It probably helps players with their conditioning, but one former NFL defensive lineman told JC he doesn’t like it.
“When I played defensive line we didn’t rotate a lot,” said the player from the 1990’s. “If you were good enough to play on first down, you were good enough to play on third down. We didn’t rotate a lot, and I think that helped us a lot to build the chemistry and continuity upfront, and the trust in one another. I’m not a big believer in (all this rotating). I’m not a big fan of that. I think if you are good enough to start, you should stay in there as long as you can.”
As we mentioned in the last issue, constantly rotating makes it very difficult for players to get into the flow of the game.
“Without a doubt, if you have back-to-back good plays, and the next thing you know, they take you out, and then the next thing you know, you are sitting out a whole series, and then they put you back in — the game is still off momentum,” said the player. “The game is played off me playing against the guy in front of me. And I’m not going to win all the plays. All I want to do is win 60 to 70 percent of them.”
The matchup between a defensive lineman and the offensive lineman in front of him is like a chess match. Over the course of the game, a player gets a better feel for the opponent’s bag of tricks, and this can help him gain an advantage. As the game progresses, more and more tendencies start to appear.
“I watched them all week on film and now I’m in front of him, now I see what he’s doing, now I see that he’s getting tired, now I see that he’s sitting back (in his stance). I look at his hands, if his knuckles aren’t white, he’s not coming straight off (to run block) — he’s going to set himself back in a passing situation.”
The great pass rushers often deliver huge late-game sacks that can ice a game. In addition to their talent, part of that is gamesmanship — the ability to pull out a move based on tells they saw all game from the offensive lineman. Hall-of-Fame pass rusher Jason Taylor talked about this at length with reporters during his year with the Jets.
A good example: Denver’s Bradley Chubb in the Broncos’ win over the Jets this year.
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