A Cut Block
A Cut Block

Football: Cut Blocking - Not on a Five Step Drop

Dick Moss

A cut block (sometimes called a chop block) is a technique in which the blocker attempts to take down a defender by diving at his feet or ankles.

While there are strict rules for cut blocking, it is legal in an open field against oncoming defenders. As a result, it is often used during pass protection situations by undersized running backs against rushing linemen and linebackers - as a way to overcome the size differential.

Here's a rule-of-thumb for cut blocking: offensive players should not cut-block when their quarterback is using a five-step drop.

Why No Cut-Blocking on a Five-Step Drop
Cut blocks are risky in this situation because the extra time and distance required by a five-step drop gives rushers who have been taken down enough time to get back up and make the sack.

A cut-block may be appropriate when the quarterback has taken a three-step drop for a quick release, but not for a five-step drop. This is particularly true for higher levels of play, in which the rushing players are very agile and fast.

References: 1. Daryl (Moose) Johnston (three-time Superbowl winner with the Dallas Cowboys), Fox TV Coverage of the Green Bay Packers Versus the St. Louis Rams, 12/16/07.

2. John Powers (Offensive Line Coach, Lehigh University), What is a cut block and when is it illegal for a football player to execute? Expert Village.com. http://sports.expertvillage.com/experts/cut-chop-block.htm


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