Football Defense – Effective Techniques for Rushing the Passer

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In football defense, linemen rush the passer when they want to push past the offensive block and take out the quarterback directly. Being able to execute the pass rush effectively will greatly improve a team's defense. The bull rush, swim technique, and undercut technique provide varying options for successfully rushing the passer.

Bull Rush

Defensive linemen use the bull rush technique to get control of the offensive blocker and force him back into the quarterback. Linemen will need strong hands and arms to perform this technique. Coach players using the following steps:

· Start by positioning hands securely under the offensive blocker's arms

· Lock the elbows

· Use the leverage from the locked arms to lift the blocker and push it into the quarterback

Swim Technique

The swim technique is used to push the offensive blocker off balance in order to get to the quarterback. Defensive linemen will need good arm strength and coordination in order to complete this maneuver. These steps demonstrate how to execute the swim technique:

· The defender starts by driving into the offensive blocker's outside shoulder to force him to square his body

· Once the blocker is squared up and set for the rush, the defensive lineman uses its outside arm to hit the side of the blocker's shoulder and make it lose its balance

· The defender should then move his inside arm up and over the blocker's outside shoulder using a swimming motion

· The defensive lineman then uses this inside arm to push off the blocker and toward the quarterback

· Coach players to complete this technique in one fluid motion as much as possible, especially the swimming motion into the push-off

Undercut Technique

Defensive linemen use the undercut technique by hitting the offensive blocker low and hard. Like the swim technique, the undercut requires coordination and agility. Defenders should follow these steps to use this technique to effectively rush the passer:

· To start, the defensive lineman uses his inside arm to complete a forearm blow to the offensive blocker's inside shoulder

· The forearm blow will force the blocker's shoulders to square up toward the side of the undercut

· As he fulfills the forearm hit, the defensive lineman should immediately use his outside foot to step inside and duck under to move around the blocker and to the quarterback

Practice Rushing the Passer

Have players drill the bull rush, swim, and undercut techniques using various pass protection positions. Coaches should watch the drills to make sure the players are using the techniques effectively. Stop and make corrections when necessary to give pointers. As players progress in their abilities, increase the complexity of the drills into more game-like scenarios.

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