Slide Protection – A Simple Way to Cover the Gaps If You Want to Pass

16 Aug
OL - zone blocking (Amanda Rykoff)

Slide Protection

What a lot of teams like to do when it comes to pass protection is either slide the whole line to the right or slide left.  Done properly it — that is, keep the pad level and hat down instead of high like in most pass pocket schemes — can even look like run blocking to the linebackers.

This type of protection can help your line pick up outside blitzes to one side but also help pick up a middle blitz that many teams will employ.  But, more importantly for youth coaches who want to air out the ball, slide technique is much easier to teach and learn than drop-back passing. Less time too.

Action_OL pass pro (kyle tsui)

Pass Pocket Scheme

So if a team brings six rushers what needs to happen?  Well, if you’re filling on the backside of the slide with a running back, then you need to protect inside gap first and the QB is responsible for the sixth rusher to get rid of the ball.  Ideally you want that sixth rusher to be an outside rusher as he will have further to come and the QB can see him and even throw the ball to the area that has been vacated.

Your receivers also need to recognize the blitz and help the QB out by adjusting their routes to help the QB get rid of the ball quickly.  They need to look and see if there are any safeties over the top.  If the QB sees that there is a 6 man blitz coming he can also audible to a hot route.  You might want to slide protect to the backside of your QB since that is the side he won’t be able to as easily see the outside rusher coming.

Also give some thought to widening your line splits a little more to widen the defensive front to help slow down their line stunts and also their outside blitzes.  Not a youth coach’s first choice, but a consideration if your linemen can adjust to the extra space. Our only concern is the middle blitzes that will come and if you get too wide, your tackles might  have to redirect and slide and pick up the defender over the guard.

You can also help make that pass rusher go further by rolling your QB out of empty.  You can use your 3rd receiver to act as a lead blocker and run roll out pass plays.  You can even go quads and do a roll out with the 4th receiver staying in to block.

By getting rid of the ball quickly, you will start to force that pass rush to slow down.  Every time having the D has to chase the QB then go chase the ball after it is down field will start to wear down the rush.  Combine that with a run game and you can keep the defense guessing instead of just always rushing the passer

The biggest thing you can teach your line is that they don’t need to make a huge block when it comes to slide protection. Sometimes all they need to do is give a nice push to knock the rusher off track or simply  wall him off to give your QB a few tenths of a second more to get rid of the ball.


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