Saturday, July 11, 2020

Manipulating Pass Protection Match-Up with 6 Up Alignment

The double A gap mug look is a common alignment used at multiple levels of football.

This type of alignment forces the pass protection into 6 games of 1 on 1 with the RB in the protection. Often the protection requires the RB to account for a A gap rusher. The A gap threats in this look are LB's. Assigning the RB to a LB who has a higher probability of dropping into coverage compared to a DL can keep the RB from needing to make a pass block some percentage of the time. The offense could also possibly give the RB an End, however a pass rushing DE is typically a worse match up for the RB than a LB.

The 2014 Eagles come out in a Dime Personnel with OLB bodies as the DE's on 3rd 12. The expected spacing is something like:

The Eagles could have built the 6 up look from there by walking the Mike & Dime up in the A gaps to build the double A gap mug spacing.

Instead the Eagles use the Rush OLB's as the A gap threats and walk the Mike & Dime up as the edge pass rush threats.

The Rush:
DTs both expand through B to contain. The Rush LBs are both through the A gaps.

The Coverage:
Cover 3

The pressure and coverage concept are simple staples. A four man rush using four traditional rush threats and backstopped with a basic cover 3. The usage of the Rush LB's in the A gaps affects the protection in a significant way.

The protection is a 6 man half slide concept. The OT & OG are manned on the Dime & DT leaving the Rush 1 on 1 vs. the RB. This is a mismatch especially because the Rush was Connor Barwin who had 14.5 sacks in '14. The pass pro does not want the RB 1 on 1 with an elite pass rusher especially not straight down the middle in an A gap. However, the protection has rules for handling a double A gap mug and those rules put the RB on an A gap threat. Pass protection is like the Matrix.

The Rush LBs in the A gaps stresses the protection's double A gap mug rules. It is easy to sit back and say "well if this player is the A gap threat protect it this way, but if the Dime is on the edge block it like this...." but that is all way easier said than done. Changing up pass rusher alignment is a simple effective way to attack protection by creating mismatches. 

The Eagles alignment also allows the more athletic Mike & Dime to be the zone pass droppers and keeps the DTs and Rush LBs as pass rushers. 

The coverage has to deny the quickest easiest throws to allow the four man pass rush to get home.

The coverage is rotated down to the strong side with the Corner over the X receiver playing an off alignment. The Safety weak works to the post. If those indicators tell the QB to look and work weak to the X in isolation vs. the Corner the quick isolation throw isn't there. The Dime running out to the Curl-Flat drop allows the defense to effectively double cover the X eliminating the iso to the X as an option. The strong side route combinations don't have time to develop with the quick A gap pressure from the pass rush getting the QB off his launch point. 

Nice pressure design to create mismatches from former Eagles Defensive Coordinator Billy Davis.

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