Matt Waldman’s RSP showcases a play where Kansas City’s star linebacker Justin Houston sheds a Richie Incognito block and tackles LeSean McCoy.
Sport is at its finest when the best talents match up. Teams hired Richie Incognito for his run blocking and one of the sought-after skills of LeSean McCoy’s game is his acceleration to the corner.
And linebacker Justin Houston? He’s celebrated as a pass rusher. However, Houston is an adept run defender and today, you’re about to see a great display of technique and awareness. While my friend in the comments section of this Instagram post is correct — Justin Houston has excellent quickness — what he didn’t mention is the how well Houston established the point of confrontation.
It’s easy to forget that good football technique often involves execution that sets the player up for the next 1-2 moves. Earning as much ground as possible to stunt the pull of Incognito not only limits the guard’s downhill momentum, but it also prevents a two-way go with McCoy because the point of confrontation isn’t downhill but heading towards the sideline.
Houston’s penetration to meet Incognito early also minimizes the space between himself and McCoy after he sheds Incognito. Although Houston’s leverage and technique to withstand Incognito’s pull and still chase down McCoy is the most visually attractive part of the highlight, it’s the position before the confrontation that’s arguably the most meaningful thing about this play.
As the fine guests in the Saturday2Sunday podcast series shared repeatedly in various ways, buying space creates time. Houston taking the attack to Incognito ultimately buys him time to reach McCoy.
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