Offensive Line Banged Up? 3 Ways To Cope.
Anyone who has coached the offensive line long enough understands that injuries can blow your entire season up if you are not prepared. Why is this different than any other position you ask? Well, it’s because these five players work so closely together. Losing any one of them can mess with the unit in the run game and with pass protection.
The Aaron Rodgers injury on Monday night shows that no player or position group is immune to injury. This is why getting your backups reps or mental reps is an important part of the process. A good offensive line coach must create depth anyway possible/
Preparing for these almost inevitable injuries can happen in several ways. One is to have your lineman coached up on multiple positions. This will allow you to play your five best healthy lineman, instead of your second string center who might not be in your top eight linemen.
Another way, is to have things in your game plan that take the pressure off of a “pieced together” offensive line. When we think of this we immediately think about pass protections. Why? It’s not that the run game is not important but if this is not addressed then you might end up with a quarterback injury too.
Here are a few ways that you can also protect your offensive line if the injury bug hits your unit.
You can install more quick game answers into your game plan. This is always helpful. Often times there are simple answers in the passing game that can make your offensive line a lot more effective. This includes getting the ball to your running back in the passing game.
Use Tight Ends & Backs To Chip
You can beef up your protection by using your Tight Ends and Running Backs more. They can be used for protection help and chipping on their way out to their route. This can take some work, but it is an effective way to help your protection if the technique is taught correctly.
Always Have Screens In Your Game Plan
Another answer might be to inject more screen passes into your game plan. FirstDown PlayBook definitely understands the value of the screen pass game. It’s a way to help your offensive line out a little but it is also a way to get the ball into an athlete’s hands in space and let him work.
We also look at screen passes as run plays. Often times they are blocked up slightly differently depending on the defensive front. Your line assignments will change based on the defensive front. That’s why we draw up all of our screen passes against five different fronts. This gives your offensive line a detailed look at how to block the different looks out in space.
So as you navigate the 2023 season, we hope that most of what we have looked at here won’t apply to you and your unit. However, if it does, then the things we have mentioned above will give you a chance to be successful until you get your starters back on the field again.