After looking at the Counter Trey in a previous post, I want to breakdown another variant we’ll see the Carolina Panthers run tonight during the biggest game in franchise history. The film is pulled from the Bengal’s 34-21 week-six victory over the Bills.
First, a quick review of the concept. The original Counter Trey was popularized by Joe Gibbs’ Washington Redskins teams of the 1980s. It falls under the ‘power’ run game umbrella, as it is gap-blocked, requiring offensive linemen to both down block and pull. The ubiquitous play is run at all levels of football in a variety of offensive systems.
An element of misdirection is built into the concept as the running back will take a hard jab-step away from the play’s direction, often causing hesitation and pulling linebackers away from the ball (known as an ‘influence’ step). Used in conjunction with zone-blocked plays such as inside zone, the concept is an outstanding constraint (adjustment) to defenses that key the running back’s flow for play direction and over-pursue the ball.
I chose to breakdown this particular play as it constantly shows up on Panthers’ film (and is a Hue Jackson favorite), and should work well against Denver’s aggressive edge rushers (Miller and Ware). When game-planning for edge rushers that fly off the line of scrimmage, ‘trap’ blocks are a must-have. The idea behind a trap block is simple; give the defender a free release at the line, then bring a blocker across the formation to ear hole him from the side. This eliminates the edge rusher’s ability to beat blocks by shooting gaps, creating havoc in the backfield before the blocks can develop.