Friday, May 4, 2018


Here are a couple questions I get a lot:

Why study NFL defensive scheme when the pro game is so drastically different from college/high school football?  How much is really applicable? The main reasons I look at NFL film:

Defending and aligning to multiple TE formations - The NFL has basically every variation of 12, 13, 22, etc. going on in nearly every formation possible. Being prepared for these types of heavy personnel groupings is important. I’m always on the hunt to expand and improve our multiple TE defensive calls in the playbook.

Unbalanced formations – NFL defenses see many unbalanced formations from nearly every personnel. Having a good unbalanced plan is important to avoid getting caught with limited answers to unbalanced.

Reduced splits – Many of the offensive formations in pro football have reduction of splits. Defenses are forced to have answers for 2 man stacks, 3 man bunches, TE/wing structures, etc.

Motions & Shifts – NFL teams trade, shift, and motion all over the place from every formation. Including shift & motion in heavy personnel groups, to/from unbalanced, and into/ out of reduced splits.

Drop back pass protection – The NFL has every kind of pass pro. 5, 6, 7, 8 man concepts with every adjustment possible in their arsenals. Also pro teams use TE’s in the pass pro more often than college. TE in pass pro is a concept that is important to study and understand in case we need more answers to attack it.

Creating pass rush opportunities - NFL teams are really good at attacking protection schemes. Pro defenses are also very good at creating 1 on 1 opportunities for their best rushers. Definitely good ideas to pull from for any defense. 

Disguising Base Concepts - NFL teams do really well at disguising concepts they run all year long. Each week defenses spice it up with a new pre-snap presentations but still run a tried and true defensive concept. Studying one defense's full season of work in the offseason can be a big eye opener. Over 16+ games a defense may run the same blitz pattern multiple times but each week from a different pre-snap alignment or presentation. Really good ideas for getting more mileage from a defense's best calls are on display. 

Simplicity works - Watch the Pete Carroll coaching tree. They play 1 high safety concepts and play them really well. They aren't trying to fool, they are trying to out execute. 

Pro Players Screw Up Too - Pro players bust assignments, commit eye violations, and make all other kinds of mistakes. 

Double Coverage – The NFL is full of hi/lo and in/out double team concepts to cancel a star player or at least limit him. These concepts apply at all levels. How do we take away their best guy?

#2 How would you apply this concepts on the Blitzology site to youth football?

The most direct answer is frankly I wouldn't. I would focus on fundamentals of defense: block shed, pursuit, and tackling. I see all the time the quote "Culture beats Scheme" but it is just as true that "Fundamentals beat Scheme"! As for the scheme I would seek guidance from the Junior High/High School those youth kids will play in next about what to run to build the foundation for the next levels. Also I'm confident no youth team needs 4 from a side simulated blitz back stopped up by a double rotated zone coverage concept to manipulate the pass pro and QB read progression. Just saying.

Got more questions? Shoot me an email or hit me up on twitter @blitzologyblog 

Don't worry more Align to Win is coming soon!

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