Watching film is a necessity for football players on many different levels. It allows them to scout their opponent’s tendencies in players they are going to match up against, analyze the schemes of their opponents to seek advantages for game day, and allows them to study themselves to figure out if they’re making any errors that need correction as well.
Most film watched by players though doesn’t contain an audio track of that player explaining why he’s doing the things he’s doing. So when a chance to learn from one of the best players at his position over the last decade in just such a situation was presented, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson didn’t waste the opportunity.
In a video posted on Twitter by former offensive lineman and NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger, Johnson said he copied the technique of former Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas after seeing him discuss his technique to combat power rushes with Baldinger.
“One thing I remember watching from the Joe Thomas film,” Johnson explained, “was whenever he talked about power and one thing that he did whenever he talked about the bull rush was they’re trying to generate their power through you and whenever you get your ankles, knees and hands in alignment and it kind of forces that power up.”
Instead of trying to stop a defenders full force by acting like a brick wall, by rerouting the defender’s force from an angled attack to standing him upright by lifting his shoulder pads up it significantly slowed down the oncoming opponent.
“I want to take his movement and his energy and lift it up,” Thomas had explained in his sit down. “Take the center of gravity up, right, so you’re going to hit his shoulder pads and you’re actually going to try to lift it up.”
Johnson has now taken ownership of the technique for himself.
“And that’s what I try to do with pass protection,” he said. “I’m not trying to be too violent, sometimes I’ll throw one arm in there but really I’m trying to go under for the most part.
“There’s nobody better than Joe Thomas.”