Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Form Tackle: A Dying Breed in the NFL

It’s rare these days to see an NFL defender wrap up a ball carrier around the waist and bring him down.  Defenders these days are all about doling out the biggest hits possible.

There’s no doubt that a huge hit is much more likely to jarr the ball loose than a form tackle, but there is a time and a place for both.  A defender laying a bone-crushing hit on a receiver or ball carrier can have a huge effect on the game.  Beyond causing a fumble or incompletion, it can energize not only the defensive unit, but the entire team.

The problem is that defenders are so focused on trying to get on Sportscenter with these huge hits, that sometimes they end up neglecting their primary responsibility of making the tackle.

It’s so frustrating to see a defender tuck his arms in and lead with a shoulder, only to allow the ball carrier to bounce off and continue running.  What’s even more frustrating however, is when extra yardage is surrendered as a defender decides to forgo tackling all together in unsuccessful attempts to strip the ball.

There are times when the situation calls for a nice form tackle; times when throwing a shoulder at the guy just won’t do the job.  So maybe you won’t lay the guy out or cause the fumble, but at least you ensure the play ends there and not 10 yards down the field or in the end zone.

Tackling is evolving from bear-hugging a guy and bringing him to the ground, to throwing your body at him and hoping he falls down.

If defensive players are so afraid of getting fined after a hit to the head of a receiver, maybe launching themselves at his knees isn’t the only other option.

Wrap ‘em up!

1 comment:

  1. I disagree. I think that although there are times when defenders might think to themselves, "Oh fuck yea, this is gunna be a big hit", most of the time they are going full speed and are more concerned about just making the tackle. We remember the big hits that injure people, but not the majority of hits that don't. I think the hit on Gronk was clean, or at-least not malicious. Guy was just trying to bring down Gronk which isn't an easy thing to do.