Things I Noticed: Why this leaping pass-rush move has taken NFL by storm
When Kansas City's edge rusher, Taco Charlton, hit the bull's eye in the third quarter of the Chiefs' 26:10 win over New England on Monday night, at least three people smiled: Charlton, Charlton's agent and former Falcons star, became Atlanta - Chuck Smith, a pass rush trainer.
To be clear, Smith doesn't work with Charlton. But he helped popularize the train Charlton used - the cross chop - around 2007. At this point, Smith was working with New York Giants Edge Rusher Osi Umenyiora to develop a version of the train that included a Euro-Step-like deke and a jump on his inner foot toward the lineman's outer shoulder. It became known as "Osi".
"When Osi had the wrong head, he always had a knack for getting off the inside foot," Smith told Yahoo Sports. "The euro move was where the new generation took it from what it created."
Indeed. In the years since then, the move's popularity has skyrocketed across the league as Star Pass rushers like Aaron Donald, Chandler Jones, Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt, Robert Quinn and Yannick Ngakoue all use variations of the cross-chop.
Do you remember Adrian Clayborn's six-sack-night against Dallas in 2017? Yes. He used the Euro-Step-Cross-Chop on four of these bags.
I'm not kidding you, literally every week this season - and I check out every game, every week - I've noticed several edge rushers terrorizing a poor lineman with a variation of a cross-chop, whether it's a jump or one Included Euro pace or some other variation of it.
In this additional special edition of my weekly Things I Noticed feature, Smith joined me in the video above, expertly put together by my Captain Ron Schiltz to find out why Charlton's cross-chop was so effective and why other rushers are so too adept at using it.
New England Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer (center) will be attacked in the second half of the game on Monday in Kansas City by Kansas City Chiefs defensive end, Taco Charlton (94), and linebacker Ben Niemann (56). Niemann fumbled back. (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel)
Please watch the video again, but here's some bonus information: It's very, very important to the health of professional football that defenders develop such moves, and it goes way beyond how cool it looks.
This is an offensive game for sure, and the rules are so inclined. But the game is only fun when the defense has a chance, and the best - maybe the only - way to stop the likes of Patrick Mahomes or Russell Wilson is to put pressure on with just four rushers, which makes the defense more Can bring men to cover.
There is still money to be made if you stop by quick. Smith, who trains professional, college, and high school passers-by at his Atlanta training center, says the race to develop new and more efficient avenues to quarterback never ends.
"Look, just because we've only used slap-rip and swipes for the last 100 years of football doesn't mean that new moves can't be invented," said Smith. "As the ball comes out faster and RPOs become more important, there will be various moves at some point in the evolution of the Pass Rush."
Hopefully the next time you see a defender either jumping on the outside shoulder of an offensive lineman, chopping off their outside arm, and cornering toward the quarterback, you'll not only know exactly why the move was so effective, but one too Appreciation for it.
Playing high-scoring defense in today's NFL isn't easy. It scores more points than ever before, but with the right collection of pass rushers it can be.
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