NFL: A Look At How The 11 Personnel Package Ruled The 2020 Season

-John Turner

Personnel GroupRunning BacksTight EndsWide Receivers
“00”005
“01”014
“02”023
“10”104
“11”113
“12”122
“13”131
“20”203
“21”212
“22”221
“23”230

For the next couple weeks we take a look at each offensive personnel package used throughout the league last season, and see which teams were the most and least successful using them. Currently there are 11 primary offensive personnel packages being utilized in the NFL, and depending on the schemes, the percentages and success rates vary. First up we take a look at some of the numbers from the 11 Personnel.

RiggosRag

For the last 20 years the 11 Personnel has turned into the most frequently used offensive grouping throughout the league. In fact, the league averaged lining up in the 11 personnel 59% of all offensive downs in 2020. 10 years ago the package was used in 39% of downs. We hear the terms like, “It’s a quarterback driven league”, “It’s a passing league”, “These new rules only favor the offense”, and many many more. Well, they’re all true. The 11 personnel is not a new scheme, although it’s just now being used more than ever. It’s very rare to see three yards and a cloud of dust football anymore. The game is faster than it ever has been and in order win these shoot outs, teams need to have more speed on the field. The Tight End position has evolved to be a vertical threat, the term “slot” has become a household usage, and running backs are being asked to catch the ball more than ever. No other package in football allows those three things to flourish all together like it.

TeamWRSlotQBHBTEWR
Bucs
Chris GodwinMike Evans
Antonio BrownRob Gronkowski
Tom BradyLeonard Fournette
QBR: 99.3
TD/INT: 30/9
Chiefs
Sammy WatkinsTyreek Hill
Mecole HardmanTravis Kelce
Patrick MahomesClyde Edwards-Helaire
QBR: 105.6
TD/INT: 33/6
Pro Football Network

The last two Super Bowl champions have ran through teams like shit through a goose using the 11 personnel. Watching them both on the field is one thing, but when you look further into the numbers it’s actually mind blowing. For as good as the overall numbers are for both Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes out of the package, they get even better on third down. Mahomes had a 12/1 TD/INT ratio and throws for quarterback rating of 124.8… on third down!!! Tom Brady is obviously over the hill, he only had a rating of 107.4 with a 10/2 TD/INT on 3rd down out of the 11 personnel.

TeamOffense% Used Total% Pass TotalPasser Rating% Run TotalYPCWin/Loss Record
Cincinnati BengalsWest Coast766488.4364.14-11-1
Pittsburgh SteelersSpread757089.4304.312-4
Kansas City ChiefsWest Coast7369105.6315.214-2
Jacksonville JaguarsWest Coast737585.8255.01-15
New York JetsErhardt Perkins726279.9384.42-14
Buffalo BillsSpread7164103.3364.513-3
Los Angeles ChargersAir Coryell716591.5354.67-9
Dallas CowboysAir Coryell717095.2304.76-10
Indianapolis ColtsWest Coast696595.8355.411-5
Washington Football TeamAir Coryell677280.0284.77-9
Seattle SeahawksAir Coryell6664103.2365.012-4
Denver BroncosWest Coast666570.1355.25-11
Detroit LionsWest Coast667390.7274.35-11
Los Angeles RamsWest Coast656791.4335.110-6
Houston TexansErhardt Perkins6471110.2294.24-12
Tampa Bay BuccaneersAir Coryell636799.3334.311-5
Atlanta FalconsAir Coryell617290.2284.64-12
Philadelphia EaglesWest Coast596570.6355.64-11-1
Carolina PanthersSpread577288.5284.75-11
Chicago BearsWest Coast567187.5295.08-8
Green Bay PackersWest Coast5564122.3365.313-3
Miami DolphinsErhardt Perkins556883.0325.010-6
New York GiantsAir Coryell557183.0294.96-10
New Orleans SaintsAir Coryell546194.5395.112-4
New England PatriotsErhardt Perkins536179.6395.07-9
Las Vegas RaidersWest Coast5068104.4324.87-9
Baltimore RavensWest Coast476083.1407.011-5
Arizona CardinalsSpread466095.8404.28-8
Cleveland BrownsWest Coast4460101.0405.311-5
San Francisco 49ersWest Coast448086.7204.16-10
Tennessee TitansWest Coast3861104.2395.611-5
Minnesota VikinsWest Coast296680.9344.97-9
RiggosRag

Not a single team in the league last year used another personnel package more often than 11 personnel. The numbers of efficiency across the league are also higher across the board compared to other formations. There were only 7 teams in the entire league that didn’t run it more than 50% of their offensive snaps last year, but even those teams rain it with success. More teams are looking for the tight end mismatches and the opportunity to get their skilled position guys that extra foot of space. Whether a team runs a 3-4 or a 4-3 base, the 11 personnel puts the defense at a disadvantage. Teams are forced into switching from their base to using the nickel coverages, often times sacrificing strength up front and or some run stopping help. New Orleans, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Washington were the only teams to hold quarterbacks under a quarterback rating of less than 85. It helps that three out of the four were in the top five in total defense in general. Another factor is that all four teams were able to put enough pressure on quarterbacks while applying enough coverage to to force a decent amount of turnovers as well as generate sacks. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that all four teams made the playoffs last season, and are likely headed back this year.

Top 4 teams vs the 11 personnel in 2020:

TeamOpp QB RatingSacksINTsOVR Def Rank
New Orleans77.535134th
Pittsburgh81.228113rd
Arizona82.833813th
Washington83.43392nd
The Columbian

Although my favorite personnel package is the traditional 21, which has a fullback, a halfback, a tight end, and two wide receivers, I have earned a soft spot for the 11. Over the years it has produced some of the more exciting offenses to watch. The Posse in Washington obviously comes to mind. Art Monk, Gary Clark, and Ricky Sanders were the perfect blend of route runner, possession receiver, and burner. The 2014 Broncos led by Peyton Manning had four of the five skilled position players go to the pro bowl with Wes Welker being the odd man out. C.J. Anderson, Demaryius Thomas, Julius Thomas, and Emmanuel Sanders all put up ridiculous numbers that year.

LA Times

The 2001 Rams AKA The Greatest Show on Turf compiled over 5,600 total yards between Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Ricky Proehl, and Ernie Conwell.

Pinterest

Last but not least, how good were the 1998 Vikings. If not for a field goal miss, we might talk about them being one of the best teams ever more often. Randy Moss, Chris Carter, Jake Reed, Andrew Glover, and Robert Smith. Unreal offense.

Time will tell if the game reads out even more in the future. We’ve already seen the fullback position being phased out to make way for speed. Every year it seems the rules get tougher on defense, so perhaps it’s a matter of time before we see five wide receivers out there the majority of downs. I sure hope not, but gambling and fantasy football run things now so who knows. Thanks for reading and happy Mother’s Day to ladies too, It’s A Football World, we’re all just passing through.

feature photo: The Athletic