TECHNIQUE TUESDAY – OFFENSIVE LINE BLOCKING

May 17th, 2016

In order to be a force to be reckoned with on the offensive line, you must have good balance, strength and be quick on your feet. During any play, there will always be a possibility of change of direction. The ball could be snapped with the intentions of being thrown to the right but eventually end up on the left side of the field in the running back’s hands. It is the offensive line’s job to change with the direction of the play and drive the defense away from the ball. They must protect the pass/rush and keep the play alive. Creating space for the running back and providing protection for the quarterback while blocking at the line of scrimmage are all essential for a successful line. In order to be a good blocker, you must have good balance and agility to work around defensive lineman. Here are the different types of blocking for offensive lineman:

  • Drive block: One-on-one block used when a DL lines up directly over an offensive lineman. The OL drives his hips forward, delivering the block from a wide base while keeping his head up and shoulders square.
  • Zone block: Each OL protects a specific area or zone. Even if the DL leaves this area, the OL must stay in his zone because the play or ball may be coming in that direction and the quarterback wants that area uncluttered.
  • Cut-off block: Normally used on running plays, which are designed to allow a DL to come free, or untouched, across the line of scrimmage. After that happens, an offensive lineman deliberately gets in the way of this on-rushing defender.

  • Chop block: An OL blocks down low with his shoulders and arms, attempting to take the defender’s legs from underneath him and stop his momentum. If this play occurs 3 yards or more beyond the line of scrimmage, the blocker is penalized 15 yards.
  • Man-on-man blocking: The straight-ahead style of blocking by driving straight into the DL. Each OL chooses the opponent opposite him while the center helps out on either side.

  • Slide block: The entire OL slides down the line of scrimmage — a coordinated effort by the line to go either right or left. It’s a good technique when the quarterback prefers to roll or sprint right, running outside the tackle while attempting to throw the football.

  • Trap block: The OL allows a defensive player to cross the line of scrimmage untouched and blocks him with a guard or tackle where he’s not expecting it. The intent is to create a running lane in the area that the defender ran away from.

  • Reach block: An OL reaches for the next defender, meaning he doesn’t block the opponent directly in front of him but moves for an opponent to either side. The reach block is common on run plays when the play calls for a guard to reach out and block an inside linebacker.

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