Monday, August 31, 2020

It Really Isn't That Simple

This sack is a throw away play on 1st 20 late in the 4th quarter of the Memphis vs. South Florida game with the Tigers leading by a score of 49-10. From a game situation perspective it really doesn't hold much significance. 


The Rush:
End is contain working up the field with the 3 tech DT looping to contain opposite the pressure. The Nose is attacking the A gap before working to the interior pass rush lane opposite the pressure. The Mike is pressuring the inside half of the B gap and the SS is rushing the outside half of the B gap. 

The Coverage:
3 Under 3 Deep Firezone


The protection is a 6 man half slide concept.


The OL is sliding (Green) blocking the area to the defensive right. The OT is manned up opposite the slide and the RB is inserting/blocking edge threats inside out.

When the defense rushes two threats through the B gap the RB is overloaded 2 on 1 resulting in the unblocked fast pressure on the QB. 

The pressure pattern is a classic concept found in many defensive fire zone pressure schemes. The article could be summarized: Here's an a overload the RB fire zone pressure vs. half slide protection. Good design from former Memphis Defensive Coordinator Adam Fuller, excited to see his defense in 2020 at Florida State. That could be the end of the discussion.

I think there is more to this play than meets the eye on first look. Having more time available I've decided to write a more indepth article and take a deeper dive. Down the rabbit hole we go. 

The resource exchange for the offense is poor. The offense is blocking with 6 protectors while the defense rushes 5. The protection in theory should always be able to account for 5 rush threats. The defense may win some percentage of 1 on 1 matchups to create pressure against any protection. That is a reality of any pass rush situation. However that isn't what happened here. There is 6 vs. 5 and a rusher is left completely unblocked. How? Why?

Fire zone pressures are designed to create these problems. Zone dogs have been around for a long time creating these exact issues, they still work. There are numerous articles and examples on this site about fire zone pressure. What's the big deal? 

This article is less about scheme and more philosophical. There is a subset of coaches who love to toss around the acronym K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid). The half slide protection is a simple idea. Simple concepts unfortunately don't always hold up under multivariable threats. 

If the defense would have brought the Will instead:



The protection is simple and clean vs. this look. The slide side knows they have help from adjacent OL and can pass the twist off. The diagram is clean and the outcome of the pass rush vs. protection battle comes down to the 1 on 1 matchups, coverage vs. routes, and the QB getting the ball out on time. 

If the Mike had been in a zeroed alignment and pressured the slide side, the protection again has a good answer.



The Guard can't allow the Nose to slant from the slide side to the man side and has to redirect his set and travel back. The Mike is isolated on the Center with a two-way go but again the pressure is accounted for by the protection. The pass rush vs. protection battle again comes down to the 1 on 1 matchups, coverage vs. routes, and the QB getting the ball out on time.  

If Memphis had run the exact pressure with the Mike aligned zeroed up:

The slide side OL could have seen the Mike pressuring to the B gap and the C/G could have redirected their sets to handle the pressure. The OL cannot let anything go from the slide side to the man side. Once again the pass rush vs. protection battle again comes down to the 1 on 1 matchups, coverage vs. routes, and the QB getting the ball out on time.  

When the Mike aligned in the B gap instead of zeroed up the protection has issues. The Mike is outside the vision of the slide.  A small change in alignment has a big effect. This is where complexity creeps in no matter how badly the goal is to keep it simple. Complexity comes in two types: obvious and hidden. To account for the Mike's alignment being in the B gap instead of zeroed up the offense has several choices some carry obvious complexity while others the complexity is more hidden:

1. Ignore the Mike's alignment and run the protection as called. The sack is an example of that concept playing out on film. While simple the QB is pressured immediately. This likely occurred for South Florida because they were late in a lopsided score game with inexperienced players on the field. Those guys likely didn't make the necessary adjustments. No doubt the film session following the game included what adjustments should have been made.

