I get a lot of questions about packaging blitzes and how to go about doing so. I’ve written several pieces on the subject:
In the first article, I detail the theory behind the concept and briefly go over the setup process. In “Building a Better Blitz,” I detail how to design and use formations to create an adaptive Zone Blitz. Packaging blitzes are nothing new. Many coaches understand the concept of “blitz the formation,” or BTF. Coaches like Bilecheck, Rex Ryan, and Saban use the offensive formation to determine how to attack.
This concept of “packaging” blitzes/pressures from the same tree allows the defense to adapt to any situation the offense may throw at it. Generally, the most common way defensive coordinators utilize BTF is in their “all out” or max blitzes. The easiest way to demonstrate the whole process is to actually create a blitz package.
Below is Dog Check, a single-dog (one linebacker) pressure. It is a five-man pressure that uses an edge blitz by the LBs and a simple line movement. Each pressure within the formation is named and is unique, but when combined together, the “check” can now adapt to any formation reduce the guessing. The adaptiveness and flexibility that checks give to a DC are invaluable. Being able to eliminate verbiage and guess work can be the difference between a tackle for loss or a touchdown (especially when tempo is involved).
The point of BTFs and packaging blitzes is to allow the defense to flex with the offense. When calling a pressure it is important to make sure it is the right one and against a formation that gives the defense the best chance to hit home. Defense is about risk and tendencies. Calling a defense is complete guess work built on the tendencies the offense has shown throughout the season. Packaging blitzes reduce the risk and gives more control to the defense. Who doesn’t want more control?
This particular pressure will be a five-man half field pressure. Half field means the only adjustments will be made to the side of the center the pressure is coming from. The away side will keep its fits and pass distribution. The only adjustment in pass distribution that needs to be made is the LBs and overhangs must carry under routes because the defense is technically losing its middle hole player (especially if the offense pushes the RB – the #3 WR).
The blitzes utilize the base defensive rules for alignment: the front will be set to the field (10p), Tight End (11p), or “H” (20p). The pressure will always come from the RB’s side unless there is a TE, then the pressure will come from the “open side” or away from the TE. These are simple rules that any player can understand and operate. The line movement is simple as well. If away from the strength, the LB/over hang will give a “rip” call to the DE, sending him to the open “B” gap. If to the strength, the LB/over hang will give a “pirate” call (or the term you use to move your DE and 3 technique one gap over).
The pressure utilizes single-gap fits. This means the edge rusher must take the QB and force a “give” to the RB. The line movement takes care of the dive fit. The Mike will always push with the #3 WR unless it is Gun Near 3×1, then the over hang will take it because the Mike is on a blitz. Keeping the rules simple allows for flexibility and the packaging of the pressures allows the DC to use one word or signal to get his defense aligned.
In a five-man pressure, the defense can stay intact front side, but the blitz side must adapt. Without spinning, a defense can use a simple “over/under” scheme to adjust the blitz side pass distribution. Split field coverage allows a defense to function independently on either side of the center and adapt to the formation. The most common adjustment is “under,” which is a basically spinning the blitz side safety. This adjustment is great against offenses that are running hot routes (mainly slants) towards the vacating LB or over hang. The inside alignment of the dropping safety gives him an advantage to the ball.
“Over” on the other hand, can be employed against offenses that use WR screens/RPOs or run out cuts by the slot. “Over” signifies the safety will stay high and the CB will function as the flat defender. It is Cloud coverage without a curl player. The curl player will only be there if the #3 WR pushes to the blitz side. The safety must understand that he is “topping” the route combination and not just fast bailing to open space. He is staying “over” the routes.
The only time the defense will truly spin is against Trips Open and the RB is set to the three receiver side. There is no way around it. The Mike is the over hang in this situation and the edge player to the RB. When a defense loses its Mike in pressure the nearest player to replace it is the front side safety. If the RB is set to the boundary, the boundary safety will take the blitz, he is the over hang. This works with a split field defense because he can function as a trap player and his alignment meshes with Sky coverage. The Will is now the Mike and chained to the box. These little adjustments help the defense to adapt and can lend to bluff calls and trap coverages, making the defense even more unique. Below is the blitz package:
10 pers. 2×2:
10 pers. 3×1:
11 pers. 2×2:
11 pers. 3×1:
20 pers. 2×1:
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