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Insiders Network: What to Do When the Big Guys Line Up Wide

Each week, we reach out to the 33rd Team’s Insiders Network to get their insights into a timely NFL question. This week, we addressed a trend that we’ve noticed:

We’ve seen a lot of usage of athletic interior defensive linemen setting up out wide. In Week 1, it was extremely effective with usage from Chris Jones, Vita Vea and Ndamukong Suh. How would you go about disabling the productivity of those linemen when they line up at 9/DE?

Jim Mora:

I believe you want to put them in as much conflict as possible. While they are big, athletic men that can constrict running lanes and get great push in pass rush, they will potentially struggle when you ask them to redirect in space. Bootlegs that stretch the pocket and force them to squeeze the run threat then redirect to the outside, zone read schemes that force them to play both the inside zone threat and the QB keep … those are concepts that will create conflict and put some stress on these great players.

Joe Banner:

This was a new trend years ago and even though it appeared to work, people moved away from it. I asked why, and was told that people moved away because although it was effective for a pass rush, it was a liability in stopping run.

It is extremely hard for one tackle to block the guys mentioned here. You can do one of three things: Run at the wide-9 DE; chip that pass rusher regularly; or move the QB often enough to create a bigger challenge for the DE trying to hit a moving QB spot.

Mike Tannenbaum:

I would make them play in space; I would make them pursue/chase outside runs, where their size would hurt them.  I would take their size and try to use it against them.

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