New Grantland: Tim Tebow and the 2-Point Conversion

It’s up over at Grantland:

Just after the snap and viewed from behind, you can see the problem for the Dolphins: everyone is squeezed inside. Indeed, after the game, many commentators wondered how the Dolphins were not looking for the quarterback draw. But that was the problem, as Miami coach Tony Sparano confirmed after the game: They were looking for the draw, which typically is a run up the middle where the linemen fake pass for a count before blocking. That’s why Miami’s defensive linemen had squeezed inside and the linebackers all looked that way too. What they weren’t looking for, however, was the quarterback power, and that’s what got them. In the image above, you can see the clear path for Zane Beadles, the pulling guard. Also, the one tricky block on the play is by the center, who must cut off the defender lined up over the guard; he executes this block and the backside is sealed.

Read the whole thing.

  • Anonymous


    I enjoy your work over at Grantland, but I’m struggling a little bit with today’s power piece on the Tebow two-point conversion.  

    As I always understood it, the power is defined by having two lead blockers at the point of attack: traditionally the fullback and off-side guard, while the playside line blocks down.  It is distinguished from a lead which has only one lead blocker.  

    Anyway, on Tebow’s run, the playside line blocks down, off-side guard pulls, but I don’t see a kick out block for the last guy on the line of scrimmage.  Fells, the TE on the play side, blocks down.  

    It’s cool if that’s now an accepted use of power to describe the down block/guard pull, but it only has one lead blocker, not two.  It’s a huge nitpick, but is this play now a power too?

    The power is near and dear to my heart.  It was the play we ran most, with the most success, in HS.  


  • Anonymous

    Call it what you will but to me the pulling guard scheme is “power.” You’re right that most two-back power schemes have a kick-out block, but even still that’s not always the case. In Wisconsin’s power scheme, they typically base block with the tight-end and just have two pullers, the first (the fullback usually) on the stronside linebacker and the second (the guard) on the middle linebacker.

    If you don’t like calling it power then you can call it a “G” scheme I suppose, but to me it’s power. Part of this is that I think you can teach power as a one-back play and then add in the second back kick-out later for versatility. Here’s a useful link on the one-back power.

  • Qresti

    Re: Tim Tebow and his prospects of becoming a successful NFL quarterback:

    How come nobody mentions Fran Tarkenton? He was basically just a scrappy, little quarterback who won a lot of games, but not the prototypical quarterback. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can see Tebow becoming another “Tarkenton-type” QB.

  • Mr.Murder

    Power applies to a double team at the attack point.  Linemen do double teams because trying to assume where a player who starts in space will end up when he begins off the ball is not something you can consistently anticipate. You don’t help linemen block with people who start deep off the line either because it is not a secure thing to try from safety or effectiveness standpoints. Thus you power the attack point to get movement, that opens space for a lead or a puller. Rarely do teams move people enough to run both blockers through the same hole these days. So you put the back to front side in case it bounces out and iso the puller inside to take care of the middle backer. That way the back gets a dual read and you still work effective double teams to the front as each backer to play side is accounted for.

    As told me by others who coach, the lead refers to the end man on the line being left for a down block or a double team block, and the isolation is a player going ahead through the inside hole to block, and power refers to actual double team at point.

    Meyer being at Tebow’s start, against a pretty bad Phins team, in the stadium team won high school and college titles, is the stuff made for a movie. Wonder if Urban gets acclimated to the pro sport with these durable spread passers and the systems that play to their strengths?

  • Rockelope

    Can you explain why the Dolphins sent the blitz to blow up a rollout from the offense’s right? Wouldn’t it be more likely that you’d roll Tebow left?

  • Mr.Murder

    Because Tebow got lazy in checking the backside, probably. Send pressure from where he doesn’t watch it. Most teams would prefer to let Tebow throw and get chances to hit someone or pick the pass off. Those blitzes were probably run blitzes and were aiming at some kind of constraint call if they thought the front side was solid enough(Denver has some trouble getting movement at the point). Squeeze the line, blow up the counter, and hope that Tim tries to run east-west either direction.

    If anything, the fact he’s an average quarterback now is testament to how well the Meyer system works for players who are more athletes than they are passers.

    Meanwhile Alex Smith came from the same offense and has matured into the system his 49ers now run. The WCO also features mobile passers to reset launch points and coordinate footwork to quicks. The quarterback can catch contain/force defenders in conflict with their assignments as he gets outside. Much of Vick’s best reps come from that ability to become the extra number to playside if he runs while still being able to use the whole field throwing.

  • Mr.Murder

    The end staying on his man is a way to control wrong arming. It  prevents penetration intent on spilling plays so the puller would become a null item. Otherwise your puller might get piled up. That should always be a feature against Big 10 teams, they are huge on assignment technique to match playing slower styles in bad weather games. Take away the direct run, spill the play out. If you leave the end unblocked he will read the puller and attack that. By staying with him it lets you wash him out to sidelines or pin him down the line so the end’s energy is used against him.

    Lead refers to leaving a player and having a kick out replace him.
    Power refers to double teams that get movement.
    G and O are guard tags to tell who pulls and where they go.
    Iso a blocker goes inside a run hole.
    Trap is like a lead but is someone on the interior instead of the edge.

  • Jtl5

    Tim Tebow is a sleeper pick this week.