The Scouting Academy Dissects Linebacker Eric Kendricks
By Will Cinelli on May 14, 2020

By Will Cinelli, The Scouting Academy

Each Thursday here on the FirstDown PlayBook Coaches Community website we will feature a breakdown of personnel and technique. This is provided by our friends over at The Scouting Academy who are our go to experts in this field!

This week’s Teachtape takes us to the linebacker position. We want our LB’s to be able to make plays on the outside run without getting out of position. Here, Vikings LB Eric Kendricks shows us how.

The key to this play is how quickly he is able to make this read. One step by the OL is all he needs to know that this is an outside run. This is critical, and not an easy thing to teach to young players. He doesn’t JUST have to read run/pass, but he has to know what type of run he’s seeing.

Upon diagnosing that it’s outside run, Kendricks shows great quickness and burst, explosively pursuing the run. He has a good awareness of the back’s path and takes his route accordingly.

One challenge for inside LBs chasing down outside runs is their ability to “sort through the trash.” That means that the player must have awareness of the OL climbing and blocks that are happening around him and, as Kendricks does here, finding a crease where he can fit. Again, great burst by Kendricks here as he flashes to insert and attack the ballcarrier.

Finally, Kendricks faces one last challenge, a last-ditch attempt by the center to lunge and get a piece of him. However, Kendricks comes to balance with low pad level and is able to play with strength through the block and tackle the ballcarrier in the backfield.

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