Many remember Mo Alie-Cox as the forward at VCU, but Mo has traded in his sneakers for shoulder pads and cleats. For good reason as well, boasting a 6’6” frame with 270 LBS to back that up. Not to mention his ridiculous, baseball glove sized hand that help him make catches like this one:
But his massive frame isn’t just for passing. Frank Reich and his masterful play design in the running game uses Mo’s battering ram of a body to open up creases for running back Marlon Mack. Let’s take a look at this staple of the Colts run game, the Inside Zone Trap.
The inside zone trap is used to create leverage against the defense: clear them in one direction and use another blocker to trap block an unblocked lineman. On this 3rd and goal play, the Colts offensive line blocks the defensive line to their right, causing the linebackers to flow. Castanzo leaves the last man on the line unblocked, making him believe he has been unblocked and will have a free shot on Marlon Mack, but due to play-design, Cox flows against the offensive line and throws a trap block, effectively eliminating the defensive end from the play.
Because of the flow of the linebackers towards the play and the slanted blocking of the O-line, no linebackers are available to meet Mack in the backfield and he gets the one yard he needs for a Colts touchdown.
On another red zone trip, the Colts find their bread and butter again, adding a new wrinkle by motioning across Cox, then running the exact same concept, except this time even better. Cox throws a mean cut block and again completely eliminates the Cowboys defensive end.
Mo Alie-Cox has considerable size, but still, many tight ends do not block interior defensive lineman, but Frank Reich schemes this play just for that. This play is called an inside wham. Wham meaning that Cox will go in motion and at the snap of the ball. When Ryan Kelly and Joe Haeg leave the defensive tackle, Cox throws a wham block, again coming from his blindside. Although Cox may not be able to block the lineman 1-on-1, Reich’s play scheme allows him to attack him in a way that gives him a significant advantage, while also allowing two
But not all of Cox’s skill is scheme based; his former basketball past allows him to mirror smaller defender’s and throw blocks on them. In this clip, Cox doubles the defensive end, then picks up a defensive back that attempts to fill and make a play, he kicks him out and springs Marlon Mack for a first down.
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Lastly, the Colts scheme a play to take advantage of the young Cowboys linebacking core, headed by future DROY runner up Leighton Vander Esch. The Colts use a misdirection step to the right to get the linebackers to flow hard, then use the leverage they just gained against them, flipping the run and walling off the out of position linebackers. Mo Alie-Cox seals the edge here, making the key block to open this crease, if this play would have been developed slightly faster, Marlon Mack may never have been caught.
A former basketball star has become the Colts most versatile blocker in the absence of Pro Bowl tight end Jack Doyle. The growth and learning curve of Cox is off the charts, as he was signed only in January of 2017. Be on the lookout for #81 this Sunday, as well as be on the lookout for these schemes I showed today as the Colts take on the Titans and hope to keep their playoff hopes alive.