Von Miller Combines Technique & Explosiveness For A Bull Rush

By FirstDown PlayBook on Jul 2, 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!

Von Miller is one of the NFL’s best pass rushers. But when you think about Von Miller pressuring a QB, you’re probably not thinking about driving a tackle back into the QB’s lap. After all, he’s only listed at 250 lbs.

But here in this Teachtape, you can see how a rusher who might be smaller than the guy blocking him can generate the power and bull rush an OL through technique and explosiveness.

Miller here is squaring off with a good opponent in Tennessee’s Taylor Lewan. Miller starts with his phenomenal get-off, which always stresses the OT, even when he is not trying to win around the edge with speed. But because Miller can win that way, Lewan has to respect it, and kick aggressively out of his stance.

This means Lewan has sacrificed pad level, power, and strength for speed. Miller has a clear plan here, which he executes to perfection. He does not square up Lewan and rush right into him, as that would play right into the OT’s hands. Instead, Miller generates length by working almost perpendicular to Lewan as he fires his left arm. This longarm technique serves to make him longer than the tackle, allowing Miller to make contact with Lewan, rather than Lewan landing the first blow.

Miller’s hand placement is also terrific, as he lands inside the chest and under the shoulder pads of Lewan. At the point of contact, Miller also has a significant pad level advantage. As the football saying goes, low man wins. With this leverage advantage, Miller uncoils explosively, generating tremendous power.

Miller recognizes the advantage he has over Lewan and transitions completely into a powerful bull rush, using his play strength to walk Lewan back. That disruption disrupts the QB’s timing and leads to a sack for Miller’s teammates.

This is yet another example of the fact that the best rushers are tremendously gifted, but also have a pass rush plan and a myriad of tools in their pass rush toolbox that they can use to execute that plan.

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