But addressing specifically the keep it simple disciples out there - 

The KISS crowd loves to say:
"that way players can play fast" - players played fast on this play
"that way players can be physical" - it was a  physical play
"that way they don't have to think they can just play" - they did 
"they can play confident knowing their assignment" - no clear indecisive actions on the play

Simple doesn't solve everything. How can the players possibly pick this concept up without making an adjustment, without adding complexity? It doesn't take many plays like this sack for players to get frustrated. Doubt quickly creeps in and players thoughts become "this protection doesn't work". 

2. Ignore the Mike's alignment and run the protection but the QB has to throw hot off of 2 extra rushers to the man side.  


The RB handles the 1 extra rusher and the QB must account or the 2nd. This is problematic because the defense can force the offense into throwing hot off of 5 man pressure or potentially a 4 man sim/creeper pressure. This significantly hinders intermediate and deep passing game concepts. The ball will routinely need to be thrown fast and short. It also requires the route concept to always have a built in hot route or WR's to use sight adjustments to account for the pressure. The QB also has to have all of his read progressions start on that side of the formation. The QB cannot see the hot if he isn't looking that direction. In the clip the QB's eyes are opposite the pressure. He ever sees it coming. The ball has to be thrown accurately under duress from an unblocked rusher, the WR has to make the catch and get YAC to make it truly be effective. There is a great deal of complexity to undertake for the offensive coaches, QB, and WRs to select this option all to keep the protection simple for the OL/RB. Additionally this just isn't how hot routes work. Most offenses will not build a hot concept unless the pressure cannot be accounted for numerically by the protection. Hot routes most often come into play on 6+ rush looks with no deep safeties. This goes back to resource allocation. When the O has 6 blockers a a 5 man rush it should not make the protection have to throw hot, ever. 

3. Change the slide and flip the RB. Either the OL or the QB has to change the slide direction. 

The offense has to ID the issue based on the Mike's alignment and communicate the new slide and the RB has to change alignment. The RB is opposite the slide to account for a potential 3rd rusher from the man side. If the RB is working to the man side, the QB is still hot to the slide side. The protection cannot handle the 4th rusher to the slide side. This has all the same hot throw problems as option 2. 

The protection can ask the RB to use a scan technique in this situation.




Now the RB will check his side then scan across to the opposite side. The protection has the pressure picked up in concept. Now we are getting somewhere. Unfortunately for the offense picked up doesn't equal protected. The block for the RB on a full speed rusher across the formation is a very difficult task. It may seem simple to change the slide and flip the RB. But there are a bunch of issues. This has to be repped in practice repeatedly to be used in a game.  The offense has to know how to do it, when to do it, how to communicate it, and how to get that all done on a play clock plus all the technique required to actually execute the protection. The RB needs significant reps of flipping alignment and making a scan block. The protection has to coached to ID the Mike's alignment and communicate/understand what is happening and why. The QB, OL, and RB have to be on the same page. The QB also has to get comfortable with a scan running back flashing in front of him and they both have to learn to co-exist when the QB looks to step up in the pocket or step into a throw to drive the ball down the field. Also flipping the RB has to be programmed into other plays in the offense. If the only time an O flips the back is to adjust the protection for drop back pass the defense will scout that up in film study. A defense may not check into a pressure on RB flip but simply knowing if a play is a run or pass pre-snap is a huge advantage. None of the complexity means this isn't a viable option. It can get the QB protected and create a clean pocket. 

4. Change the slide leave the RB's alignment.



Back to the problem of having 4 to the slide and needing the QB to throw hot.

If the RB scans all the same challenges exist as in option 3 in terms of coaching and practice time.





The pressure is blocked in principle and the execution may be easier on the RB. The RB checks the Will. With no pressure the RB can stay on his side to pick up the SS. The challenge for the RB in this protection is what happens if the Will is rushing. Any block where the RB has to cross all the way across the formation is a challenge. As with all calls you gain something and you give something up. This call may improve the situation for this pressure but make other pressure pickups more difficult. Again a viable option to create a clean pocket.

5. Bonus the protection



Bonus says the offense is going to put the slide and RB on the same side. This creates a 4/2 protection principle with 4 blockers to one side of the Center the protection can block the pressure. This requires the QB, OL, and RB to ID the situation communicate and get this adjustment made pre-snap and executed post-snap. The RB's block is significantly easier. Another viable option for the offense to protect the QB.

