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What are 1- and 2-Gap Defensive Schemes?

28 Jul


One-Gap Defense

In a one-gap scheme, a defensive linemen has a one-gap responsibility. He attacks a hole and must take care of whatever happens in that gap he is assigned. He is expected to tackle any running back who goes through that hole, or to force the running back to move laterally – that is, “spill” him – into the arms of another tackler.

If the offense is passing, the defender’s gap is his route to the quarterback. A one-gap technique requires a defensive player to take on his man and occupy that space. One-gap defenders are generally smaller, quicker, and better pass rushers than two-gap technique defenders.

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Terminology: Setting the Edge

3 Apr

160403 - the edge and perimeter

Fear of the long run or the long pass dominates the thinking of any defense.  This is especially true on the outside — or perimeter — of a defense where it is the weakest because it is defended by the fewest players.  If a defense has no player there who can “set the edge” against the run, then an offense can run outside for big-time yardage.

There are three areas of a defense that an offense can attack: inside, off-tackle and the outside.  The outside is the weakest because it has the fewest defenders. The “edge” of an offensive formation is the corner formed by the “end man on the line” — that is to say, the last man on each side of the offensive line. This means that every offensive formation has two edges: one to either side.   The “outside” meanwhile is that spacious and sparsely defended area of the field beyond the edge.

160403 - inside, outside, off-tackle (setting the edge)

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Blocking Scheme (Pass): BOB

1 Apr

Big guys on big guys while the running check releases thru the line into a pass route.

BOB or ” Big-on-Big” is a pass protection  scheme generally involving six men – 5 OL and 1 RB – that pits offensive linemen against defensive linemen.  In other words, big guys on big guys and for the obvious reason: they’re equal in size and strength.

This, in turn, allows the running back to block a defender more his size: a linebacker or defensive back, should they blitz.

Even better though, when the defense doesn’t blitz, the running back can release into a pass route. This is called a “check release” assignment.  The running back checks first for a blitz before releasing into a short pass route.

In the pictures below, big guys are blocking big guys and the running backs are checking for a blitz, but there is none as the linebackers are dropping into coverage.  So, once they see where space in the underneath coverage will develop, they attack the open grass, giving the quarterback a checkdown option should everyone else be covered.


Notice that the running  back (#21)is checking the drops of the linebackers and will release into open grass, while the big guys are occupied blocking big guys..


Offensive Play: Bootleg

28 Mar

bootleg (combined).jpgA bootleg is schizophrenic or something.

For starters, it’s a misdirection play.  The Quarterback fakes a hand off in one direction then rolls out to the other.

It’s also a play-action pass in that it starts out looking like a running play.  The run fake does two things: it confuses the defense and it slows down any pass rush.

And, lastly, it’s an option play — sort of.  Depending upon how the defense’s backside reacts to the Quarterback’s sudden appearance with the ball, the Quarterback has the option to either run or pass.

The defense, in this case, is specifically the force defender.  He’s the lone wolf in a defense’s perimeter who’s entrusted with “forcing” a ballcarrier back into the pursuit.

When he sees the Quarterback with the ball to his side of the field, he has two choices: he can lay back and protect against the pass, in which case the Quarterback can run.  Or he can rush the Quarterback who will then throw to the open receiver.  When executed properly, a bootleg is basically a no-win situation for the defense.

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Offensive Tactic: Selling the Nine

22 Mar

action3 ( a pass play, receivers run along specific, predesigned paths that attack the “open grass” — or soft spots — in a defense.  These paths are called “routes” and a carefully crafted mixture of them is called a “pass pattern” or “concept”.

The “9” is football’s most basic and most important pass route and, yet, it’s nothing more than a race to the end zone – or at least as far as the quarterback can throw.

Selling the nine is convincing a defensive back that he’s in that race every time a receiver releases from the line of scrimmage.

The nine — also called a “Go” or “Fly” route — is basically a straight line.  As such, it serves as the stem for many other pass routes a receiver can run.  By stem, we refer to another straight line, the one a receiver runs when he escapes the line of scrimmage and races to the breakpoint of his assigned route.

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