Steelers Film Room: G Lead Concept

By Alex Kozora

Throughout the rest of the offseason, we’ll examine specific plays from the Pittsburgh Steelers 2013 season. We won’t be focusing so much on individual play, though that inevitably comes with any breakdown, but instead, we will focus on concepts used in the pro game to show not just what happened, but why it happened.

This will be an X’s and O’s series focusing on both sides of the ball. The good and bad of the Steelers of last season.

Personnel: Ace

Concept: G-Lead

Defense: Base 4-3

Result: 25 yard gain by Jonathan Dwyer 

Rare blocking scheme for the Steelers so we won’t go too in-depth but it’s still worth covering.

We’ve discussed Power O more times than I can count. You know the core concept now. Downhill, power scheme with the backside guard pulling and leading the charge. The scheme we’re breaking down today, G-Lead, is the inverse. Instead of the backside guard trapping, the frontside guard pulls. The strongside tackle and tight ends downblock.


Let’s look at it in game. Week Three versus the Chicago Bears. The Steelers’ run G-Lead to the right, meaning David DeCastro is pulling. Kelvin Beachum down blocks the three tech with David Johnson and Heath Miller base blocking the defensive end and SAM linebacker, respectively.



Because the Steelers have two tight ends, DeCastro is able to work to the strong safety coming down to support the run, kicking him out. If there was just one tight end, like in the illustration above, DeCastro would be responsible for the SAM, leaving the safety free. His kickout opens up a huge running lane for Jonathan Dwyer, who rumbles for 25.



It’s a rarely used concept by the Steelers. But with a new offensive line coach, perhaps the team will add in wrinkles like these to complement the zone game. It’s no secret Ramon Foster lacks the quickness to pull and the Steelers are a predominantly right-handed team. With G-Lead, the Steelers can pull their quickest guard and still run to the right. It’s having your cake and eating it too.

And the only thing an offensive lineman loves more than cake is getting to knock a dude’s head off run blocking.

Previous Film Room Sessions
Putting Pressure On Rookies
Facing The 46 Defense
Fake Wide Receiver Screen
The Steve McLendon Myth
Cover 2 Man
The Wildcat
Cover 1 And Forced Throws
Slant Flat In Red Zone
Divide Routes
Zone Blocking Scheme
Scrape Concept Versus The Read Option
Antonio Brown The Decoy
Sugaring The “A” Gaps
Running The Mesh
Curl Flat Versus Cover Three
The Tare Route
Reading Hats On The Goalline

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Steeler B

    great illustration. your diagram is off though. it doesn’t show a double TE right.
    other than that a beautiful breakdown! thanks.

  • Alex Kozora

    I know, it wasn’t supposed to. I was just showing the basic concept.

  • Matt Manzo

    I’m gonna miss those long runs of Dwyers! They always surprised me. Too bad he couldn’t of had more!

  • Code Warrior

    With blocking like that Dri Archer goes for 6 untouched.

  • Lil Smitty

    Bell would be able to get the 25 too, and maybe a TD.

  • Code Warrior

    BTW – just gotta say that this X’s and O’s feature is my favorite part of already awesome site. Keep it going baby!

  • Dan

    Look at that! Isn’t football the greatest sport in the world?! I travel internationally and I know how popular soccer is in many places, but I just don’t get it. Sure there’s strategy and skill involved, but American football, that’s where brains and brawn come together.

  • walter mason

    Dwyer liked to hit.

  • Krankor

    Man, that is some picture-perfect blocking! An absolute thing of beauty! Special kudos to DeCastro, who has to get to his man in space, and Johnson, who has perhaps the toughest block in the whole thing– 1-on-1 with a big DE and straight-up with no angle to help him– and makes it look easy. And the WR does a nice job of getting the down-field block.

  • These film room articles are on point Alex thank you. I wish Dwyer wouldn’t have hopped before he made contact he really could have massacred Chris Conte on that play. I think Bell would have gotten by him. And I KNOW Archer would. Good play design though.

  • Steve

    This is one of the reasons the Brits are wanting a NFL team. Games are being played there to give a taste of what’s to come.

  • Alex Kozora

    That was always the problem with Dwyer. Couldn’t make anyone miss, only got what was blocked. Worst vision I’ve ever seen, too.

  • Code Warrior

    Great down field block by Manny Sanders too… I’m more worried about replacing his production in the run game than anything. I think Wheaton will be fine in the pass game but can he block?

  • Code Warrior

    I also like how this play starts downhill like a dive… the Mike LB gets sucked up to the LOS and loses the angle to the hole.

  • Alex Kozora

    That’s part of it but it’s also his gap responsibility. Fill the middle and force the run laterally.

    But you’re right, he does need to read his keys better. See the guard pull, follow him down the line.

  • Jake Marion

    These Xs and Os are a nice read while we wait for training camp stories. Great work Alex.
    It’s like Khan Academy, but for Football.

  • Jonas

    I like football more than soccer, too, but you have to give the soccer tactics more credit. It just isn’t as obvious as in football plays..

    You have to have a concept, where the zones are filled in every possible situation – counter defense, counter offense, creating cover shadows, you have to press the opponents opening passes, build triangles in your own offense setup, make the field wide offensively, even use route running to get holes and men open.. and that was just scratching the surface!

  • Hard Row

    Shows why Decastro was a first rounder. Most Guards couldn’t hit a moving target in space like that, nevermind a fast DB.

    Pouncey can make those type of athletic blocks too. It will be interesting to see to blocking schemes Munchak comes up with.