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Offensive line breakdown: levels of the defense

I've explained "point of attack" and how it applies to pass protection, and the last post covered kick out and seal blocks. Now to finish it off with "levels of the defense."

Every offense lineman's goal in the running game is to get the runner into the second level of the defense. Here's the breakdown:

The first level is the battle zone. This is where the war in the trenches take place; where both sides of the ball are battling to push the opposing team back to gain ground. This is the convoy, so to speak, for the runner -- if successful in this attempt, the runner is on his own to navigate the second and third levels.

The second level is where linebackers are positioned to minimize the gain. If the runner makes it to the second level, he has gained at least 3 to 4 yards on the run. The runner generally has to make at least one defender miss to make it to the third level.

The final level is obviously the third level. If the runner makes it to this level, this is where safeties are and they're the last line of defense. If a runner makes it to this level, it's usually a footrace at this point and large amounts of yardage have been gained by the offense or even better, perhaps a touchdown.

I know this sounds like a video game, but I hope you guys enjoyed this three-part post. If you have questions, don't hesitate to post them. I answer questions on Hard Hits Cam every Friday.

By LaVar Arrington  |  September 4, 2010; 6:22 PM ET
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Next: Washington Redskins final roster cuts


Interesting, but there's one thing you failed to shed light on. How do you successfully block the LaVar Leap?

Posted by: manwray | September 4, 2010 8:38 PM | Report abuse

I'm more curious about Lavar being billed as an ex-Redskin star??? Does he even come close to the countless men of old who bled Burgundy and Gold?

No, because Lavar is much like his sell-out buddy Brian Mitchell: both left the Redskins with the specific intent to find a team in the NFC EAST so that they could play the Skins twice a year. Now these two yuk it up and act as if they are true Redskins--they are not. Just a couple of talk radio mercs wrapping themselves in the veil of the true Redskin.

Just remember each of the jokers on national television, chest-bumping, high-fiving and 3-point land sellouts prior to their departure from the NFL. Had they the choice of keep playing for their respective teams, they would have kept on trying to stick it to the Skins (and by proxy, her fans).

Posted by: zap123 | September 4, 2010 9:03 PM | Report abuse

There is always a vocal minority of haters, but a lot of us loved watching LaVar play in a Redskins jersey. Watching LaVar + ST21 for 10 years would have been a real pleasure, but it was not to be.

Posted by: ltblue14 | September 4, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse


Won't argue that he was fun to watch.

What I don't like and take offense to is the fact he chose to play for a team within the NFC EAST with the SPECIFIC purpose of trying to defeat the Redskins twice a year.

He and Mitchell had a personal vendetta against Dan Synder and used the Redskins as a vehicle to achieve their ends.

I didnt appreciate it when I saw them both in Giants and Eagle's uniforms a few years back, I certainly don't appreciate it now as they cloak themselves "Redskins."

He should not come back to Washington, DC acting as some sort of Redskins hero, because he is not.

Posted by: zap123 | September 4, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

When Brian Mitchell goes into the HOF as a Redskin maybe that'll shut your trap.

Posted by: manwray | September 4, 2010 9:53 PM | Report abuse

I would have to say it was a mild surprise when I saw LA56 show up as an employee for the WP. Mind you a pleasant surprise. Kudos to LA56. As for those who have an axe to grind with both LA56 and BM30 the real point you have forgotten is that both of them were shown the door. They were cast aside like yesterday's garbage. I ask you to put yourself in their shoes. What would you have done? In the words of TK & MW I give you a 99% chance you would have done the same.

I would like nto think that Mitchell would be a 1st or 2nd ballot hall of famer but as with the case with so many Skins players like Monk, Hanburger and others have to wait years to get in if they get in at all.

Hanburger was a 9-time Pro Bowler and being named as an NFL Defensive Player of the Year by one of the organizations and he is still waiting. Randy White of those 'Pukes had the same credentials and was a 2nd ballot entrant. I rest my case.

