Cleveland Browns: 15 phrases O-Line coaches use explained, Part 2
By Joel W. Cade
Cleveland Browns fans may hear phrases relating to offensive linemen without knowing what they mean. Here is Part 2 of a series explaining those phrases.
A recent article by Doug Samuels for FootballScoop.com highlighted the 15 most common things offensive line coaches say to instruct their players. As an offensive line coach, I could not help but to laugh. I have said many things like this and more to my players.
Yesterday, we covered the first five phrases. Now, here are phrases 6-10.
6. “Fire off the ball”
Coaches use this to motivate linemen to move faster. Not to spoil my bonus statement, but the one advantage the offensive line has is that they know the snap count. Thus, they can always win the first step.
Firing off the ball is the first stage of the drive block progression. The offensive lineman must know where to step. They must also get there before the defensive lineman.
If the defensive lineman wins the first step, the offensive lineman has no chance. The offensive lineman gains leverage and position. Thus, effectively firing off the ball sets the offensive lineman up for success.
7. “Get your hands inside”
Inside hands is a teaching point on the punch. Drive-block and even pass-protection technique strives to generate force at the punch. A good punch neutralizes the defender allowing the lineman to gain movement.
The key to a good punch is hand placement. Hand placement differs given different blocking schemes. One common trait of all good hand placement is inside the defender’s frame. Inside hands, hands on the numbers, allows all the force generated to be channeled into the defender.
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Proper technique for hand placement is thumbs up with the base of the hand delivering the blow. It is imperative the elbows remain close to the waist to generate an upward punch.
The coach is trying to help the lineman get effective power at the point of contact of the punch on the defender.
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8. “Move your feet”
It is worth quoting Samuels directly here.
I once had an offensive line coach that was adamant that 98 percent of holding calls could be avoided simply by moving your feet, and I’ve grown to adopt that belief.
Samuels and his former offensive line coach are correct. Most holding calls can be avoided by having good footwork. The first step is the key. The first step of any blocking progression establishes the initial position of the lineman vis a vis the defender. Proper body position will eliminate almost all holding calls.
I used to say, “dead feet equals a dead quarterback”.” When the lineman stops moving their feet all leverage and power disappear. The block is over and someone is about to get hurt.
Do your quarterback a favor, “Move your feet!”
9. “Square your shoulders up”
The best way to take down a defender is straight on. The offensive lineman must have his body in alignment going forward for leverage and force to be effective. This necessitates the shoulders being square to the defender.
If a lineman can catch a defender at an angle, it is a dream come true. The defender is helpless to protect himself at an angle. This principle makes zone blocking an effective run scheme, as it attempts to attack defenders at angles to give linemen an advantage against defenders. It is particularly useful for quicker and smaller linemen who could not effectively block straight on.
10. “Be nasty/Mean”
One would think playing football would make a player nasty. But offensive linemen are cerebral players. Successful offensive linemen are some of the smartest players on the field. They have to make quick decisions and changes blocking schemes a split second before the ball is snapped.
Next: 15 phrases O-Line coaches use explained, Part 1
With all that thinking going on, it is easy to forget that football is a nasty game. The offensive linemen that can integrate the cerebral aspects with an animal like fury to win is a thing of beauty.