Home Football Strategies Run N Shoot Offense 101

Run N Shoot Offense 101


Here at X’s O’s Football we want to take a look at a very popular offensive style.  The Run and Shoot Offense was first developed in the 1960’s by Glenn “Tiger” Ellison from Middletown, Ohio. His very popular version of the offense averaged scoring a touchdown every ten plays and once scored 98 points in a single game. In the 1970’s, Darrel “Mouse” Davis began having tremendous success with the offense at Portland State.  Davis’s original version of the offense was more structured and contained only 3 running plays and five passing plays. He originally placed coverages into 4 categories (3-Deep, 2-Deep, Man-to-Man, and Blitz) and created variations of how the offense would attack each coverage.

run n shoot offense gun spread rns switch smash post Run N Shoot Offense 101

The Gun Spread – RNS Switch Smash is a common Run N Shoot Play teams run

Why Don’t More NFL Teams Use the Run and Shoot Offense?

NFL defenders are too fast and athletic for the Run and Shoot offense to succeed consistently. Pass protection can be difficult and a great deal of familiarity with the offensive scheme is in need to work to run it efficiently.

What is the Philosophy of the Run N Shoot Offense?

The Run and Shoot Offense is not about scoring points on one quick play. It’s about running a ball control offense with high percentage pass plays. This leads to throwing fewer interceptions and ultimately it gets you a much higher QB Rating. If you’re the type of coach who likes to chuck the ball up deep every play, then the Run & Shoot offensive system may not be right for you.

What Type of Personnel do I need to have run the Run N Shoot Offense?

To be able to run the Run and Shoot Offense, you need to have the right personnel. Let’s face it, if your team has weak receivers, but has a strong halfback with a powerful offensive line blocking for him, you are not going to want to run the Run & Shoot Offense. With that said take a look at the requirements to run one of the most dynamic offenses in Madden 2011

  • Need to have an accurate quarterback. He does not need to have a strong arm, but it helps to get the ball to the spot faster.
  • Having an athletic quarterback who can throw on the run or take off with the football is an additional benefit, but is not required.
    Need at least five receivers who can catch and have enough speed to separate from defenders once they catch the ball. Those receivers can be a combination of WR’s, RB’s or TE’s.
  • Need to have an offensive line that is able to pass protect as most the plays have 5 receivers releasing into the pattern.
  • In most cases five wide receivers spread the defense and limit the number of looks the defense can employ.
  • It does not require tight ends or a fullback.

Run N Shoot Formations

Below are three formations that teams that use the Run N Shoot offense to move the ball.

run n shoot gun spread Run N Shoot Offense 101

The Gun Spread is a 2×2 Run N Shoot formation that spreads the defense out

run n shoot gun trips right Run N Shoot Offense 101

The Gun Trips Right is a 3×1 Run N Shoot formation that has three receivers lined up to the right

run n shoot gun trips left Run N Shoot Offense 101

 The Gun Trips left is a 3×1 Run N Shoot formation that has three receivers lined up to the right

Quick Tips About Running the Run and Shoot Offense

  • Always have two options when you come to the line of scrimmage. Read one defender and choose between two quick options based on the defender’s actions.
  • Flood the zones with one more man than they can defend. The defense can always rush one more than you can block, so turn the tables on the defense with overloads.
  • Against Stretch zones, clear out underneath passing lanes.
  • Putting your best receiver in at the slot position will often give favorable passing match up problems against linebackers or weaker defensive backs.
  • Requires being able to make pre-snap reads of the defensive coverages at the line of scrimmage and knowing immediately where to go with the ball once the ball is snapped.
  • 1-3 step drops allows for the quarterback get the ball out quickly and lessens the chance of being sacked.
  • Substitutes run game for a short controlled passing game.
  • Even though we like the short passing game, we realize at some point we must run the ball to keep the defenses somewhat off balance. With the defense spread out trying to cover receivers, it allows the RB to get positive yardage up the middle on Draws, Delays and Dives.

June Jones Explains the Run-n-Shoot Offense

More Run-n-Shoot Resources

To read more about the Run-n-Shoot offense, click any one of the following links below:






    • Its different because bill walsh offense used 5 eligable receivers and a great deal of the run game was taken from lombardi and chuck noll.. some may dispute this but video dont lie the trap and the power sweep were big 49er run plays. But walsh pass offense was first to script plays and have his X,Y receiver run option routes. His backs help spread or level defenses out because of their involvement in pass game. Multiple 2 back sets were also used by walsh very seldom 1 back .

  1. You’ve got to love the run and shoot(well, not buddy ryan lol), and the giants run their own version of it. It truly is a beautiful and simplistic beast, and to think, it’s based of backyard football. Thank god that tiger ellison went to the park, saw those kids, and had one heck of an epiphany.

  2. Who the hell wrote this?All this info is wrong.The Run and Shoot is almost never a ball control offense.Look at some of the 1980's Houston Gamblers games in the USFL.They scored quickly,very quickly.i can give you more examples,but you should be able to figure out through logic that the Run and Shoot is not a ball control offense.Ball control out of a 4WR 1RB set?Bullshit.

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