Slide Protection | FBCP S08E10

The most important player on your football team is the Quarterback, and slide protection is a great way to keep him safe. This episode of The Football Coaching Podcast is a deep dive on slide pass protection from all angles.

Slide protection has a lot of positives. At the top of the list, slide protection is simple. You do not have many breakdowns.

The simplicity makes this pass protection scheme perfect for teams that use a lot of quick game. You do not need to install a sophisticated protection scheme when you throw the ball on time.

slide protection left

Slide Protection Advantages

Full slide protection is a zone blocking scheme. Each blocker is responsible for an area. When the call is slide left, each blocker is responsible for anyone coming to the gap on their left.

The back handles the backside edge. That is usually a defensive end but could be an edge blitzing linebacker or safety.

Slide protection is not just a quick game or play action protection scheme. The area blocking makes it great for defenses using exotic stunts and blitzes.

Big On Big (BOB) man protection can be confused by twists and X-stunts. Slide pass protection handles those challenges with ease.

The Problem With Slide Protection

The biggest challenge in using the slide is putting your running back on a bigger, stronger Defensive End. In the quick game this is not a problem because the ball is out.

For an offense that does not do a lot of passing, it is not a major concern either. The Defensive End will not be able to pin his ears back and speed rush if he is always defending the run.

The key to coaching your running back in slide pass protection is focusing on a few basic rules. Since they do not spend a majority of their time on this phase of the game, keep it simple.

The fastest path to the Quarterback is to the inside. Never let the rusher beat you to the inside. Always attack his inside number.

Pass protection for smaller backs on bigger linemen is not about knocking him down. You need to slow him down. Get out of the Quarterback’s way, then mirror him.

In a worst-case scenario, if the back follows those rules the Quarterback can get the ball out. Getting run over slowly is good pass protection.

Attacking the Back

The third part of this deep dive podcast is on attacking slide protection with your defense. Just like any pass protection, the key is finding out where the running back is responsible.

Study the film to figure out which direction the offensive line slides. This is usually the read side for the Quarterback, too.

Field and boundary tendencies are a good starting point. Look to see if the coach is always sliding to the field.

The slide is often based on the hand of the Quarterback or the hand of the Offensive Coordinator. Usually that means to the right, or the defense’s left.

Finally you can look for receivers. If a team slides to the passing side, that passing side is likely where the best receiver is lined up.

Once you have a tendency on passing downs and which way the slide is going, you can make your calls. Try to get your best pass rusher away from the slide. You can also bring a single edge overload blitz to attack the Quarterback’s blindside.

Additional Resources

  • This article came up when searching for origins of slide protection, crediting Bill Walsh’s West Coast Offense. Seems a little late but as good a place as any.
  • Listen to 5 Pass Protection Schemes for an overview on pass protection options from Episode 171 of The Football Coaching Podcast.
  • Our base pass protection in the Pistol Power Offense is Half-Man, Half-Slide. The Football Coaching Podcast S03E08 is an in-depth look at the scheme.

Where To Go From Here

First, listen to the Slide Protection podcast using the player at the top of this article. Or subscribe to The Football Coaching Podcast in your podcast app on your phone or tablet.

I teach Slide Protection in The Pistol Power Offense System. It is a primary way of protecting the Quarterback in quick game and in play action passes. We’ve made adjustments to ‘slide to a man’ using our Zone Count system, too.

Check out The Pistol Power Offense System with a 7 Day Trial for just one dollar right now. Visit to get started today.