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Anatomy of a Redskins play: Pistol Weak Right Hug X Right 15 Wanda Tiger Sift

This is the final play I heard on NBC show 'NFL Turning Point'. It just so happens to be one of the Redskins most effective option running plays. The Redskins started the year using the simple zone read play, which I expect all of you know by now. Defenses soon caught on to it and looked to the college game to see how to stop it. What they found was the 'Scrape Exchange'. This calls for the unblocked defensive end to crash on the run, forcing the quarterback to keep the ball. Then a linebacker is assigned with coming off the edge to tackle the quarterback, just like in the image below.



As more and more teams committed to 'scraping', the Redskins came up with a way to block it. One of those plays is called 'Pistol Weak Right Hug X Right 15 Wanda Tiger Sift'.


The Redskins line up in the Pistol formation. Tight end Logan Paulsen lines up to the right side of the offensive line, with fullback Darrel Young to the weak side of the formation. The play calls for the 'X' receiver to motion right, as you can see in the picture above.


The play is a designed option run. the term '15 Wanda' tells the offensive line and running back that this is an inside zone running play, with an option for the quarterback to keep it. The Redskins inside zone plays are usually numbered 14 or 15 depending on direction. Even numbers are runs to the right while odd numbers are runs to the left.

As with most option plays, the Redskins leave the defender responsible for the backside of the play, in this case outside linebacker Anthony Spencer, unblocked.


While the ideal design of the play is for Robert Griffin III to hand it off, he has the option to keep it depending on the read of that backside defender. Should he crash down, Griffin will keep it to the outside. But the twist on this option play is Darrel Young. 'Tiger Sift' calls for him to cut back across the offensive line.


But he won't be blocking Spencer, remember they want to leave him unblocked. Young will run straight at Spencer, making him believe that he's going to be blocked and that the ball is being handed off.


At the last second, Young slips free of Spencer and arc's around the corner. With Spencer drawn into the run and crashing inside, Griffin makes the correct read and pulls the ball to keep himself.


Young is in the perfect position to block any potential scraping linebacker, but Dan Connor was fooled into thinking the ball was handed off. That allowed Young to continue forward as a lead blocked.


This is the point that Griffin dived to the ground. Obviously he's protecting that gimpy knee, but I personally think if he was healthy, this play would have gone for a touchdown. Young is in position to block the safety, and Griffin normally would have had the speed to out-run anyone else.

This concept of arc blocking by Young is how the Redskins are dealing with the scrape exchange. Defenses will have to come up with a new way to stop the Redskins option game. Otherwise, plays like 'Pistol Weak Right Hug X Right Wanda Tiger Sift' will continue to be successful.