Posted by: rillbizi | September 4, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

They damn well sure as have the right to stick it to Dan Snyder for the way he's treated players and the fans. He's the worst Redskin of them all. Signing Deion to replace BMitch who played in DC for ten years and was the leading kick returner of all time for awhile? Ridiculous, and what a terrible deal for the entire franchise. While both might have "left," or should I say been cut, they both spent several years here and obviously loved their time enough to come back. I think both truly respect the Skins fans and that's what matters. They both provide incredible insight into the game of football, how the team is run and how a team should be run. It's a breath of fresh air compared to the bunch of crap uttered by the little weeny sitting up in press box on game days.

Posted by: siessmack | September 4, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

Zap123, you left out the part that management booted Brian Mitchell out of town because he wasn't a yes man and made the losers in the front office feel uncomfortable.

Also Lavar had a serious contract dispute which led to his release.

If I played for the Skins and either one of those things happened to me I would try to do the same thing. After the dust settled and careers in the rear view mirror, they know their body of work and best years were with the Redskins. Thus they identify themselves as Redskins, and I don't quite see how either of them are parading as heroes in any sense.

If you don't like Lavar or Mitchells take then don't listen/read them. I'm pretty sure every fan in here is well aware the past and many of us have put it behind us, so we don't need scarecrow arguments posted in after every article in an attempt to discredit their opinion.

Posted by: Eman8 | September 4, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Trust me, I don't listen to them. Any ex-Redskin who signs elsewhere to explicitly beat the Redskins isnt worth his salt; particularly if he comes back selling himself as a "Redskin."

So pile on if you like, I don't care. I've said my peace.

Posted by: zap123 | September 4, 2010 10:45 PM | Report abuse


What are your thoughts on Clinton Portis?

Posted by: dedicato | September 4, 2010 11:48 PM | Report abuse

Zap, do you have the same issues with Art Monk? Afterall, he played in Philly for a season. I'm sure he wanted to show up the Skins just as much as Mitchell or LaVar....

Mitchell has Hall credentials, but it'll be a long time before he gets in. Hanburger not being in is just a crime. The Hall should be ashamed. Grimm should have been first ballot, how long for Jacoby?

LaVar was shown the door after the contract situation (his agent made a paperwork mistake that cost him 6.5 million dollars the Skins wouldn't honor) and he ended up going with the highest contract offer, a 49 million dollar deal to NY, I believe. His friend Antonio Pierce certainly helped lure him there. Really can't blame the guy. In the end he came home.

Posted by: manwray | September 5, 2010 12:13 AM | Report abuse

Eman8, could you please tell me what did we gain from this article today. I learned absolutely nothing. If we presented any substantive stuff then i would not be writing. I do listen to his show and am revolted by the venom he has against the redskins. Lavar should not pretend he loves the redskins when in fact he doesnot care for them because of his personal issues with the owner. Brian on the other hand has moved on and i am ok with him.

Posted by: mazbar | September 5, 2010 12:15 AM | Report abuse

Why is this Giants player writing for the Washington Post? Portis needs to whoop this guy's butt out of town for trying to step to him. Portis is a Skins legend and you aren't Lavar. Nice job on killing Aikman and all, but one play doesn't mean you are the new voice of the Skins. Where are the real Skins legends? Hire somebody better.

Posted by: bosshog7169 | September 5, 2010 3:49 AM | Report abuse

AT LEAST 1/3RD POLITICAL. GUYS LIKE MONK, AND HAMBURGER..QUIETLY PUT UP GREAT NUMBERS YEAR AFTER YEAR...BUT THE KEY WORK HERE IS QUIETLY. LOOK AT WHO VOTES FOR PLAYERS TO BE SELECTED..SPORTS WRITERS...THEY FOCUS ON THE HYPE MORE THAN PERFORMANCE. Not a H.O.F thing...but look at how much they wrote about Fat Albert (for months)...AND, it was not about his playing ability. I think that teams, and sport`s writers lobby for certain players. Years down the road some great players get voted in..almost like an afterthought.


