Smash-Mouth 3-3-5 Defense

:
Implementing Seven Winning Blitz Strategies
By: Joe Arpasi Defensive Coordinator Westfield High School Westfield, Indiana Phone: (317) 435-9380 Email: coacharpasi@yahoo.com

Implementing Seven Winning Blitz Strategies
• • • • • • • Single Zone Blitzes Traditional Zone Blitzes Traditional Man Blitzes Overload Blitzes Fire Zone Blitzes Illusion Blitzes Secondary Blitzes

Why Understand Blitz Strategies?
In the 3-3-5 defense there are tons of blitz possibilities to choose from. In order to ensure your players can play without thinking too much, a coach must be selective in what blitzes are put into the blitz package. The types of blitzes selected must match-up to the forms of offense that you face each year. Understanding the concepts of blitzing will allow blitzes to be specifically designed to stop those offensive systems. Understanding what each blitz strategy is best for will help in understanding what blitzes should be used in specific situations. Sending pressure for the sake of sending pressure is not as effective as sending selective & specific pressure to match your opponent and the situation at hand. You will be able to design blitzes with a greater understanding of how they work.

Single Zone Blitzes

Single Zone Blitzes
Single zone blitzes are a way to get into other defensive schemes from a 30 front look. The 3 down linemen allow for different combinations of stunts and LB pressure to gain the ability of other defensive schemes. Zone coverages are played in their normal structure. Flat zone defenders are left in coverage, allowing the players inside to blitz. The different deep safety alignments dictate what coverages are available. 1 Safety Look Coverages: 3 Deep 2 Safety Look Coverages: 2 Deep 4 Deep ¼, ¼, ½

Single Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

One Inside LB can blitz, with the other LBs taking the Hook-to-Curl Zones.

F

Single Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep

E B C
HOOK-TO-CURL

N M

E W $ C

S

F

HOOK-TO-CURL

Single Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep

E B C
HOOK-TO-CURL

N M

E W $ C

S

F

HOOK-TO-CURL

Single Zone Blitzes – 2 Deep

E B C S

N M

E W C $

One of the LBs can blitz and the other 3 LBs can handle the remaining under zones.

F

Single Zone Blitzes – 2 Deep

E B C
CURL

N S M

E W
CURL

C

F

HOLE

$

Single Zone Blitzes – 2 Deep

E B C
CURL

N S M

E W
CURL

C

F

HOLE

$

Single Zone Blitzes – 4 Deep

E B C F S

N M

E W C $

One Inside LB can blitz, with the other LB play the Hole Zone.

Single Zone Blitzes – 4 Deep

E B C F S

N M

E W C

HOLE

$

Single Zone Blitzes – ¼, ¼, ½

E B C F S

N M

E W C

One Inside LB can blitz, with the other LBs playing the Hole and Curl Zone

$

Single Zone Blitzes – ¼, ¼, ½

E B C F S

N M

E W
CURL

C

HOLE

$

Single Zone Blitzes – ¼, ¼, ½

E B C F S

N M

E W
CURL

C

HOLE

$

Single Zone Blitzes
Advantages: Can generate point specific pressure with safe zone coverage behind Flexible pressure combinations are available out of multiple coverages Can be used to generate non-30 front base defenses Disadvantages: Picking where and how pressure is applied becomes a guessing game in hitting the offensive point of attack Must teach positions multiple pass drops for the same coverage Must teach LBs different gap fit responsibilities Best Situations For Use: 1st Downs Long yardage situations where coverage is the main focus

Traditional Zone Blitzes

Traditional Zone Blitzes
Allows 2 or more LBs to blitz instead of the 1 LB used in single zone blitzes. Linemen are used in pass coverage to replace the blitzing LBs. Coverage is still run with the normal amount of zones defended. QB may see the blitzing LBs and dump the pass off to the area the linemen is dropping to, allowing the QB’s reads to deceive him. Since most passes get dumped in the underneath coverage, it is important to use a coverage that has 4 or more under zones. The more under zones that are in a coverage creates a “minefield” for the QB to throw into, and provides the linemen with more help in covering the routes.

Traditional Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep

E B C
DL ZONE BLITZ

N M

E W $ C

S

F

Traditional Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep

E B C
DL ZONE BLITZ

N M

E W $ C

S

F

Traditional Zone Blitzes – ¼, ¼, ½

E B C F S

N M

E W C
DL ZONE BLITZ

DL ZONE BLITZ

$

Traditional Zone Blitzes – 2 Deep

E B C
DL ZONE BLITZ

N S M

E W
DL ZONE BLITZ

C

F

$

Traditional Zone Blitzes – 2 Deep

E B C
DL ZONE BLITZ

N S M

E W
DL ZONE BLITZ

DL ZONE BLITZ

C

F

$

Traditional Zone Blitzes
Advantages: When applied with other blitz strategies, the defense can generate mismatches with the offense. Coverage remains in a basic structure that is safe to handle the pass on 3rd down situations. Disadvantages: Coaches must teach the “punch & read” technique to defensive linemen to ensure they can read the difference between run and pass accurately. Requires linemen to play pass coverage instead of rush the passer. Best Situations For Use: Passing Downs 1st / 2nd Down Run Situations

