I discuss play structure a lot in when it comes to player evaluation. Top players execute inside and outside the structure of a play. You’ll hear me mention it with quarterbacking, but Ryan Riddle broached the same idea with defensive line play in our recent RSP Film Rooms on Robert Nkemdiche and Adolphus Washington.
Riddle explained that linemen are coached to follow the movement of the blocking scheme to maintain gap discipline, but the best linemen understand when to maintain that structure and when to alter it. Much like a running back pressing a hole and cutting back to set a crease that his blockers open, defensive linemen can press towards the flow of the offensive linemen and cut back through a crease to disrupt a play.
Leonard Williams executes this concept with great economy against Arizona State. He takes one step towards the flow of the Arizona State line and immediately attacks the inside shoulder of his opponent. The lineman’s flow outside leaves him vulnerable and off-balance to Williams’ attack of the lineman’s inside shoulder. The result is not only Williams’ whipping his man, but disrupting the pulling action of the guard and makes the edge contain’s job easier.
Human dominoes. I can’t wait to see Williams’ development. He may not display this kind of savvy immediately but if those of us who value Williams’ skills are correct, the Jets are going to be happy with their selection.
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