X&Os – Defence: the Blitz


Published on Dec 02, 2019


The new book of Huddle Magazine, which episode after episode will try to explain the tactics that are used on the fields of the NFL every week. The fifth output is dedicated to the defense and more specifically the Blitz (Cover 2 – Cover 4/6 – Cover, 3 – Man coverage). INTRODUCTION TO THE BLITZ

To Blitz means an action in which the defense brings a number of pass-rusher (players attacking the quarterback), greater than the four-man standard. Strategy is high risk-high reward who wants to put in difficulty the quarterback by reducing the window of time available to decide what to do with the ball. The blitz then increases a lot the possibility of a sack or an interception. The downside is that it is a risky strategy, increases at the same time, the possibility that the defense will grant a big play to the opponents.

As we have already said several times, the different tasks of the defence are interconnected, and this means that to stretch the blanket from the side of the pass rush you are forced to shorten the line by one of the pass defense, because in the field it goes down in 11, and then bring more men into the pressure means to divert to the defense of the steps.

To Blitz, then, is a general concept that is available in dozens of variants: you can blitzare by a trim man or a zone, with a linebacker or a defensive back, with 5 men or 7. We are for the moment only on the difference between man blitz and zone blitz. If you have read the previous installments of this column already know very well what we mean by distinguishing between zone coverage and man coverage (for those new to this column, we recommend a review here).

In the case of the blitz this difference remains valid, with the difference that the rusher ons) are subtracted just as the pass defense, which for this will be the most vulnerable.

In Man blitz, then, every potential receiver is marked by a defender, with the remaining defenders attacking the quarterback. In this case, we are sacrificing the defense of the deep area, which is manned by a single man, or even, in extreme cases, it remains completely unadorned. Needless to say, just that only one of the defenders you face beat by his man for risking the touchdown. The advantage, however, is that the quarterback will have a minimum amount of time to throw before finding themselves in the face of a defender, as it happened last Thursday, David Blough, quarterback of the Lions.

Alternatively, the defense may blitzare from a trim to the area. The field in this case will not be defended by the 7 pass defenders as traditional, but by 6 or 5 players. Consequently, the field will be divided into zones that are wider, and it will be easier for the QB to find a free man. This is to see if he can do it before the pressure reaches.

2&5, the Ravens maintain one of their usual CB blitz, sending two of them play cornerback in the blitz. Behind them, the coverage is a zone, obviously dilated since there are only 5 pass defenders, but that doesn't matter because Carr from the right, arrives in virtually undisturbed in the backfield and manages to lie down Goff before the QB can get rid of the ball.

The examples we have seen show us that the key to a blitz of success is the timing. No matter how, the objective is to bring at least one free rusher to touch the quarterback in the shortest possible time. You can do this through the arithmetic, bringing in a pass rusher more than the attack manages to block, as in the case of the sack of the Bears, or with the deception, by sending in the blitz players usually defend the steps as i play cornerback of the Ravens.

In certain situations, every single team gets pressure with four men, but the frequency and the creativity of the blitz varies a lot depending on the coaching staff. Some, such as, for example, of the Atlanta Falcons, rely almost exclusively on pressure from the front 4 and blitzano very rarely, and with a few men, while others, such as that of the Baltimore Ravens, blitzano frequently and so incredibly creative. Then there are those who, like Gregg Williams, current DC of the New York Jets, has structured his philosophy on the defensive on the model of the Wehrmacht, and blitza in idle mode for large stretches of the game.

In any case, especially on third down, defenses make use of one or more versions of the blitz and this is why all quarterbacks should be able to deal with them.

How you beat the blitz? First of all, recognition. It seems obvious, but it's not really, especially for the rookie quarterback, used to read the defenses the base of the college, struggling when you are having to decipher the aramaic of the defence professional.

In this action of 2018, the Ravens are 8 potential rusher near the line of scrimmage. Poor Nathan Peterman will go into a panic and will suffer yet another sack of his brief career.

On the contrary, the best quarterback to react to blitzes like a master of Ju-Jitzu, and they succeed in twisting the aggressiveness of the defenders against the defense the same. Blitzare in a manner that is too blatant and clumsy against a veteran like Matt Ryan, for example, is a bad idea, as they discovered the Eagles in Week 2.

As soon as reads the cover 0 blitz of the Eagles (no cover deep) Ryan calls an audible (a change of scheme at the line of scrimmage by calling a screen pass that sends the left tackle Matthews block on the side of Julio Jones, who receives the short pass, turned on the jets and scores the touchdown decisive. When the blitz are hidden better than the Eagles, it is even more important that the QB does not lose the calm, and is quite in control, to master the situation.

To diagnose the blitz, the quarterback can use different tools, including the Motion of the receivers and the hard count in this Aaron Rodgers is attainable.

Once you have an idea of how many and what are the pass rusher, the quarterback must know what to do to mitigate the impact of the blitz. First, modify if necessary, the pass protection (the tasks of blocking the line offensive). Then figure out where to go with the ball, and here there are essentially two ways, depending on the risk you want to take: you can contain the damage with a short passing and fast (to get rid of the ball in a very short time) or go for the jugular and look for the shot of the ko.

Let's see an example of both roads.

In this action, Dak Prescott recognizes very well that the Giants are bringing pressure with an overload fire-zone blitz.

It is a blitz in the area that overloads a side of the formation thanks to the blitz of safety and/or linebacker while relieving the other side down a man line in pass coverage.

Dak reacts with calm and, first things first, fix the pass protection, moving the RB McFadden on the right side (to lock at least one of the two blitzers), then with a nod, indicates to Witten that he is "the hot man" in the case of blitz, which means "to Wit, if the blitz gets really, run a track short that the ball gets to you immediately." Dak receives the snap, and download for the hot route run by Witten for a moment before the pressure reaches, thus managing to avoid the sack and keep in pace the attack.

In other occasions, the quarterback doesn't have the luxury to settle for a gain of five yards, must be able to complete a medium-to-long under pressure. We saw this in week 11, when Carson Wentz has had to fend against the cover zero blitz the Patriots in the last seconds. Is a 4th&10, and then Wentz must complete a pass of at least ten yards.

The Patriots are not mysteries, and they cover 0, with no safety deep. At this point, it really becomes a fight against time. Wentz resists as much as possible in the pocket and then throws up a prayer in the direction of the post route run by Nelson Agholor, a good solution (even if risky) to try and beat a man blitz so aggressive.

The ball is great, given the circumstances, and Wentz could not do better than this, the opposite of Agholor, who is not able to adjust its trajectory with that of the ball and misses the catch, the most important of his career. The error of the wide receiver doesn't detract from the fact that the ball has been excellent and will help us to understand how to beat them with throws, deep blitz more aggressive.

These are, in short, the basic rules of the Blitz, of course, we have only scratched the surface of a topic is immense. Knowing how to blitzare – and know how to defend from the blitz – is increasingly important in the NFL, and for this the coching staff are always looking for new solutions on both sides of the ball.




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