5 Great Passing Concepts out of Double Tight-end Formations

5 Great Passing Concepts out of Double Tight-end Formations

When offenses come out in a Double Tight-end formation everyone thinks ‘ground and pound’. However, there are several great passing concepts out of double tight-end formations. Play-action concepts are great for utilizing athletic Tight-ends. When you have a good Tight-end he is very difficult for defenses to defend. More times than not, defenses lose track of a Tight-end and he ends up wide open. Here are the 5 Great Passing Concepts out of Double Tight-end Formations:

Here are 5 Great Passing Concepts out of Double Tight-end Formations

Power Pass

Double Wing Power Pass

The Power Pass out of the Double Wing Formation is a great two man route concept. This play hits big if executed on a run down and distance. The base play in the Double Wing is the Power and this Power Pass is a great complement. After you gut the defense with the Power, you hit them with this Power Pass. Most of the time the CB will get caught looking at backfield action and the TE will be wide open on the Corner route. This is a two man route concept that gives the QB a simple two read progression. The QB first looks to hit the TE on the Corner route. If the Corner route isn’t open, he looks to hit the backside Tight-end on the Drag route.

Coaching Points

  • O-line blocks Inside-Over pass blocking rules.
  • The backside Tight-end runs his drag just above linebacker level and continues into the field.
  • This pass is best executed to the wide side of the field.
  • Excellent fakes need to be executed.

Counter Pass


Counter Pass

This Counter Pass has been a staple pass play for us whenever we run the Split-back Formation. This is a nasty play that really has two run fakes, then the QB has three options. This is an excellent concept against any coverage. It has a flood element to beat zone coverage ( high-low concept) and the Corner route and Flat route are great against man to man coverage. This three man route concept will give your QB easy options and will give him an answer for pretty much any defense. The QB’s progression starts with the play-side TE running the Corner Route. If the Corner route isn’t open he looks to hit the Post. If the Post isn’t open, the QB looks to hit the 3 in the flat. Most of the time the 3 will be wide open as long as he gets a free release into the flat. Sometimes he gets hit or even tackled if the run fake is good.  The 4 will secure the backside of the QB.

Coaching Points 

  • O-line blocks Inside-Over pass blocking rules.
  • Make sure your Tight-ends drive their routes up the field and then break into their route.
  • If you want to go with more of a max protection, just have the 3 block instead of going into the flat.
  • Make sure your QB opens to the left, but you don’t want him coming off of the midline.


Smash out of I Formation

The goal of the Smash Concept is to put the flat defender in conflict, which is usually the CB (zone coverage). Against man to man the Z will run a Smash route and the Tight-end will go over the top. This is another great play-action concept that can be executed out of pretty much any formation. In my opinion, the Smash Concept is one of the best concepts in football. I like this play executed from the I-formation because it gives you two run fakes, while still allow you to max protect. The F will block backside and the T will block play-side. Against man to man coverage the S will usually be responsible for that play-side TE. So when you execute a run fake at him he will usually bit up and the TE will beat him over the top. Sometimes that safety will help cover the Corner route so you can have the backside TE run a Post. If that safety flies out of the there to help on the Corner route you can hit the defense with the backside Post. The QB’s progression starts with the TE running the Corner route. If the Corner route isn’t open the QB looks to the backside Post. Most of the time the Z will just run the Smash to hold the CB.

Related Content: Smash Passing Concept and Variations

Coaching Points 

  • Great run fakes are needed from the T and F.
  • Make sure the QB doesn’t take himself too far off of the midline. QB Opens to the left, then fakes to the T then goes through his progression.
  • Inside-Over pass blocking rules for the offensive line. If you want an extra blocker just have the backside TE pass block rather than go out for a pass.
  • The Z running the Smash needs to run a great route then turn and put his hands out like he is ready to catch the football. It will help hold the CB.

Boot / Tight-end Drag

Tight-end Drag Concept

This is a concept that an opponent ran on us two years ago. We knew it was coming from scouting but they still were able to complete it. It’s a very difficult concept to defend. The QB will show run action to the left, then roll out to the right. Most of the time the defense will overflow to the run fake side, giving the QB room on the boot back action. The Tight-end executes a Drag route, just above the linebacker level- he must continue his route to the field. If it is zone coverage, you can have him sit in the hole between the flat and hook zone. The Z will execute an outside release and run off the cornerback (clear out). The QB will look to hit the TE dragging across the field. If that isn’t open, the QB can run the ball. This is a great play because even if they have a flat or outside defender he will be put in conflict because he has to respect the TE and the QB as a running threat- he can’t cover both! This is also a great blitz beater and a great way to hurt overaggressive defenses. I’m a huge fan of this play after it beat us twice. You wouldn’t think so, but for some reason it always works- especially when it is executed on a run down and distance.

Related Content: Get Your Tight-end Involved in the Passing Game | 6 Passing Concepts

Coaching Points 

  • Great fakes need to be executed.
  • After the QB fakes, he needs to boot with some depth so that if they blitz off of the edge he will give himself time.
  • The Z needs to outside release and get vertical fast! He is responsible for clearing out the CB.
  • You can also have the right TE execute an Out route. This will stretch the defense horizontally and give the QB another option.
  • Inside-Over pass blocking scheme/rules.
  • Be aware of edge pressure. A disciplined edge pressure player could be right there when the QB turns to boot.


Quick Out Concept

Here is another passing concept that always works- the Go-out passing play! We run this out of our Wing T and it has been money every single year. As with all these other plays, this play is great on run down and distances. This play executes a run fake  right at the S who will be responsible for the TE. He either will aggressively play the run and get beat by the TE or he’ll sit back and watch  his tight-end and get the ball ran down his throat. He can’t play his run fit and cover the Tight-end on an Quick Out route- he cannot do both. The Z will execute an outside release and run the CB off (clear out). The backside TE will run a Seam route, also known as a TE Quick Pop. If you see the defense is loading up a blitz you can have the QB just throw it to the TE on the Quick Pop.

Coaching Points

  • The QB looks to hit the TE on the Quick Out. He must execute a good run fake, then plant and throw. The ball needs to come out quickly.
  • If you want extra pass protection you can have backside TE just pass block (not run the Pop Pass).
  • Inside-Over pass blocking rules (offensive line).


Those are our 5 Great Passing Concepts out of Double Tight-end Formations. All of these plays are easy to execute and work very well on the youth football level. All of these concepts are off of play-action and are best executed when the defense thinks you are going to run. All of these passing concepts work against pretty much any coverage. Good luck and stay healthy!

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