DEFENSIVE Coordinator Jim Schwartz likes to rush QB’s with four, and to blitz sporadically. I’ve been waiting for a DC who favored this approach. I’m not a fan of the “send the kitchen sink” approach that hasn’t really been working for us for years now. For the most part I liked what I saw from our front four last year, but we need to blitz more this season.
By blitzing more, I don’t mean we should adopt the “kitchen sink” approach. Week in and week out last year, we did a pretty solid job of applying pressure with just four. This year we just need to send that fifth man more often than we did last year. Not a big change, just a small tweak.
We got good pressure last year, but we didn’t get a ton of sacks or cause many interceptions off of hurries. Many analysts will say that hurries are almost as good as sacks, and they are entirely wrong about that. Hurries (on their own) don’t cost yards or knock teams out of field goal range. Hurries don’t cause sideline arguments over whether the blocking was poor, or if the ball was held too long. Hurries don’t build reputations that demand double-teams and dictate gameplans. You need sacks for that.
I’d like to see between 6 to 8, five man blitzes per game. Instead of having a designated “pass rush LB”, give each spot (SAM, MIKE, WILL), a couple of legit cracks at it each week. Scheme for it. Threaten to blitz 20 times a game, but bring it less than half the time. This preserves the element of surprise while still forcing teams to tip their hand when adjusting to pick-up the possible blitz.
Keep in mind, on the downs we don’t blitz, our opponent still has to deal with our front four, so there is no easy down here. Like I said, we did solid job last season, so there’s no need to overhaul our approach. It was a good start that taught us some things about ourselves. This year let’s apply those lessons learned, and take this team to the next level.