It also isn't without risks. The protection is weaker opposite the slide. Two man twist games to the man side will get no help.



This is a good example of the isolation that occurs when the T/G are manned up vs. a twist with no help. This protection example is likely big on big man protection concept but conceptually the struggle is the same for a bonus protection. 

Bonus protection may force a player to travel back with no help.



The same pressure earlier in the game with the RB working to the slide on a bonus. The Center oversets and the Nose is able to win across his face. Adjustments can help account for the pressure they don't solve 1 on 1 matchups.

Bonus protection also has to scan the RB to Will pressure which is a difficult pick up.



Bonus protection can work and like call calls has strengths and stress areas.

6. OL adjust to a man protection principle when the Mike shows



In half slide protection the first uncovered OL starts the slide. In the initial picture that is the uncovered left guard from the defensive perspective. As the cadence starts the Mike shows early. The guard could make a 5-0 call telling the OL there are 5 treats at the LOS. Now all the OL are covered and all need to use man protection principles. Several things have to happen for this to be viable. The Guard/QB has to make the ID and communicate. The QB needs to control the cadence potentially even giving a "Easy, Easy" type of call to allow the protection to communicate and sort out what needs to happen before restarting the cadence. The Center is now in man and has to set to the Nose and travel back when the Nose crosses face. The Guard and Tackle are also manned up and have no slide help on inside movement to their side. It takes significant work to make a quick protection adjustment during the cadence happen. Again a viable solution but does up the complexity.

7. Call man protection instead of half slide from the start



Man protection or Big on Big (BOB) has the OL handle the 4 down DL and a declared Mike in the this case the OL would say " Mike 3 Mike 3". The blocks are just like option number 6. The big advantage is the OL doesn't have to make an adjustment during the cadence. This isn't without challenges.

In a half slide the OL can't depend on help from adjacent OL. In man protection OL end up going 1 on 1. The RB also has the challenge of going coast to coast. The RB setting to the SS has a difficult scan to the Will. If the RB sets to the Will he has a tough scan to the SS. And a Saw concept is a problem for the protection.


Memphis like every 4 down team has a version of SAW attacking both edges with pressure.

8. Check to Full Slide Protection


The offense still needs to make the ID and communicate. The RB could flip or not. This solution takes a great deal of stress off the RB. The RB on this pressure doesn't have a DE to block. However, in other pass rush situations the RB may have to block the defense's best rusher off the edge. The slide has challenges too. The Guard has to bypass the immediate threat in the B gap from the Mike and push his set out to the SS in the widest part of the B gap. The Center has to bypass the Nose and set wide to the fast threat from the Mike. The back side Guard has to hit a set that stops the Nose from immediate pressure on the midline while also avoid being too aggressive and oversetting the Nose.

Full slide away from the pressure forces the RB to be overloaded. The OT has a B threat from the Mike, the result is two off the edge vs. the RB. The RB vs. the DE is likely and advantage for the D. The overload give the RB no good option.

9. Get the RB out into a route or screen and put the pressure on the defense.

The idea is straight forward. Instead of adjusting the protection, get the RB out and stress the pressure by stretching the defense horizontally and vertically. In a similar line of thinking check/alert the play to a screen. Either way the offense is thinking the stress on the defense will punish the defense for bringing pressure.


Same pressure vs. a RB swing double screen concept. This is a play getting the RB out and a screen on the same play. The edge widens with the RB on the swing and the pressure forces the QB to throw it away. The dropping DE is a problem for the WR half of the double screen. This doesn't solve the fundamental protection problem. How do you protect a drop back pass when you want to throw a drop back pass? 

There are more solutions for the offense but there isn't a need to keep going the point is hopefully made. The reality is pass protection has rules and defenses can manipulate them. A simple Mike alignment change creates big challenges. Offensive line coaches and pass protectors have a very difficult task. On both sides of the ball it is easy to fall into the keep it simple mindset. Who will own the blame when the simple concept breaks down? For me it cannot fall on the players. If the concept needs to be adjusted to work, it needs to be adjusted. We have to accept complexity is necessary and embrace it. Teaching why the complexity exists and how it allows us to be successful has to happen. When a simple concept is broken by moving the Mike 3 yards, complexity becomes necessary.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Weak Overload 3 Cloud Sim Pressure

Duke is in a odd front Dime personnel on 3rd & 7 vs. 11 personnel with a flexed TE. The Blue Devils are showing an up pressure presentation with both LBs and the Dime showing near blitz demeanor at the LOS.


