The last posting addressed the single most important position in your program which is quarterback but when building your roster, focusing on the defense is paramount. Developing a strong defense will enhance your special teams and thusly you are strengthening two thirds of your roster while your offense usually takes more time to mature.
The emphasis is placed upon pressuring the opponent and stopping the run game. To this end we begin by finding a dominant front player looking first to find speed off the edge or an interior push the pocket player. With this in mind, we evaluate with this criteria for;
INITIAL QUICKNESS Stance, movement off the ball, gain advantage, anticipation, up field get off, 2 gap technique, explode into blocker
REACTIONS/INSTINCTS Diagnose play after controlling opponent, quickness to read and find the ball, feel pressure and react and move, react to angles, trap and combination blocks, right place-right time, cautious? hesitant? guesses too much?
STRENGTH @ POINT Core strength and explosion, leverage, use of hands, 2 gap, 1 on 1, drive block, vs double team, hand fights too much, wrestles with blocker, push and shove type, content to stay on the line of scrimmage
DISENGAGE/SHED Ability to dispense of blocker and find the ball, play strength and technique vs drive and double team, use of hands to separate, strength to pull and jerk, lateral shuffle and move through trash, low block protect and move, get to the ball and make the play, stays on feet and is not on the ground, quick feet to catch up with blocker, slippery quality, power/activity of legs, feet, hip drive playing from his lower body
RUN DEFENSE 2 gap ability, strength at the point of attack, use of hands and arms to control blocker and shed parallel to the LOS, downline pursuit, close inside with authority, mobility and speed to string out and pursue to the sideline, awareness of blocking schemes and combinations (double, trap, fold, influence, zone, etc), wrap up tackler, production
TACKLING Type: hard hitter, explosive, grabber, drag down, wrap up with arms, stop ball carrier at the LOS without losing ground, angle or head on, breakdown and adjust in the open field, suddenness to strike
PURSUIT Movement to the ball from snap to completion of the play, effort, angle, quickness, short and long, stay square to LOS, step over trash and through traffic, open field, take away cut back, urgency, intensity, closing speed
BODY CONTROL/BALANCE Stays on feet, flexibility, base, use of hands too low to protect, ability to recover and regain balance, agility, quickness
USE OF HANDS Strength, quickness to gain control and escape, technique, punch and explode, achieves extension, separate, lock out ability, upper body strength through the hands and forearms, arm length
PASS RUSH Stance (2, 3, or 4 point), first step take off, quickness, use of hands and feet, play strength, effort, tenaciousness, type of moves (slap or grab and swim, rip or uppercut, speed, power bull rush, spin), combination or 2nd moves, stunts, vertical push, outside speed, defeat blocker, leverage, acceleration off blocks with the ability to adjust and burst to close to the QB, stamina, discipline, stay in rush lane, innate ability plus coaching, work hands and feet in unison
FOOT QUICKNESS Ability to move feet in rapid succession, lateral mobility
ACCELERATION Burst, amount of time it takes to be at top speed, first step off the ball, closing speed, ability once moving to get to a higher rate of speed
1 ON 1 Quick recognition and react to type of block, ability to control, shed and tackle
DOUBLE TEAM Reaction, core strength and technique to hold ground
TRAP Quick recognition, close down hole, spill technique (take on with outside shoulder to flatten, what technique is being taught?
SIZE Height and weight according to charts in accordance with level of play
QUICKNESS Ability to move hands, arms, torso, and feet in rapid succession, movement in any direction
STRENGTH Overall strength, degree of power exhibited in performance of duties (functional play strength), upper body, lower body
BALANCE Ability to retain body control in the execution of various fundamentals required of playing defensive line, regain body control after temporarily losing it, lower body strength and base to stay on feet
EXPLOSION Force generated when delivering a blow, pop and power ,minimizing time lapse between initial movement and contact, suddenness of strike