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16-17 is the inside adjustment to the Power Sweep (AKA 18-19 Wide).
The reason for the adjustment is both historical, and recent. Both have provided the insight to take advantage of defenses that consistently pile up our sweeps. 16-17 provides us the ability to bring the ball back over end, and consistently gain yardage. Since the focus of the defense has been to get defenders to the edge, we simply came inside one gap. Historically, the Green Bay Packers under the coaching of Vince Lombardi, would see either a defensive end, or linebacker, pre-set to the outside of the tight end. This gave the defense an edge to get to the corner and turn the play inside earlier than we necessarily want it to. Recently, during the era of the 80’s, the New Orleans Saints had two outstanding linebackers in Ricky Jackson and Pat Swilling. New Orleans had liked to put Swilling and Jackson on the corners and turn anything inside early, or getting a good pass rush angle. Their pre-set position two yards outside the end man on the lineof-scrimmage, puts a real bind on the Sweep (18/19). Therefore, the Over End play (16/17) is a more feasible solution. Bill Walsh and his coordinators had seen the same trends, and have implemented the same solution. 16-17 is designed to seal inside any pursuit, and kick-out the end man on the line-ofscrimmage. The kick-out is executed by the off-side guard. The fullback is called upon to lead the running back through the hole, and look for the “force” man. We had also used this as the basis for our play action passes. It is little wonder that this play became the marquis play for the 49ers in the 1990’s.
This is the basic, and original, play design for 16/17 Power O. We would later have to change the blocking scheme to Zone type design due to the ever changing formation variations that would be used against us later on. But for now, we will discuss this particular blocking scheme. As you can see, there are some similarities in the execution of this play in the way the backfield operates. The quarterback still executes the same open pivot, handoff, and bootleg fake as on 18/19. The halfback still opens forward to take the handoff, then dipping back some to give him a little space to read the blocks. The fullback doesn’t chop the leg of the defensive end, but still takes a hard angle inside
the outside linebacker. But, he will bypass the OLB and look for the “force” man on the defense. That is where the similarities end, and we will now look at the changes. Tight End Lets begin with the tight ends cut-off block on the second man inside. He steps inside quickly attempting to cut-off the angle of the DE. The TE wants to strike with his inside shoulder just under the shoulder of the DE, giving the offensive tackle an opportunity to “post” him up. This type of chip blocking stabilizes the area, before the TE goes looking for the inside linebacker. The TE can seal the inside linebacker, and cut-off his pursuit angle.
This is a co-operative scheme in which the TE and OT work together to gain the seal on the 2nd man, then go to the next level to pick up the ILB. This will also be applicable to the 3-4 defense as well. Onside Tackle – Post up, and seal the DE . This is a turn block, and one of the keys to the play. If he can stand the DE up, and not allow him outside, then he has performed his assignment perfectly. We do know that sometimes this will not happen as planned, and we have many times been willing for the running back to bring it back inside. This has been especially true for the zone type of blocking on this play, and the ball came all the way back over the backside guard at times. Now lets cover the second co-operative scheme involving the fullback and the off-side guard. This is a simple read by the fullback, and the guard simply checks as how the fullback will handle his assignment. Fullback – The fullback checks the angle in which the ILB reacts to the play. We have seen inside linebackers crashing hard to the inside with the strong safety coming up quickly to support. This will also work in our favor, due to the fact that the fullback is instructed to chop the ILB. On the outside thigh when the ILB crashes. This is just like 18-19 except that this will be a LB. If the ILB comes up field, or gives ground slightly outside, the
fullback dips inside of him and checks for the force man. The force man will be cleaned up by the pulling guard.
Offside Guard – The co-op part of the guard’s assignment is to check the play of the fullback initially. This is the same quick, flat technique as to that of 18/19. The difference is that he will not really have to dip back to check his read. If he sees the fullback chop down on the OLB, he continues on to the outside and has the responsibility of the first man to show outside (normally a fast supporting DB). This flexibility was priceless for us, and served us well.
