By Pete ThamelNew England Patriots running back Malcolm Butler is working to improve his game and get back on track, and that’s exactly what the team is doing with the playbook changes.
The Patriots announced Monday they are adding three new formations in a new playbook, and one of them is the “dumbbell press,” which is a variation of the push-press that has been popular in NFL defenses.
The press, in its simplest form, involves the tight end aligning with the offensive tackle and then bringing his hands into a tight-grip position.
As the tight-guard aligns, the quarterback can use the tight ends shoulder to push the quarterback backward and create a lane for the quarterback to run through.
In this version of the press, the offensive lineman aligns to the right and the quarterback is tasked with getting the tight tackle back to the inside, while also creating a lane to the quarterback.
The offense then runs a screen pass and the tight line has the option of moving to the sideline.
“We like to look at this as a push-rush, but we are trying to get to a position where we can be more physical,” offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said.
“We’re trying to take advantage of a situation that we haven’t had before, where we are able to rush the passer.
It’s a new position, so we have to get used to it and adjust.”
The playbook change was part of the Patriots’ “Dumbbell Press” concept.
The team also said it has introduced a few more new wrinkles to the offense this offseason.
For example, the Patriots have used a lot more zone concepts, which means the offensive linemen are more open and the receivers are open on the outside.
Also, the playbook includes more blitzes, which has resulted in more time and space for running backs to get open.
“When you have a lot of zone, you are going to get the quarterback into a lot better position to throw the ball,” McDaniel said.
The playbook changes have allowed the Patriots to incorporate more of a “dude, run!” mentality into the offense, which helped Butler get back to his old form.
“It’s just been about me being more aggressive, trying to put the ball in the hands of the guys, trying not to lose my gap and getting back to where I want to be,” Butler said.
“The first couple weeks, the guys were telling me it was going to be a long process, so I just took a step back and said, ‘OK, I want you to know, this is how I am going to change my game.
It will be fun for you guys to see how I do that.'”