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Playbook Profile: Defense in the Zone

OLB Shaun Phillips (Doug Pensinger/Getty)

The Chargers utilized one of the NFL's most effective arrays of blitzes last season, propelling the team to rank in the top five in sacks (42) while leading the League in interceptions (30). Team expert Michael Lombardo takes a closer look at one blitz package in particular, which plays off the versatility of Shaun Phillips and Jacques Cesaire.

Because the Chargers feature a number of athletic pass-rushers in the defensive front seven, the Bolts are among the NFL's most apt teams in regards to running the zone blitz. The pass-rushing ploy involves dropping a defensive lineman into coverage while sending an additional pass-rusher on the opposite side of the play. The premise behind the zone blitz is simple: An extra pass-rusher comes...

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