What Is Blitzing In Football?

In a blitz, more players rush the quarterback than usual in an attempt to sack the quarterback. This can be a high-risk play since it leaves offensive players vulnerable

The Blitz in Football is one of the most nerve-racking plays in the game. Players have to be mentally and physically prepared before they step onto the field. 

Blitzing the quarterback can result in sacks and a loss of yardage and force the offense to make mistakes. The move is easy to understand but isn’t easy to execute.

There’s a couple of different types of blitzes. There are also a few different reasons you might want to call one. In this article, I’ll take you through all you need to know about Blitzing in Football.

How To Blitz In Football

So, how do teams actually go about blitzing in football? Let us understand the steps involved.

In any blitz, there will be four or five players with you. It’ll be in your favor if they are all about the same speed, as it ensures your defense has a defined outcome on the blitz. 

If you’re going to send more than four people after the quarterback, make sure your team gets more than four guys back. If someone misses a tackle or something else goes wrong, it’s likely to be taken advantage of by the opposing team.

A good blitz can shut down the offense most of the time. It would be best if you saw a clear outcome before rushing the quarterback. To keep everyone on a good page, you must keep in constant communication with your teammates and know when you’re losing ground.

Blitzing can also be used as a contingency for the passing game. You could blitz when you have good coverage downfield and not send anyone at all if they throw short or intermediate.

Difference Between A Pass Rush & A Blitz

‘Blitz’ and ‘pass rush’ are basically the same thing. When you rush the passer, you’re trying to disrupt the quarterback’s passing window. The passing window is where he would usually throw the ball in the case of an experienced quarterback with good passing technique.

Blitzes send more players at the quarterback, but a pass rush sends fewer at him. With a blitz, you send more than four players (usually five or more) rushing at the quarterback as fast as possible. 

Another difference between a blitz and pass rush is that, with a blitz, you have a predetermined outcome. You know that you’re sending five or more guys, and you know that the quarterback isn’t going to be able to escape. 

When you pass rush, you don’t really know what will happen. You might get a sack, or the quarterback could throw off his back foot and complete the pass. But if he does throw off his back foot and complete the pass, it’s probably because he had no other choice but to do so (the receiver was wide open).

This, of course, does not mean that all blitzes will be successful, and there are probably a lot of blitzes that are not successful.

As you can guess, the more guys on the field you send rushing at the quarterback, the more likely it is that at least one of them will sack or pressure him into an incomplete pass. But then you’ve also got to consider the risk involved in sending more than four people at him instead of three or five people.

A Blitz's Objective

The goals of a blitz are not limited to just putting pressure on the quarterback. 

It can also be:

  1. To block off a run
  2. To halt an inside run
  3. To apply pressure midway to the quarterback
  4. To hunt the quarterback from the periphery

     

An offense can be forced into an incomplete pass or lost-yardage situation using a blitz on first down to assist in holding the ball.

On third down, a blitz can be called in an attempt to force an interception or forced an errant pass, so the offense is forced to punt.

As you can see, in different game situations, coaches can design different blitz packages to accomplish different things. 

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Pros And Cons Of Blitzing In Football

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons. We will be looking at the various situations that can arise.

  • Blitzing means that there will be more people rushing the quarterback
    Pro: More guys rushing mean more opportunities to get to the quarterback and cause him to throw off his back foot.
    Con: More guys rushing means more chances that an entire play can be blown up. Plus, it leaves more guys open for the opposing team, and they can pick them off.

  • Quicker times to sack the QB
    Pro: You can get to the QB before he has a chance to handle his 3rd step or 3rd and goal play.
    Con: The more guys you send to blitz, the bigger the chance of something going wrong.

  • More sacks and turnovers
    Pro: More pressure on the QB means more sacks and turnovers will occur.
    Con: An interception could result in a touchdown or a field goal, which negates your hard work on the defensive side of things.

  • More yards lost
    Pro: More sacks and turnovers mean more yards for the defense.
    Con: More guys rushing means more opportunities for a fumble or for the quarterback to evade.

What To Look Out For When A Blitz Is Happening?

It is going to be an exciting time when a blitz is happening, for sure. Like we went through in the pros and cons, there will be plenty of developments that’ll happen. As a player on either side, you should be mindful of what is happening. 

Let’s take a look at what you should be doing.

  1. Know where your blitzing players will be when it’s time for a blitz.

  2. Know where the receivers are going to be before the blitz starts.

  3. Know how likely your players will pick off a pass or strip the quarterback of the football (strip fumble). 

  4. Think about how many people you’re sending in and if it’s worth it because more than four people rushing means more chances of blowing up a play. 

  5. Think about how fast and quick your players will get to the quarterback, which is probably a lot faster than they usually would.

  6. Have a contingency plan. What are you going to do if you get a sack or you blitz and the quarterback has just enough time to scramble for four yards?

  7. Know what kind of coverage you’re giving up on the back end while you’re blitzing.

Summarising

In football, a blitz is a defensive strategy used by defensive coaches to create extra pressure on the offensive team. But blitzing doesn’t just happen to the quarterback. Running plays and passing plays can be a target of the blitz as well.

There are also different types of blitzes that defensive coaches can call by applying extra pressure internally or externally to the offense.

Brad Smith
Brad Smith
Brad Smith has been coaching high school Football for 6 years in Florida. He and his wife have 3 beautiful children who he hopes will become the first Jaguars to win a Superbowl. Other than Football, Brad loves American litterature, parenting, gardening, and home remodeling.