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Whitefield PFF: Defensive Line Techniques - The 2017 Prototypes
0-TECHNIQUE (3-4 NT) – DAMON HARRISON, NEW YORK GIANTS
The 0-technique, also called the Nose Tackle (NT), plays directly over the center or “head-up” on him. The 0-Tech is generally responsible for defending both gaps between the center and the guard (A-gaps) and is most often used in a 3-4 defensive front. His main job is to shut the run game down from pushing directly up the middle. To do this, he must control the center while often drawing a double team from either guard. That is why the heaviest players in the NFL typically play NT in the 3-4 front. They use a combination of their massive size and strength to anchor and win against blockers at the point of attack.
Harrison stands 6-foot-3 and over 340 pounds, and uses every bit of that size to dominate the run game. Dominate isn’t overselling it either as no interior defender has been more destructive against the run since he entered the league in 2012. During that time, he leads all interior defenders in run stops (166) and run-stop percentage (14.9 percent). That career run-stop rate would have led the league by a distance among all defensive tackles in 2016, and in fact every other year of the past decade.
The 0-technique spot doesn’t typically generate large amounts of pressure on the quarterback, but with more hybrid single gap 3-4 fronts being utilized these days, you will find coordinators using smaller, explosive players to shoot one of the A-gaps and get to the quarterback quickly, particularly in sub packages. New England has recently done this with Trey Flowers in passing situations who racked up 18 pressures rushing from 0-tech last season which was almost double the next closest defender.
1-TECHNIQUE (4-3 NT) – DAMON HARRISON, NYG
The 1-technique is also referred to as Nose Tackle, and is very similar to 0-technique in that they both play over the center. The defining difference between the two, is the 1-technique shades over one of the shoulders of the center and usually is responsible for just one gap. The 1-technique, like the 0-tech, is expected to take on double teams from the center and guard which produces one-on-one matchups for the rest of the defensive line, allowing them to attack the backfield. The difference is that this alignment has been most often used with a 4-3 front.
From 2012 to 2015, we saw Harrison establish him as the prototype 0-tech and after switching teams in 2016, Harrison established himself as the prototype 1-tech as well. Whatever defensive front you run, Damon Harrison is the nose tackle you want in the middle of it. Harrison is that good, and in his first year as a 1-tech he racked up ten more run stops than the next closest interior defender, while also leading the league in run-stop percentage at 15.8. A good 1-technique can make the lives of the entire defensive front seven easier, so it is no surprise to see the Giants defense elevate their play the way they did last season."
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Giants Birthdays 7-16
Anthony Howard NT UDFA-Tennessee 1987 NYG 1987 7-16-1960
Casey Merrill DE W-GB 1983 NYG 1983-1985 7-16.1957
Whip Walton LB W-MIN 1980 NYG 1980 7-16.1955