“The modern defensive lineman must have the strength to defeat the blocker in front of him, the intelligence to analyse the play run by the offense, the speed to rush the passer and pursue quick offensive backs, and the mental and physical toughness to take a pounding play after play.”
Tom Bass, Play Football The NFL Way
Defensive Line Drills
Despite of having to be as strong as an ox to take on one or sometimes two offensive linemen who are trying to move him out of the way. For a defensive lineman it is not enough “just” to hold his ground, he also has to have the agility to free himself from the block and persue the ballcarrier and make the tackle.
✔ 4-Point Wave
✔ Off The Ball
✔ Shuffle With Medicine Ball
The chances of a defensive lineman to succeed in stopping the run and making a tackle for loss or minimal gain get a lot bigger with his ability to identify who’s trying to block him an how. The sooner he recognises this the better are his chances to beat the block and make the play.
✔ Read The Head Drill
✔ Read Drill
✔ Contain Drill
Also pass rushing of defensive linemen isn’t just about speed and power, also knowledge of different pass rush techniques and ability to use them will increase his success in rushing the passer, be it by rushing him into inaccurate throws or even making a sack. Not every technique is successful against every offensive lineman. And even just one working technique will wear down in efficiency as the offensive lineman will learn how to work against this one technique. So knowing and applying more than pass rush technique is absolutely necessary for every defensive lineman.
✔ Technique Drills
✔ Shoulder Club
✔ Close Drill
All abilities of the defensive lineman to get to the ballcarrier/passer are for naught if he’s then not able to make a secure tackle.
✔ Tackling Progression Drills