Home Football Strategies Singleback Ace Breakdown

Singleback Ace Breakdown


The Singleback Ace (Big) has one tight end lined up on the right of the right tackle and one lined up on the left of the left tackle. Despite having two tight ends, this is a balanced formation that can be found in several playbooks. The flanker and split end line up wide opposite each other. You will find a lot of the same plays throughout each playbook that has the Singleback Ace.

singleback ace thumb Singleback Ace Breakdown

Playbooks Found In:

  • Balanced
  • Balanced Run
  • Bears
  • Bengals
  • Brian Billick
  • Browns
  • Buccaneers
  • Cardinals
  • Chargers
  • Chiefs
  • Colts
  • Cowboys
  • Dick Vermeil
  • Dolphins
  • Eagles
  • Falcons
  • Giants
  • Jaguars
  • Jets
  • Jimmy Johnson
  • Lions
  • Mike Ditka
  • Packers
  • Panthers
  • Pass Balanced
  • Power Run
  • Raiders
  • Rams
  • Ravens
  • Redskins
  • Run n Gun
  • Saints
  • Seahawks
  • Steelers
  • Texans
  • Titans
  • Tom Landry
  • Tom_Flores
  • Vikings
  • West Coast

Player Personnel (12):

  • 1 HB
  • 2 TE
  • 2 WR

Formation Alignment:

  • 2×2

Formation Style:

  • Base

Recommended Audibles for Custom Playbook:

lions comebacks thumb Singleback Ace Breakdown hb dive thumb Singleback Ace Breakdown corner strike thumb Singleback Ace Breakdown pa flood thumb Singleback Ace Breakdown
The Singleback Ace – Lions Comebacks has the split end (X) and flanker (B) runnning deep comeback routes. These routes are unbumpable if the defense calls bump-n-run man coverage. The left tight end and (Y) and right tight end (A) both run 5 yard hook routes. The runningback (RB) runs a delay curl. The Singleback Ace – HB Dive is a simple run play that has the runningback, running between the 2 hole between the center and right guard. It’s not a run play that is going to pick up a ton yardage, but it does allow the runningback the opportunity to consistently pick up a few a yards. The Singleback Ace – Corner Strike has the split end (X) and flanker (B) both running backwards C routes. The flanker is the plays primary receiver. The left tight end (Y) and right tight end (A) run flat routes,  thus creating a high/low read on both sides of the field. The runningback runs a delay curl route. The Singleback Ace – PA Flood has the flanker running a slant post. He is also the plays primary receiver. The split end runs a deep hitch. The left tight end (Y) runs a crossing route. The runingback runs his delayed flat route towards the right after he receives a play fake from the quarterback. 

Personnel Packages:

Normal, WR Swap, TE Swap, HB Wideout, Spell HB, Backup QB

Top 5 Teams to Run the Singleback Ace:

Below is list of top five teams in order, who we feel are best suited to run the Singleback Ace. To come up with this list, we looked at each team’s depth chart at the tight end position. Overall, speed, catch, catch in traffic ratings played a big part. We also took in account each teams other offensive skilled position ratings.

