40 Year Coaching Veteran John Palermo Talks Defensive Line Play
By FirstDown PlayBook on Sep 24, 2018

Fundamentals and technique are often times words used by some football coaches as they deliver an obligatory line to the media, at a clinic or even in some cases to their players. Many coaches can be guilty of almost immediately getting to schemes and the big picture after the first few weeks of practice each season.

John Palermo is definitely an exception to this trend. Palermo’s extensive coaching career has pretty much been spent with the front defensive seven  players for whatever football team he has been associated with.

Palermo’s resume includes a national championship ring with Notre Dame where he coached Chris Zorich, a two-time consensus All-American and the 1990 winner of the prestigious Lombardi Award. Palermo would later reunite with Barry Alvarez at Wisconsin for 15 years on the defensive side of the ball where he was responsible for four first-team All-Americans, four Big Ten Defensive Linemen of the Year, two Big Ten Defensive Players of the Year, and two first-round draft selections in Wendell Bryant (2002) and Erasmus James (2005). The 2004 NFL Draft saw the entire Wisconsin starting defensive line drafted.

Coach Palermo also served as the defensive line coach of the Washington Redskins in 2008-2009. Under his tutelage, rookie Brian Orakpo was named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie in a dual role as a defensive end and linebacker.

USA Football’s Coach & Coordinator “The Game Plan” In Season podcast brought to you by USA Football’s Keith Grabowski and FirstDown PlayBook’s Charlie Coiner had the fortune to sit down with Coach Palermo last week and pick his brain about coaching the defensive line. It was amazing how much detailed football we were able to touch on in this 30-40 minute podcast. This is one we know you are going to enjoy!





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