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The ACE block is a combination block between the center and play-side offensive guard to the backside linebacker that is typically run in a gap or power-blocking scheme. Most NFL and college teams utilize a mixture of zone and power-blocking schemes, so this is a common technique at each level.
As with any successful combo block, cohesiveness and timing between the two blockers is critical. On each combo block that works to the second level of the defense, there is a transition period where one blocker is charged with overtaking the defender, while the other blocker simultaneously releases to the second level.
Proper technique, leverage, and timing is needed to generate movement on initial contact to make life easier during the transition period.
Context: Week 14 with Atlanta at Carolina for a divisional matchup. It’s the 1st quarter with 13:57 left on the clock, 1st and 10 with the ball on Carolina’s 34-yard line. The Panthers come out in 11 personnel and run a sweep to the right with an RPO (run-pass option) that freezes Atlanta linebacker Paul Worrilow (#55) for a moment, aiding the ACE block’s success. The result of the play is a 44-yard gain by running back Jonathan Stewart.
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Here Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil and left guard Andrew Norwell work an ACE block. They are working from the 2i technique to the backside linebacker. The timing of the release from Norwell and the overtaking by Kalil were executed perfectly because of the movement they generated by working in unison from snap-to-finish, along with the RPO at the QB / RB exchange.
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Brandon Thorn wrote this entry. Follow Brandon on Twitter @VeteranScout.
Video courtesy of NFL Game Pass.
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