  1. New Orleans Saints – The Saints have second highest rated tight end in the game with Jimmy Graham. With an overall rating of 97, speed rating of 85, and catch rating of 93, it’s hard to argue him being one of the best at his position. The Saints number two tight end on the depth chart could be be a starter on several other teams in the game. Benjamin Watson has an overall rating of 84. He is not as fast as Graham, but with a 82 speed rating, he can move. His catch rating is an 80. The Saints have a bunch of talented skill players with quarterback Drew Brees leading the way. The Saints have solid three solid runningback, a few speedy receivers, and a couple of receivers who can catch in traffic.
  2. San Francisco 49ers – Vernon Davis is the the fastest tight end in the game with a 90 speed rating. Davis has the speed to stretch defense vertically and horizontally, making him a matchup nightmare for any opposing defense. At the number two spot on the depth chat is Vance McDonald. While not as fast as Davis, he still has an 84 speed rating. Way down the depth chart is another speedy tight end. His name is Derek Carrier. He does not have great hands, but with a speed rating of 89, he has the ability to stretch the middle of the field. Much like the Saints, the 49ers possess a lot of talent at the other offensive skilled positions, making the them an excellent team to run the Singleback Ace.
  3. San Diego Chargers – Coming in that the number 3 spot for top 5 best teams to run the Singleback Ace is the Chargers. Over the last 10 years Antonio Gates has been been as dominant of a tight end as the league has ever seen. Although not as fast as other top tight ends in the game, his ability catch the ball in traffic makes him an excellent target anywhere the field. At the number two spot on the Chargers depth chart at the tight end position is Ladarius Green. At 6’6” he makes for a big target to throw the ball towards. He also has a speed rating of 88, making him the fastest tight end on the Chargers depth-chart and among the Top 10 fastest tight ends in the entire game. Unlike the Saints and 49ers, the Chargers are not as talented in the other offensive skill positions. However, they do have Philip Rivers at the quarterback, so that is a plus.
  4. Seattle Seahawks – That Seahawks do not have an elite tight end like the first three teams on top 5 teams to run the Singleback Ace. However, they have a solid tight ends, plus a good set of offensive skilled positions players to surround them. The Seahawks top tight end is Zach Miller. While he is not going to blow by anyone deep, he still has the ability to make the tough catches in traffic.  At 6’5”, he can be a match up problem in the red zone. At the number 2 tight end spot, is Anthony McCoy. He is a bit slower than Miller, but he does possess decent hands. Seattle has a few fast receivers on the outside, that can help open things up for the tight ends on short to intermediate pass routes. Runningback Marshawn Lynch is a complete beast when it comes to running the ball. Russell Wilson ranks among one of the top over all quarterbacks in the game.
  5. Cincinnati Bengals – Coming in at the final spot on our top five list for best teams to run the Singleback Ace, is the Bengals. They also don’t have an elite tight end, but they do have a solid core of tight ends, plus other offensive skilled position players. Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert are not going to blow by any defenders deep, but they do have the ability to run pass routes underneath the coverage to get open and make the catch. With quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green hooking up for big plays deep, it will allow the tight ends to get one on one coverage opportunities to make a plays.

Other Teams to Consider Running the Singlebacke Ace:

  • Broncos
  • Dolphins
  • Patriots
  • Rams

Coaching Points:

  • The Singleback Ace formation has gotten more use in the NFL as more teams have two good tight ends on their roster. They have replaced the fullback, or blocking back, in favor of another tight end who has more speed and better at at catching the ball. This makes this offense very effective at attacking the seams.
  • By having two tight ends who have speed and can catch, it forces the defense play honest. The defense can not double up the outside receivers, otherwise they will leave the tight ends in one on one coverage down the seams.
  • With both tight ends lined up on the line of scrimmage, the flanker and split end line up off the line of scrimmage. Certain pass routes allow them to get off the line of scrimmage without being jammed.
  • By motioning the flanker or split end, this allows them to get off the line of scrimmage without being jammed on any pass route they run.
  • By having two tight ends lined up on each side of the offensive tackles, the Singleback Ace is a balanced formation that can be used to pound the ball inside,while still helping the run game with down-field blocks.
  • Neither tight end can be motioned between the tackles to be a blocker. You have to wait for them set on the other side before snapping the ball. However, you can sub an outside receiver with a tight end and then motion him between the tackles to become a lead a block
  • A tight end can be motioned into the slot when running the Singleback Ace.
  • A tight end can be motioned to the same side as the other tight end, creating a stronger side to run the ball towards.
  • The defense can not tell if the play has been flipped at the line of scrimmage when running plays from the Singleback Ace.
  • Many of the same plays found in the Singleback Ace can be found in the Pistol Ace and the Gun Ace. The Detroit Lions playbook has all three formations in it, making it a great playbook to choose for those not wanting to use custom playbooks that want to run a Ace scheme using all three of these formations.
  • There are are only 6 personnel packages to choose from. We wish there were a few more such as TE X and TE Z packages.


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