Sunday, June 26, 2016

3 Ways Green Bay uses Randall Cobb

A lot of talented players in the league are jealous of Randall Cobb.

Not only is he one of the most exciting players in the league at his position, but he’s also been blessed with an elite quarterback in Aaron Rodgers, a talented supporting cast of offensive skill players to take the pressure off, and a creative offensive mind in head coach Mike McCarthy.

Successful teams are made up of talented players, but great teams are made up of talented players and a coaching staff who manages to get the best out of them.

Successful teams are made up of talented players, but great teams are made up of talented players and a staff that knows how to coach and manages to get the best out of them.

In this post we’ll be taking a look at three of the many ways Green Bay uses Randall Cobb, and the reasons behind each play call.

As an outlet - Trap / Quick Flat RPO

Trap Quick Flat.png

This play, what we’ll refer to as the “quick flat screen” is becoming increasingly popular in the league for a couple of reasons.

First of all, the ball comes out of the quarterback’s hand incredibly quick, in many cases quicker than the bubble screen.

Even more than the speed of the throw is the speed with which the receivers can get out in front and block almost immediately.

One thing that can hamper the ability of receivers to be effective blockers out on the edge in their hesitation before the football is thrown, for fear of picking up an offensive pass interference penalty.

Since the receivers know the football is coming out of the quarterback’s hand right now, they can come off the line immediately and get in the face of the nearest defender and start blocking.

Another positive about this play is that the moment Cobb catches the football, he’s already at, or past, the line of scrimmage, whereas there are plenty of times where an aggressive defensive back has knifed in past the receivers and made the stop in the backfield.

Combine the quick flat screen with a normal run play up the middle and now the offense has another way to beat you.

Rodgers reads the alley defender’s movement just after the snap to make his final decision on what to do with the football.

In the backfield - Mesh / Wheel

Mesh Wheel.png

Putting a guy like Randall Cobb in the backfield accomplishes a lot of things.

For one thing, it makes it a lot tougher to disguise the coverage when an actual receiver is standing in the backfield.

Because the offense is aligned in a 3x1 set, it’s already stretched the coverage to the three-receiver side by alignment, and now instead of a tailback lined up right next to Rodgers, you’ve got an even bigger pass threat, a guy who knows how to get open against different kinds of zone coverages, and someone who isn’t a great matchup for most linebackers in the league to cover.

This is a well-designed play because it gives Rodgers the ability to sniff out the defense, and he has several different options so that he’s pretty safer no matter what the defense throws at him.

The great thing here is that Cobb’s wheel route serves a couple of purposes. Against any kind of edge pressure Cobb should expect the ball coming his way immediately while he’s still in the early stages of his route.

If there’s no extra pressure, Cobb can turn up the sideline and turn up the sideline and finish his route. Depending on the matchup and ability of the defense to squeeze the route to the sideline, Rodgers could take a shot down the field, but if not Cobb can still manage to clear out the coverage to the right side of the field and open up space for the crossing route behind him.

This is a fantastic play design all around, from the formation, to the placement of the personnel, to the way the routes fit together.

Getting him all alone in space - PA Cobb Option

Slot Option.png

This concept works because of the way all three routes develop at different depths.

To the trips side, the Z receiver starts widening as he gains depth on the wide hitch route. The angle on the route is a little wider than a standard hitch in order to create as much space for Cobb’s route in the slot as possible, and stretch a defender who would be trying to cheat and play both routes at the same time.

To the single receiver side, the dig route is timed to come open late and into the window where the safety may have rotated over to play over the top of Cobb’s option route.

The play fake times up the drop for Rodgers so that he can release the football as soon as the Z receiver starts breaking to the outside.

Now we come to the option route itself with Cobb. Coaches talk all the time about how to create space for their best players, and this play is set up to do just that.

It’s a common practice to set up a playmaker in the middle of the field with lots of space to either side of him, as well as breaking on the routes at different depths, so that it’s even harder for defenders to play multiple routes.

Once Cobb gets to his assigned depth at ten yards, he’ll most likely be matched up against a single defender, in which case he just finds the best angle and works away from him to get open.

If for some reason he’s covered by the time he makes his break, Rodgers can find the dig route coming open at 15 yards, or even dump off to the back on the checkdown.


