New Grantland: The Kansas City Chiefs and the Counter Trey

It’s up over at Grantland:

At the snap, the Chiefs line up with one wide receiver, a fullback set to the offense’s left, and a tight end and H-back to the right. The strong side of the formation is to the offense’s right, but the fullback to the left is in position to block someone on either side. This presents a problem for the defense. Because they keep two safeties back (not pictured), they have a difficult time matching numbers to each side of the offense’s formation. Not counting the center and defensive nose guard, there are three defenders to the offense’s left to deal with three potential blockers, and four defenders to the offense’s right to deal with four potential blockers. But the counter trey brings two blockers from the backside to completely overwhelm the defense at the point of attack. (And, of course, the defense already had issues in not having counterparts for all of the offense’s blockers.)

Read the whole thing.

  • another way is to pull the backside guard and the tackle and have the fullback go left. The benefit is you still have two blockers at the point of attack and you initially have lbs going the wrong way because of primary reads.

  • Will

    Chris, you might have also mentioned that the “counter” step is what sucked the MLB into the wash at the line, leaving him unable to flow to the RB after the cut.

  • John Phamlore

    Pulling both the backside guard and tackle is the classic counter trey that would have been run by say Joe Gibbs and the Redskins?  But I am not sure that in this era of the NFL many teams would have both a guard and a tackle athletic enough to pull on a running play.

  • footballnoob

    Is this not essentially the same function of the Power-O play? The differences being in formation and that a full back and guard help instead of just a guard as in the Power-O?

    Also, what does “Counter Trey” mean?

  • Paul Meisel

    noob — counter refers to the running back motion — he starts a step to the other side, then comes back.  For us old guys, “counter” was pretty much any play that started in one direction with a primary key and then went the other.

    trey, in gibbs terminology (and some others) referred to a double team or combo between the tackle and tight end — deuce was tackle guard, ace was guard center.  The play became famous running to the strong side working on a 5 tech, I guess, otherwise we’d have heard announcers talking endlessly about the counter deuce.

    Lots of teams run the basic concept with different schemes of who pulls and who kicks out, and also with a counter step (counter) and without (Power, Power O, Dave).  It’s like gumbo, everyone’s got their own recipe.