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Breakdown of the McVay Offense

Why the McVay offense has been so explosive?

The McVay Offense

  • Sean McVay
  • Bio
    • Tampa Bay WR’s coach 2008 
    • Florida Tuskers (UFL) WR’s coach 2009
    • Washington Redskins TE’s coach 2010-2013
    • Washington Redskins OC 2014-2016
    • LA Rams Head coach 2017- present

The Formations

Most all of McVay’s formations are condensed. Even in Shotgun he uses stacks and bunches, because of the stress that it puts on Defenses alignment and assignment wise. 

(Below) are just a couple of their base formations and they will run many variations off of these base formations. We will talk about it a little later in this article but McVay dictates and limits what the defense can do adjustment wise. Which gives the appearance that he is always one step ahead of the defense.

  • Under Center- Gives RB a chance to get down hill quicker and see the cut back lanes
  • QB can hide ball on Perimeter Run Games
  • Improves the opportunity of PAP on the Drop back and set point.
  • Why Bunch Formations?
    • Tougher for Defense to get read on
    • Limits the defenses ability to hide coverages
    • Keeps QB’s reads to a minimum
    • Creates better blocking angles for Wr’s on perimeter runs
    • Makes perimeter runs easier for Wideouts.

Wide Zone

  • This is the Counter off of the Inside zone run for the Rams
  • Out of bunch they use the X to crack the End or Will backer
  • They love using the weak zone because of the cut back possibilities that is causes. 
  • They center their offensive attack around the Inside zone and outside zone. They throw a Weak zone in as their counter game. 
  • The line doesn’t have to learn much other than the zone run game because they don’t have don’t use gap scheme runs much. 
  • Simplicity is the Key to the McVay attack.

(Above) is 9 plays that are the ran out of two formations, and this is the deception and simplicity that is a staple of the McVay offense. 

This would be what is considered one of the series that McVay centers his offense around. In each series you get:

Inside Zone Series:

  • Base play (Inside Zone) 
  • Outside run with the (Fly Sweep)
  • Misdirection (Reverse Toss)
  • Play Action (Sail and Smash)
  • Screen
  • The Jet Sweep is the Outside run game for the Rams
  • Out of condensed formations they are able to use the WR’s to seal the edge and they don’t have to change the zone blocking scheme
  • This is the Outside run of a series of calls for this offense.

(Above) Boot pass and Goff hits TE out of a bunch set in the flat. Notice the first action is the TE sells pass block on his first step and the wideouts end up getting a rub on the Safety who is walked up.

The High-Low Play Action (Above)

  • On the Picture before you see a fake wide zone waggle pass with a high low of the Safeties.
  • With the TE in flat 
  • The X coming across with a 10 yard Dig
  • Z on a 9 route (go)
    • You now have a flood route on the waggle that is off of the Wide zone fake.

Blocking Variations

(Above) Just a few of the variations used and some of the influences used by the Rams yet still blocking zone nearly the whole time. 

The Breakdown...

Every season that McVay has been the HC of the Rams their offense hasn’t finished below 10th in the NFL in Total offense. This offense is built around deception and simplicity the rams use very few formations, but change the variations of those formations because this ensures that the defense is kept basic. This is less that Goff has to read and with the zone blocking scheme of the Rams Oline so that the boxes that they get which makes the calls and audibles limited and easy. Which helps them play fast and keep their eyes and steps the same.

You can limit the looks that DC’s can give you and alignments they can give according to limiting your formations.  If you align in one play in a 2 X 2 formation and the next play you are in 3 X 1 is perfectly fine but it does change the read and gives the quarterback more for the quarterback to have to read and it gives the defense a better chance to disguise their coverages or blitzes. However, if you stay in a bunch formation or a variation of that almost every play you can be their is only certain things the defense can do.

So with less reads you have more of an ability to play faster and more aggressive. Also, the simplicity of their scheme makes it where the Line can become great at what they do as opposed to just being average at several schemes. Now the deception side of the Oline scheme is that McVay adds different line adjustments where he adds pulls, special kicks, or influence blocks. Couple that with the condensed formations and the WR’s can crack back and double down on ends or Outside Linebackers.

The McVay Offense Since 2017


Scoring ( 1st) 29.9
Passing (10th) 239.4
Rushing (8th) 122
Total Yards (10th) 361

2018 (Super Bowl)

Scoring (2nd) 32.9
Passing (5th) 281.7
Rushing (3rd) 139.4
Overall offense (2nd) 421.1


Scoring (11th) 24.6
Passing (4th) 281.2
Rushing (26th) 93.7
Overall offense (7th) 374.9


To sum this up one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL by numbers since 2017 when McVay became the HC of the Rams, is based around the simplicity of scheme and play-calling with series. Everything McVay does is based around series of calls that is married to one another. The misdirection, counter, outside run game, play-action are all married to some variation of the Inside or outside zone. 

He is able to use formations and series of plays with the same exact look and blocking schemes to control the reads of his offensive line and quarterback. Making the game easy and becoming great at a few things is exactly the approach that this dynamic offensive mind takes every Sunday. #Fastbreakfootball