The Rush:
The Nose is looping to contain opposite the edge rushing walked up LB. The DE is up the field before working inside to balance the pass rush. The Mike is delayed before wrapping tight off the DE's movement.

The Coverage:
3 Cloud - the Corner is the flat player with a no reroute zone technique


The protection is a 6 man half slide concept. 

The Guard is starting the slide. The 4 OL in the slide are accounting for the 4 threats (Green). The OT is manned up on the DE and the RB is responsible for the edge. The OT cannot expect help from the Guard. The technique of the DE and Mike make life difficult for the OL. The DE attacks the OT thought the inside shoulder into the B gap, pressuring up the field and inside. The OT sets out initially to the alignment of the DE and immediately travels back inside with the DE on the movement. The OT has no guaranteed help inside. The DE's rush technique buys the OT. The Mike's tempo makes his intentions unclear. Is he going to drop out, man the RB, spy the QB, re-insert into the rush???. The T/G have a very difficult pass off with two threats on different levels with the DE deeper and the Mike adding later especially when the Mike's intentions are unclear. 

Nice pressure design from Duke Defensive Coordinators Ben Albert and Matt Guerrieri. 

Friday, August 28, 2020

Backer Support & Alley Safety vs Load Option

Army is in 3-4 personnel odd front spacing vs. Air Force. The run support to the option is Backer support with the OLB as the pitch player. 


The OLB is the force/pitch player shuffling for width on the LOS. The slow play helps make it unclear to the QB what the OLB will do. By not committing immediately and obviously to the pitch the OLB buys time for the ILB and Safety. The OLB is able to shuffle keeping leverage to play the outside half of the pitch.

The ILB is able to play inside out to the inside half of the QB. The alley Safety comes downhill to play the outside half of the QB to the inside half of the pitch.

The fit results in the alley safety to be able to vise the QB with the inside/out ILB and once the ball is pitched vise the ball with the outside/in OLB.


This type of teaching method allows the defense to play multiple support structures on the edge. Teach the elements of support and change who handles the force or alley.


In a sky support the Safety plays force/pitch taking the outside half of the pitch while the OLB plays the alley going from outside half of the QB to inside half of the pitch.


In a cloud support the Corner is force fitting O/S half of the pitch with the OLB in the alley playing O/S half of QB to I/S half of the pitch.

Good stuff from former Army Defensive Coordinator John Loose. 

Thursday, August 27, 2020

4-2-5 Weak Overload Firezone Pressure

New Mexico is in a 4-2-5 personnel with stand up hybrid players at DE running two examples of the same fire zone concept.

The first time the Lobos dialed up the pressure on 3rd 10.


The Rush:
The DL is slanting away from the pressure with 3 tech DT on a long stick movement going 2 gaps. The Will is wide as the contain rush with the Mike wrapping off the long stick DT.

The Coverage:
3 Under 3 Deep Firezone 


The dropping DE does a nice job of attacking the OT before dropping out. The protection is a 6 man with the RB scanning. The Center is setting weak which allows the Guard to pass the DT to the Center and set the Mike on the inside pressure. The RB has responsibility for the Mike if the Mike had pressured the the side of the RB. The challenge for the RB is going inside out to the opposite side. With an interior threat from the Mike the RB checks his inside threat. By stepping up to check the Mike the angle to get to the Will off the edge is extreme. 

Later the Lobos use the pressure again this time on a 3rd & 6.



Another 6 man pass protection scheme. Again the dropping DE attacks and occupies the OT before dropping out. This time the Center is setting away from the pressure. The result is the T/G are manned up opposite the slide of Center. The G is forced to travel with the 3 tech on the long stick because he doesn't have guaranteed help from the Center. The Center is occupied setting the A gap DT and would have a difficult redirect set to travel back with the Mike then take over the long stick DT. The Guard would have to react to help from the travel back by the Center and redirect to the Mike. 

