Sunday, April 3, 2016

New England Patriots Dime Pressure

Here is a simple 5 man dog from a dime personnel used by the New England Patriots last season. This is a dog the formation based on the alignment of the TE backed up by man free coverage. The Patriots called this pressure in a hurry up end of game situation on 2&10. 

The Rush:
Ends - Work to inside pass rush lanes
Nose - Rush the midline
Dime - Rush outside to the TE (closed side), you can see the Dime trade with the TE trade in the film
LB - Rush outside to the open side (away from the TE). The front was already set when the Dolphins traded the TE to the defensive left. The LB adjusted and rushed to the new open side of the formation following the TE trade.

The Coverage:
Corners - Man #1
Nickel - Man #2
SS - Man the TE
FS - Free
LB - Man on RB

What makes this dog work is the usage of a dime personnel by the Patriots.

The Dolphins chose to release the running back into a route. The RB could be a check release player in this situation. If he is in the protection the likely scenario that would keep him in protection is 2 extra rushers to his side. Since that did not happen, he released. Regardless of it is a free release or check release by the RB, the end result was a quick release into a route. 

This left the 5 offensive linemen to pass protect. The OL is forced to assess the 5 most dangerous potential rushers. In this case it is the 3 defensive lineman and the two inside linebackers. The Dime is less likely to be a rusher than the 5 identified threats and more likely to be in coverage on the TE in this situation. If that Dime was a Rush Linebacker type or even an Inside Linebacker the OL would be more aware of him as a rush threat. Take for example the reaction of the OT once the LB walks up outside on the play. The OT is pointing it out to the Guard and communicating the LB as a rush threat off the edge. The OL does not react the same way to the Dime being walked up outside the TE and near the line of scrimmage.  

The establishment of the 5 most dangerous rushers was also helped by precedent. In the big picture of scouting report and tendencies a Dime is much more likely to cover than rush. Also on the previous play the Patriots were in the same Dime personnel and rushed both inside linebackers.

This is another 5 man dog backed up by man free coverage. Both LB are in the rush. The weak side LB and End are working a twist stunt. Bringing a rush with both inside linebackers only reinforces the precedent that the 3 DL and 2 LB are the most dangerous rush threats.

These two calls bring up very important points about developing and utilizing a pressure package. 

The calls in a pressure package are interrelated not simply a group of calls. Each call has to stand alone as an effective call the defense wants to use but the calls should also be complimentary. With these two calls the Patriots called the 2 LB dog on 1st down. Establishing the LB's as rush threats helps make the 2nd down call bringing the Dime more effective. The calls are not being made to "set up" another call but the calls in the package naturally create conflicts for the offense. 

Simple can be very effective. Neither of these dogs is overly exotic. One resulted in an incomplete pass and the other in a sack for -13.

Subtle changes can have a big effect on a pass protection. A Dime as the outside rusher is very different in the OL's identification than a rush linebacker, inside linebacker, or defensive end. Understanding how changing defensive personnel can effect the offense is critical to having an effective pass rush plan.

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