If An NFL Running Back Can’t Do This… They Can’t Start.

By FirstDown PlayBook on Jul 30, 2020

By Will Cinelli, The Scouting Academy

Most Thursdays 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!

For all the dynamic qualities we look for in a RB both in the running game and as a weapon in the passing game and element that still differentiates who we can trust as a starter and who can only earn a smaller role is pass protection.

In all of our conversations with coaches, two elements have been deemed ‘mandatory’ and without checking both boxes, there is argument that nothing else matters.

1)      Do you know who to block?

2)      Do you want to block?

Here, Dallas Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott reads the front and presnap movement, keying both #58 and #21 in his reads. After moving downhill on the play action fake, Elliott sees #21 coming off the edge and understands that is his responsibility.

He stops, changes directions and explodes to intersect with #21, staying on his inside shoulder to protect the QB. That action allows the QB to reset in the pocket, re-establish his feet and deliver the ball.

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