Blitz identification is crucial to NFL Scouts

In our continuing series, we look at NCAA conference’s team/players blitz identification and when they knew it was a go, when the QB was in shotgun in an Ace formation. This is a crucial piece in drafting several positions.

This report shows who had good blitz identification on both sides of the ball, either to protect against it or know where they could.

First you see the Scout’s notes and then below, the explanation what it all means. I’ve changed this team’s formation name to Rainbow to protect the Scout and team/conference.

The numbers in front of the percentages indicate how many times over the 11 games that were scouted. A percentage without an amount of how many times something was done/attempted has no value. It also gives NCAA/NFL scouts an idea of how a team/player operates and their load.

3 Technique Vs. Rainbow (RB):
To: 41/57 (72%)
Away: 16/57 (28%)

Force Player Vs. Rainbow:
WLB: 42/75 (56%) 
SLB: 22/75 (29%)
WLB/SLB: 11/75 (15%)

Move Calls Given? No

Blitz Side From Gun (1 Back):
DBL Side Pressure: 11/83 (13%) 
Away From Back (From Boundary): 9/83 (10%)
To Back (From Boundary): 16/83 (19%)
Away From Back (From Field): 21/83 (25%)
To Back (From Field): 26/83 (31%)

Turnover Margin: +6

Defensive Stop Rate: 73%

3 Technique Vs. Rainbow (RB):

Is the RB the indicator where the pressure will come from?
Is the boundary the indicator? That’s what you need to know. ‘Hey, forget the RB…72% of their pressure schemes come when we’re on the hash, and they come from the boundary and play coverage to the field. Was their blitz identification good?

Or, they blitz to the side the RB is on, no matter if it’s from the boundary or the field. ‘We’re gonna blitz the LB who is opposite the RB’.

The other stat is something we need to know. Rainbow is that team’s base formation (10 personnel, 2 by 2 WR’s)…so when they’re in gun, where are they going to set their 3T at? To the RB or away? And that will dictate how they protect and where they set up the protection scheme, plus will give them an idea of which way to run their zone scheme runs.

Force Player Vs. Rainbow:

The Force LB is the LB who still has the B Gap responsibilities to his side in the run game. He may not line up over the B gap. He may displace himself out to halfway between the tackle and first receiver, or out even further, but on the snap of the ball, he sneaks a peak to the action at the LOS to see if it’s a run, and he’s gotta get back into a position where he can defend the B gap.

Blitz Side From Gun (1 Back):

A lot of times just based on hash marks, it’s the LB that is lined up into the boundary, because he has a shorter distance between him and his gap as opposed to the LB to the field.

The force LB is often identified with subtle movements. On the snap of the ball, he may take a jab step forward as he needs to get downhill quick to get back to the B Gap. He may end up in coverage, but his first responsibility is the B gap to his side. Did they execute blitz identification?

Move Calls Given?

A move call is something that New England uses in short yardage situations. Their Defensive Lineman will line up normally, then as the QB starts his cadence, you’ll hear a command from the linebackers that tells the defensive lineman to slide down one gap.

The intention is to catch a left guard off-balance and maybe you’ll get a cheap 5 yard false start out of him because he started a count too early because he was watching the defense move like the ball was being snapped, instead of listening to the cadence.

How a player and his team identifies the blitz goes to coaching. The NFL wants players that can do this (and coaches who can teach it well). It’s not just athletes they’re checking out.

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