Integrating Relief Throw RPOs into the Flexbone System

Jan 19, 2020 | Offense, Pre-Snap Relief Throws, RPO's

By Scott Dieterich
Offensive Assistant Coach
Zachary High School (LA)
Twitter: @deterball



As a long-time flex bone offensive coach, there are a few things I need to begin this report with to help the reader understand the “why” and not just the “what” of this article. Just as there are many different varieties of the modern spread offense, the same can be said for today’s modern flex bone offenses. It’s safe to say that most flex bone offenses are similarly deeply rooted in a few core plays (i.e. triple option and midline options etc.), but there are many subtle differences within different versions of the flex bone offense. Some of these differences are not always easily noticeable but they can include aspects such as the types of complementary plays used, the type and frequency of the passing game, as well as the use of formations, motions, and personnel.

The focus of this article will be the Quick Passing Game in the flex bone offense with a focus on the QB’s decision-making within this series. I, personally as a player and now as a coach have always believed in the Quick Passing Game. I believe that there is a place in just about every offensive system for the Quick Passing Game. And even though I have never met a flex bone coach that decided on running the flex bone offense mainly so he could run a quick passing game, I still firmly believe it belongs for many reasons that will be pointed out in this article. Please notice that I will refer to this passing series as the “Quick” passing game because it is not limited to only a true 3-step drop by the QB. This is a very simple yet versatile passing game for the flex bone offense, one that I have used for over 20 years. I hope that you find this article beneficial to you in some way to help you with your offense.


Passing Game Offensive Optimums:

NOTE: The flex bone offense also achieves these optimums on nearly every play.

  1. (4) eligible receivers aligned at or near the LOS on nearly every snap and still having the threat of an effective run game present.
  2. Basic coverage looks that are easy to Identify – also predictable and Very little True Cover 2.
  3. A lot of 1 on 1 coverage – Good if the match-ups favor you of course.
  4. Minimal stunts and blitzes from the defense; and the ones they do run are mostly run blitzes and not exotic pass rush schemes and games.
  5. 8- and 9-man defensive fronts whose 1st priority is to Stop the Run!
  6. The secondary defenders are in a run/pass conflict on nearly every snap vs this offense.


Benefits of Quick Passing Game in The Flex Bone Offense:

In general, as a coach, I don’t mind thinking outside of the box, especially when I feel like it gives our players the best chance for success. Many flex bone coaches may view their passing game as one of “feast or famine” meaning they will ONLY throw the ball when they feel like the defense is over-playing their run game and these throws are typical of the deep variety (feast or famine). This mindset typically leads to a play-action passing attack that has big-play potential but is also low percentage in nature.

Below is a list of "why's" that I believe that the quick passing game not only fits in the flex bone offense but also enhances the offense's productivity overall:

  1. The quick passing game is typically short, safe, and high % throws that plays to a flex bone QB’s passing abilities. This is the 1st part of our passing game that we install since it is the easiest and most inexpensive part of our passing game.
  2. It takes the pressure off the run game and gets the ball into open space on the perimeter without us having to read our way out.
  3. For us the quick passing game uses the same basic protection scheme that we use with most of our overall passing game, therefore this is not an expensive addition to the offense.
  4. The reads for the QB are very simple and 99% coverage proof. Most of the time the QB knows exactly where he is going with the ball before the snap. Note: There are times when the QB has more than (1) a good way to go with the football on his decision-making.
  5. The quick passing game is an excellent part of our hurry-up or 2-minute offense, especially for quick-out routes to work the sidelines and the clock.
  6. It gets Wide Receivers involved in the offense as a receiver and runner. Our WR’s must embrace blocking, but if you have a good athlete or if you just have a good opportunity to get them the ball in space then this enhances their contributions to the offense.
  7. Our quick passing game has some easy to add complements that make this a true package within the offense itself. These complements include QB Draw, Quick Perimeter Screens, and the majority of our Red Zone Passing Game. This article will look at each aspect of the quick passing game except for the QB Draw.
  8. The quick passing game mostly puts the run game defenders in conflict and forces the pass game defenders (corners) to come up and make tackles in space.
  9. It is very flexible in terms of the routes and depths that we can incorporate in this passing game series. We will utilize many different drops that will marry up to the route and depth of the route that we are running. We can and will use a 1-step, 2-step, 3-step normal, 3-step fast and hold, and a 3+ step drop as necessary within this series.
  10. The quick passing game can easily be protected with a safety net by packaging a run, or a route conversion to the route, or receiving sideline help to decide if the defensive look is not favorable for it.