With so many teams in spread formations using 10/11 personnel groupings (1 RB, 0 TE/1 RB, 1 TE), six man pass protection is critical on Sundays. The lack of understanding protections, checks, and the ability to man up against 6’5”, 255 lb. linebackers is what keeps rookie running backs on the sidelines on third downs, and what keeps vets like Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, and Fred Jackson on the field. In Part I we will look at this protection vs four down linemen. In Part II we will look at three down linemen.
Six Man Protection Rules:
1. The offensive line is responsible for the down four and the Mike LB identified by the QB.
2. The offensive line is responsible for the down three and two LB’s identified by the QB.
3. The offensive line slides/gap protects to the Mike LB. The interior lineman who starts the slide (RG-Pic.1/OC-Pic.2) allows nothing from the zone side to cross his face. He takes that rusher until he is bumped off. The zone side blockers set wider (away from their help and aim to take away the speed rush as they have inside help.
4. On the man side they set more vertical, take away the inside move, allowing the QB an area to step up. The RB has the LB to this side; he can chip a rusher on his release if his LB drops in coverage.
5. A new Mike can be declared by the QB if he anticipates a blitz, or the tackle can make an out call if he see’s perimeter blitz (Pic.3)
6. In a three step/quick protection the offensive line hugs the LOS, gets one kick step before they force contact with the defensive line with a jump set, set and grab, or cut the defender. If they set any deeper they get bull rushed into the QB. If the QB is in shotgun, the RB is normally on the side to the LB he is assigned, as it allows him to come down hill and block any blitz close to the LOS.
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