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Colts University: RPO 101 – Stampede Blue

Hello and welcome to your first day at Colts University. Its first class is RPO 101.

Of course, RPO is short for Run-Pass Option, but I suspect most of you already knew that. Some of you will no doubt have a firm grasp on the subject, but reading Colts fan reactions to these concepts are a mystery to many.

At the end of this course there will be a test (not really), the answers should be sent in the comments section and those who pass this open book, the open note test You will receive recognition in the introduction to the next Colts University class, as well as a certificate sent by email (to the email address listed in your account, unless another address is requested in your comment) that you can print and Hang your home or office right next to your actual diplomas.

Let's get started.

The first thing you have to understand about the RPO, really about football, is that everything is a numbers game. Every aspect of the game is dictated by the number 11. This number can be broken down in various ways and the rules of the game may dictate possible locations at specific times, but no matter what, the number can never exceed 11.

We all know that most offenses have five linemen and a quarterback. That is, six of the 11 offenses are decided by the nature of football itself. What we have left is five. Those five players are usually a combination of receivers, tight ends, and running backs. Those five could include, and sometimes do include, a sixth offensive lineman, but in the grand scheme of things, it's rare and not something we should be spending time on in RPO 101.

The five players the offense chooses to send onto the field dictate to defenses what combination of linemen, linebackers and defensive backs they will have on the field. What offensive and defensive coaches expect on each play is a numerical advantage, somewhere, for their unit. It may be in play, it may come in cover, but offensive and defensive coaches hope to have one more player in a specific area of ​​the field than their opponent has represented.

It seems simple, but both teams have 11 men on the field at the same time and coaches have been trying to figure out how to get that advantage over their opponent since the inception of soccer more than a century ago. For more than 100 years, coaches have spent their working lives cracking this code.

Surely, if there was a good way to guarantee a numerical advantage, someone would have come up with something by now, right?

And that, class, is why the RPO came into being.

So what does an RPO look like? How does it work?

Glad you asked!

Finally, we got to a movie!

Example 1

Looking at Example 1, you see Carson Wentz pass the ball before faking a kick with his feet towards the receiver.

You will also notice that the right tackle runs horizontally on the snap to open up and possibly block the receiver. Let's see how these numbers break down in this RPO:

Some of you may be wondering how this could be considered a numerical advantage. But as you can see, the Ravens have six defenders in the area to match the Colts' six blockers. The ball carrier is the seventh man on offense, and if all goes well, there will be no one available to tackle him before he makes a nice profit. If the offense has as many blockers as the defense has potential tacklers, it is a win for the offense, as it expects its players to block or just get in the way long enough to avoid a tackle.

So what about that seventh defender, the one coming out with the tackle? After all, he's the one who finally does the tackle.

Now is the time to look at Example 1a.

That outside linebacker is the strength player. This is not the right class to fully define what a strength player is, but the quick version is that he is the player responsible for establishing the advantage for defense. You have to make sure that no career escapes you. So when the right tackle pulls to the edge player's outer shoulder, the alarm bells should sound in his head. Either the tackle is trying to get to your outside shoulder to block inside or that tackle is not interested in blocking at all.

Either way, that edge defender became the most important defender on the field and he knows it.

This is the reason:

As soon as the ball breaks, Carson Wentz's eyes turn to this defender to see what he does. Wentz's decision on what to do with the ball will be based on what this defender does. Calling this a "decision" does not mean that Wentz is free to do what he wants, his actions are decided by the defender of the force. Wentz has a duty to his team to take the correct reading and distribute the ball accordingly. As such, it is incorrect to say that a quarterback could "retire" from the run after the ball has been knocked out, as a "check" is made on the line before the pitch. This topic will be covered more fully in Pre-Snap 101. Be sure to see your advisor to sign up for that course next semester.

If the defender squeezes in to try to tackle Nyheim Hines, Wentz's job is to get the ball out and throw it to the waiting receiver.

Here's how it might look:

If the edge defender had stayed in, he would not have pushed the right tackle out of his way to the outside and would have had a free run on the only defensive back that could have made the tackle before Parris Campbell could do it. collect many yards.

