How Technology Is Killing NFL Defenses

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Kevin Clark explains how technology is killing NFL defenses:

For about the last four seasons, players have had tablets to watch film on. This year, the effects are being felt for perhaps the first time. “Things that used to be subtle, like a safety lining two yards outside of a hash mark, is now a dead giveaway,” said former NFL lineman Shaun O’Hara, now an analyst at the NFL Network.

This created a world in which players could watch significantly more game film than they could be before. They could watch their opponents’ third-down plays at the grocery store, or, some players admit, in the bathroom. It is a world in which everyone knows everything about everyone. Players have watched game film for decades, but never had this much information.

That, according to Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine, favors the offense.

“We have to tell our guys, ‘Don’t be that guy, don’t be the sucker on the tape,’ ” Pettine said. “You can’t tip off anything anymore, whether that’s a stance or even the eyes. There are so many little things they can find now, and all they need to do is find one.”

As a result, coaches say, getting to the quarterback has never been harder. Offenses can adjust quickly once they identify a blitzer, leaving more guys in to block on a given play and completely stopping the opposing pass rush.

“Access to video is the best thing we have,” said New Orleans Saints offensive-line coach Bret Ingalls. “We get to say, ‘Hey, every time a guy on this team points to the guard, it means he’ll try this or that.’ ”

Cameron Heyward, a Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman, said that research of pass-rushing moves has gotten so advanced that he rarely wants to make the first move, since the offense will know what’s coming. He said that offensive linemen have few “tells,” and even if they had any, it wouldn’t matter, since they rarely attempt the exotic maneuvers that defensive linemen resort to in their desperation to pressure the quarterback.

I suppose it’ll always be “film”…


  1. Alex says:

    Here is my solution for NFL injuries. Remove most protective gear, go back to 1940s equipment. Soft helmets, almost no pads. Definitely no gloves to catch with! This will slow the game down and subsequently reduce brain injuries, knee surgeries, etc. The game needs to slow down, that is the only solution.

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