These are all great examples of creativity on offense, but having the ability to move guys like Cobb around, and making a consistent effort to get him the football is more important than any one single scheme.

Players win games, and more often than not, coaches lose them, but having a coherent, consistent system with answers for what the defense will throw at you will leave you in great shape in any situation your team finds itself in.

About the Author

As a writer who spent a period of time coaching high school and college football, Alex Kirby loves talking the X's and O's of the game, and prides himself on his ability to simplify the important details of the action without dumbing down his analysis. Many books, including his "Every Play Revealed" series, contain information that you simply can't find anywhere else. Alex can be found on Twitter at: @AlexJKirby

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spread Offense Membership Portal Opens - Certification On The Horizon

Hey Folks! It's a start of a new era here at, we have launched the final piece of our online properties focused on the spread offense in football.

Since we opened our doors in late 2007, this was what I had in mind for all those coaches and players out there that were passionate like I am about learning and evolving with the spread offense at any level.

I invite you to become a member of our Exclusive Coaches and Players Membership Portal, which will be the online platform for learning, development, and education for our 2012 Spread Offense Certification Program for Coaches and Players.

Our main site, will continue to offer the same quality (free) content, but our hope is that those of you who are serious about taking your education, preparation, and knowledge of the spread offense to the next level will join our new membership portal.

We are lining up as we speak quality coaches from all levels to be a part of the certification program and membership portal. We will continue to grow this new portal until we create the ultimate library of videos, articles, diagrams, podcasts, webinars, practice planners, install manuals, playbooks, etc... All focused on the spread offense in football.

Stay tuned... and in the meantime, be one of the early pioneers who will begin absorbing the knowledge required to become a Certified Spread Offense Coach or Player. Membership will provide you the required materials at a discounted rate in order to prepare for our 2012 certification programs.

Keep spreadin 'em!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Intro To The Spread Offense Video - Part II

Hey Folks!

I wanted to share our most recent video release, our continuation of the Introduction To The Spread Offense (Part 2 of a 3 part series).

Here's the video on YouTube:

We'll have one more 'Intro' video (Part III), focusing on the offensive line, in particular their line splits and stance from Tackle to Tackle, and then some other landmark positioning teaching with the skill guys.

After that, we'll be ready to get after it as the foundation will have been laid for most coaches at any level.

Thanks again for all the great feedback, and make sure to sign up for our newsletter if you haven't already, as well as our Facebook and Twitter pages, which we post to daily.

Keep spreadin' em!

-- Mark

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spread Offense Video Series Preview

Hi Folks,

It's an exciting day here at, we finished the editing on our 'preview' video for our upcoming original content video series on the spread offense.

Here's the video:

Since we opened our doors in late 2007, the main website, our .tv video portal, and this blog have continued to grow, and that is because of you, our loyal audience... thank you.

Feel free to drop us a line as to what you would like to see in our video series, we plan to start 'In the beginning...' like the bible reads... and take this thing all the way to the inner depths of the spread offense, leaving no coach at any level behind. Oh.. and keep sending us any live spread offense game or practice video content you'd like us to use for live examples, etc...

We also have this 'preview' video posted on You Tube, see it here and 'spread it around' to all of your football coaching friends and players.

Keep spreading 'em!


Friday, March 18, 2011

Wildcat Power

Hey folks! Here's a great video of the classic Arkansas wildcat/wildhog set run by Gus Malzahn (Offensive Coordinator) and David Lee (QB Coach) in 2007. You'll see Darren McFadden and Felix Jones (both having solid careers in the NFL) as the single wing quarterbacks in this video running 'Power' off of jet sweep action.

Wildcat 2007 power @ Courtesy of Brophy's Football Blog

If you're starting to plan your 2011 season offensive sets and you have a few stud runners who have what it takes to accept a shot gun snap, think about adding the wildcat into your arsenal.

It's a great way to get your QB off the field for a few plays to discuss some things and can be a great change of pace for your offense.

Keep spreading 'em!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Video: New Clemson Spread Offense - QB Bubble Screen Drills

I found this nice QB drill video, courtesy of the Orange and White blog covering Clemson University sports .