Instead, the defender on the edge stays open and forces Wentz to pass the ball.

Nyheim Hines was able to gain five yards on this play, so Stampede Blue actually created Colts University only so this made-up online university (offering real and completely unaccredited certificates) could create a detailed breakdown of a play that is just designed. to pick up five yards?

Yes, we did the first part, but the second part is not accurate. This play could have gained much more than five yards if two things had happened. The first is that Nyheim Hines would make a good decision, which is realistic given what we know about Hines and the second is that 40 percent of the offensive line is not destroyed by the defense:

Chris Reed and Eric Fisher take a beating on the play, causing Hines to cut back and follow Jack Doyle. As a result, Hines is tackled by the defender of the force while being pursued by the defenders of the Ravens that Reed and Fisher let pass. If Reed and Fisher win their blocks, it's unknown how far Hines will go on this play, but even with those missed blocks, this play still gains five yards, largely because linebackers stayed behind to avoid a possible pass.

Let's review what we learned from this work:

  1. In each RPO there is a defender who will decide whether it is a run or a pass.
  2. The quarterback must read that defender and act accordingly. At no point is it accurate to say that the quarterback has "verified" a run or pass after the ball has been cut.
  3. If the play is well designed, there is not much room for interpretation, or the defender plays the run or the pass, no one can be in two places at the same time.
  4. RPOs tend to hold linebackers in place longer than normal as they have to read the quarterback, who must read a defender.

Expanding on each checkpoint:

  1. Years ago I explained the RPO here at Stampede Blue and a commenter said something like “I don't understand how a defender can be the full reading, the defenses will solve it, it can't be so easy . "But the thing is, it's that easy. It's not that the quarterback just has to do a reading, he has to do a reading after the snap to determine the run or the pass. But before the snap he has to make sure that those numerical advantages are possible, once you see that they are, then and only then will you be able to take a single reading and decide what to do. Also, it is not as easy as it sounds. It is a very quick decision to make based on the actions of a great athlete. And finally, there is nothing the defense can solve. They have to decide what they would prefer to defend and live with the consequences because they are only allowed to have 11 men on the field at a time.
  2. If the quarterback The outfield makes the decision based on the location of a single defender, doesn't that mean a defense can dictate that you only run or only pass in RPOs? Yes. That is exactly what it means. But on the other extreme of that is the fact that due to the natur For the sake of football (11 players on the field for each team), a well-executed RPO should always create a numerical advantage, meaning that the offense should never be in the wrong game given. what he has called the defense.
  3. This one is self explanatory. The handover / release reading is usually quite straightforward.
  4. This is part of the reason the play gained five yards. This works, in effect, like a game of tables. Linebackers can't bite in case Wentz kicks the ball to pass, but they can't rescue if Wentz goes out. The result is that the Colts' blockers make first contact with the second tier of the defense 2-3 yards beyond the scrimmage line. This is not something that usually happens with traditional running plays.

Example 2

In Example 2, Wentz is seen offering the ball to Jonathan Taylor before taking it out and throwing it up to Kylen Granson.

Before the snap, you should notice two things that are important in this play; 1. Michael Pittman Jr. is on the move and 2. the Colts have a huge number advantage in the area. There are seven Bucs defenders and seven potential Colts blockers, with Jonathan Taylor in the eighth. We immediately know that this work should be set for success, just because of this fact.

The fact that Pittman got moving is important because it shows that the defense is in some kind of zone coverage. If you are not sure how we can tell that this is zone coverage (possibly coincident), that is also covered in Pre-Snap 101, which must be taken at the same time as Coverage 101. Be sure to check with your advisor to enroll in that course, as well. Just know that Carson Wentz knows this is not pure man-to-man coverage on your left side.

You will also notice that there were two routes on that side of the field while both receivers at the back of the play immediately sought to block.

Michael Pittman Jr. runs a fast route to the ground while Kylen Granson runs a brief five-yard comeback. Granson catches the ball and picks up 10 more yards and a first down.

