This is one of the most commonly used RPO’s out there. Chip Kelly used variations of this play when he was head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. This is the Tight End Pop RPO. How does this play work?
- Pre-Snap: Since we have three receivers to the right, the QB is identifying the third defender from the sideline, excluding safeties. This usually ends up being a middle linebacker.
- Post-Snap: QB meshes with Running back. If the key defender dives in to fill on the run, the QB will throw the pop pass behind him. If the key defender freezes or drops into coverage, he will hand it off.
Running Back: He must have soft hands. He does not want to grab the ball out of the Quarterbacks hands. I have had this happen and we ended up fumbling. Let the QB give it to him. If he gets the ball, find daylight and go. If the QB pulls it, he must carry out his fake as if he has the ball and then find someone to block.
Z: Block man on the Cornerback.
A: Run screen pattern.
Y: Outside release, look for the ball quickly up the seam.
X: 5 Step hitch route.
Playside Tackle (Left Tackle): Zone block left, or man block the Defensive end.
Playside Guard (Left Guard): Zone block left to backer or man block the Nose. Combo with Center.
Center: Zone block left or man block the Nose. Combo with Guard.
Backside Guard (Right Guard): Man block Defensive Tackle.
Backside Tackle (Right Tackle): Man block Defensive End.
Varying the Formation
One of the great things about this play is that you can use any 3×1 structure to run it. Here is an example of the same play using a Tight End off of the Line of Scrimmage and a third Wide Receiver:
Varying the Running Play
This same play can also be run with a sweep to the running back. What would change? The QBs read is the same except that he will look of lateral movement towards the sweep side instead of downhill to fill the A gap. Either way, he is getting displaced from his pass drop assignment. The X receiver is now blocking first threat. The playside Offensive Linemen are blocking Outside Zone, or reach blocking as opposed to drive blocking. Everything else stays the same.