Advance Scouting - 2021 OL Masterminds
Legendary Ohio State D-line coach Larry Johnson: The best offensive linemen keep their pads down and their hands close to them, Johnson says. “Those guys are tough, so you’ve got to make them move their feet so you can create space. The whole thing in pass rush is it’s like basketball where you’ve got to create momentum and take momentum away. Our principle is the exact same thing in pass rush — to give you momentum and take it away — through a power step and to make you react to what I’m doing even though I’ve done nothing yet but you’re going to react because I’m closing the space. Every pass rush should be tight to the fight. We wanna be so tight to your shoulders when we’re coming through that you can’t react and you can’t punch back. You’ve got to fall forward.”
”80% of the game for us as D-linemen is trying to set up an O-linemen for that 3rd/4th quarter big sack. So 1st/2nd quarter we work a lot of power, speed to power and that’s our combination early. Then you’ll throw that changeup and hit them with a hesitation-club to get them off balance, then a power-pop where we show bull-rush then swipe them off of you by using his leverage against himself.”
- NFL D-line trainer Eddy McGilvra
As renown defensive line coach and pass-rushing expert Larry Johnson described above, rushing the passer is an art-form with a tremendous amount of nuance and detail needed to achieve consistent success. So it only makes sense for the offensive line community to approach pass-blocking the same way and part of that is learning the opponent.
My role in the OL Masterminds event is to help offensive linemen around the NFL learn more about their opponent by putting together film cut-ups and advance scouting snapshots of the league’s top pass-rushers based on my film study of them throughout the year. For the first time I will be publishing the majority of my work for OL Masterminds and sharing it with you, subscribers to the Trench Warfare newsletter.
Some of the highlights you’ll be receiving in this post are:
Signature moves for every rusher
Secondary & change-up moves for every rusher
Video profiles of their most commonly used moves in descending order
Video of ‘O-line wins’ against their moves that highlight some of the best practices used to defeat their moves
A snapshot of the rusher including how he wins, where he lines up, and any other pertinent notes about their playing style or tendencies
#52 Khalil Mack - 6’3” 260 - 30 years old Week 1 of 2021
- Ideal blend of speed and power. Arsenal of moves. Demands as much if not more attention than any pass-rusher in the NFL.
- Primarily 2 or 3-pt in a wide-5 or ‘ghost’ 7
- Lined up at LDE over the RT 78% of the time in 2020 and split evenly between LDE/RDE in 2019.
- Top moves: Long-arm/stab
- Secondary moves: Ghost technique, inside club-swim or club-rip
- Top counters: Forklift, outside spin
2020 Sack Chart
- Start fast, get to your spot, and know your landmarks. You will see a ton of hesitations & stutters to set up his moves. Stay square, keep your pads down, don’t drift/float to overset, and maintain half-man.
- Uses extensive stutters, hesitations, and weaves prior to initial contact to get you to lean and lose leverage. Brilliant at changing up his speeds and selling misdirection.
- Maintain active, quick, independent hand usage. Don’t want to stay patient too often and allow him access to your frame.
#95 Myles Garrett - 6’4” 272 - 25 years old Week 1 of 2021
- Elite athlete with rare physical tools
- Primarily a power rusher but has the speed/bend to threaten the edge & corner plus cross face inside
- Primarily plays out of a 2 or 4-pt stance in a wide-9 or ‘ghost’ 7
- Will slide inside to the 3T and play each side almost evenly
- From the LDE/offensive right primarily plays out of a 2 or 3-pt ‘ghost’ 7
- Top moves: Speed to power bull rush or long-arm bull
- Secondary moves: Cross-chop + speed rip to the corner
- Top counters: Inside hump or club/rip
2020 Sack Chart
- HAVE to effectively transition to anchor, cut grass, and build your house. Mix up strikes; exercise patience. Circle punch or using the inside hand to initiate contact work best to counter the cross-chop. Selective heavy handed 2-hand strikes with the slide to your side as a curveball have been effective. Play inside-out!
- Can contort his body, bend, and tilt at freaky angles to fight through blocks if his initial move is stopped
- Extremely physical and explosive on contact. Wants to run through you if he can and will test you early and often. Any lag, hesitation, or false step out of your stance and he will turn into a speed rusher and dip/rip to the edge.
#97 Joey Bosa - 6’5” 280 - 26 years old Week 1 of 2021
- Rare blend of quickness and size with a refined pass-rush plan and non-stop motor. Can win all three ways (outside, down the middle, inside).
- Primarily plays out of 3-pt stance in a wide-9 alignment
- Played LDE over the RT 73% of the time in 2020 and was split evenly between LDE/RDE in 2019. Will also reduce inside.
- Top moves: Side-scissors, Long-arm stab inside
- Secondary moves: Inside spin, cross-chop
- Top counters: Speed to power
2020 Sack Chart
-Have to get to your spot square to have a chance. Quick, tight strikes or he will swipe, chop, and knock them down. Stay light on your hands so you can recover & reset when he swipes your hands.
- Strings together moves exceptionally well and will play off of what you give him, so staying unpredictable and mixing in different techniques on money downs can help to throw off his footwork and timing.
- Prefers to go with the long-arm stab and inside rushes when lined up over the left tackle and leans on his cross-chop when reduced inside at 3T.
#97 Nick Bosa - 6’4” 266 - 23 years old Week 1 of 2021
- Rare skill-set and blend of power and quickness as a rookie in 2019. Prefers to win inside with the side-scissors or down the middle with power. Can also set up moves with stutters and hesitations to win outside, including from inside over the guard.
- Primarily lines up in a 3-pt stance from a wide-9 alignment
- Played RDE over the LT 78% of the time in 2019 and 19% over the RT
- Top moves: Inside stutter scissors/swipe
- Secondary moves: Outside stutter scissors/swipe
- Top counters: Bull-rush, push-pull-rip
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