Let's look at Example 2a

Look at the way Pittman and Granson are stacked alongside Eric Fisher, Pittman within Granson. Pittman gives the outside linebacker a double move, and while I can't be sure, that double move tells me the Colts were hoping the edge defender would stick with Pittman long enough to justify the delivery of the ball. If there was no preference, Pittman could have simply run to the ground without the additional movement.

Instead, the defender on the edge crashed into the area to try and make a play on Taylor. Here we see Wentz do his initial reading of the edge defender:

Wentz sees that the defender of the force has chosen to play the run, so he does the right thing and pulls the ball out of Taylor's gut. Next we see Wentz do his second reading:

Let's refresh our memory of what Bucs coverage was like before the snapshot in Example 2:

The Bucs have a defensive back near the scrimmage line and one within 6-7 yards of the ball. Inside linebackers will certainly stay in to stop a possible run and once the edge defender plays the run, he leaves one defender to cover two routes near the line of scrimmage.

The DB who plays 6-7 yards from the ball, reads the routes in front of him, sees that his responsibility has become Granson and tries to gain depth to avoid being beaten:

If DB had tried to close the gap with Granson, the rookie tight end could have dug his foot to the ground and snapped out, or turned the jets and gone deep. The defensive back doesn't know which route he's running, but he knows he can't be hit deep. He is willing to give up internal leverage because he should have more help coming from the middle of the field than he has absolutely no one outside the numbers.

The Granson route is also important here. If he had run a curved route and turned to his right, that defensive back could have put his foot down and steered toward the TE. Because it turned to its left, the DB waited a fraction of a second longer to defend itself from a potential breakout path.

Carson Wentz knew all of this before the snap, due to the move MPJ made. He knew Granson was turning to his left and he knew that the DB near the line could only cover one of his potential targets, which is why he started his pitching motion before looking at Kylen Granson:

Wentz has already started his rope, still staring at MPJ. Just before the ball leaves his hand, he turns his head to locate Granson:

All that is left to do is perform a precise pitch and open reception.

Here, the RPO created a disadvantage for the defense in multiple ways and ultimately resulted in a short, high-percentage shot that gained 15 yards – exactly the kind of game that defensive coordinators hate to give up and one that offensive players hate. they spend countless. hours trying to figure out how to create.

Let's review what we learned from this work

  1. Reading a defense before the center with a so-called RPO is important for both the run and the pass.
  2. When the forced defender collides inside, the quarterback has to get the ball out and throw the pass.
  3. There may be more than one receive option in an RPO.
  4. The first read after the snapshot determines the execution or step.
  5. The quarterback will often do another reading on coverage, but may not have to depending on the routes taken and the defensive alignment.

Alright, we've seen a race and an RPO pass, we're going to pick up the pace in the last few examples.

Example 3

Looking at Example 3, the first thing that strikes you is what?

That's it! This is exactly the same concept we saw in Example 2!

The back end of this play doesn't really matter, but you will notice that the formation is different. Example 2 shows two wide receivers, but Example 3 shows that there is a tight end next to right tackle and a tight receiver.

On the playing field, MPJ is not aligned as in Example 2, it is wider but still tight. Kylen Granson is lined up inside. This time, Granson runs fast while MPJ runs the short return.

The Bucs paired with a DB over MPJ ​​and dropped a linebacker to cover Granson.

Now let's look at Example 3a:

Wentz sees the edge defender bite and play the run and the linebacker responsible for covering Granson is held back by the threat that Hines poses as a running back, both the backup and the force defender have their eyes on him reverse. Which, once again, left Granson wide open. Wentz made the short throw, very high percentage (one could call it a long pass), Granson caught an easy ball and gained a good amount of yards.

Review of Example 3

  1. When the edge defender collides inward into the runner, the quarterback is required to serve the ball and throw it to his receiver.
  2. The RPO, once again, put the defense in an impossible position to win.
  3. The pre-snapshot reading let Wentz know that he would only have one reading to do on this work. Either the edge defender was playing the run or he was staying with Kylen Granson and if he didn't stay in TE, no one was covering him.

