5 Pass Rush Drills for the Defensive Linemen
You can do this drill set for 10 to 15 minutes a day, and it will combine all the fundamentals of the rush, after your young linemen have learned the basic fundamentals and gone through the basic drills.
First I’m going to talk about swim; we’re not talking about the arm coming over real slow in a real methodical move. We’re talking about getting the arm over quick like a swimmer, get that elbow out of the back of the water, and jet it straight forward. We’re going to work turn, hands, great take-off, acceleration. At the end, we’re going to punish that quarterback.
You want to see a good take-off, good swim move, good hoop, and then he’s going to do it off a stutter, setting that tackle up. Check that when he defeats the tackle, he’s dipping his shoulder, pointing that foot at the quarterback, and really accelerating through him to get a legal hit on the quarterback.
In the jet, you’re trying to work on going full-speed in a short amount of time. You want your running backs to snap the ball on the inside cheek when the running back’s on the inside cheek of the tackle. So timing’s a factor.
You want to have a good take-off, and try to make a swim move on the offensive tackle. If it doesn’t work, you go into a rip move, demonstrating a good hoop, a good lean, and acceleration to the quarterback.
Next, I want to talk about the rip. What we’ve got to emphasize on the rip is that as the player makes his move, the leg comes through, the same arm, same hand, same leg, and they are ripped as high to the sky as he can get it. You can never get through with what we call a baby rip, where only your hand goes in front of your face. Drive it all the way up to the sky.
So we want to see a great take-off, the turn of the pads, the great rip with the right arm, and then the right hip sink, the right toe pointed at the quarterback, great acceleration to the quarterback, and stripping the ball out.
The next move I want to talk about is the spin move. It’s really used a lot by the inside rushers when offensive guards are set too wide on them and they come back in the other direction.
But it’s also taught because when we’re rushing up field, if we get pushed beyond the area that we’re in, we’re not going to be able to get to the quarterback because he’s going to step up. So when we’re up field that far and we feel like we’re level with the quarterback and we can make a spin inside, we also do it with the ends.
Now, in coaching the spin, it’s a must that once you plant your foot and start to turn that you gain as much ground as you can with that other foot so that you’re going up the football field.
It’s also a must as you spin that the arm comes around and you get it in the back of that blocker to propel yourself to the quarterback.
You need to learn to learn to do both sides, spin right and spin left. If you’re a defensive right end, you go up field and you spin to your left. If you’re a defensive left end, you go up field and you learn to spin to your right and go inside.
So, in application, we have our player who is lined up on the offensive right guard in an undertackle position. He’s going to start his jet rush in that guard tackle gap and make a great spin. The ground he gains up field and the arm wrap make it a perfect spin move to the quarterback.
The final thing that I want to talk about is called the gauntlet. In this one, we’re going to allow the defensive linemen – we go up and we go back.
We may be doing a strip drill at the other end, but in this phase right now, they can use whatever move they like, whatever they want to work on.
Vary it on every dummy that they come to, every blocker, and then finish off another good sack on the quarterback. This is called the gauntlet.
These five things take about 10 minutes with 8-10 defensive linemen and it’s a great workout. It gives your players just about everything you want them to know about pass rush. Once they understand the concept and the fundamentals, your pass rush game will be unstoppable!