Cut-back runs key to Alexander's production

Updated: January 31, 2006, 7:17 PM ET
By Gary Horton | Scouts Inc.
Seattle's prolific running game, ranked third in the NFL in 2005 and featuring MVP Shaun Alexander, was a hot topic of conversation on NFL Live on Tuesday. We had been looking at all sorts of film and created some telestrations to illustrate the run game's effectiveness, and analyst Mark Schlereth walked us through a demonstration on the ESPN demo field.

Although we tend to think of Seattle as a versatile run offense that can go inside or outside, the reality is that the Seahawks really love to attack the edges of the defense. A lot of Alexander's big runs and yards after contact come on the perimeter, where he is running over linebackers and defensive backs instead of defensive linemen.

Seattle loves to run the counter play with Alexander, usually behind fullback Mack Strong. The action starts toward the right, and most defenses will key on Strong's isolation block and over-pursue, allowing Alexander to cut left and run off the backside-seal blocks of LOT Walter Jones and LOG Steve Hutchinson. That backside cut puts Alexander in a position to attack the edge defender, usually a corner or safety, and that is a mismatch.

Gary Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.