New ideas introduced during Example 3

Although controversial, many RPO passes, especially those on or near the scrimmage line, are considered by many to be an extension of the running game. Although it appears on the stat sheet as a pass, these high-percentage throws are considered by many to be no different from a running game.

Without telling you my opinion on this topic, the question you need to ask yourself is; at the end of the day, how different are they?

Some of you will decide they are very different.

Some of you may decide that the outcome is so similar that it could easily be considered an extension of the running game.

Again this is debatable knowledge, there is no single correct answer here and as such it will not be on the exam. I felt this should be included in RPO 101 if not for another reason for you to question any beliefs you may have and think about them in new ways. We will save more information on this topic for RPO 201. If you have a strong interest in this type of discussion, you might also consider specializing in soccer theory with a specialization in strategy and tactics.

Example 4

There isn't much in the clip in Example 4 that you shouldn't be able to collect now on your own. Many of you would do well to break up this piece on your own if you've made it that far in class, but we're here and I've already put out five clips for this class, so let's take a good look at example 4a.

The edge defender retreats to cover Jack Doyle.

If the forced defender falls into cover, what kind of game does an RPO become?

That's it! A race!

And they do it because?

That's it! The offense now has at least one more person than the defense, which puts the defense in an impossible situation to win if everyone does their job!

Man you really are learning!

So why isn't Jonathan Taylor getting more than four yards on this run?

Wait, you mean you saw Ryan Kelly's left foot step on, then he fell to the ground, preventing him from doing his second-level lock at no. 45 °, allowing the 45 to flow to the rear of the line to engage. Taylor after making his cut?

You guys should pass the exam!

One thing you may not have noticed is how Lavante David (# 54) was impacted by the receivers running the route and the quarterback continued his movement, rolling toward his receivers, after delivering the ball.

David can't tell who has the ball, so he keeps falling into cover. If Ryan Kelly could have made his block, Jonathan Taylor could have scored on this play.

Take a look at what I mean:

Review of Example 4

  1. The forced defender falls into cover, which means that the quarterback is tasked with delivering the ball.
  2. The offensive immediately gained a numerical advantage.
  3. It was impossible for the offense to be on the wrong play given that advantage.
  4. Without the execution of all 11 players on the field, even a perfectly defined play tends to result in a play that doesn't win as much as it can.

New Ideas to Consider

According to Official NFL Rules 2021 (downloadable by clicking this link) no ineligible receiver can be more than one yard further from the line of scrimmage when the ball is thrown. This is how the rule book puts it:

So what does this mean for teams running RPO?

It means you can't throw deep passes on RPO calls.

But why?

The offensive line doesn't know if the play will be a run or a pass and you can't expect them to shoot a yard and stop until they realize it's a run. They have to run a block that does not allow enough time for slow developing deep paths. That's why every clip you've seen here, and every RPO you've seen at an NFL game, combines your career option with short, quick passing options.

This rule is also the reason why RPOs in the NFL are (almost) exclusively from zone execution lock concepts. If you are unfamiliar with the difference between space and zone locking concepts (aka male), be sure to sign up for O-Line 101. We don't have enough classroom time here at RPO 101 to fully explain it. The short version of the difference between the two is that zone lock concepts start by moving east and west before moving north and south. The space lock moves north and south immediately. Even running short, fast routes, most of the offensive line would be more than a field yard before the quarterback has a chance to read the forced defender.

I just know that NFL-level RPOs almost always include zone lock execution concepts and quick hit routes because of this rule.

Example 5

I like the work in example 5 because it shows something that the other examples don't really show:

If the forced defender does not strongly commit to no way, the RPO almost always defaults to a transfer.

The Colts have numbers instantly. It's six to six if you don't count Michael Pittman Jr lined up tight on the right side of the formation. Above Pittman and Jack Doyle are two defensive backs 7-8 yards from the line of scrimmage.

If the forced defender spins and runs with either catcher, this is a big win for the running back. If he stays inside to take the run, someone is catching 5-6 yards between them and the nearest defender.

