Sept. '22 #BOTM - Attacking the RB with a cross-dog progression
MQ details how to build from Creeper to Hot pressure while attacking the RB.
Who doesn’t love a Cross-Dog blitz? The pressure is one of the most iconic blitzes in football, and most defenses carry some variation of it within their system. The beauty of the pressure is that it fits within any front structure and is good on almost every down. Below, NDSU Bison are running the classic version from an Under Front (3t away from the TE). I call this NORWAY HOT.
Missouri St. attempts to run one-back Power with Jet motion going the same direction as the play. The path of the quick motion creates a Counter look to the play as the WR is responsible for the edge defender. The initial blitzer (penetrator) takes the play side Guard’s block. As the pulling Guard works for the edge, the Nose occupies the down-blocking RT. The offense appears to have numbers at the point of attack (POA). However, it is an illusion, as the trailing blitzer finds a seam and quickly ends the play for a tackle for loss (TFL).
Primarily created to attack offenses through the A-gaps, the pressure can move to take advantage of a weak Guard or attack the RB. Defenses can quickly shift the path from the NDSU clip to attack the A- and B-gaps away from the 3 tech. Cross-dogs work well because they layer the fit and overwhelm the offense by shifting the D-Line away from the pressure. An example is shown below.
While at Baylor, we routinely attacked the Guard to the side of the RB. In many cases, we would get Slide-Lock protection (below), and the RB flared or attempted to block the first blitzer, as shown in the clip. Changing the target point with the cross-dog opens up its usefulness.
The modern defensive scheme needs to be layered to ensure offenses cannot take advantage of it but also to maximize efficiency in how it is taught. At every level, coaches are required to spend less and less time with their athletes. When concepts can be layered and “Stacked” on top of each other, the pedagogy is more efficient, and a defense can carry a more robust call sheet.
Regarding the cross-dog, attacking the RB is a gateway to opening up the defense to scale the way it runs its cross-dog pressure. Starting with a Creeper and ending with a HOT blitz (6-man), the path illustrated above in the Baylor clip can become a utility pressure that grows in numbers as a defense adds players into the blitz. From the building blocks of the BRADY path, a defense can stack concepts and eventually end with a six-man HOT blitz in Norway.