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“21” Personnel
As explained, “21” would mean 2 backs and 1 tight end, leaving you with 2 wide receivers. This personnel is also named as “regular”. This is pretty balanced personnel as you have 2 wide receivers with the option to use your tight end or running back in the passing game but also the tight end and fullback for the running game.

Here is how it can look on the fiel😛

This is the Denver Broncos using “21” personnel. In this particular play, Denver run the ball with running back CJ Anderson. The opposing defense respect a possible pass play with a single high safety.

“11” Personnel
“11” personnel (also named “Posse”) is very popular in the NFL as it is very versatile. “11” meaning 1 running back and 1 tight end, so that leaves you with 3 wide receivers. When people see 3 wide receivers, they think “passing play” but its not always the case. You still have a tight end on the field who can block in the run game but you can also use wide receivers as blockers (crack toss, crack sweep) with an option to run trick plays like reverses or end around plays. Let’s look at this personnel’s versatility:


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in “11” personnel. This is a common look when using “11” personnel with your X, Z and slot receiver in the game with the tight end lined up as an in-line Y.


The Pittsburgh Steelers are in “11” personnel but this lineup is different from the previous photo. In this play, the Steelers have a running back in the backfield but they have lined up the tight end on the outside on the line of scrimmage. In this play, the Steelers are using a “four verticals” concept, the post route from the slot looks to attack between the safeties.


The Minnesota Vikings are in “11” personnel and operate the play out of a bunch formation. Using sail concept against the New Orleans Saints, this is the game winning miracle in the 2018 NFL playoff game.

“12” Personnel
“12” personnel, also called “Ace”, is very popular in the NFL for the running game due to the extra tight end. “12” personnel uses 1 running back and 2 tight ends, using 2 tight ends on the line of scrimmage gives you 7 big blockers. The New England Patriots used “12” personnel very well as they were able to use it heavily in the passing game.

Here is a look at how it can be use😛

This is the Atlanta Falcons using “12” personnel in the redzone. They line everyone tight showing a possible run play like crack toss or crack sweep. What they actually do is use wider receiver Julio Jones to run an end around but will receive the ball through a pass and not a hand off.

“22” Personnel

This is a very run heavy personnel as there are 2 running backs (can be 1 running back, 1 fullback) and 2 tight ends. This personnel is also called “Tank”. It can also be called “Tank Plus” which is when they have an extra offensive lineman in instead of a second tight end.

Here is a look:

Here is the Denver Broncos using “22” personnel who have a tight end on either side of the offensive line. This run heavy look gets the Indianapolis Colts to have 9 defenders in the box.

Other Personnel groupings
“13” personnel (Heavy) – 1RB, 3TE, 1WR

“00” personnel – 0RB, 0TE, 5WR

“01” personnel – 0RB, 1TE, 4WR

“02” personnel – 0RB, 2TE, 3WR

“10” personnel – 1RB, 0TE, 4WR

“20” personnel – 2RB, 0TE, 3WR

“23” personnel – 2RB, 3TE, 0WR

Topic Starter
  • Zero2Cool
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excellent post

I wonder whether offenses make tendencies so much easier to track when they always use the same players at the same positions.

Why not use regularly a TE in the backfield instead or a running back? The can block, they can routes out of the backfield (heck they could run it or catch a screen as well.) This tactic would confuse defenses and potentially allow more advantageous match-ups. (Like when we innovatively used Montgomery out of the backfield) Beast has an excellent write-up on receivers out to the backfield in PAYTON BREES thread.

Further if the offense were to motion TE's or WR's out of the backfield, it further confuses defenses and force match-ups in the offenses favor.
  • KRK
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Z2C, you have presented one of the best threads that I've seen in a long while. Your opening post needs to be carefully studied by myself and this forums members. It can not only educate many that truly need the education, but elevate the level of intelligence in many post as it should lower the amount of disagreements. I tried to present a similar thread not long ago. It profiled the offensive philosophy that HC LaFleur will be using with the Packers. I offer that article again as I believe that it fits perfectly in this thread.


GoPackGo !
  • Smokey
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