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Double Teams: Working with the Left Tackle to Neutralize Defenders

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Double Teams: Working with the Left Tackle to Neutralize Defenders

When it comes to securing the pocket and opening up running lanes, the double team is a cornerstone technique in offensive line play. Understandably, this choreographed maneuver requires seamless coordination, fluid communication, and impeccable timing, especially with the left tackle – often the anchor of the offensive line. Let’s delve into what makes double teaming with the left tackle an art form in its own right.

Why Double Teams Matter

Double teams add strength and versatility to an offense’s blocking scheme. By utilizing the power of two players working in unison, the offensive line can significantly reduce the impact of formidable defenders, maximize protection, and create advantageous plays. Consider these key benefits:

  • Resilience Against Defensive Pressure: Two offensive linemen working together can overpower elite defensive ends and tackles, ensuring the quarterback stays upright and has time to deliver the ball.
  • Enhanced Run Blocking: Modern run schemes often rely on the push and mobility provided by double teams to create gaps and lanes for running backs.
  • Dynamic Play Action: Effective double teaming can fake out defenses on play-action passes, making the offensive playbook more diverse and unpredictable.

Key Elements of an Effective Double Team

To successfully execute double teams, players must excel in several critical areas:


Here's a breakdown of how coordination plays out in real-time:

  1. Pre-snap Read:

    • Identify the Mark: Before the snap, the left tackle and the accompanying guard need to spot which defender they will focus on. This is often determined by the defensive alignment and the position of linebackers or safeties.
    • Call Signals: Communicate using pre-determined calls or signals to set up the double team.
  2. Initial Engagement:

    • Leverage: Both players must attack the defender's body in a synchronized fashion, using their collective strength to disrupt his balance.
    • Angles: Approach the defender from optimal angles to ensure that they maximize their pushing power.


Effective communication is the lifeblood of a successful double team:

  • Pre-snap Audibles: Relaying changes based on defensive shifts.
  • In-play Verves: Quick, verbal cues during the play to adjust both players’ effort, reminding each other to maintain their leverage and coordination.


Timing is everything in football, and double teaming is no exception:

  • Snap Synchronization: Both players must move simultaneously at the snap. Any delay could result in a breakdown of the block.
  • Shedding: Eventually, one lineman will need to shed off and take on a secondary defender, often a linebacker. The timing of this shift is crucial in maintaining the momentum established by the double team.

Drills to Perfect Double Teams

Below is a table of recommended drills for honing double teaming skills:

Drill NamePurposeDescription
Mirror DrillCoordination and SynchronizationBoth players shadow a defender's movements, working on staying in sync.
Leverage LiftPower and TechniqueFocuses on lifting the defender off his feet by using combined lower body strength.
Combo BlockTiming ShiftOne lineman peels off the double team at set intervals, targeting a secondary defender.
Fit and DriveSustained ContactKeeps pressure on the defender for extended periods, emphasizing continuous effort.

Closing Thoughts

Mastering the double team with the left tackle is a game-changer for any football team. With expert coordination, crystal-clear communication, and split-second timing, the offensive line can dominate the line of scrimmage, ensuring the success of both run and pass plays. By practicing these principles and incorporating the outlined drills, players can elevate their blocking prowess and lead their team to victory.

Stay tuned for more insights and tips on elevating your game on the gridiron!