You'll see new Offensive Coordinator Chad Morris drilling his quarterbacks on the bubble screen throwing mechanics to the left and right. I like how he makes a verbal coaching point about a baseball player, which is what I learned years ago when Rich Rodriguez used an analogy of your quarterback needing to be like a middle infielder in baseball on the bubble screen 'turning the double play' on his throws.

Chad Morris working with QBs during Clemson spring practice

Keep spreading 'em!

- Mark

Spread Offense - How To Run

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Spread Offense In Youth Football

There are many youth football coaches that will shy away from the spread offense. The main reason why is the snap. Coaches tend to be scared of fumbled and/or mishandled snaps. When coaches hear the word “spread” they think passing offense.

There is a lot more to the spread offense than just 4-5 wide. The “myth” that shotgun snaps are fumbled often is completely wrong. I do not agree with the “myth” that the spread offense is a passing offense only and that it cannot be used in youth football. I have been coaching youth football for ten seasons, seven of which I have been coordinating the offense.

Here are my statistics of fumbles out of my shotgun vs. under-center series:

* Since 2007 I have had roughly (give or take) 400 shotgun snaps, QB mishandled nine, lost one
* I had over 300 snaps under center since the 2007 and had ten fumbles, four lost
I lost twice as many fumbles in my under center series than my shotgun series. With efficient practice reps there will be no snapping issues. What I like about the spread is that the quarterback can see the field and the defense much easier. Say the defense is showing blitz, quarterbacks tend to pull out early from under center and fumble, because they are anxious about the blitzing defense. The shotgun not only gives the quarterback time to see the field, but it also makes him a threat to run the ball.

Spreading the defense out will create some key advantages:

● Make the defense defend the whole field
● Make them defend multi threats (5-6 threats in each play)
● The wide splits create natural running lanes and easy blocking angles inside (base blocking is useless in youth football).
● Great blocking angles out on the flanks
● Isolate “stud” defensive players
● Makes defenders tackling in space (extremely difficult)
● Easy read of the defense, allows a real good look where you out man or flank the defense. This will allow you to call a play where you have the advantage
● Spread them out!! When you spread the defense out and use a motion it will freeze the defense, allowing you to only have to block three-four defenders to gain yardage

Using motion is a great way to get the ball carrier the ball in full stride, while working the edge of the defense. Make the defenders tackle in the open field. You can also use the motion to deceive the defense.

This is a no huddle friendly offense; let the defense dictate how we will attack and beat them. If the defense wants to load the box, here comes bubble screen, sweep or play action pass. Say the defense wants to spread out with our offense and gives us a “soft box” then we hit them with; draw, trap and power all day.

The screen game is really underrated, bubble, smoke/tunnel, and pull screens are killers. I do not have to tell coaches how hard it is to get their players tackling well in space. You need to work three to four centers snapping from day one for depth. Yes it does take time and reps but once they get comfortable with it, the spread offense will be a complete nightmare for coaches to stop.

Our philosophy is the spread offense at the youth level is a run first offense, the run sets up the pass.

I would like to thank for allowing Youth Football Online to do a guest blog.

" is definitely the best source about the spread offense on the web."

Contact Coach Jeff via email at:

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Empty Spread Pass - Reading The Leverage Points

Hey Folks! I found this nice video that shows the importance of leverage points that quarterbacks and receivers need to read pre and post snap and be on the same page with versus defenders within the spread offense pass game.

Lets take a look at the video and I'll explain the leverage reads below:

In this video, we have a 2nd and 10 down and distance, ball on the left hashmark and the offense is in an empty formation (3 to the field / 2 to the boundary).

Now while working with your quarterbacks and receivers, they need to recognize the pre-snap and post-snap leverage points of the defenders related to their receivers. In this situation, notice the #2 receivers on both sides of the formation and their respective defenders.

The defenders are both in an inside shade, basically giving the #2 receivers the quick speed out for an easy 5-6 yard pitch and catch. Now of course even as important is the play of the cornerbacks and safeties (safeties are two high in this situation, showing a Cover 2/Cover 4 look and the Corners are soft, 5-6 yards off the #1 receivers with a slight outside shade).

Now the only thing that can disrupt the easy speed out to the #2 receivers would be if the corners quickly jumped the flats (which they could do considering Cover 2 principles), but based on the the post snap read, the quarterback needs to detect that the corners are opening their hips to defend the deep vertical by the #1 receiver, leaving the flats open (at least to the boundary in this case). My assumption would be Stanford in this situation was defending some sort of vertical or 'double move' to a vertical deep slant by the #3 receiver to the field, thus playing more of a Cover 4.

