Monday, October 19, 2020

Speeding Up Slow Developing Plays

One reason to call pressure is pressure changes the tempo of a play. Slower developing plays like play action pass and screen will not work on the timing they expect to operate on if pressure forces the play to happen more quickly. 

A 2nd reason to pressure is plays designed to manipulate defender's reactions in base defensive techniques can find difficulty creating the desired effect vs. pressures. A pressuring defender isn't making the same run/pass read like in a base defensive technique. Attempting to fool a defender is harder when the defenders actions were defined pre-snap and are less reliant on a post-snap read/reaction. 

Here are four examples from Week 6 in the NFL

Buccaneers are in base personnel on 1&10 vs. 12 personnel.

The concept is a simple ILB edge pressure backstopped with 3 under 3 deep fire zone. The pressure forces the RB to adjust to make his block off his play fake to pick up a full speed edge rusher. The defenders aren't manipulated. The rushers don't buy the run fake. The pass droppers know the pressure can disrupt run or pass allowing coverage players to be coverage players who react to run not primary run fitters. The QB's play action tempo is too slow for the tempo of the pass rush created by the pressure. 

Giants are in Nickel personnel on 1&10 vs. 21 personnel. 

The Giants are bringing a 4 man sim pressure rushing the Nickel off the edge backstopped by a 4 under 3 deep coverage. The usage of  21 personnel, motion to a 2 back formation, and flash fake are designed to hold underneath defenders. If the underneath defenders are held there will be space to throw the switch verticals in the void created between underneath droppers and deep zone defenders. The rush changes the tempo and creates immediate pressure in the QB's face. The zone coverage specifically the roll down Safety is unaffected by the play fake preventing a void in coverage from being created.

Patriots are in Dime personnel on 2&9 vs. 12 personnel.

The pressure is 6 man blitz backstopped with Cover Zero man. The man coverage player on the RB engage rushes to add a 7th rusher when the offense presents a 6th blocker. The plus one pass rush requires the QB to account for the unblocked rusher. The QB has little to no time to react to an unblocked rusher following the quick play fake. 

Steelers are in Nickel personnel on 2&8 vs. 11 personnel.

The Steelers bring a simple Nickel edge pressure sending the DE wide and Nickel on a low track backstopped by 3 under 3 deep fire zone. The Browns are running a RB screen that is well schemed and set up for a potential big play with 3 OL leading the way for the RB. There isn't time for the QB to set up and deliver the ball off the play action fake. The DE who makes the play is in principle going to be controlled by a down block from the OT, orbit WR reverse bluff, and a TE blocking across the formation. The DE is edge rushing as part of the pressure preventing the down block/reverse manipulation and is too fast off the edge for the TE's block. 

Great stuff from Todd Bowles, Patrick Graham, Bill Belichick, and Keith Butler. Pressure is a tool and sometimes the tool is used to speed up slower developing plays and prevent defender manipulation.

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