All-22 Lab: Pernell McPhee

The Bears tomorrow will sign OLB/DE Pernell McPhee, who had 7.5 sacks in a rotational role for the Ravens last year. We use All-22 coaches film to break down each one of those sacks.

As first reported by Bear Report’s Aaron Leming, the Chicago Bears tomorrow will sign free-agent outside linebacker Pernell McPhee.

McPhee (6-3, 280) is a former fifth-round draft pick who spent his first four years with the Baltimore Ravens. In a rotational pass-rushing role, McPhee racked up 7.5 sacks last season.

The versatile defender – McPhee played nearly every position along Baltimore’s defensive front – is the first big personnel acquisition by new GM Ryan Pace. He should serve in a multi-faceted role for the Bears.

Let’s go to the film room to break down All-22 coaches tape of McPhee’s 7.5 sacks in 2014.


McPhee (red) is in a standup position across from the A gap. At the snap, he’ll rush the gap.

He’s double-teamed initially by the center and left guard.

McPhee uses a wicked swim move to his left and tosses the blocker to the turf.

Notice the Colts’ left guard (yellow) still on his face as McPhee sacks Andrew Luck.


Here again McPHee is lined up A gap right between the center and guard.

He’s unable to penetrate off the ball and is locked up by the right guard.

At this point, Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon has no open targets down the field. McPhee uses a swim move and ends up outside the far hash. Glennon will take off in the opposite sideline, with McPhee in pursuit.

The 280-pound McPhee uses a good closing angle.

Despite being the size of a defensive lineman, McPhee shows good finishing speed and is able to meet Glennon at the sideline, forcing him out of bounds behind the line of scrimmage.


McPhee is now in a three-point stance across from the left guard. He will stunt left at the snap.

Two pass rushers clear out the right side of the offensive line, which will open a lane for McPhee to swing behind.

The right guard tries to block him but McPhee uses a swim move to penetrate into the backfield.

McPhee closes on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan for the sack.

As McPhee brings down the passer, notice the ball on the ground (yellow). It was McPhee’s only forced fumble of 2014.


McPhee is rushing from a two-point stance off the left edge. He’ll use a swim move to rush inside the left tackle.

McPhee immediately splits the B gap, leaving the left tackle (yellow) in his wake.

The left guard tries to lock him up but McPhee drives him into the backfield.

McPhee gets the sack with a blocker hanging on his back.


Here again McPhee is in a two-point stance over the guard.

At the snap, he’s double teamed by the guard and center.

The coverage is good, which forces Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles out of the pocket. McPhee keeps fighting and eventually splits the double team.

McPhee closes and picks up half a sack.


McPhee is standing up across from the left B gap. He’ll rush on a delayed blitz.

OLB Terrell Suggs (yellow) pushes two blockers inside, with McPhee trailing in the opposite direction.

McPhee now has a clear path to the quarterback. He closes in a heartbeat for the sack.

SACK 6.5

McPhee is in the Wide-9 position on the left edge. He’ll sprint hard inside at the snap.

Notice how he sets up his move, initially working up the field at the snap.

Once he cuts inside, McPhee has the left tackle completely off balance and he’s able to gain leverage instantly.

Here again McPhee picks up a sack with a blocker on his back.

SACK 7.5

His final sack will come from the right side at outside linebacker.

The Browns send the tight end to block McPhee, who uses a quick swim and chuck to clear the blocker.

The running back then gets his in way but has little success slowing him down.

McPhee sheds two blocks with ease and is able to corral the quarterback before he can leave the pocket.


McPhee shows serious power on film. He’s explosive off the ball and, once he gains leverage, his lower-body strength helps him drive blockers backward.

His swim move is lightning quick and allows him to leave defenders in his wake. On off-balance blocker has no chance against McPhee’s swim.

Of his 7.5 sacks last year, 3.5 came as a blitzing inside linebacker, another from the 3-technique, one from the Wide 9, and two at outside linebacker (one from each side). That type of production from multiple spots on the field will give Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio great flexibility in play design.

McPhee is a big, powerful defender who is light on his feet and has great closing burst. He can be productive from anywhere along the front seven.

With full-time snaps, McPhee has double-digit-sack potential and will be a crucial cog for Fangio’s 3-4 system.



Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. He is in his fifth season covering the Chicago Bears full time. Follow Bear Report on Twitter.

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