Not all 3rd Down pressures need to be exotic. Sometimes a best-practice stunt can do the trick. However, I do believe that to win on passing downs, the defense needs to manipulate the protection. One of the best ways to do this is utilizing a 5-O front to create man-blocking.
When presented with five defenders on the line of scrimmage (LOS), most offensive lines will check to some kind man blocking scheme or Combo pass protection that slides one way and has man blocking to the other. Either way, a defense can manipulate the matchups and get a defender free by utilizing a 5-O front and understanding how an offense reacts.
In the diagram above, the Dolphins have presented the Vikings with five defenders on the LOS. I call this particular 5-O alignment BOSS (Bigs On Same Side) or an overload front. Sometimes, an offense may choose to slide to the “bigs” side. In that case, pressures that attack away from the slide side can be used. When teams go to man-blocking, defenses can use simple line stunts to devastating effect.
The goal for a 5-O front is to create a mismatch to win one-on-ones. The Dolphins move their EDGE Jaelan Phillips (#15) inside and place him in a 4 technique on top of the Tackle. The placement of a hybrid player inside and using width in his alignment puts pressure on the Guard. Not only does the Guard have to fan out to block the defender, but now has to play in space, similar to a Tackle. To isolate the Guard, even more, the Center is occupied with a “zeroed” Nose in #94 Christian Wilkinson.
Related Content: Attacking the Guard in Pass Protection
Away from the “load” side, the Dolphins have a mugged ILB on top of the RB and another EDGE outside him. An offense that sees this look with no off-ball LB will either release the RB to check the mugged ‘backer or have him chip the most dangerous edge. If an off-ball LB is present, the RB will likely be responsible for him in the protection, scanning the LB to the edges for any blitzer.
The Dolphins have set themselves up for success by utilizing two main concepts, a 5-O front, and a BOSS alignment. Both concepts will help Miami attack the protection with a simple NOT stunt. In a NOT stunt, the Nose will work to the A-gap to the side of the 3 tech. (in this case, 4 tech.) while the DT will wrap to the opposite A-gap. I call this pressure RAVENS because the BOSS Front and NOT stunt will come from the field (in the NFL, the passing strength). The concept is shown below.
In my language, a “bird” means field. Birds fly, so we use the “F” to signify the field side. Another popular example of an “F” Sim pressure is FALCONS, which attacks the offense with an overload to the field as well as a Ni blitz into the B-gap. The sister pressure for Ravens would be BENGALS (which will be shown later). The BOSS Front and NOT stunt in Bengals would now come from the boundary or away from the passing strength (NFL). “B” equals boundary.
Simple pressures like a NOT stunt can be used to “pick” O-linemen as they attempt to block. The width of the 4 tech. will assist Phillips in defeating his block and crossing the Center’s face. The goal is to use a quick interior defender to wrap around before the O-line can respond.
Opposite the wrap is a mugged LB on top of the RB. For Miami, the LB is responsible for the RB and will stand in front of the Guard, reading the RB’s intentions. If the back stays in, the LB will be a decoy, so the Guard doesn’t work back to the looper. Any flare action by the back and the LB will take him man-to-man. Against weak Guards that do not play well in space or chase defenders, a defense can stab-and-drop the LB and play true zone behind the stunt (as illustrated in the diagram above).
To read the full article, subscribe to MQ’s Substack.