Blitzing Against the Spread Offense

When you’re facing a good Spread offense, you’re going to need some sort of a blitz package. If you can get away with playing straight zone coverage all day, then you probably aren’t playing a good spread team. There’s just too much space on the field – too many ways for a team to get their athletes the ball in space.

And that’s exactly what the offense is looking to do. If you’re going to sit back in a soft zone coverage all day, the teams following a spread offense philosophy take their time, getting the ball in space, and working down the field on you.

Against the Spread Offense, I want to use a variety of blitzes including 5 man pressures, 6 man pressures, and Zone Blitzes. The combination of all of these different styles will hopefully frustrate and confuse the opposing Quarterback. As long as that guy can’t sit back there and pick us apart – and we can take away whatever running game the opponent has – we have a great shot at victory.

Our 5 man pressures and Zone blitzes are going to be based off of the same stunts. Using an Even front defense, we would be using a one-man blitz to create most of these. They require only that we run Cover 1 behind it, or that we run Cover 3 with 3 under/3 deep zones. Of course, we can also run Cover 1 or Fire Zones with 2 linebackers blitzing and a linebacker dropping (this becomes even easier with a 3-5-3 or 3-4 Defense).

The Quarterback then has no idea where the blitz is coming from. If he wants to throw into where a blitz is leaving – a common strategy – he will be upset to find either a 2-deep Safety dropping down into the zone, or a defense end ripping out underneath of the intended receiver.

We can use the same stunts with a Cover 1 principle, as long as the blitzing Defensive Ends (or whichever edge blitzer it may be) is playing a blitz-peel technique. This means that if the blitzer is coming in against a 1 back or 2 back set, and that back breaks toward the flats, he will break with that flaring back in order to cover him. Its a risky proposition – only the most disciplined players will break off a mad dash for the QB in order to cover a receiver. But through repetition, it becomes natural. The Free Safety in Cover 1 may need to check the back to make sure he does not release through the middle – but your gaps should be essentially filled up, preventing a release inside.


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