Pass-Sporting: Tip #32 - Being An Import D Lineman

They double you because you are really good,
and they are really bad. Remember that!
Pass-Sporting: Guide not to be a terrible import
Tip #32: Being an import D Lineman

To put it simply, if you don’t get 15+ sacks everyone is going to think you suck. If they score a touchdown it's pretty much your fault. ESPECIALLY if it’s a run play. Statistically speaking I've sucked all six seasons in Europe. Because all anyone knows of playing D Line is that sacks are the measuring stick of who’s good and who’s not. You will suffer from what I like to call the “Jadaveon Clowney Dilema”.

This year Clowney hasn’t had the production everyone expected from the potential #1 pick of the 2014 draft. Clearly it’s not because he isn’t good, but it’s because teams are scared shitless of him. The offense week in and week out is designed to keep him away from ANY and EVERYTHING. The game plan is to find out where he is, go the complete opposite way, double him and send a running back to chip him for good measure. Not to mention if he is single blocked the QB has to run quick game (3 step, screens) in fear of the pressure he’s going to cause. His presence alone changes what an offense would normally do.

Unfortunately most teams in Europe don’t see it that way. My second season in Sweden I was considered the worst import there. I think I finished with 3 sacks and grumblings from my teammates about my production. Granted I had 2 to 3 people orbiting me like they were Beyonce’s security and because of pressure most teams could only throw short routes, it didn’t matter? I’m an import. I was supposed to beat all double teams and half the triple teams. Since most of the attention was always paid to me, it freed a lot of guys up but I failed to help them take advantage of those opportunities to make plays.

The way to help your self in this situation and to not look like a total bust is to do a few things. For starters help other D Linemen and players make plays. Your teammates will quickly forget about your stats if they are putting up numbers of their own. For instance, if you are putting on tons of pressure in the pass game put your DE’s in position to get that sack when you flush the QB out the pocket. In the run game if you redirect the RB into the arms of another DT you’ve got him a TFL. Every now in then turn your LB and run a stunt for him so that you occupy the OL and free him up so he can make a big play. This is actually a MUST DO because you can drive your self insane getting upset that you can’t make every play. There is only one of you and you can’t be everywhere at the same time. This will actually help everyone see your impact and having them be less dependent on sitting around watching you try to do it all.

The second part is to be a vocal leader. It's self explanatory, I guess, but this is freaking chore. Some guys like to naturally be in the huddle doing the Ray Lewis thing. Personally I like to be in kill mode so I don’t want to talk with anyone because I’m liable to flip and fight anyone. But being the biggest and strongest dude on the field you have to make everyone on that defense feel like they are 6’5 265 and can whoop anybody Things are going to get rough during the game and you have to always pick your D up because as their import they need to know that you have their back and they are all capable of making that important play and not just you. They all want that opportunity to feel like a star and you must empower them to do so.

So good luck in your next season and expect to be held, cut, tackled and whatever illegal things these sorry ass OL do to stop you from kicking their ass. Trust me they will hold and cut and cut and cut. The only other place you will see men going down as much is in a San Francisco bath house.

Aki "Not Euro Jones" Jones