New Defensive Rule Unveiled
The Alliance is already known for changing the rules compared to the NFL (no kickoffs, etc.), but today we can report a small rule change that could have a huge impact on defensive schemes.
In my conversations with team officials at practice, it came up that there’s a new defensive rule that to my knowledge hasn’t been talked about much. The defense will only be able to rush a maximum of 5 players on any given play. This protects the quarterback from dealing with too many blitzers at a given time eliminating big hits. But this new rule may have some additional, positive consequences.
What it has also done for quarterbacks is forced them to guess more where true blitzers are coming from. As we saw in Super Bowl LIII, Jared Goff struggled to identify where the Patriots’ pass rush was coming from due to the various different looks they gave. Expect a lot of the same in the AAF. Defensive coordinators will be able to disguise their pass rush locations on every play, requiring the QBs to pick and choose their protections more than usual.
While it could be an aberration, this rule change could also account for the seven sacks the Apollos generated over the course of their scrimmage with the San Diego Fleet. I’ve already been told part of that was that the Fleet prepared for a 4-3 base defense instead of the 3-4 base the Apollos run. That mix-up combined with the new rule could have caused a lot of havoc for the QB and offensive line.