What is pass blocking in football?

Pass blocking in football refers to the assignment of protecting the quarterback from defenders when he is passing the ball.

The majority of pass blocking is done in an area called the pocket. The pocket is an area in the offensive backfield where the quarterback throws the ball from.

This area is protected by offensive linemen who make a semi-circle in front of the quarterback to protect him from the defensive lineman.

Defensive lineman will look to get in between or go around the blockers in pass protection. It is up to the offensive lineman to block these players to keep the quarterback safe.

When pass blocking it is normal for the blockers to move backwards slowly toward the quarterback.

This makes the job of these pass blockers easier as they are able to step backwards to compensate for the speed of the pass rushers coming their way.

When a team uses seven or more players in pass protection this is referred to as max protection in football.

Run blocking vs pass blocking in football

Though they are often done by the same positions run blocking and pass blocking are very different.

Run blocking in football focuses on creating a specific hole in the defensive line for the ball carrier to go through.

To do this offensive lineman will block their defenders away from the hole the ball carrier is targeting.

To do this these offensive linemen and tight ends will move downfield toward the defenders they are blocking. This gives these players more momentum.

This momentum is needed to move defenders as defensive linemen tend to be the heaviest players on the defense.

Pass blocking on the other hand is a much less aggressive style of blocking. Instead of going after a certain defender pass blocking involves slowly backing up and protecting your area of the line.

This more conservative style of blocking means these players are less likely to miss their blocks.

What positions pass block in football?

Offensive tackle

Offensive tackles are the players that line up on either end of the offensive line. These players are often the most important players in pass blocking.

This is because it is their job to make sure no one gets to the quarterback from the outside of the line.

This means these players have the most ground to cover when pass blocking.

Offensive guards

Another position that plays a large role in pass blocking is offensive guard. There are two guards on the offensive line.

These players line up in the interior of the offensive line between the center and the guard.

Their job is to stop the defensive tackles and other interior rushers from making it into the backfield. Since guards are in the middle of the formation they are often able to double team defenders when pass blocking.

This can make their job much easier and is often required in order to stop some of these incredibly strong defensive linemen.

Tight Ends

Tight ends are capable receivers but can also be used effectively in order to help the quarterback in pass protection.

Tight ends are generally the best blockers on the team aside from offensive lineman. When these players stay back to protect the quarterback they will offer an extra large body between the defenders and the ball.


Runningbacks also play a role in pass protection. On passing plays the runningbacks may stay in the pocket and help protect the quarterback.

If a defender manages to beat his blocker and get into the backfield the running back will be expected to pick up this defender.

That is all on pass blocking in football to learn more about the game see our guide to crackback blocks or chop blocking.

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