The 21 personnel is an offensive formation that features two running backs and two receivers. This personnel grouping allows Gary Kubiak to mix and match Receivers and Running Backs based on the down and distance. If speed is needed at the Receiver positions, Jacoby Jones and Torrey Smith can line up to stretch the defense vertically. If a power run is needed to move the chains in the 4th Quarter and keep the clock running, Pierce and Juszczyk can be used.

21 Personnel

Over the last 4 games, the Ravens have used the 21 personnel on 46% of their snaps. For the Ravens, the 21 personnel can maintain a strong threat of the run while still allowing the offense to pass.  Coach Kubiak can either call a running set with a fullback and a running back in an I formation or call a passing play in the Ace formation. With a top 10 Rushing Offense, the Ravens use Play Action Passing to exploit mismatches in the defense.  Let’s take a look at some play calls using the 21 personnel and the match-up problems it caused for the defense.

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Up by 2 points in the 3rd Quarter, the Jaguars line up to stop the run on 1st and 10. Recognizing the off-man coverage by the Safety, Flacco checks out of the run and passes the ball to Marlon Brown.




Nursing a 2 point lead, the Jaguars line up to defend the run on a 1st and Goal play. Using a play action pass, the Ravens take advantage of an aggressive Jaguars defense and throw to Owen Daniels for a Touchdown.




On this Play Action pass, the Ravens take advantage of the coverage void in the Flat caused by their Receivers running vertical routes. The Titans LBs crash down into the box leaving Juszczyk open as he runs a Flat Route.




The Ravens revert to the Power Running scheme to close out the Dolphins. The Ravens personnel allows them to utilize zone blocking and power running based on the down, distance and time left.



When defenses adjust and cover Juszczyk in the flat, they leave a coverage hole in the middle of the field for the TE. The reason is that the LBs are covering a potential run while the FS helps cover receivers running vertical routes.




Nadeem Kureishy
Nadeem Kureishy

Nadeem was born and raised in Baltimore and now lives in Chicago with his wife and two kids. He is a graduate of Loyola College in Maryland with a degree in Engineering. Nadeem started to write about the Ravens in 2013 for his site Ravens Film Review, and progressing to work for I Hate JJ Redick. and later Russell Street Report.