The Runway Formation
The Runway Formation is a great formation for getting the ball in the hands of a dynamic receiver. The set up of the formation is designed to create a great surface for running the Jet Sweep to either side of the formation while also allowing for the offense to run the ball between the tackles. The result is a formation that creates run threats across the whole width of the line of scrimmage.
The setup of the formation is very difficult to defend because of the variety of different threats it poses. On the wide side of the field (right in this diagram) there is the immediate threat of Trips. The defense has to honor this by having enough defenders outside to stop basic route combinations. This means, even with the #3 receiver being inside the Tackle, the defense needs to have 3 players outside of the Tackle on this side of the field. In addition to the three potential receivers to the wide side of the field the Tight End to the short side of the field adds an extra gap that the defense must account for in the run game. In addition the H Back can motion over to add a second gap and really threaten the defense to the short side of the field.
Attack the Entire Line of Scrimmage with the Runway Formation
When Jet motion is added to the formation it goes from a tough formation to align to, to an almost impossible formation to align to. The first play from this formation, excluding the quick game to the outside that is always an option if the defense does not honor the threat of three receivers to the wide side of the field, is the jet sweep. One of the most popular ways to get to the Jet Sweep has been to have the line block away from it. Against a well coached team this will take the defenders away from the play and give the Jet runner an extra step to get around the edge. We prefer to run our Jet Sweep with the line blocking Power Away.
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If the linebacker is reading his guard it will pull him away from the Jet Sweep. The one difference is that we want the Backside Tackle to step down hard to bring the defensive end inside. A good defensive end is taught that when his tackle steps down he needs to step down. We use this rule to get our Jet Sweep past the Defensive End. The Tight End to that side is going to ensure that the Defensive End does not chase the ball upfield by arch blocking. He will take the End if he comes upfield but if the End does not come upfield he will arch to the first threat which will probably be a Cornerback coming off the edge. The Backfield will fake Power to set up the complimentary play in this formation.
The next play in this series is to adjust to the defense if the linebackers are shifting over to the Jet Motion. If the linebackers are shifting over to the Jet Sweep they are taking numbers away from the backside where we can use our Power play to run the ball between the tackles. Here we will run the Jet Motion but instead of handing the ball off to the Jet Sweep player we will hand the ball off to the F running Power on the right side of play. Besides where the Quarterback goes with the ball everything else will remain the same.
These two plays are a dangerous combination because they can force the defense to respect the full width of the field. The Runway Formation allows the offense to make simple adjustments to combat how the defense is overplaying a particular formation.