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Charting the Seattle Seahawks' 2012 red-zone offense

Otto Greule Jr

DK note: You may have already seen this over at but the Starving Scout himself has been gracious enough to allow me to publish a little bit of his analysis here! Some really interesting nuggets below, so enjoy.

I charted every Seattle Seahawks Offensive play call in the Red Zone. For this report the Red Zone is considered from the opponent's 25 yard line to the Goal Line. Below is a quick breakdown of what I saw by personnel grouping. Since I also charted every Seahawks Red Zone snap from 2011, I have put glaring differences in parenthesis to show the evolution of the Offense.

Favorite Play

As was the case with the 2011 Season, the Outside Zone Run (or tackle zone) is the Seahawks favorite play in 2012, by far.

It should be assumed going forward that the Outside Zone is the primary running play in each of the subsequent personnel groupings. They will run it with a lead blocking Fullback (out of 21, 22, or 23 personnel) or out of Single-Back sets (in 11 and 12 personnel). Marshawn Lynch excels at turning this play into a big gain.


Terminology is from a Dick LeBeau playbook; i.e. "U" is the 2nd TE, "W" is the third receiver (slot), and "M" is the move TE in three tight end sets. Also, the "F" is fullback in 2 back sets & the H is the halfback but if there is only one running back on the field he is referred to as F. It seems weird but that's how LeBeau does it.

11 Personnel: 72 Plays (Run-27, Pass-45)

11 Personnel Philosophy:

Outside/Inside Zone Runs, Read Option, Vertical Concept, Corner Concept, Drag Concept, Quick-Game Concept. Primary Target(s): W Vertical, W Slant, X Vertical

11 Personnel Formation Tendencies:

50% of the time they will be in a Trips Set of some type.
70% of the time it will be a Shotgun formation. (50% in 2011)
5 times they lined up in a Trips Speed formation

11 Personnel Alternate Y Line-up Locations

Y Off-15 Times
Y Crack-5 Times
Y Wide-9 Times
Y Deep-5 Times

11 Personnel Types of Motion (with Play in Parenthesis):

F2 (X Hitch)
W (Inside Zone, Z slant, Y Flag, X Post, Z Slant)
X-In (QB Sweep, Read-Option)
Y (Inside Power Run, Inside Zone)
Y-In (PA Flood, Z Comeback, Toss, F Angle, Y Out)
Y-Yoyo (Play Action Read-Option, Read-Option)

11 Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets

F-Check, Angle, Flat
W-Vertical, Flag, Slant, Bubble, Hook, Fade
X-Hitch, Cross, Flag, In, Slant, Fade, Vertical
Y-Curl, Flag, Vertical, Out
Z- Swing, Fade, Vertical, Cross, Slant, Curl, Comeback, Flag

12 Personnel: 41 Plays (Run-24, Pass-17)

12 Personnel Philosophy:

Constraint Plays, Three-Level Concept, Corner Concept, Zone Runs with U as a lead/trap blocker. Primary Target(s): Z Bubble Screen

12 Formation Tendencies

41% of the time it is a Shotgun Formation (2011 0% in Shotgun)
31% of the time it is a Trips set
41 % of the time both Tight Ends are lined up next to each other (Wing and Trump).

12 Personnel Alternate Y Line-Up Locations

Off-3 Times
Crack-4 Times
Wide-1 Time

12 Personnel Alternate U Line-Up Locations

Off-5 Times
Wing-10 Times
Crack-4 Times
Wide-6 Times (O times in 2011)
Trump-7 Times
Deuce-1 Time

12 Types of Motion (with play in parenthesis)

F3 (4 Verticals)
U (Z Bubble, Outside Zone)
U-In (Z Bubble)
U-YoYo (PA Pass Boot)
Z (End Around Pass, Read Option)
Z-In (Run Middle, Inside Zone, PA Pass Boot Flood)

12 Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets

X-Out, Cross, Vertical
Y-Out, Flag
Z-Bubble (3 Times)

21 Personnel: 36 Plays (Run-28, Pass-8)

21 Personnel Philosophy:

Run First, Inside/Outside Zone Runs, Play Action Passes, Three-Level Concept, Drag Concept. Primary Target(s): F Flat, Y Cross

21 Formation Tendencies:

The QB is under Center 89 % of the time (100% in 2011)
89% of the time it is an I Formation (100% in 2011)
Shotgun and Split Backs were both new wrinkles in 2012 that facilitated Read-Option calls
47% of the time WR in Flip Alignment
46% of the time WR in Slot Alignment

21 Personnel Alternate Y Line-Up Locations

Off-2 Times
Crack-4 Times
Wide-1 Time

21 Types of Motion (with Play in Parenthesis):

Y (Outside Zone, Inside Zone, Outside Zone)
Y-In (PA Pass)
Y-YoYo (Outside Zone, Outside Zone, Run Middle)
Z (PA X Cross, F Flat, PA F Flat, PA F Flat)
Z-In (Run Middle)
F3 (Read Option)

21 Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets:

