No. 3: Inside Pass-Rusher
The Prototypes: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions; J.J. Watt, Houston Texans
It’s been said many times that the shortest path to the quarterback is a straight line. As anchoring against the inside run becomes less and less of a priority, explosive 300-pounders are being lined up inside and unleashed.
This revolution in approach is forcing offenses to reevaluate everything about how they protect the quarterback. Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitted to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune that the Bears were thinking about Ndamukong Suh lining up “over the right guard” when they drafted a right guard in the first round.
Whether they line up over the guard in a 4-3 defense or between the guard and tackle as a 3-4 end like 2012 AP Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt, these rare athletes force offenses to account for their disruptive power.
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