Friday, September 25, 2020

Bluffing Pressure to Manipulate Pass Protection

The Steelers are in Nickel personnel on 2nd & Long vs. a compressed 11 personnel formation.

The Rush:

The DL is attacking their gaps with the Will pressuring the open B gap.

The Coverage:

3 Under 3 Deep Firezone

The pressure pattern is very simple but also highly effective. The Steelers bluff the Mike and the Nickle as pressure threats. This creates the possibility of 4 from a side. The threat of 4 from a side causes the issue for the pass protection.

If the offense were in a half slide concept opposite the Nickel:

The 4 from a side threat is a major issue. The defense will have a 2 on 1 overload on the RB. The QB would need to throw hot off the 2nd rusher because the RB can only block 1 of the threats, the QB must account for the 2nd. The protection would however picked up the Will pressure the Steelers actually ran pretty easily. The threat of 4 from a side pressure the Steelers were showing helps prevent this protection.

If the offense is in a man protection:

In this example the OL "Miked" the Will LB. The OL has the 4 LOS threats and the Will LB in protection. The result is exactly like the half slide. 

The offense was not in either of these protections. Both of which match up well against the Will pressure. The pass pro is attempting to account for the 4 from a side threat resulting in a different protection scheme.

Without knowing the call from the offense it is difficult to access what the protection call was on the play. I could be a half slide with the RB bonused.

In this example the slide is working to the pressure threat and the RB is with the slide. This allows the protection enough bodies to block 4 from a side.

The more likely situation is a man protection with the OL "Mike" declaring the Mike LB.

In this example the OL declared the Mike and is accounting for the 4 LOS threats and the Mike. The RB is dual reading the Nickel to the Will.

In both the half slide and man protection examples the protection can handle 4 from a side.

Unfortunately for the protection the bluffed pressure look from the Steelers was not the actual pressure postsnap. 

The protection is accounting for the 4 strong look which allows the Will to run through in the B gap.

To both be ready to handle the 4 from a side pressure threat and handle the Will, the RB has to scan.

In the clip the RB didn't scan which allowed for the run through. The RB checked the Nickel then looked inside to the Mike. Even if the RB had scanned, a coast to coast block by the RB is difficult on a full speed rusher. This is where pressure planning comes together. The Steelers are representing a threat the protection has to ready to block. Built off the 4 from a side look is a complimentary piece that leads to confusion and a very difficult block for the RB. The protection cannot simply ignore a 4 from a side threat. If the offense will ignore it, the defense can come back with a called 4 from a side and create quick pressure. Exotic pressure patterns aren't the only way to create pressure. A simple pattern complimented with a bluff can create big challenges for pass pro.

Great stuff from Pittsburgh Defensive Coordinator Keith Butler. 

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