In PART 3, we’re going to go over some key points in running the Toss play against a 50 defense.  From our Base formation of SPREAD, someone WILL BE unblocked against a 50.  Against a 4-3 or 6-1, the Mike (PSLB) isn’t really a threat to make the play.  Against BOB backer looks though (50 & 4-2), the PSLB can definitely make the play.  Against a 50 defense, we are assuming that #1 & #2 will be picked up by PSG/PST, like a 6-1 Blood stunt.  We are hoping that the PSLB will be walled off by PST’s block on #2 and the PSA’s block on the Safety.  If #2 is flying out rather than Blood stunt to QB, then the PSA can’t pass up #2 to go to the Safety.  The PSA will try to hook #2 or possibly kick him out and the PST will turn up to get the PSLB.  The ballcarrier will now have to make the Safety miss.

We will generally try to use formations or tags in order to gain a numbers or leverage advantage against a 50 defense.  Over and Flex are our “go-to” formations.  SWAP is the tag that we’ll use to gain a blocking angle on #2 if possible.  If you can’t get #2 by formation or tag, then you need to run a different play.  Against the Over formation, some 50 teams will roll Cover 3, which may or may not make TOSS a bad play.  It depends on how the roll down #3 is playing.  If he’s flying outside or if we feel like we can pin him, then we’ve still got a good play.  One thing that we are going to look at once we get Cover 3 is how the defense is aligning to the nub side.  We should have a numbers advantage to the nub side for Veer or preferably Mid Triple.


Flex formation is a very good way to get #2 blocked.  Against Flex formations, #2 will usually get tighter to the PSA rather than loosen up and it will look like Blood stunt.  This should allow the PST to block #2.  Normally, if we get the Blood look, we will SWITCH block the perimeter with WR on Safety and A-back on CB.


If #2 is loose off the LOS, then we can SWAP and have WR take him.  We will also attempt to SWAP if #2 is on the LOS and he’s been a threat to the pitch.  The SWAP tags puts the PSWR down on #2 and the PST and PSA will wrap around the block.  The PSA will normally block the CB and the PST will try to pick up the Safety.  That will leave the PSLB unblocked.  You are hoping that he gets caught up in the trash of the WR’s block and the PST’s block.


The OVER formation is a very good formation adjustment to use against a 50 defense.  If they stay in a 2 high safety look and keep their box setup the same (#1 on Dive, #2 on QB), you will have good angles for Toss.  The Outside WR will block CB.  Against a Cover 2 look, he can block him out if the CB doesn’t give any ground on the release.  The Inside WR will block the Near Safety if he has leverage on him.  If the Near Safety is outside of him or leverages him, then he will continue upfield to the Backside Safety.  The PSG/PST/PSA will all block their normal rules.


Eventually, the defense will have to make an adjustment to OVER.  They will normally do one of three things:

  1. Roll the Near Safety down and play a COVER 3 look to the OVER side.  Usually, #2 will tighten to the PSA and give a Blood stunt look.
  2. Widen #2 to the Inside WR and keep the 2 high look.
  3. Bring backside CB over to Inside WR and keep the box and 2 high safety look the same.

Against Scenario #1, we would probably check the play to the nub side, unless we really felt good about the play due to personnel or how they were playing.  For Toss, the only adjustment will possibly happen with the Inside WR and the PSA.  The Inside WR will block #3 (rolled down Safety) if possible.  If #3 is leveraging him or if he’s too far inside, then the Inside WR will go to the next Safety and the PSA will either hook or kick out #3.

Against Scenario #2, we would use the SWAP tag.  Sometimes, #2 will move out to split the difference or Cover down on the Inside WR.  PSG and PST will block #1 and PSLB.  The Inside WR will block down on #2 and try to pin him, if possible.  If the WR can’t block #2 (due to head-up or outside alignment) then he’ll try to push #2 vertical and then go to the Near Safety (almost like a Switch block).  This shouldn’t affect the A-back because he’s fast arcing and trying to get around the WR’s block.  The A-back is able to adjust to this on the fly and will normally seal #2 or block him out and the runner will cut upfield off his block.  If we get a healthy dose, of #2 walking out to the Inside WR, then we’re going to run Mid Double to that side.

Against Scenario #3, we’d tell the Inside WR to run his defender to the Near Safety.  There’s a good chance that they’re playing Man coverage, so we should get a 2 for 1 on the play.   The PSA would block whatever defender shows up after the WR’s attempt to run off the CB’s and take out the Near Safety.


A common stunt that we get is the CB spike on this play.  When the CB sees the motion, he’ll spike in at the snap.  If this happens, the WR and the PSA will basically block it like SWITCH.  The WR will follow off the CB’s butt and block the Safety.  The PSA will now try to kickout the spiking CB.  The pitchman needs to read this block and cut upfield underneath it.  This is definitely one of the most difficult things we need to do, so you need to devote some of your Indy and Group Option time to showing this stunt.  If the CB is crashing or spiking from Cov 2 look, or if we’re having a problem getting the Safety blocked, then we’ll run a Smash or Switch concept off Toss play action to take advantage of their aggressiveness.

Please check out the video button link below to see cutups of the Toss play against a 50 defense.

PART 4: TOSS vs 4-2 & STACK 

In PART 4, we’ll talk about running Toss against 8 man fronts, the 4-2 and the Stack.