Traditional Man Blitzes

Traditional Man Blitzes
Defense will always have 5 players committed to covering the 5 eligible receivers of the offense. Deep help for the 5 players committed to man coverage can range from no help, 1 safety deep, and 2 safeties deep. The players that are not committed to man coverage or deep help are freed to blitz. LBs that are assigned to cover RBs are freed to follow the flow of running plays and “clean up” what comes through the blitz. Discussed Coverages: Man Man Free 2 Man

Traditional Man Blitzes – Man

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Traditional Man Blitzes – Man

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Traditional Man Blitzes – Man

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Traditional Man Blitzes – Man Free

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Traditional Man Blitzes – Man Free

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Traditional Man Blitzes – 2 Man

E B C F S

N M

E W C $

Traditional Man Blitzes
Advantages: Good for playing the run since the LBs in coverage can flow behind the blitz and adjust to how the play develops. Tight man coverage can disrupt the timing of routes and force the QB to hold the ball longer, leading to a high success rate of the rush getting to the QB before the ball is thrown. Disadvantages: Blitzers can over penetrate into the backfield and allows cracks in the gap assignments of the blitz. Players with man coverage responsibilities can be placed in mismatch situations when the offense matches a better athlete on a poorer athlete. Best Situations For Use: Short Yardage Run Downs Goal Line / Redzone

Overload Blitzes

Overload Blitzes
Overloads are created by outnumbering the offensive players in a specific area of the formation. They are always used with at least one other blitz strategy. Most commonly used as a pass blitz. Different pass protections require different types of overloads to effectively beat the pass protection. Gap / Slide Based Pass Protection: Two In A Gap Two Off the Edge Man Based Pass Protection: Overload the Guard

Overload Blitzes – Two In A Gap

Identify the RB Edge Side

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Two In A Gap

Provide A Rush Threat for RB To Block

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Two In A Gap

E B S

N
Send the Nose To Occupy The Guard Inside

E W

$

M

Overload Blitzes – Two In A Gap

E B S

N M

E W

$

Send the End To Occupy The Tackle & Drive Him Back

Overload Blitzes – Two In A Gap

E B S

N M

E W

$

The Overload Occurs When A LB Is Sent Into The Opening Between the Nose & End

Overload Blitzes – Man
Two In A Gap – Traditional Man Blitz

OVERLOAD

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Overload Blitzes – Man Free
Two In A Gap – Traditional Man Blitz

OVERLOAD

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Overload Blitzes – Two Off the Edge

Will Attack The RB In Edge Protection

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Two Off the Edge

E B S

N M

E
Send the End To Occupy The Tackle & Drive Him Inside

W

$

Overload Blitzes – Two Off the Edge

E B S

N M

E W $

The Overload Occurs When Two LBs Are Sent To Attack The Isolated RB

Overload Blitzes – Man
Two Off the Edge – Traditional Man Blitz

OVERLOAD

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Overload Blitzes – 3 Deep
Two Off the Edge – Traditional Zone Blitz

OVERLOAD

E B C F S

N M

E W C
DL ZONE BLITZ

$

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

Center and the Tackles will block the Nose and Ends in Man Protection

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

Guards will look to pick-up possible blitzers Inside-Out

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

When LB comes in an inside blitz the Guard will pick up blitz in man protection

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard
RB will pick up the outside Blitzer

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

Or QB will have to throw Hot Read if RB is set to the other side, creating the Overload

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

When outside blitz is shown the Guard will kick out to pick-up in a man protection

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

Or Guard will make a fan call with the Tackle and they will zone protect the C & B Gaps

E B S

N M

E W

$

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

Now the Overload is created when a delayed blitz is used in the A Gaps

S E B

N M

E W

$

Overload Blitzes – Overload the Guard

Sending two LBs at the Guard will also create an Overload

E B S

N M

E W $

Overload Blitzes
Advantages: Can effectively beat an offense’s pass protection The different blitz combinations available make offenses have to create new rules to try and block the blitz package. Disadvantages: Must be able to breakdown and identify what type of pass protection your opponent has run on film. An overload blitz can provide an open gap, making some calls susceptible to runs. Best Situations For Use: Long Yardage Passing Situations

Fire Zone Blitzes

Fire Zone Blitzes
Five man pressure package. Can run multiple blitz strategies from a Fire Zone Blitz framework. Pressure package uses a 3 deep, 3 under zone coverage. Allows the defense an alternative to providing effective pressure with man coverage behind. The under zone defenders play a match-up zone style of under coverage. The coverage puts lots of pressure on the Safety to defend routes up the hashes. The zone coverage allows for all defenders to react to run faster than blitzing in man coverage. The Fire Zone Blitz strategy provides the most flexible format for blitzing in multiple play situations.

