Rookie Scouting Portfolio contributor and former Division-I defensive back, David Igono explains why it’s just as important to learn how to miss a tackle as it is to make one.
As a former defensive player, I enjoy watching good, solid defense. Good defensive football is predicated on a pack mentality.
This mentality is very much an ethos that fosters brotherhood and camaraderie. At its core though, is a fundamental truth: You have to know how to attack the ball. You may not make every tackle but if you understand angles and where the other ten guys on defense are coming from you can be ruthlessly effective.
The first exposure illustrates what happens when you attack from the inside-out instead of the outside-in.
Arizona State Head Coach Herm Edwards explains this in the most concise way I’ve come across:
“Every defense is predicated on turning the ball back to get help. If I’m a cornerback and the play is outside, I’m tracking that runner’s outside hip. If I miss and he goes inside, there are eight guys chasing to get him. But if I try and tackle on the inside hip and miss, well, there’s one of your explosion plays.”
“Knowing how to miss a tackle is more important than tackling. One guy is not making every tackle.”
When we look at the end zone view of the same play it becomes obvious what Edwards is getting at.
Defenses are just like offenses, to a degree. The good ones impose their will, forcing you to make constant adjustments. Like five fingers in a glove they strike in unison, as a coordinated, cohesive unit. Bad defenses or at least big plays can happen on defense when just one defender misses his assignment. It’s a steep price to pay for one player going rogue and trying to make the play by himself.
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