Defensive Techniques

RedZone Defensive Lineman Techniques

Learn how to play faster and with more confidence so you don’t get trapped into guessing what play is coming or resort to peaking at where the ball is.  That doesn’t work.

Red Zone will help defensive line players gain an edge by teaching proper technique and tips on what is most critical for success.  In all current one-gap defenses it’s crucial for D-linemen to defeat one-on-one blocks.  See the ball through your gap.  To do that, players must learn to play with leverage, knowledge and quickness.   By breaking these fundamentals down and explaining the how’s and why’s, we will be able to prepare players on what to expect and what to takes to make plays.

Playing Faster = Making more Plays

The ability to recognize how the offense is blocking the D-line will help you react faster in a conditioned-response way through repetition.  Defensive linemen shouldn’t be looking at the backfield action on any given play.  Instead they need to read their keys from the blocking schemes.  We’ll teach you what to look for and how to read your keys…How aggressively are the O-Linemen firing out?  What’s their angle of attack?   Those keys should tell you about where the play is going.  These are the keys that you need to recognize, rely on, and trust to develop an instinct that helps you make plays on the D- line.

Knowledge = Power to Play Fast

There are three kinds of aggressive blocks:

Stimulus/Read                       Response
1.    Base/Drive                       Squeeze and Drive
2.    Reach                               Knock Back and Lock out
3.    Cut                                     Hands protect the Feet

Non-Aggressive blocks are those that at the snap of the ball, your key does not block you.  That signals where the play is going.

Stimulus/Read                        Response
1.    Down Veer                        Trap
2.    Scoop                                Close
3.    Pull                                     Back door/Collision
4.    Pass (high hat)                Rush /Work a Move


Stance, take-Off and Playing with Leverage

It all starts with having the proper stance.  It’s the #1 fundamental.  The stance needs to fit the player, not the other way around.  You need to adopt a stance that fits your body type and comfort zone so you can play with maximum leverage.  The goal of a good stance is to be quick and explode off the ball.  There are two types of take-offs:

1.    Attack and React (on run situations)

–    Learn how to explode off the ball using the proper footwork to defeat blocks

–    If you don’t have the proper footwork you won’t have the base to take on blocks

2.    Jet (on pass situations)

–    On pass situations, you need to have a strong first step that is vertical and upfield

–    Rip grass with your down hand and replace it with your first step

Proper footwork with pass rush moves will be drilled.  It’s like a choreographed dance to pair proper footwork with active hands.  Hands and feet must work together.  If one stops, so does the other.

Using your hips is also a key component to gaining leverage.  When playing the run, you want low and square hips.  On pass rush moves, you need to play with loose hips that helps you maneuver past offensive linemen by keeping your hands and hips moving together.  These are the kinds of details that are essential to gaining an edge on your opponent.

Playing with Violent Hands

Learning to deliver a blow with your hands using proper hand placement and technique helps you gain an advantage.  D-Linemen need to use a triangle of power using your hands and face to strike a blow to neutralize the pressure from the offensive linemen.  Learn about the axiom of fighting pressure with pressure because skilled linemen know that behind pressure lies the ball.

Rushing the Passer

As a Defensive End, you need to have a pre-determined move on pass rush.  Rushing the passer is two-parts attitude and one part technique.  Developing moves that fit your personal physical strengths will give you an edge.  Identifying your personal strengths and creating pass rush moves to leverage those strengths is step one in becoming an effective pass rusher.  Once those moves are established you can learn counter moves in response to the Offensive Tackle Set Point.