Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Blitzing Zone Read from the 3-3-5

Here is America's Blitz from a 3-3-5 alignment. The coverage is a cover 3 firezone but it could easily be run with a cover 1 concept.

Against zone read this type of blitz can have some issues away from the blitz.

The defense can choose to have the DE step down with the OT's down block. The LB (here Will) plays over the top and takes the QB. If the QB makes the proper read the ball should get pulled and the Will should be there to make the play. The biggest issue with this situation is that forcing the QB to pull the ball makes the blitz obsolete. If the ball is getting pulled the blitz is attacking nothing. Many times this situation leads to the film room coaching conversation trying to answer the question "Why aren't we playing base and allowing the Sam and Mike to pursue like normal instead of blitzing them out of the play?".

The alternative is to have the DE stay square on the LOS, which should force the ball to get handed off. It makes sense to have the ball handed into the blitz. However, there are still issues.

As the ball is handed off the Will and DE are in a tough spot. The Will is fast flowing to defend the B gap. If the Will does not aggressively attack he risks being cut off from the B gap by the OT. If he is cut off the RB will hit in his back side B gap. If the ball cuts all the way back to the C gap the Will needs to redirect from fast flowing to the B gap. On the redirect the Will needs to press the OT back to squeeze the C gap. That is much easier said than done. The DE is also in a bind. If the DE is too wide as in the example; the running back has a cutback lane. 

The DE can squeeze down the space created by the OT releasing to the 2nd level to shrink the cutback lane.

The issue is even if the DE stays square; he is moving inside. If the QB reads that as a pull, the DE can be run around by the QB. Teams running zone read are often playing one of if not their best athlete at QB. A DE moving inside has a tough task to redirect and tackle the opposition's best athlete in open space.

One easy solution is to bluff the Will as a blitzer.

By bluffing the Will in the B gap the OT is forced to make his block at the LOS. Because there is less space created by the OT climbing to the 2nd level the DE can more easily play on the LOS. The DE will force the ball to be handed and still be in position to play the QB if he does pull it. If the RB tries to cut back away from the blitz the Will & DE can control the cutback because there is less space.

Walking up the Will plays out like America's blitz from a 4-3 under front.

Using a 3-3 with the Will walked up can have a nice effect vs. spread teams running boot or naked scheme passing.

The DE to the action is not being asked to drop. There is no run/pass bind for the DE allowing the DE to apply quick  pressure in the face of the QB. Another positive is the 3RH dropper is a LB not a defensive lineman. On most defenses the Will dropping from the LOS to find the crosser on a boot is a better coverage option than a DL.

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