How to Defend Against a Chop Block in Football

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The chop block is an extremely effective tool when used properly in the game of football and it can be enormously difficult to defend yourself against it. As a defensive lineman or linebacker, though, it is very important that you master the techniques to protect yourself from a chop block. Here's how to protect yourself and keep your pass rush alive:

Things You'll Need

  • Time to practice
  • Willing teammates
  • Motivation
  • Recognize the chop before the play starts--this is the easiest way to defend yourself against an upcoming chop block. You'll notice that an offensive lineman who is planning on using a chop block will put all of their weight forward on their down hand. If you see that they're leaning all of their weight forward, get ready for them to try to chop block you.

  • Use lateral motion. Once an offensive lineman starts their lunge forward during a chop block, they're completely unable to change direction because they're off balance. So, move sideways slightly before you start your pass rush and they'll miss you completely.

  • Help the offensive lineman find the ground. When the offensive lineman begins his lunge forward for the chop block, don't push him back, push him down to the ground. If you're quick enough you'll deflect all his forward momentum into downward momentum and he'll fail to chop your legs out from under you.

  • Don't engage the offensive lineman. Once the offensive lineman is on the ground, don't worry about him. You should be quicker and more agile than he is, so find the football and attack it. Remember, the offensive lineman is an obstacle, not your goal.

  • Hurdle in the open field. Even though it's illegal, some players will attempt a chop block in the open field. If this occurs, your only real option is to try to hurdle them and continue on with the play. Then, after the play is over, inform your coach of the illegal move so that they can inform the officials.

Tips & Warnings

  • If an offensive lineman chooses a chop block then that means that the pass play that the offense is running is probably a quick strike, no more than a five-step-drop. So, if you're a linebacker it's best to break off your blitz and drop back into coverage. If you're a defensive lineman, just try to get your hands up to block the pass.
  • Be very careful with players who try to chop block a lot. The chop block is a dangerous maneuver and can cause serious injury to either player involved.

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  • Photo Credit Kasey Moody, Wikimedia Commons
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