The Flexbone is an offensive set that features three running backs, and varying numbers of tight ends and wide receivers to go along with the typical five offensive lineman and the quarterback. The base set has no tight ends and two wide receivers.

The diagram below illustrates how the players are normally aligned.

Base Formation of the Flexbone Offense

While there are some variations, the typical alignment of players for the Flexbone are:

  1. Offensive Lineman – 3 foot splits with variances depending on play call
  2. Wide Receivers or Split Ends – Generally wide, often outside of the numbers. Also with variances based on play call and blocking scheme
  3. Quarterback – Under Center
  4. Slot Backs – Slot back alignment varies by program, however, a good place to start is 1 yard outside the tackle and 1 yard off the line of scrimmage. Variance is often due to speed of the player and technical preference.
  5. Fullback – The fullback alignment usually varies between 3 and 5 yards from the line of scrimmage.

The Flexbone is a derivative of the Wishbone. Both offensive sets are predominantly run oriented and based on the option. A key distinction between the two, however, is the Flexbone’s similarity to a Spread formation. Some even call the Flexbone a spread offense. With the Flexbone the offense can release four players quickly into pass routes, including four verticals. This keeps the defense from loading up the box and forces them to honor the potential of a pass play.

Flexbone teams also commonly use other formations in certain situations to either gain a numbers or leverage advantage over the defensive scheme they are facing. Slot backs are sometimes moved out to be Slot Receivers, and Split End’s are sometimes replaced with a Tight End. Take a look at some of the other Flexbone formations and see what some coaches are using.