3 Characteristics of a Highly Productive Defensive Lineman

May 3, 2018 – “A defensive line unit that works together like a pack of wolves in pursuit of their prey will be a terror for any opposing offense.” ~ Coach Blount, BCP.

Rushing the edge or shedding the inside block as a defensive lineman is a tall and sometimes thankless task that requires digging your cleats in every down with discipline, technique, and overpowering strength to ensure your explosiveness is putting the most stress and pressure on the man holding the football. BCP Defensive Line Coach Blount shares his thoughts on what traits a perfectly bred defensive lineman and defensive unit possesses to get the job done.

“I would have to say the characteristics that make up a highly productive defensive lineman and defensive line are: Big, Quick, and Strong. Size does matter! I’m not solely speaking of the physical stature of a defensive lineman, but also the size of that organ that pumps blood throughout his body- Heart!

1. A great defensive lineman is courageous, he will never back down from the task nor a challenge. He will meet all challenges squarely face-to-face.

2. A highly productive defensive lineman is Quick. He must be quick off the ball, quick to react to the given block or situation. He must be quick and tenacious in his pursuit of the ball carrier.

3. Finally, a highly productive defensive lineman is strong physically and mentally. A defensive lineman with a strong upper and lower body will command a double team. He will defeat double teams because he knows how to play with low pad level and understands leverage. He must also be strong mentally, he must have the will to win and the perseverance to see it through when times are tough.

“You build these characteristics through time, faith, and sometimes you have to get your hands dirty as a coach and model the desired behavior.”

Coach Blount recognizes greatness when he sees it, and all-time great highly productive guys to play in the front seven like Reggie White, J.J. Watt, Fletcher Cox, Bruce Smith, Warren Sapp, and Mean Joe Green all possess the killer mentality and skill-set that Coach touches on.

Plugging up run holes, getting behind the O-line and rushing the passer, and dropping the pads for maximum leverage man to man is the name of the game.

“I feel like as a linebacker or a D-lineman, any cut, it’s a man sport- be a man, hit me up high, hit like rams. You don’t see a ram going and cutting another ram’s legs. They hit head to head, pad to pad,” – Patrick Willis explains it best.

Vaughan Sixbury, BCP Contributor