ITP Glossary: Winning the Edge

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From Banjo Coverage to Honey Hole, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.

Winning the Edge

Winning the edge is a phrase used to describe a pass rushers efforts to defeat an offensive tackle at the top of the arc. This is the point where the tackle typically makes contact with the oncoming edge rusher.

Edge defenders will try to beat an offensive tackle with speed, running the arc, in order to get to the quarterback. For those like Von Miller with elite tools and cornering ability, this can be consistently effective. But when the tackle is able to get to the top of the arc with footwork and quickness, the edge defender needs a little extra to win the edge and beat his opponent.  In this play, Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard is stymied at the top of the arc by Kodi Kieler and is forced to utilize his hands at the top of the arc to free himself from Michigan States right tackle and get home for the sack:

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At the collegiate level, edge defenders often win on sheer athleticism, but a victory in the NFL does not come so easily. Proper technique and hand usage to overcome contact from opposing offensive linemen is critical for edge rushers, traits that are most often employed at the top of the arc.

The next video shows BYU edge defender Bronson Kaufusi demonstrating a superb rip move to run the arc and finish with a sack.

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Kaufusi loved to utilize this rip move at the top of the arc, clamping the offensive tackles outside arm and turning his frame around in a similar fashion to how James Harrison has defeated opponents for years.

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Most battles on the edge are won or lost along the arc, but how those battles are fought varies greatly from rusher to rusher.

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Jon Ledyard wrote this entry. Follow Jon on Twitter @LedyardNFLDraft.

All video and images courtesy DraftBreakdown and NFL Game Pass.

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