The Orange and Brown Report Film Room: X's & O's and First Overall Selection Myles Garrett

The OBR Film Room returns to breakdown the Browns' 2017 draft class through college game tape! What are each player's strengths and weaknesses? How do both show up on the field through scheme, concept, and technique? Join us as we continue to look at the number one overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett.

Over the next several months The OBR will break down the Browns' 2017 draft class through film study with a focus on each prospect’s strengths and weaknesses. Rather than approaching each breakdown using the traditional approach of a draft profile or scouting report, we will take a detailed look at what each prospect was asked to do within their college scheme. The goal is to illustrate each player’s attributes –both positive and negative—through the X’s & O’s of the game.

In the second episode of "Meet the Rookies", The OBR broke down first overall selection Myles Garrett's elite athleticism.

Our third installment continues with the All-American defensive end as we look at an oft-overlooked trait all great pass rushers possess, “hands”.

While most draft pundits focus on Garrett’s size, speed, and explosion, the technical side of his game is often minimized.

A vital technique that flashes on the former Aggies’ tape is his ability to effectively integrate the hands with his superior explosion and get-off when rushing the passer. Most college pass rushers – even the elite – are often limited to “bending the edge”. When bending the edge, most rely on superior bend and speed to reach the quarterback. Furthermore, many do not develop an effective counter move off the speed rush

The primary reason these top athletes perform with a limited repertoire is a result of not adequately developing the ability to use their hands as part of the pass rush. Like a press cornerback, to be truly elite the hands and feet must work together. An NLF defensive end that lacks skill in one of these two facets will be restricted in what they can do on the field.

Fortunately for the Browns, Myles Garrett will enter summer training camp with a huge advantage over other rookie pass rushers because he already shows great proficiency in utilizing his hand and his feet when he gets after the quarterback.

To appreciate Garrett’s technical ability, it is important to understand that hand usage doesn’t come naturally to most; it is coached up during the dog days of summer and can take countless reps to get right, particularly for players that have never worked through hand-specific drills. Late in games the importance of these hundreds (sometimes thousands) of reps is amplified as players become tired and fall back on their level of training.

We will start our film study with is perhaps the most popular technique used to clear a blocker, the rip move.

While the rip looks simple in practice, there are several coaching points that must be mastered in order to pull it off with consistency against top competition. A lazy rip move generally leads to a holding non-call as the offensive lineman will use his outside arm to play “Ring Around the Rosey” by hooking the defender’s inside arm.

Let’s look at a series of images of images to breakdown the various pieces of the rip move before putting them all together.

1.      The pass rusher must never look to avoid contact after the snap. Using a “half-man” principal, the defender will look to initiate contact with the blocker’s outside shoulder. When pass rushers look to avoid all contact with the lineman, they rarely reach the quarterback because there is too much distance to cover. 

2.     The inside shoulder should dip to maintain a low center of gravity to generate power from both the legs and arm, a component of the rip move that is often under-emphasized. Much like hitting a baseball, power comes from the legs/core, not the arms.

Focus on Garrett in the image below. Notice the inside shoulder dip.

3.     As the rusher prepares to execute the rip move, the toes should point towards the quarterback. Inside toes will prevent the defender from rushing too far upfield to create an easy wash for the offensive lineman.

Look at Garrett’s toes. The left toe already points 45ish degrees inside. The angle will increase as the play continues.

4.     The rip move should be executed as the rusher comes hip to hip with the defender. If the defender executes too early, the rip will be weak and will not contact the whole of the blocker’s outside arm. If the rip is executed too late, the blocker will hook the arm and wash the rusher by the quarterback by pushing on the hip/lower back area.

The image below shows the equivalent of hip-to-hip as Garrett’s explosive get-off has forced the left guard to turn the shoulders parallel to the line of scrimmage. He is in A LOT of trouble.

5.     Although teaching points will differ by coach, pass rushers are commonly taught to use the blocker’s outside bicep as an aiming point. If the lineman’s shoulders are turned, aim for the elbow. The rusher should clench the fist and violently uppercut the inside arm through the blocker.

Look closely at Garrett’s inside arm in relation to the would-be-blocker’s outside arm. Garrett will aim for the elbow as the blocker is parallel to the line of scrimmage. 

6.    The good rip move will be completed by “scraping paint”, or finishing with the fist near the blocker’s helmet. In addition, the fist should point towards the quarterback as this will naturally turn the body towards the intended target.

Let’s put the coaching points together to see it in real time.

Now let’s slow it down to focus on the little details that will make or break a technique.

Our second play looks at another common pass-rushing technique that looks simple at first glance, but like the rip move requires mastery of several coaching points in order to be utilized effectively.

While the club-rip is short on finesse, the move can be unblockable when executed properly.

Let’s continue our study by looking at a second series of images to breakdown the individual components of the club/rip move before putting them all together. Note that we are exclusively focusing on the hands here. We will get into the feet later on when we look at the number of moves in Garrett’s toolbox.

As you watch the clip, remember that this is the second game of Myles Garrets freshman year. Three months ago he was still in high school. Now he is competing against blockers with the grown-man strength developed by a major college team’s weight and conditioning program.

1.     Just like the rip move, the pass rusher must not look to avoid contact after the snap. The would-be-blocker should be attacked using the “half-man” principal. Do not rush the full body of a blocker because he will use his bench press to strike the exposed chest while exploding up like a squat. Take away half the blocker’s strength. Garrett does not utilize true half-man technique here because he takes an outside jab step to get the blocker leaning the wrong way before crossing his face.

2.     There are two schools of fault to how a club should be delivered. Some coaches teach it as a closed-hand punch to the elbow/shoulder, while others teach it as an open-handed slap. An advantage to the slap version is the defender can grab cloth and pull down the blocker’s shoulder if the club is not sufficiently powerful.

Below we see the start of an open-hand club. The club arm could be extended a bit further to increase leverage and strength, but keep in mind this is a true freshman.

3.     An effective club should be delivered with the body’s core. In order to do so, the hips must open and flip towards the blocker. In addition, the outside foot should replace the inside foot to pivot the hips and aid in the core’s activation.

We can see the effect of Garrett’s club, although it finishes as a push because the right guard was caught leaning the wrong way on Garrett’s out-in fake. 

4.     The final part of the club/rip should free the rusher’s inside arm as he moves past a hip-to-hip relationship with the blocker.

Examine the GIF below. With the aforementioned coaching points in mind, is this an effective rip? Why or why not?

Keep an eye out for our next session in The OBR film room as we analyze the variety of pass-rushing moves   Myles Garrett’s pass rushing moves Myles Garrett brings to the table.

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