Posted by: blazerguy234 | September 5, 2010 8:26 AM | Report abuse

Great posts, but what you failed to do was say how specific Redskins players performed at these different tasks. That's what I would like to know.

Posted by: AndrewR1 | September 5, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

Reading LaVar's take on a NFL defense is like reading George W's take on how to be a US President...they were both busts at their trade and have no credibility.

Posted by: sjp879 | September 5, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

"I'm more curious about Lavar being billed as an ex-Redskin star???"

About as much as you are a fan. Give it a rest dude. The weather is really FAIR today, do yourself a favor and go out and get some fresh air. :)

"Great posts, but what you failed to do was say how specific Redskins players performed at these different tasks. That's what I would like to know."

I like this and I hope Lavar shares his thoughts on this as the season goes on.

Thanks Lavar.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | September 5, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Anyone who retires an all time cowboys quarterback will always be a redskin in my book! Just like haynesworth stomping on one of those little biatches..hope they play with some kind of passion and hate towards them on Sunday, the only way it should be...

Posted by: l_silva_army | September 5, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse


He and Mitchell had a personal vendetta against Dan Synder


And that makes them the smart ones - in fact, any Redskin fan who doesn't have a personal vendetta against Dan Snyder, who has systematically RUINED this once-great franchise through his greed and buffoonery, is an idiot.

Posted by: thediesel | September 5, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world dident the skins snatch up patrick Creaton when dallas cut him ? i belive he had more TD,s as a back up thany any skins reciver had last year and he was a back up

Posted by: thomasuras | September 5, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world dident the skins snatch up patrick Creaton when dallas cut him ? i belive he had more TD,s as a back up thany any skins reciver had last year and he was a back up

Posted by: thomasuras | September 5, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Why in the world dident the skins snatch up patrick Creaton when dallas cut him ? i belive he had more TD,s as a back up thany any skins reciver had last year and he was a back up

Posted by: thomasuras | September 5, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

Zap, do you actually follow the Skins, of open your mouth to listen to your ignorance spoiling the world? Let me help you a bit. There is a Football team. The Redskins. Believe it or not, it is actually a business. That business has many levels of employees, including an owner and a president all the way down to secretaries and janitors. They have a position called controller of personnel. That means he hires and fires people. Hang in there, ask your dad if you do not understand. The people, who at the time ran this business felt that they needed new employees, the ones they had were not good enough. So, they terminated the contract of their special employee who's job it was to run the football in a game. They also felt that another employee's( whose job was to end HOF quarterbacks careers ) contract was more than his worth. They asked him to void his contract, and when he refused they made work so uncomfortable and stripped him of his duties so much that he gave money back to leave. Weird, right? Two men who's company turned on them or turned their backs on them now do not have a job. They are unemployed. Another company felt they could help them out. They were still useful. Turns out that they were. That same guy who fired them ruined our (not yours) for over a decade. Was fired himself and is the butt jokes in this town. Weird when you realize they are people just like us trying to make a living and be in a good work environment not a magical football fairy who spawns burgundy and gold helmeted warriors that are discarded when they leave this totalitarian governed, poorly ran team.Bleed Burgundy and Gold, but don't turn your back on those who bleed for us. Now go away for good.

Posted by: brettpedigo | September 5, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

It dosen't sound like a video game, but it does sound very elementary. It's what my little leaguers know now at a very early age. You are speaking to an audience that know just a little bit about football, share with us something we don't already know.

Posted by: MHEDRLT | September 6, 2010 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Joe Gibbs had a consultant position with the Falcons and even owned a tiny portion of them after his first stint with the Skins. You should probably not consider him a real Redskin either

Posted by: siessmack | September 6, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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