My last blog post centered on how to teach defensive lineman to defend against one-on-one blocks in a shade 4-3 defense. A vertical based double team, which means two linemen try to knock a defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage to get to the second level. A horizontal based combination block in which two offensive linemen look to stretch a defensive lineman laterally with the intent to open gaps along the line of scrimmage. We’ve found that defenders often feel the difference between these two blocks, so we use two different types of techniques to destruct them. Focus on the presnap key, which is the “V” of the neck of the offensive lineman the defensive player is aligned on.
It’s vital that defensive linemen stay in their gaps and not get cut off when they are presented with this block scenario.
Use a push-and-pull technique – push with the outside hand and pull with the inside hand – to flatten out zone combinations. Once we work through combination blocks, we focus attention on how to defend against certain run concepts. Start with interior defensive linemen – nose and tackles – learning how to defend the trap play, synonymous with many offenses today. Note: To provide a change-up and to make sure defensive linemen are reading their keys, I sometimes add a full-scale reach scheme to keep players honest.


Here, a defensive end is asked to squeeze a down block and attack a trapper, whether it is a fullback, H-back or backside guard. As a young coach, I got caught up in expecting players to know how offenses were trying to attack them.
Defensive line development comes in two parts: the identification and then the defeat of blocks.
Learning football fundamentals are the foundation of any good practice – from pee wees to the pros. With the help of the Dolphins coaching staff, USA Football is producing a series of videos that breaks down the basics in a way that youth and football coaches can use with their teams. In the video below, the Dolphins demonstrate a drill that focuses on the pin and pull technique for offensive linemen in the run game. Watch the video below to see the progression coaches can take to practice and implement this drill at any level of the sport. Subscribe to the mailing list and get a daily update with the most important news about Football - Jacksonville Jaguars! While these man blocking situations may arise during the course of a game, time also needs to be devoted to teaching defensive lineman how to defend against two-on-one situations, which are more common in zone and gap blocking run schemes. Known as the scoop block, two linemen look to stretch a first level defender and work to pick up a second level defender.


Since the 3-technique in the 4-3 defense would be the player most susceptible to getting trapped, focus attention on his technique.
The 3-technique must squeeze and spill the blocker by turning his shoulders and driving his upfield pad through the chest of the blocker while keeping his live feet. We have a coach stand behind the defender to notify which player is coming to trap the defensive end. Years later, I found that this comes only with categorizing blocks and the constant reinforcement of the techniques used to defend them. Once defenders understand which techniques to use against which blocks, they will become more aware and more successful.
USA Football visited the Miami Dolphins OTAs this spring and sat down with coaches to discuss some of the drills they use.
The key is to put defensive players in a variety of positions on the field so blockers can practice zone blocking responsibilities.



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