Nice pressure design from UNM Defensive Coordinator Jordan Peterson.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Overload Cover 1 Peel Pressure

Illinois is in 4-3 personnel on 3rd & 9. On the motion the Corner/Safety spin the coverage. The Safety takes over the motion receiver while the Corner takes over the post.



The Rush:
The Ends are off the edges. The Sam/Mike are overloading the B Gap with the DT slanting inside. Weak side the the DT is rushing his B gap. The Mike is bluffing a dropout before re-inserting into the pressure

The Coverage:
Cover 1 Peel with the pass rush accounting for the RB.


The mugged up Mike, choked Will, and walked up Sam create a 7 up presentation from the defense. 

The Pass protection is a 7 man concept. The defense gets home bringing 6 with the overload concept. The OT sets inside for the Sam. The Guard passed the DT to the Center setting the Sam. The T/G end up doubling the Sam while leaving the Mike free. The OT squeezing the protection also forced the RB to scan to the DE off the edge. The defense getting the RB isolated vs. a DE to the strong side and the TE isolated vs. a DE weak side is two favorable matchups without the ILB added in as an unblocked rusher.

If the OT/OG fanned to the DE/Sam the RB would have be isolated inside on the Mike inside and weak side TE/DE matchup is still unfavorable. Still two favorable pass rush matchups. 

Nice pressure design from Lovie Smith. 

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Running a Bear Front Twist Pressure from Even Front Spacing

The Patriots are running a 5 up Cover 1 twist pressure from Nickel personnel on 3rd & 6 during the 3rd preseason game last year. The pressure is most common from Bear front spacing, examples featured previously are linked from Alabama, Wisconsin, and the Baltimore Ravens. New England uses an even front spacing with a mugged up ILB to build the pressure. The post snap execution is the same.


The Rush:
Ends are contain with the interior running the 3 man twist game. The LB and DT cross face and penetrate while the DT works up before wrapping.

The Coverage:
Cover 1 with Corners over with a weak side in/out combo coverage by the Safety/LB on the RB/TE


The 5 up presentation gets OL into a man protection principle. The manned up OL is forced to sort out the 3 man twist. The crossing face action of the LB/DT forces the OL to set then change direction. To pick up the wrapping DT the OL would be forced to set, change direction, and redirect. That is difficult ask for any OL. The wrapping DT does a nice job of keeping his shoulders square and gaining ground to the QB as he wraps. 

This is a tried and true pressure concept. The Patriots do a nice job of changing the pre-snap presentation to disguise the classic bear front concept in a even front spacing. Changing presentations is a great way to get more from top pressures. The pressure is the same week to week but the offense has to ID the pressure from various presentations. Great strategy to get the most from your top pressures.

Always good stuff from Bill Belichick even in pre-season games. 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Double A Gap Mug Zone Under Man Pressure

The Browns are in Nickel personnel on 3rd & 7. The defense adjusts to motion and walks into the pressure concept. Likely this is a blitz the formation concept adjusting to the new formation following the motion.


The Rush:
Safety is off the edge with the DT and ILB penetrating. The DE is looping weak.

The Coverage:
Zone Under Man


The pass protection is a 6 man scheme with the RB accounting for an A gap. The OL is in a bind. With all the OL covered they are forced into a man protection principle. The pressure presentation make it difficult to quickly assess who are rushers and who is dropping. If the OL fans out to the Safety they risk leaving an interior pass rush threat unblocked to the QB. If they don't fan to the Safety there is an immediate pressure to the QB off the edge. The QB doesn't want to be forced into a hot throw on 3rd & 7 against a 5 man pressure. With a 6 man protection the offense does not want a 5 man pressure to force a hot throw.

Hot throws are also problematic in that the routes will be thrown quickly and likely short of the line to gain.The coverage concept allows the defense to add zone droppers to deny the hot routes to the inside receivers while playing off man to deny the vertical shots. 