Let's look at Example 5a to see what happens when the forced defender tries to be in two places at the same time:

This forced defender takes two reading steps to his right, but is not actually crashing to play the run. It could be argued strongly that Carson Wentz would have been justified in getting this ball out due to the inside reading steps of the edge defender. Would there have been a wide receiver if he had served the ball? Let's go back to example 5 at this exact moment:

Jack Doyle is wide open and the closest defender is within 5-6 yards of him. By the time he got the pass, that gap could have closed at 3-4 yards, but I'm confident 260-pound Jack Doyle will fall forward and gain an additional 2-3 yards against a 220-pound safety chasing him down the sideline. .

Instead, because that defender did not engage strongly in either direction, the quarterback stopped delivering the ball because delivering the ball is the default when the reading is not clear.

New information to consider from example 5

If the glove does not fit you, you must hand it in.

-That is a reference to the OJ Simpson trial. Also, in my opinion, OJ Simpson would have absolutely dominated the RPOs.

Copy and paste this answer sheet in the comment box before answering the questions.

  1. This statement is _____________.
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    1. True or false: numerical advantages are only important when running the ball.
    2. The RPO is used as a form of ______________________. A urgent production increase B increase passing production C [create19459222anumericaladvantage D annoy the defensive coordinators
    3. True or false: the quarterback decides what to do with the ball, deliver it or throw it and the rules for deciding when to choose one of the options are not well defined.
    4. If executed correctly, RPOs allow you to create a numerical advantage for what type of game? A- Execute. B- Approved. C- Both. D- None.
    5. True or False: RPOs eliminate the need for pre-tuning readings.
    6. True or False: In a called RPO, the quarterback can pass the run or pass after the snap.
    7. What type of blocking do RPOs use in the NFL most often? A- Gap. B- Vertical mounting. C. Sliding protection. D- Zone.
    8. Si el defensor forzado no se compromete firmemente con la carrera o el pase, la regla para los RPO es A- revolver. B- lea la cobertura antes de tomar una decisión. C- lanzamiento. D- ejecutar.
    9. Los linieros ofensivos pueden ser cuántas yardas campo abajo cuando se lanza la pelota? A- 1. B- 2. C- 3 . D- esto no es una regla.
    10. Si el defensor forzado no se compromete ni con la carrera ni con el pase, la jugada predeterminada es: A- una jugada rota. B- un audible. C- una carrera. D- un pase.

    Aplicación práctica

    11. Mire el video a continuación y determine si el mariscal de campo debe A Entregar el balón. o B lanzar.

    12. Mire el video a continuación y determine si el mariscal de campo debe A Entregar el balón. o B lanzar.


    Mire el video a continuación y determine si el mariscal de campo debe A Entregar el balón. o B – lanzar la pelota al ala cerrada.

    (Técnicamente un RPO, podemos debatir si lo es o no, la decisión de correr o aprobar se basa en la misma lectura. Esta es también la razón por la que esta pregunta es un crédito adicional. )

    Congratulations on completing RPO 101! You should now have an academic understanding of the basic Run-Pass Option! You do not know all that there is to know about the RPO, but neither do I. But we both know more about the RPO than 98% of the old guys you overhear talking ball at a bar and knowing your football knowledge is superior to 98% of old bar guys is all the reward you should need. That said, hopefully you have learned something during this course that will improve your knowledge of the game and enhance your ability to enjoy the game of football and the NFL.

    As your professor I will grade your exams as quickly as possible and then get your certificates sent out as soon as possible. If I have an issue sending your certificate I will respond to you in the comments. If you haven’t received anything (an email or a reply to your exam comment) in the next week it means you either A- Failed or B- I forgot. So feel free to question the status of your certificate.

    In the event that you do fail, (how?) please feel free to take the course as many times as you please. Also this is open note, open book, open Google and open looking at other comments, just be careful who you trust in the comments section. This definitely isn’t you, but some people around these parts can’t tell the difference from a pick-and-roll and an RPO.

    Good Luck!

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