One of the most potent weapons that a defense can use is the blitz. Defenders attacking from the edge and through the gaps can cause chaos and missed blocking assignments. The best results are loss of yardage, turnovers and defensive scores.
Offenses undoubtedly fear the blitz, however, proper preparation and execution of blocking flips the scenario from bad to great (for the offense).
Preparing for the blitz primarily occurs in practice, where coaches simulate possible attacks from all places on the field. Defenses use the blitz to force the offense into premature, bad decisions. One strategy in countering this action is to change the play at the line. The quarterbacks and lineman especially have to be able to recognize the situation and adjust immediately. Switching from a run play to a pass can confuse the defense, causing those players to miss their assignments. The offense can capitalize on this by completing a pass for positive yardage. Switching from a pass to a run is as equally effective, as long as the lineman can adjust their blocking scheme before the snap.
Not all blitzes can be countered with an audible, so offensive players must know who to pick up if the play called doesn't change. Practice a variety of blitzes from the scout team defense in order to prep your team for these situations.
Anticipating the blitz may be the most useful tool for offenses looking to produce big plays.
Second and third down in long and short yardage situations are ideal scenarios for blitzes. The play call should account for these situations so that blocking changes are minimized. Also, knowing when a blitz is coming will allow the offense to identify the gaps and weaknesses that the defense will sacrifice.
Finally, the no huddle offense can keep the defense on their heels and prevent the blitz from occurring. This fast-paced style forces the defense to react to the offense, thus limiting the defense's ability to strategize on the fly.
A well-prepared offense can easily capitalize on a defense that blitzes. Offenses have many tools at their disposal that can counter the blitz. Knowing which tool to use at the appropriate time is the key to fighting off the dreaded blitz.
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