Onside Guard – Post up, and seal the DT. Same block, same type of principle involved. Center – This is another key block in this play, but you wouldn’t know it unless you ran this play to realize its importance. The Center on this play has to “double read” on this play, Lombardi called it the “look and see” block. We began having problems with either the inside linebacker blitzing up this hole, and chasing the play down from behind or that of the DT if left alone. Initially, Lombardi had this block built in, in which the center would check the LB for an immediate rush up that gap, if he did then the center was to block him. If the LB stayed at his depth, then he was to block down on the DT. The technique for the center is to wait for a fraction of a second
on the LOS. Actually, what the center does is key the ILB. If he goes to pursue the ball carrier, then the center is to block back on the DT. If the ILB blitzes over him, the center takes the ILB because he knows that the offensive tackle on the off-side has outside responsibility. Now, here is a key point. When the center feels that the ILB will blitz, he has the option of calling a “under” call, which will direct the off-side tackle to divert his charge to that of the first man between himself and the center.
Off-side Tackle – The technique of the off-side tackle will be either to post-up on the defensive end in front of him, or on the aforementioned “under” call be called upon to cut off the first man between himself and the center. The post-up here is actually a quick shoulder strike to the defensive end (if covered), then proceeding downfield to pick up a linebacker or defensive back. This is a technique to slow down pursuit, wherever and whenever possible. If the offside end is in a tight position, the tackle can execute a normal post-up technique on the DE. If he hears the “under” call, he knows that he must pull behind the pull technique of the off-side guard, and cut down the first man between himself and the center, or else either the DT or the ILB will make the tackle from behind for a loss. Off-side End ( Split End) –
If in a tight position, the split end is to release downfield and (a)pick up either a linebacker first, or (b)a defensive back to slow pursuit. If in a split position, then he is instructed to proceed downfield to pick up a defensive back.
In the above diagram, we show 16-17 against the 4-3 Over defense. This was one example of defensive alignments that was beginning to cause us problems with the design of the play. Another was the practice of bringing up DB’s from the secondary at the last second and began to “gap” our play. One defense had done this and several other schemes to jam up our running game. They succeeded in holding us to a strapping total of 74 yards! So, obviously, we had to find a solution. And we found it! We found that by adding another blocking scheme, and giving the QB the option to use it, greatly enhanced our capability to be successful. We found that by using the inside zone techniques all ready available to us, and using the fullback to kick out the end man on the LOS, it provided us with the answers. It wasn’t the use of the previous blocking scheme that began to give us problems. It was our over reliance on a couple of plays and falling into a coach’s worst nightmare, A play calling pattern! The following year, we had a fine young man who had amazing speed and phenomenal athletic ability, and he spearheaded our next championship runs. By zoning out the defense and picking off the end man, this gave us basically a running back who could break this play back over the weak side guard and make a defense pay for making mistakes. 16-17 broke 8 runs of 40+ yards that year. Don’t believe me? I had seen Roger Craig break the same runs out of 16-17. When a defense begins to break down in its gap defense assignments and begin to make mistakes, a good back can make them pay for it by finding the area that someone has hastily vacated. When discipline breaks down, then you will find all kinds of areas that a back with good vision can take advantage of. Below is one of the plays in which we began to see defenses that appeared to be chaotic in nature, but was effective. But, when breakdowns occur, even the best defenses give up big gains. This is example of a back bringing the play all the way back to the backside guard.
The rule here is very simple. We want to give the basic rule of “inside gap- man on”. When we face gap defenses, this is a easy way to block everyone “down” except for the end man. This is the point where if the defense makes a mistake, they really get burned. In conclusion, we have demonstrated that even this age old play from the Lombardi era is still used in West Coast offenses today. Walsh and Holmgren both had 16-17 in their playbooks and it is still a reliable play to move the ball with. It complements our sweep (our Marquis play), and can be adapted and improved upon. It was our conclusion that having a secondary method to blocking your favorite plays gave us more confidence in what we were already having success with. Every coach has a series of plays that he uses to work off his best play when it was either successful or watching defenses give up certain areas in which to stop it. 16-17 also provides those possibilities.
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