ITP Glossary: Green Dog Blitz

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From jumbo sail to kickoff safeties, 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.

Green Dog Blitz

A green dog blitz is a defensive technique where a defender rushes the quarterback after his man coverage assignment stays in to pass block. A linebacker or safety assigned to a running back or tight end in man coverage will often green dog blitz when he recognizes that offensive player blocking another pass rusher. This helps the defense get pressure on the quarterback even if the offense protects with six or more blockers, by adding a late rusher that the blocking scheme often cannot account for. The colorful name stands in contrast to “red dog,” a synonym for blitz.

Jeremy Cash (#16), a safety for the Duke Blue Devils, lines up near the line of scrimmage in a 2014 game against the Virginia Tech Hokies. Cash picks up fullback Sam Rogers (#45) in man coverage, mirroring the back’s movements:

When he sees Rogers stay in to block, Cash bursts through a crease in the offensive line, sacking Hokies quarterback Michael Brewer (#12).

If a defense becomes predictable in using the green dog technique, offenses can counter with a chip-and-release, where the extra blocker initially shows block and then leaks out into a route:

Tight end Rob Gronkowski (#87) of the New England Patriots initially blocks New York Jets defensive end Leonard Williams (#92). Defensive back Marcus Gilchrist (#21) lines up across from Gronkowski in man coverage and blitzes when he sees the tight end blocking, and a clear path to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (#12). However, Gronkowski releases after feigning a quick chip on Williams, and Brady finds him for the wide-open touchdown.

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Dave Archibald wrote this entry. Follow Dave on Twitter @davearchie.

All video and images courtesy ESPN, Draft Breakdown, & NFL Game Pass.

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