The coverage concept also allows the defense to show the double A gap mug while the droppers can execute the drops assigned. The coverage responsibility isn't in conflict for the skill set of a DE/ILB and avoids conflicts based on alignment. The alignment/pressure presentation is critical to affecting the pass pro and allowing the Safety to come free. 

Nice design from former Cleveland Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks. 

Friday, August 21, 2020

Coaching Stress Areas: Double A Gap Mug Cover 1 Peel Blitz

Many defenses now have a portion of the pressure package bringing 6 rushers while playing a Cover 1 coverage concept. The widest rushers peel if the RB flares while the interior rushers handle the RB on any attempt to release through the LOS or screen behind the LOS. SImply defined the RB is handled by the rush. The concept is easy to explain but does have some stress areas. 

Here is a simple example from a double A gap mug situation. Any number of pressure patterns and alignment can be run backstopped by Cover 1 Peel. The pressure isn't the primary focus of this post.


 
If the RB flares the widest rusher (DE) peels and handles the route. One concept that has to be built into the pressure is an interior rusher must work to contain. In this example the DT contain rushes through the B gap when the peel occurs. The edge can be too soft if pass rush doesn't adjust to firm up the edge on the peel. 

One adjustment from offenses to attack peeling defenders is to fast motion the RB instead of postsnap swinging the RB.



Depending on the skill set of the widest rusher this can be an area of concern. Asking a DE to handle a fast motion RB can be big challenge for the coverage. 


One solution is to run a skill or big skill body out of the box with fast motion. This can be coached up and done. Two issues: the LB is thinking he is in the pressure and must be quick to react to handle the fast motion run out. This can be a difficult pickup in man coverage. Also removing a box aligned player alters the pressure. Now the OL can go for 5 for 5 potentially handling the pressure.

An alternative solution is to turn the coverage into Cover Zero on the motion.



When the fast motions happens the pressure stays a 6 man blitz with the post Safety running to handle the RB. If this is the adjustment we plan to use we align the post Safety over the alignment of the RB. The advantages are we are using a DB to handle the motion and the pressure is now 6 on 5 overload. 

One issue with this technique is the potential of the Safety getting caught up on the way to cover the RB. The Safety may have to deal with being being blocked on a crack scheme by the slot WR blocking for the RB on a swing screen. Another traffic issue is the possibility of the Safety getting picked by inside releasing routes from the WRs preventing the Safety from efficiently covering the RB.



On the motion we can push the man coverage. The Nickel can widen to handle the RB while the Safety comes over to handle slot WR.

This same concept can be applied to a stack or bunch formation.



In this example the Nickel is locked on the point WR. We would rather leave the Nickel in the press. The push by the Safety sends the Corner to the RB motion while the Safety takes over the off the ball WR.

Having solutions for stress areas like RB fast motion is a key to making sure 6 man pressure with Cover 1 Peel holds up to offensive gameplans. There are two types of complexity: Obvious and Hidden. Cover 1 Peel appears very simple initially and in many ways it is, but there are hidden complexity challenges that must be handled.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Nub TE Trips Stress Route for Cover 3 Coverage

The '17 Raiders are in 12 personnel trips with a nub TE weak following the motion.


The concept is a 4 strong load route distribution. The coverage in the example is a 4 under 3 deep zone drop cover 3. There are two C-F droppers and two Hook droppers.

With the Will LB dropping to the weak C-F drop the Corner should be able to get depth to deny the Y on the cross to the weak side. The issue is the release of the U. The Corner is threatened by the initial width vertical release. The Corner cannot allow the U to attack vertically and outside in his 1/3. By gaining width to keep leverage on the route the Corner is taken further from the Y's route. 


The stress falls on the weak hook dropping ILB to handle the Y running across. Many spot drop zone cover 3 concepts don't ask the hook dropper to carry 3. The expectation is the Corner will be deep in the 1/3 waiting for the route to arrive from the strong side and the Post Safety will be in the MOF, the Hook dropper's help carrying vertical routes isn't needed. The U's release/route make the Corner's ability to cover the route in his 1/3 more difficult.

For the teams that want to play a flood cover 3 concept using man principles on the weak side to allow the coverage to flood the strong side there are still issues.




