The Daboll/Kafka Offense Part 4 - Under Center Runs

Under Center Run Game

Historically, the Bills have been a fairly heavy under center team while the Chiefs spent very little time in non-shotgun formations. Formations aside, the Bills and Chiefs have very similar running games. All of the blocking schemes below were run by both teams. Most of the schemes below were also run from the shotgun and often paired with RPOs to the backside.

I watched 3 games each for the Bills and Chiefs to try and get a feel for what Giants fans can expect.

The under center running game for the Bills is extremely varied. I generally try and get a feel for a base running play that the offense hangs its hat on and couldn't do it. I can't say categorically that the Bills were predominantly an inside or outside zone team. The running game is going to be unpredictable. If I were to use one word, it would be "Diverse".

It's very important to note that other than Inside Zone and Duo, the blocking schemes require athletic linemen that can pull as well as block LBs in space on Wide-Zone and Mid-Zone. Josh Ezeudu was clearly drafted with athleticism in mind. The running schemes may also spell trouble for Shane Lemieux. For those of us banging the the drum for Tyler Linderbaum, he would have been a good fit in this offense.

Also of note is the heavy incorporation of Fly Sweep Action for both offenses. Wan'Dale Robinson was clearly drafted to fill the role of Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill. I'm fairly certain that Kadarius Toney is going to fill the role of Mecole Hardiman/Gabriel Davis.

I was not terribly impressed with the Buffalo Bills offensive line. The offense would have been in big trouble without Josh Allen's athleticism. The blocking broke down A LOT.

The running schemes should be good news for Saquon Barkley. There will definitely be a concerted effort to get him the ball on the perimeter.

Zone Runs

Zone Blocking has the offensive line double teaming down linemen with one of the offensive linemen in the double team sliding off to block the LB. Generally, all of the linemen are stepping in the same direction. The playside guard may step initially backside to help the Center if there's a NT in the A Gap.

Inside Zone

Inside zone differs from Mid Zone and Wide Zone by the techniques of the linemen. Linemen in Mid Zone and Wide Zone are trying to move the defense laterally while the linemen in inside zone are using double teams to push the defensive linemen up the field. Inside Zone is more brute force, while Mid/Wide Zones are a little more finesse.

In all of the zone plays, the offense needs to account for the backside DE/OLB. In it's basic form, these plays don't block the edge player, and he can chase the play down from behind. This can be done in 3 ways:

  1. Naked booltleg pass by the QB. The Bills only ran boolegs off Mid/Wide Zone.
  2. Fly Motion is often used to hold the edge with the threat of the fly sweep.
  3. Split action bringing a TE across the formation to kick the DE out
  4. Blocking the edge with the TE when the play is away from strength.
Here, the Bills use Split action to block the DE.

Mid Zone

Middle Zone is generally run to the split end side of the formation. In Wide Zone, the playside OT is trying to hook the DE. In Mid Zone, he is trying to drive the DE to the sideline. In this diagram, the TE (Y) is cutting off the backside DE. The offensive linemen are trying to move the DL horizontally and this often allows for wide cutback lanes.

Outside Zone

Outside zone is always run to the TE side, If the DE/OLB gets hooked by the TE, the RB takes it outside. If not, the RB has a progression looking for the next available hole.


Duo looks like inside zone on paper, but the RB is running in the opposite direction of the offensive linemen. Instead of trying to reach the defenders, the OL is trying to seal them.

Fly Sweep

Fly Sweep is known as a "constraint" play. It's used when a DE/OLB starts getting nosey on inside run plays. If the DE is doing his job, he can stop the fly sweep. By using fly motion, the DE has to respect the fly sweep, and can't chase down inside runs.

Sweeps And Traps

Toss Crack

Toss Crack is reminiscent of the old USC "Student Body Right". It can be run with or without fly motion. Toss crack is always run from compressed receiver splits and bunch formations. This play is run pretty wide. The receivers are blocking down on the DE and LB, while the OG and OT pull and block the CB and Safety.

Pin & Pull

This is a staple of both the Chiefs and Bills. It's been an Andy Reid favorite for 20 years. Here, I'm showing Pin & Pull from the shotgun, but the blocking is the same. The pullers are determined by the front and the blocking angles for the offense. In some cases the center will pull. The center will typically make the call as to whom is going to pull. Pin & Pull is not run as wide as crack toss and RB's path will be in in the general vicinity of the TE.


When the 3 Technique DT is penetrating upfield, the trap play can be effective in slowing him down.


Wham will definitely give the 3 technique DT a headache. For the DT, the blocking scheme looks like Trap, but the TE pulls and traps the DE from the outside. This can turn into an earhole kill shot for the TE. Running a lot of trap and wham can turn the 3 technique into Wyle E. Coyote.

Other Plays

On occasion, the bills lined up in the I formation and ran toss sweep and Iso. They also ran an OT Wrap play that pulled the backside OT and had him lead the RB on an inside run.

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