A pass rush in football refers to the group of defenders that are tasked with tackling the quarterback before he throws the ball.
In the game of football getting to the quarterback is one of the most effective ways to stop an offense.
Though the goal when rushing the passer is not just to hit him, there are a few positive outcomes that can come from a pass rush.
If the pass rush is able to force the quarterback to scramble then they have positively affected the play.
Passing plays are designed with the intention of the quarterback throwing from the pocket. When they are forced out of the pocket the quarterback will have to throw from a new location.
This can mess up the timing and the accuracy of the throw.
The pass rush can also pay off by forcing the quarterback into a bad throw. Oftentimes as the defender approaches the quarterback he will throw the ball away early to avoid the pressure of the pass rush.
These poor throws can result in incompletions or even interceptions for the defense. Both of these outcomes would be considered a win for the pass rush.
And of course, the ultimate goal of a pass rush is to sack the quarterback. Sacking the quarterback is going to move the offense backwards and allow the defense to get physical with the opposing team’s most valuable player.
Who stops the pass rush?
The offensive line are the players primarily responsible for stopping the pass rush in football.
These players make a wall in front of the quarterback and typically face off against the opposing team’s defensive line.
There are five players in the offensive line all with different responsibilities to protect the quarterback.
These players are the main line of defense against an opposing pass rush. One position that will often bring down the quarterback is the edge rusher.
A tight end is a sort of hybrid position between a wide receiver and an offensive lineman.
On some plays, these players will act as receivers. But on others, these players will stay with the offensive lineman to block.
Oftentimes tight ends will perform a. Chip block which consists of a quick hit on a defensive lineman before running a receiving pattern.
This is usually done when there is a specifically effective pass rusher on the Defense. The chip block will slow him down and give the offensive line help with blocking them.
Running back is the other position that is used to stop a pass rush. These players primarily are used to carry the ball but can be effective as blockers as well.
When the offense anticipates that the pass rush may get to the quarterback they will often keep the running back in the pocket for pass protection.
On these plays, the running back will wait to see which defenders get past the offensive line and then block him before he reaches the quarterback.
Oftentimes a running back’s ability to block for their quarterback will determine whether or not they play on third downs.
This is because third downs are often passing downs meaning the running back will need to be an effective receiver and blocker to get playing time on this down.