For some flood concept teams they would have the Will handle 4/1st crosser. With 4 (RB) releasing strong the LB can look up the crosser and roll back with the Y.


For other flood teams using the Mike as a 3 up is 3 player, they won't push him off his roll back with the Y. In this case the Will works strong with 4's release and replaces the Mike.

In either case the coverage is better vs. the Y's route. There isn't the same expectation of the Corner being deep in the zone requiring a low player to roll back with the route. 

The issue for flood coverage is still the U's route. The Corner is isolated on the U. It is easy to say the Corner has to be able to man cover a TE. Where the challenge is created is the space. The Corner is again attempting to leverage the U into a huge amount of vertical and horizontal space. The Corner has to position to deny the vertical and outside breaks off the initial release of the U because there is no coverage help in those areas. The Corner's position works against him when the U works back in to all the open space created inside by the low defenders flooding the coverage strong. The Corner is the better athlete but is forced into a disadvantaged position. 

The route is nice concept to stress common Cover 3 variants and a good design from the Raiders. This is route to work on in pre-season when coaching up stress routes vs. Cover 3 family coverages. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Firezone Pressure to Overload the RB

The Seahawks are in a base 4-3 personnel running a 5 man pressure concept on 2nd 10 vs. 10 personnel. 



The Rush:
End - Contain
DT - Movement across the Center to balance the pass rush 
DT - Contain through B gap
Sam - Inside pressure on through the heel line of the up field DE
Mike - Inside pressure lane off the moving DT

The Coverage:
3 Under 3 Deep Fire Zone



The protection is a half slide concept. The Center is executing a zone set opposite the RB's alignment.



The typical rules of a half slide say the first uncovered OL starts the slide. The T and G are covered by DL so they are manned up. They will still use a principle of being able to pass off twists/stunts by the DE and DT, man doesn't mean the will chase those defenders anywhere they go. The Center is uncovered and starts the slide. The Guard to the slide side can expect help from the Center if the DT tries to rush inside. The T/G to the slide can expect help on a DE/DT twist/stunt from the Center as well. 

On the pressure the Guard on the man side is not guaranteed help from the Center who is setting away. With no expected help from the Center when the DT crosses the G has to continue to block him. The RB blocks inside threat first and picks up the inside most of the two rushers. The result is a 2 on 1 by the Sam/Mike on the RB. The protection can handle 3 rushers to the man side but cannot block a 4th. The QB is responsible for the 4th on a hot throw. The QB's eyes are opposite the pressure initially leaving no way to see the 4th rusher. 

The Cardinals could have instead of a half slide protection gone to a big on big man scheme. In this concept the OL declares a 2nd level player the "Mike" the OL handles the 4 down DL and the Miked player.


The man protection concept still uses pass off techniques by the OL to hand twists or pressures with players crossing/exchanging rush lanes. 


As the DT/Mike exchange rush lanes, the Center/Guard would end up pass setting together hip to hip with the Center taking over the DT and the Guard setting the Mike. The RB could handle the Sam and pressure is picked up.


It is easy to look back at the film and say why didn't they run a man protection. Why is the Center setting to nothing and wasting himself?

The Seahawks use a healthy amount of pass rush twists.


Here the twist is to the man side which the T/G have to pass off. OL exchanging a stunt is  easier said than done.


Here a pass rush stunt runs into a setting Center and the protection holds up to allow the ball to be thrown and caught.

In the Cardinals situation the protection gave Center help for a potential pass rush stunt to the slide side and if no extra rushers came the RB could help with DL stunts to the man side. 

The Seahawks are a primary 4 man pass rush team. If the Cardinals would have been in a man protection and gotten beat on pass rush stunt by the DL the questions well up about why the Center didn't help with the stunt? Why didn't they set the protection to the best pass rusher? How could you let that happen? Etc.

The reality is pass rush and pass protection are not just individual plays they are also the conceptual overlap of various calls combined with tendencies. No call is perfect, what is the best call for the situation? What gives us the best chance to win this play? It is EASY to look a play after the fact and say that was a "bad call" or "should have called...." the reality is even calls that make sense based on tendency don't always work out. 

Nice concept by Ken Norton to attack the RB in half slide protection.