One of the major benefits of basing your offense out of the Inside Zone and Power schemes is the ability to quickly change the play with simple tags. The Flat Tag is an easy tag that can change the appearance of the Inside Zone and get the ball in the hands of your playmaker in space.
Using the Flat Tag Off of Inside Zone
In the Inside Zone the offensive line will leave the backside C Gap defender unblocked. It becomes the Quarterback’s job to block him by reading where he is going and either handing off the ball or keeping it, depending on the defender’s actions.
As the Inside Zone Scheme has gained popularity defensive coaches have started to have this player slow play the mesh and make it a difficult read for the Quarterback. This can cause a problem for the Quarterback who hands off the ball only to have the defender make a tackle for a loss, or even worse, the Quarterback keeps it and gets hit by the C Gap Defender.
Related Content: Inside Zone Wham Series
One solution to defenses having their C Gap Defenders slow play the mesh is to block them. In a separate article we talk about the Wham tag that takes a blocker across the formation to block the C Gap Defender. This can lead to a major hit on the defender because if he is in a position to “slow play” the mesh he is not in a good position to take on a block.
The Flat Tag is the final, at least for now, step in the cat and mouse game between the defense and the offense. As defenders started to get wham blocked their coaches begin to realize that they will see the block coming and could wrong arm the block and take away any inside run that the offense attempted.
The solution to the wrong arm was the Flat Tag. In the Flat Tag the H Back would come across the formation and eye up the C Gap Player. As the defender catches sight of him he prepares to get blocked so he can wrong arm the blocker and spill any run play. At the last second the H Back will swerve around the C Gap Player and run a flat route. The result is that the Quarterback has an easy read, with a simple pitch and catch to the Flat route. This gives the player running the flat route the ball in space and allows him to gain yards after the catch.
Related Content: Wall Tag off of the Inside Zone
One of the key components in any offense is the ability to develop wrinkles that allow your core plays to work. The Flat Tag is a simple tag that takes very little time to install but will allow your offense to keep the Inside Zone as a staple of your offense and prevent the C Gap Player from giving the Quarterback false reads.