Just a nice coaching point to run by your quarterbacks and receivers when studying film with your guys - read the leverage points pre-snap and post-snap (because we know defenses will change leverage points post-snap) and don't be afraid to snap off a route sooner or re-route to beat the leverage.

Keep spreading 'em!


Monday, January 17, 2011 Newsletter - Football Coaches Survey

Dear Football Coaches and Spread Offense Fans,

Please take the time to read our latest newletter which contains a Coaches Survey that will take you less then 15 minutes to fill out. It is an important item in allowing us to offer you the best possible information and services.

Spread Offense Newsletter Link - Click Here

Keep spreading 'em!


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oregon's LaMichael James 2010 Spread Offense Highlights

Hey Folks! Happy New Year. I hope you all had a great holiday season and are enjoying the bowl games. No bowl game brings out the best of the spread offense then the 2011 BCS national title game that will be held on January 10, 2011 with Oregon and Auburn matching dynamic offenses.

Here's a highlight video of the Oregon Ducks running back LaMichael James, who was a heisman candidate for the 2010 season.

Enjoy the game Monday night, and keep spreading 'em!

-- Mark

How To Run The Spread Offense

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Mississippi State Spread Offense - 2010

Besides the BCS National Title Game on January 10th, 2011 (Oregon and Auburn), the second most anticipated spread offense match-up that I am looking forward to watching is the 2011 Gator Bowl on January 1, 2011 that matches the University of Michigan versus Mississippi State University.

Not only are these two great spread offense teams, this game has arguably two of the best spread offense coaches, Rich Rodriguez and Dan Mullen.

Here's a video below of every offensive snap by MSU in a game versus Kentucky this past regular season:

Coach Mullen has some of the best power and counter run schemes out of the shot gun spread offense. He exemplifies the philosophy that a spread offense run game can be a smash mouth concept.

Keep spreading 'em!

- Mark

Bringing pressure from the field versus a Spread Offense

Hey Folks! Below is a nice instructional video detailing a blitz package (called a: field dog) from the field or wide side used by Virginia Tech University against a spread offense. Coach Bud Foster is without a doubt one of the best defensive coaches in college football.

Keep spreading 'em and defending 'em!


Defending The Spread Offense Resources

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Youth Football Spread Offense | Highlights

Hey Folks! I love getting emails and calls from youth football coaches who are interested in implementing the spread offense. They usually come with some hesitancy that the execution of the shot gun snap may be to much to handle physically, or the quarterback can not handle the nuances of the offensive packages mentally, etc...

That's why I love when I'm able to post videos like this, showing youth football players executing the spread offense and having great success.

The only coaching tip I would give is to the Quarterback (#8) in the first segment. On the hand-off plays (traps, sweeps) to the tailback, the QB should always carry out his run fake hard after handing the ball off, especially if you're a good running QB. As we know, football is a game of inches and if you can make the defense hesitate just a split second on a carry out fake, that can be the difference between a 5 yard gain and a 50 yard touchdown.

I compliment the offensive line play by these young guys, like at any level, it all starts upfront at the line of scrimmage.

Keep spreading 'em!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

A Wild Game - Michigan vs Illinois 2010

Hey folks! Just in case you hadn't seen this game last month, here's a video below of the spread offense fest between Michigan and Illinois. The game went into triple overtime, with Michigan finally prevailing 67-65.

Keep spreading 'em!


Monday, November 15, 2010

The Shot Gun Spread Wing-T Offense - QB Plays

Hey folks! One of the things that gets me real excited is when coaches take a certain element of one offense, in this case the Delaware Wing-T (which was the first offense I ran as a coach way back in 1993 thru 1995) and blend it with the shot gun spread offense.

In the video below, you'll see highlights of wing-t plays ran solely out of the shot-gun (trips) formation, with the dual threat QB executing the run plays usually run by the tailback.

Knowing that by using the quarterback as the predominant runner, they gain an extra blocker within the offensive scheme, which is always a positive in the spread offense on QB runs.

Keep spreading 'em!

-- Mark