The middle linebacker or MIKE is the quarterback and anchor of the defense. Mike calls the defensive plays and is responsible for containing the running game and disrupting the passing attack through blitzes, pass rushing and dropping back into pass coverage.
This article will discuss the various ways the middle linebacker can disrupt the passing game.
In conclusion the middle linebacker should be the highest impact player on the defense. Filling the holes he can help control the running game. Rushing and blitzing the quarterback allows him to get inside the quarterbacks head and possibly intimidate him. Calling the defensive plays allows the linebacker to dictate the tempo of the defensive attack.
1. Simple Blitz: This is just a straight on blitz executed when the ball is snapped. The idea is to put pressure on the quarterback possibly force a sack or tip the pass or make the quarterback hurry his throw.
Cheating up on the line of scrimmage the Mike attacks from 2 to 4 feet from behind the LOS fending off any blockers, he pursues the quarterback with hands in the air to attempt to deflect and pass.
Blitzing is the perfect way to get in a QBs head. Don’t be guilty of a late hit or unnecessary roughness but when you can hit the quarterback clean and hard, put him on the ground and through out the course of the game his passing game might be disrupted from simply hearing footsteps.
2. Delay Blitz: This blitz is done a second or two after the snap of the ball. The QB is looking down field trying to read the defense. His eyes are on the Mike. Once he sees the middle linebacker is dropping back into pass coverage or standing still to plug the hole his attention will be to check off receivers. This is when the Mike charges in to disrupt the passing play.
The middle of the field belongs to the middle linebacker, he must disrupt passes thrown in an 8 to 15 yard area over the center of the field. The MIKE must cover any tight ends, running backs, or receivers in crossing patterns in this area. He must be a strong tackler so if a pass is caught there is little to no YAC. His job is to knock down the pass or pick it.
These are just some the basic ways a middle linebacker can disrupt the passing attack and get to the quarterback. There are many more advanced techniques taught my some of the countries best coaches. Use the links below to see our selection of linebacker coaching videos.