Perfecting Your Pass Rush Progression

Sep 16, 2012 | Defense, Pressure

William Lund, Defensive Line Columnist, X&O Labs

By William Lund

Defensive Line Columnist

X&O Labs

Sacks, QB Knockdowns, Interceptions, forced fumbles, incomplete passes and general disruption of the quarterback are the reasons a pass rush is so critical to the overall defense. These negative plays are potential momentum shifters in a given game and are created by a relentless unyielding pass rush.

Pass rushers come in all types and abilities. I believe it is paramount that a pass rusher establish a level of physical dominance first to set up the primary of pass rush moves in one’s arsenal.  If the offensive lineman believes he is in for a physical battle established early in the game, when you need that critical move you have a greater chance to hit it at the crucial time.

I believe a great pass rush starts and ends with the Bull Rush. It’s not flashy and sounds simplistic to coaches, but rushing the QB is not about moves, it is about attitude, relentless all out attitude. Your Bull Rush establishes the physical onslaught the OL is about to endure. The natural reaction of the Offensive Tackle is to set and brace for the violent attack and punch he will receive the majority of the game.  As the game progresses your speed moves will open up and become more effective. When the offensive tackle sets his feet in preparation to absorb the punch, you can change up and speed around the corner. With this subtle change up he has to adapt to your speed and you are better able to use another violent punch back to power as he "soft sets" back.  The key is to read the offensive lineman’s pass set, you want to look for him to turn his hips and shoulders to the sideline and his chest to come up exposing himself to a violent punch dropping him right on the QB’s lap. Even if you are a speed rusher you can set up your best rush move more so by establishing a physical nature in your pass rush by utilizing a Power/Bull Rush.