The Cut Block Reviewed for Youth Football

Published: 07th May 2010
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A unique style of offensive line blocking is called a chop, or cut. Over the years, a cut, or chop block has been called by some a "dirty" technique. A cut, or chop works great and if taught correct it can keep a dominating defender at bay. No cut, or chop should ever be tried with a vicious intent to hurt any player. I would get confirmation from the association's rules that cut and chop blocking is allowed before I would teach it to any players.



Offensive lineman will use a chop, or cut blocking style. A cut, or chop is a block that is hit below the waist of the defender(i.e., from the front of the defensive player) in an attempt to bring the defenders to ground, making them unable to pursue a running back for the short time needed for the back to find a gap in the defense. The reason this technique is frowned upon is because if the offensive lineman hits the defenders in the knees, he can hurt him.



The San Francisco 49ers of the 1980s and early in the 1990's were famous for their cut technique(and leg-whipping blocking techniques, which is not legal), a maneuver that was ultimately used in the mid-90's by the NFL's Denver Broncos. The Denver Broncos gained a level of fame by using their cut-blocking style (often named a malicious play by other teams) which produced the NFL's top rushing offense for over ten years, but likewise resulted in many defensive football opponents of the Broncos getting injured by the cut blocks. In a Monday Night Football game back in 2004, defensive tackle Tony Williams of the Cincinnati Bengals was injured for the year after a cut block (by the Broncos lineman George Foster), and in 2005, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive guard Paul Spicer was severely hurt on a cut block by Broncos lineman Matt Lepsis. The Broncos responded to these complaints when Mike Shanahan held a public film study, in 2004, showing that all the teams in the NFL use some form of a chop, or cut block technique.



As you can see from the above paragraph, there is a great controversy in the NFL regarding cut blocking, so please make sure if you do decide to teach cut blocking to your youth football team you use caution. It is important to show only safe, legal techniques for such a potential dangerous block. We use a simple, yet safe rule regarding chop blocks. Only if you are getting beat, and you can remain on all fours, you can crab block. Our coaches have all players drive, or crab on all fours into the defender.





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Jim Oddo has been coaching youth football for over 23 years. Find over 400 FREE tips and great articles on every aspect of youth football at http://footballplaybooks.info. In addition to coaching tips, there is a wealth of information regarding Youth Football Playbooks.

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