If you come and watch my team practice, these types of drills is what you will see. We think these things are vital to teaching young defensive linemen, old defensive linemen, veteran linemen, anybody that’s trying to learn the proper pass rush fundamentals and techniques.
Every drill that we do, when we can move a football for our linemen to get off and start their move, that is what we do. We don’t go on cadence, we don’t do anything else. We want the ball to move. We suggest using a green ball; if you’re on grass practicing, it will make your linemen concentrate much more on ball movement. We don’t want to be sitting there when that ball snaps or we’re going to be late on the rush.
Ball Movement Drill
This agility drill is going to simulate great take-off by the defensive linemen on ball movement. We’re actually going to move the green football, give him a cadence.
He’s going to attack inside out of his pass rush stance, change direction – which we have to do in rush – go to the outside, sink the hip, point the toe, and then accelerate to the quarterback and get the sack.
The real key that we’re looking for is great take-off on ball movement, good change of direction, good body control and hip flexion, sinking the hip, pointing the toe, and then the acceleration when we come around that blocker all the way through that quarterback so that we get the sack.
We’ll do it from both the right side and the left side, and in one case we’ll put another player back there with the football simulating a scrambling quarterback. If you’re playing a quarterback that scrambles and you want to work on the scramble, this is the way that we do it.
When our rusher comes around the second cone or the second blocker, when he starts to attack the quarterback, the player will move and we have to go tag him. That way, when you play on Sunday and the quarterback scrambles, at least you’ll have worked on it and have some awareness of what we’re trying to accomplish.
Using a dummy simulates the quarterback that we’re after. You should have it fairly close up to where your player’s going to make his last move around the blocker. Really accentuate that he’s got to go flat around that blocker as tight as he can, not rounding it off, to get that sack.
Pass Breakup Drill
We do not rush the passer with the intent of breaking up passes. We’re going for the sack. The hit, the pressure, get him out of his rhythm, all those things that you’ve heard. We don’t break up passes unless the ball is released in the path that we’re coming, right at us. Then we’ll try to extend our hands and break it down. We never want our rushers to rush with their hands in the air – and I’ve seen guys do that.
It slows down your progress. We never want our hands in the air unless we’re in the direct flight of the football. We don’t have any keys. We don’t look for the left hand to release. The quarterback release the left hand then we know he’s going to pass it; we’d try not to ever jump. We rush, we try to hit the quarterback. If he releases the ball, we try to break it up.
So in this drill, your lineman is going to work laterally down through the dummies. When you raise the ball, that’s going to simulate the pass, and your lineman’s going to attack you. If you don’t release it, he’s going to come through you as hard as he possibly can, getting the sack. If you release the football, he’s going to attempt to break it up. Do this two or three times, both right and left. Release it high, low, anywhere you want to release it that they have to find it and just deflect it.
These two football drills are terrific for working on pass rushing with your defensive linemen. Are you excited to work on these drills with your players? If so, be sure to share this post with your fellow coaches and players.