Inside the Playbook-Nickel Run Blitz


One of Micah Hyde’s Many Roles

Offenses in today’s NFL are in 11 personnel (1 RB, 1 TE, 3 WRs) a majority of the game, so defenses have had to adjust. This means that defenses now have to play more nickel. But due to offensive alignments when in 11 personnel, this often causes defenses to be at a disadvantage versus the run. The amount of defenders in the box will now typically be even with the offense, and that means the offense can get a hat on a hat, which usually equates to considerable gains. That is not even taking into account the many ways that offenses can get a +1 on the defense when running plays like zone reads. So defensive coordinators have to scheme ways to combat those offensive advantages.

One way that coaches do that is with run blitzes. These are in every playbook and are often called in early down situations. Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier are well versed in this concept and strategy. That’s why they went out and got versatile safety Micah Hyde. Hyde was one of the better pass blitzers in 2016. According to Pro Football Focus, he blitzed the 2nd most in all of the league from the slot corner position, blitzing on 7.4% of his pass snaps. One can only imagine how many times he was sent as a blitzer during a run down.

There is no doubt that he will be aligned in the slot in nickel situations and asked to be the force defender, often asked to blitz on run and pass downs. It’s something that he is good at, as he displays very good key and diagnose skills. He certainly shows the ability to read run/pass quickly, take great angles on the ball, and make the tackle.

So, let’s take a look at how McDermott utilized this strategy in Carolina last season.


Other articles on Sean McDermott’s defense:

Cover 1 | Film Room: The Role of Safeties in Sean McDermott’s Defense

Sean McDermott’s Defensive Philosophy | Detail Oriented

Does ________ fit Sean McDermott’s Scheme?

Coaching Profile | Sean McDermott

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