we'll look at another variant to the play-action Shanahan uses that builds off the running game: the "split zone" and "yankee" concept and how he dresses up the formation for just such a play.

SPLIT ZONE


One variant of the zone running game is the "split zone," a play often run last season by the 49ers under former head coach Chip Kelly. The split zone, as the name implies, aims to "split" the defense in half to create a seam for the ball carrier on the backside of the play. To accomplish this, offenses use what's known as a "sift" block, similar to a wham or trap block.


The blocking remains the same for every other lineman regardless of whether the sift block is added to the inside - or outside - zone runs. The important distinction here is Kyle Shanahan has a variety of ways he runs this play. This particular play is out of a 12 personnel (1 running back, 2 tight ends, 2 wide receivers) package, with the tight ends acting as wing backs, akin to what you'd see out of Navy's triple option.


At the snap, the play-side tight end comes across the formation to kick out the backside unblocked end man on the line of scrimmage (EMLOS) while the back side tight end heads away from the play, taking a linebacker out of the box with him.


As the sift block hits the EMLOS, the left tackle/left guard double team on the defensive tackle flows toward the playside, opening a crease on the backside of the play.


Running back Devonta Freeman hits the open crease for a 10-yard gain.



Here it is out of a single wing formation:



YANKEE CONCEPT


The "Yankee" route combination is a common concept used by teams with speedy wide receivers. Last season, the Falcons employed this route combination with Julio Jones and had success running him deep on several routes, not least among which was this route concept. The "Yankee" concept is a two wide receiver deep crossing combo, with the underneath receiver running a deep over-the-middle route, and the other executing a deep post over the top. Shanahan employed this particular play out of a wing formation utilizing that split zone sift block to sell the run.


The play is most often run on play-action and with max protection due to the length of time needed for the routes to develop and is generally run against cover one or cover three defenses. The Raiders are in a cover three on this particular play while the Falcons show a tight formation with 12 personnel, featuring the wing player to the right of the offensive formation.


The middle of the defense follows the play-action and the flow of the offensive line. The linebackers are drawn in by the zone run fake and the sift block by the wing. The orbit motion (end around) draws another defender across the field.


As this play develops, the Raider secondary plays their responsibilities according to the routes; the deep middle of field safety thinks Jones is running a deep streak route and turns his hips out toward the sideline before Jones cuts to the post. The corner covering the crossing route follows him across the middle.


Jones gets behind the secondary after a bit of hesitation by the defender and completes the play with a 48-yard gain.



And here's the end zone view of the play:



The addition of Pierre Garçon, Marquise Goodwin, and Aldrick Robinson and others this week in free agency certainly suggests that Shanahan will look to use these same play designs from his Atlanta playbook in San Francisco. Hopefully this helps you identify certain concepts within the scheme.

All gifs and images courtesy of nfl.com.

All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference unless otherwise indicated.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


3 Comments

  • SteveNiner
    Good stuff. Thanks for putting these two pieces together. I'd love to see more like this in the future.
    Mar 13, 2017 at 11:09 AM
    2
  • Scott
    Having those formations broken down made for a great read my man. Thanks. Will keep a lookout for more of your stuff.
    Mar 11, 2017 at 7:52 PM
    0
  • bob
    Not an exclusive this title and idea was wriiten a few days ago. your late bud
    Mar 10, 2017 at 12:51 PM
    1
    Response: Exclusive? What are you talking about? It was me that wrote the first part (http://www.49erswebzone.com/commentary/1663-kyle-shanahan-uses-run-game-play-action-pass/), the one I assume you're referring to, a few days ago. This is a completely separate and different set of run and pass plays.

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



Where the 49ers sit in the NFC West standings after Week 6 action

By David Bonilla
Oct 18

The good news is that the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The outcome may have been different with a healthy Russell Wilson at the helm, but the 23-20 defeat drops Seattle to 2-4 and last place in the NFC West. The San Francisco 49ers are 2-3 and were on their bye during Week 6's action. They are now in third place and will begin preparing to host the Indianapolis Colts. We still don't know who will be the quarterback in that game. Both Jimmy Garoppolo (calf) and rookie Trey Lance (knee) are dealing with injuries. We'll learn more about their statuses during this week's practices. The bye week allowed head coach Kyle Shanahan to attend the induction ceremony for his father, Mike Shanahan, into the Denver Broncos Ring of Fame. The elder Shanahan



Kyle Shanahan breaks down the 49ers' play that saw Trey Lance stopped at the goal line vs. Cardinals

By Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 12

Rookie quarterback Trey Lance made his NFL debut Sunday and the day came with its ups-and-downs, as the 49ers failed to execute on offense, leading to a 17-10 loss against the Arizona Cardinals. Lance was featured heavily, as he threw 29 passes and ran the ball 16 times for 89 yards, which was questionable, given the amount of contact he faced in the game. One of those controversial plays came on 4th & Goal at the ARI 1 in the second quarter, with the 49ers looking to score a touchdown down 7-0. Running play-action, Lance faked the handoff to Elijah Mitchell and rolled to his right, electing to try and run for the score rather than passing the ball once his first read, the halfback, wasn't available. He was met by two Arizona linebackers, Isaiah



What Kyle Shanahan said about 49ers' interest in Stephon Gilmore

By David Bonilla
Oct 6

Were the San Francisco 49ers interested in former New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore? Maybe. Maybe not. Head coach Kyle Shanahan didn't make that clear while speaking with reporters before today's practice. Not that anyone thought he would. What the coach did say is that the 49ers at least look into the possibility of acquiring Gilmore. "We looked into all of it," Shanahan told reporters. "We obviously didn't go through with it." While initial reports stated that the Patriots were planning to release Gilmore due to a contract dispute, New England ended up trading the Pro Bowl and All-Pro cornerback to the Carolina Panthers in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round draft pick. It was a modest price for one of the league's top



Kyle Shanahan explains why the 49ers can't always rely on Trey Lance's ability to improvise

By David Bonilla
Oct 6

San Francisco 49ers fans are excited about the possibilities of Kyle Shanahan utilizing his young athletic quarterback, Trey Lance. The head coach believes his rookie star-in-the-making has the potential not only to hurt an opposing defense with his arm but also to frustrate an opponent with his legs. However, that's not something on which Shanahan and the 49ers want to rely. "Any time you can have a guy create an off-schedule play and buy more time, that's great," Shanahan explained. "When you can run around, and people are playing soft zones, I mean, those only can hold up so long. But that starts turning into a little bit of backyard ball. "When you get into some of those situations, sometimes it's late in games, you're down a lot, and you can


Featured

More by Richard Madrid

More Articles

Share 49ersWebzone