Matt Waldman’s RSP NFL Lens showcases Bengals OLB Carl Lawson’s precise hand placement as a pass rusher that least to a sack of Aaron Rodgers.
In the Bible, the Devil is God’s most beautiful creation. It’s no wonder that detail is filled with so much beauty. If you’re an offensive lineman, second-year linebacker Carl Lawson’s pass-rushing prowess is downright satanic for a young edge defender.
Watch this sack of Aaron Rodgers and note the detail of Lawson’s hand placement under the inside arm just outside the pectoral of the left tackle. Lawson works to the outside shoulder to set up the opening of the tackle’s hips to the edge.
As Lawson continues outside, he takes his inside arm and with fingers skyward, extends his hand over the tackle’s forearm. This baits the tackle to raise his arms to block that maneuver and allows Lawson to dip his hand under the forearm and then turn his fingers to the side and fix his palm under the defender’s armpit.
The change in hand position so the fingertips are pointed sideways instead of skyward is vital. Imagine hitting a forehand with a tennis racket. You don’t generate maximum power if the top of your racket is pointing to the sky when the ball is arriving at hip or chest level.
Lawson understands the leverage advantage of this hand position, which allows Lawson to brace his bend around the tackle, force the opponent to turn his hips past the point of no return, and then deliver that cross-court forehand that sends the tackle flying like a tennis ball.
Each move sets up the next while forcing the opponent to overreact throughout. Like wide receiver play, pass-rushing is story-telling and this rush from beginning to end is an ungodly tale of lies.
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