Friday, May 27, 2016

3-4 Zone Pressure to Attack Pass Protection

Here is a zone dog that is a variation of America's Blitz . This article is a follow up to the post about 3-4 pressure to attacking the run game.

The Rush:
End - Long stick to A gap
Nose - Away A gap
End - Away Contain

The three down linemen are exactly like America's Blitz. The difference is path of the 2 rushing linebackers.

Mike - Go 1st and Rush contain. Also can be run by Mike walking up to show the pressure.

Sam - Rush flat off the edge at an angle to replace the heels of the rushing Mike. Spill any blocks (Never Kicked). This technique was covered in a previous post here.

The Coverage:
Corners - Tight 1/3
FS - Rotate to Middle 1/3
SS - Rotate down to Seam
Jack - Seam
Will - 3RH

Against 3x1 the the linebacker's bump to a stack alignment and the Mike and Will switch responsibilities.

This concept is good for attacking traditional 3 down line drop back pass protection schemes. This pressure is designed to get the Sam an opportunity to attack the protection. If the Sam is our best pass rusher we want to create 1 on 1  pass rush opportunities for him.  
Big on Big (Fan)

In a man protection scheme like BOB the offense will lock the Center on the Nose and fan the Guard and Tackle out for the Sam and End (2 blockers for 2 rushers). In that case the Guard is forced to redirect after setting out to block the long stick End. The OT is 2 on 1 vs. the Mike and Sam. Pass protection schemes typically want to block the inside rusher first because that player has the shortest path to the QB. In this case the order of rushers creates a situation where the inside rusher (Sam) is running through with the the RB as the likely blocker. 

Big on Big (Molly)

Molly is a form of man pass protection where the OT will lock the DE. The Guard has a dual read from ILB to OLB. Again the offense wants to protect against inside rush threats first. If the Mike rushes inside the Guard will block inside. If there is no inside threat the Guard will set over the top to the outside for the OLB off the edge. Here the Guard is forced to set over the top to the Mike which allows the inside rusher (Sam) the short run on the QB and a potential 1 on 1 with the RB. 

Half Slide

A zone protection scheme like half slide allows the offense to get a 4 on 4 vs. the pass rush.

The offense has the numbers and angles to block the pressure from a half slide protection. Half slide is a strategy that can block 3-4 America's blitz variations. If the defense is planning on attacking BOB man schemes but the offense is using zone half slide protection instead having a couple in game pressure adjustments can help keep the heat on. 


Bluff is a pressure disguise concept that was discussed in a previous post about disguising pressure in the 3-3 stack and applies to 3-4 pressure too. 

On a bluff call the non-rushing backer opposite the pressure shows in the B gap. 1/2 slide protection rules typically dictate the 1st uncovered OL starts the slide. In this case by covering the guard opposite the pressure the guard is forced to be part of the man 1/2 of the protection as is the Center. By forcing the Center and Guard into man protection, bluff can get the pass rush numbers back to 3 (End, Mike, Sam) vs. 2 (OT & OG) to the pressure side.  

When the offense is in 3x1 the defense adjusts with a switch call. On a switch the Jack is the non-rushing LB away from the pressure and shows in the B gap to control the 1/2 slide protection. 


X is a tag that adjusts the away side of the pressure.

The X tag adds a twist by the End and Nose away from the pressure. When the offense chooses to slide the protection to the pressure, the OT opposite the slide is in man vs. the DE. If the defense has a good pass rusher at DE, the X tag can be a good way to create a 1 on 1 inside rush opportunity for him. The Nose attacks the midline initially to force the guard to set aggressively and widen the B gap for the End. The Nose rushes the midline until the End enters into his vision on the inside pass rush then loops to contain.   

Carrying adjustments like bluff and X are good way to build a pass rush plan. A primary plan may be to attack an offense's base man pass protection scheme. Having simple adjustments ready for when the offense adjusts to a zone protection scheme is an easy way to build a 2nd pass rush plan for in game adjustments.