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Peter King
October 07, 1991
Offensive Linespeak
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October 07, 1991

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Offensive Linespeak

Listening to an offensive line coach instruct his players is like walking in on a Berlitz class. During a recent film session with his troops, Bengal line coach Jim McNally put the final touches on their assignments for Cincinnati's game two days later with the Redskins. Below are McNally's instructions to one lineman for one play, followed by a translation.

"We've got a 19 fall. Anthony will take a big split if it's a T bubble-type thing. Remember, Anth, versus this kind of look, if you have to tighten down to Vern, O.K. Now, this is a good look at a rake. When in doubt, drop-step."

The 19 fall is a running play the Bengals would use against Washington's base defense. Anthony is Cincinnati's left tackle Anthony Munoz. McNally wants Munoz to take a big split—to line up a foot or so farther from left guard Bruce (Vern) Reimers than he normally does—if he has a linebacker across the line from him in a T bubble, which is the Bengals' term for the linebacker's playing the tackle soft (a few yards off the line). The play the Bengals are watching on the videotape, however, shows the linebacker across from the tackle but close to the line of scrimmage, in which case, McNally tells Munoz, he can cut the gap between himself and Reimers. The rake is a blocking technique with which Munoz tries to knock Reimers's man off balance before taking on his own man. When Munoz drop-steps, he moves his right foot back, to better position himself for a rake block.