With teams focusing more on quick pass offenses and timing routes, trying to spread the field vertically and physically teams have been trying to get better at pass protection, pass rushing and coverage. This evolution is also forced by the league’s rules designed to protect the receivers and passers more. It’s harder to bump and press a guy down the field without catching a flag for it, but it’s even harder to do it in the 5-15 yard range. With less ability to disrupt those passes you’ll see more teams focusing more on the ability to cover.
I think this is going to lead to a few things, one the focus on Right vs left side of the defense and offense will diminish. Back in the day you used to have a Left tackle who was taller perhaps more lightly built and more nimble. He was your pass protector, on the right side you had a mauler and run blocker. You always put your TE on the right and that was the strong side of your line.
However, so many teams now run a 2te offense or 3 wr where there is no true strongside so the impetus to get and the value of a big mauler at right tackle is much much lower. You need a guy who can beat the JPP’s and Michael Strahan’s of this world. If you’re passing 68% of the time, why take a guy who only excels 32% of the time? now of course you can’t find that many true left tackle pass blocking types for every team to have two, but I think the focus will be more on guys who have the same skill set.
I also think more teams will start putting rushers on the strong side. You’re in a nickle defense so often, why not put the guy in the QB’s face.
JPP rushed quite a bit from what I saw (limited) off the defensive left, offensive right, this used his massive frame and leverage so he could tip more passes at the line and create visual disruption. I think the Patriots would be wise to use Chandler Jones in the same way. He’s raw as a rusher but with his height and range he can get vertical on a lot of passes.
It’s also worth noting, personally I think outside rush and protectors will decrease in importance because it’s hard for an outside guy to get around the edge in time to stop a quick pass. Now you’ll want good players there of course, but I think the value of pass rushing DT’s and good interior o-line will increase. Guys who can immediately crash the pocket straight up the gut and make it harder for QBs to see the field.
With it being less legal to whack QBs I think we might see a greater focus on the concept of congesting passing lanes. If I had to guess the focus wouldn’t be on: LDE is your run stuffer RDE is your pass rusher, it’d be LDE is your tall pass rusher RDE is your short agile pass rusher.
Put a guy like JPP opposite Dwight Freeney (freeny?) and see what happens.
Just my thoughts, I’m not a coach, just the sort of guy who over analyzes football.
If you want the bullet point:
- Teams will distinguish less between run side and pass side on the line in terms of pass ability
- Interior line will rise in importance with a focus on the pass
- the focus will instead be the creation of visual congestion on the passer’s first few reads, IE the tall DE plays on the left even if he’s the better rusher, the shorter DE will be on the right.