Fire Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep, 3 Under

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Fire Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep, 3 Under
Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard

OVERLOAD

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Fire Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep, 3 Under
Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard

OVERLOAD

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Fire Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep, 3 Under
Overload Blitz – Two Off the Edge

OVERLOAD

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Fire Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep, 3 Under
Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard & Traditional Zone Blitz

OVERLOAD

E B C S

N M

E W $ C
DL ZONE BLITZ

F

Fire Zone Blitzes – 3 Deep, 3 Under
Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard & Traditional Zone Blitz

OVERLOAD

E B C
DL ZONE BLITZ

N M

E W $ C

S

F

Fire Zone Blitzes
Advantages: An effective blitz strategy for run and pass situations. Can employ multiple blitz strategies with the Fire Zone Blitz format. Disadvantages: Under zone coverage areas area stretched verse the Spread Offense. 2x2 formations put a lot of pressure on the Safety to defend the deep hashes. Best Situations For Use: 2nd & Long Situations 3rd & Medium / Long Passing Situations

Illusion Blitzes

Illusion Blitzes
Illusion blitzes are variations of Traditional Man Blitzes. All eligible receivers around the LOS are accounted for in man coverage. All of the RBs or one of the RBs will be covered by a Spy Rush player. The Spy Rush player can be a DL, LB, or DB. The positions used for the Spy Rush player can be different on each side of the blitz. The Spy Rush player will give the illusion of rushing/blitzing, while running a spy/mirror coverage on the assigned RB. This allows for maximum number of defenders to rush the offense. Most commonly used as passing down blitzes.

Illusion Blitzes – Man
Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard & Two Off the Edge

SPY RUSH

SPY RUSH OVERLOAD

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Illusion Blitzes – Man
Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard

SPY RUSH OVERLOAD

SPY RUSH

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Illusion Blitzes – Man
Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard

SPY RUSH OVERLOAD

SPY RUSH

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Illusion Blitzes – Man
Overload Blitz – Two In a Gap

SPY RUSH

SPY RUSH

OVERLOAD

E B C F S

N M

E W $ C

Illusion Blitzes – Man Free
Overload Blitz – Two Off the Edge

SPY RUSH OVERLOAD

E B C S

N M

E W $ C

F

Illusion Blitzes
Advantages: Provide maximum amount of pass rushers to overload the pass protection. Good at defending RB slip screens when C Gap rushers play the Spy Rush. Disadvantages: By not having LBs assigned to cover the RBs like Traditional Man Blitzes, there is no one left to flow behind the rush. This puts Illusion Blitzes in a bad match-up to defend the run. Outside Spy Rush players will have a hard time covering the sneak route, and inside Spy Rush players will have a hard time covering the swing route when combo/swap rules are not applied. Best Situations For Use: 2nd/3rd & Long 3rd & Medium When Pass Is Expected

Secondary Blitzes

Secondary Blitzes
Secondary blitzes are a high risk, high reward blitz strategy. Most commonly used against the pass, but secondary blitzes can be useful against the run in specific situations. Most pass protections don’t assign players to account for defensive backs. When the blitz is timed up late the pass protection doesn’t have time to adjust, and the only option is to throw a hot route. If coverages are effectively disguised in combination with a secondary blitz, the QB will be forced to hold the ball longer and allow the blitz to get there. The biggest concern when blitzing a defensive back is the crease that is created in the zone coverage.

Secondary Blitzes – 2 Deep
Single Zone Blitz

DB BLITZ

E B C F S

N M

E W C $

Secondary Blitzes – 3 Deep
Single Zone Blitz

DB BLITZ

E B C F S

N M

E W C $

Secondary Blitzes – 3 Deep, 3 Under
Fire Zone Blitz & Overload Blitz – Two Off the Edge

OVERLOAD DB BLITZ

E B C F S

N M

E W C $

Secondary Blitzes – Man
Illusion Blitz & Overload Blitz – Overload the Guard & Two Off the Edge

SPY RUSH OVERLOAD

E B C S

N M F

E W
DB BLITZ

$ C

Secondary Blitzes
Advantages: Offensive pass protections can’t effectively account for defensive backs in the rush. When secondary disguise calls are also used in the defense, it adds to the confusion level of the QB in reading the defense. Disadvantages: When zone coverage is used there will be creases in the coverage that a good QB can exploit. It is hard to practice effective timing of the blitz in a game speed climate where the blitz is not shown too soon. Best Situations For Use: Long Yardage Passing Downs Opponent Specific High Passing Down Tendency

Smash-Mouth 3-3-5 Defense:
Implementing Seven Winning Blitz Strategies

By: Joe Arpasi Defensive Coordinator Westfield High School Westfield, Indiana Phone: (317) 435-9380 Email: coacharpasi@yahoo.com

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