X-Cross, Out
Y-Cross, Cross
F-Check, Flat, Flat, Flat

22 Personnel: 34 Plays (Run-26, Pass-8)

22 Personnel Philosophy:

Run First, Outside/Inside Zone Runs, Play Action Passes, Drag Concept, Three-Level Concept. Primary Target: Y Cross, F Check

22 Formation Tendencies:

100% of Pass plays are Play Action
94% of the time it is an I Formation
55% of the time both TE are lined up next to each other

22 Personnel Alternate Y Line-Up Locations:


22 Personnel Alternate U Line-Up Locations:

Wing-9 Times

22 Types of Motion (with Play in Parenthesis):

F (Outside Zone)
Y (Outside Zone)
X-In (Triple Option)
X (PA, PA Flat)
U (Outside Zone 5 times, PA F Check, PA, PA, F Check)
U-In (Toss, Toss, IZ)
U-Wide (PA Y Cross, PA Y Cross)

22 Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets:

F-Check, Check, Flat
Y-Cross, Cross

10 Personnel: 9 Plays (Run-5, Pass-4)

10 Personnel Philosophy:

Read-Option, Mirror Routes, Primary Target: X Vertical

10 Formation Tendencies:

10 Personnel was never used in 2011 Red Zone
88% of the time it is a Shotgun Formation

10 Personnel Red Zone Pass Targets:



13 Personnel: 8 Plays (Run-3, Pass-5)

13 Personnel Philosophy:

Play Action Passes, Outside Zone

13 Formation Tendencies:

13 Personnel was never used in 2011 Red Zone
13 Personnel was never used in 2011 Red Zone
Tight Ends lined up next to each other 3 times (Heavy-2, Trump-1)
Lined up in Shotgun once

13 Personnel Alternate TE Line-Up Locations:

Y-Off (1time)
U-Off (1time)
M-Crack (1time)

13 Types of Motion (with Play in Parenthesis):

X (PA Boot Flood)
X-End Around (Outside Zone)
M (PA X Cross)


20 Personnel: 5 Plays (Run-5)

20 Personnel Philosophy:

Run First, Outside Zone

20 Formation Tendencies:

20 Personnel was never used in 2011 Red Zone
100% of plays are Runs
Lined up in Flip twice
Lined up in Shotgun once


23 Personnel: 4 Plays (Run-3, Pass-1)

23 Personnel Philosophy:

Run First, Play Action Passes

23 Types of Motion (with Play in Parenthesis):

M (PA Pass M Cross, Outside Zone, PA Pass)
M-YoYo (PA Pass)


Concluding Thoughts and Notes

As someone who charted the last two seasons of Seahawks Red Zone snaps, I can safely say there was a marked difference between the two years, or what I call the Russell Wilson effect.

Largely the same staff and roster was in place between the two seasons with the biggest change being the addition of Russell Wilson. Simply put, the Offense ran better with Wilson at quarterback.

The Offense had more snaps, scored more points, and turned the ball over fewer times than the previous season.

Russell Wilson's Red Zone passing stat line including playoffs is:

59 completions on 103 attempts, 57.2%, for 496 Yards, with 24 TD, 0 INT!

That stat line tells two equally great stories. The 24 TD shows Russell Wilson can make plays. The 0 interceptions shows he takes care of the ball. He doesn't force throws in the Red Zone and will rightly throw it away when necessary. He also had 5 carries for 54 yards (10.8 avg) in the Read-Option run package in the Red Zone.

Basically, Russell Wilson can carve up a defense with his arm, his head, or his feet.

The other major difference was the transformation of the Seahawks Red Zone Run Game during the 2012 season. Prior to Week 14, approximately 99% of run calls in the Red Zone were either the Outside or Inside Zone plays.

This began to change with the evolution of the Read-Option run game. Before Week 14, Read-Option was only called twice in the Red Zone (once against New England in Week 6 and once against Chicago in Week 13, in Overtime).

However, this shifted noticeably beginning with Week 14, as the Seahawks called Read-Option multiple times per game (the lone exception was against STL WK17, one time) to much success.

WK 14: 3 car/48 yds
WK 15: 5 car/37 yds
WK 16: 4 car/17 yds
WK 17: 1 car/15 yds

Wild Card Round (WCR): 5 car/34 yds
Divisional Round (DIVR): 2 car/ 5 yds

The Read-Option was run out of 10, 11, 12, 20, 21 and 22 Personnel. For the season, the Read-Option stat line in the Red Zone is 22 carries for 157 yards with an average of 7.13 yards per play. 7+ yards per rushing attempt is a ridiculously high average but it's even more impressive that this was in the Red Zone, where the field is smaller and the opposing Defense is more condensed. It is for this reason I predict the Read-Option will be a featured part of the Seahawks Red Zone play calls in 2013.

I have over 50 pages of notes including 80 diagrams so I will probably continue to write reports and tweet stats.

There are tendencies and trends that I did not publish. If any NFL team would like to contact me I will be happy to share them. Tweet me your criticism, feedback, or suggestions for other Advance Scouting Reports @StarvingScout, I'm trying to get better every day.