ITP Glossary: Bull Rush

Football is littered with specialized terminology. From punt gunner to climbing the pocket, 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.

Bull Rush

A bull rush is a defensive pass rush technique and a pure strength move. In a bull rush, the defender makes hard initial contact with the offensive lineman with both arms, looking to drive the lineman back, establish control, and then flow to the ball carrier or quarterback.

Iron Headed Bull Rush

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (#97) executes a bull rush on San Diego Chargers left guard Chris Watt (#65), pushing him back into the pocket and forcing Philip Rivers to move to his right:

In this example, former Florida State defensive lineman Eddie Goldman shows a bull rush and the ability to collapse the pocket:

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Aligned in 1 technique, the defensive tackle plows forward into his opponent on the bull rush. Supporting his upper body strength with a strong base ‒ hips forward, knees bent, feet/ankles churning ‒ Goldman locks the knees of the guard before defeating the block. The defender uses his hands and arms extremely well, creating separation by extending his forearms and sweeping through the blocker’s ill-fated grasp to finish off the play for another sack.

Badger Bull Rush

Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Joe Schobert displays his pure strength when he uses a bull rush technique against Iowa Hawkeyes RT Ike Boettger (#75):

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The LB simply drives himself into the chest of the tackle, shoving him backwards and putting him on skates. As Boettger falls to the turf, Schobert is able to disengage and bring down the QB for one of his 9.5 sacks.

Griffen Bull Rush

Squaring off against San Diego left tackle King Dunlap, Minnesota Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen used speed, and his bull rush power to overwhelm the eight-year veteran. Griffen (#97) powers through Dunlap (#77) using a speed bull rush from a 9 technique alignment:

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Griffen fires off the line with an initial step toward Dunlap before widening out on his second step. The defensive end quickly pivots back toward the left tackle on his third and fourth steps, completing his transition from a wide-angle speed rush to a bull rush. Dunlap lunges early for Griffen, losing leverage on his punch and allowing the defender into his chest. Griffen attacks Dunlap’s outside shoulder with good hand and helmet placement and gains insurmountable leverage by rolling his hips, driving his legs and lifting his hands through the blocker. The defender drives his target into the back of the QB before disengaging toward the inside to deliver a hit on the passer and force an incompletion.

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Brian Filipiak & Dave Archibald wrote this entry. Follow Brian on Twitter @Brian_Filipiak. Follow Dave on Twitter @davearchie.

All video and images courtesy NFL Game Pass.

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