The offensive line of the Green Bay Packers are known for getting away with holds, and that’s not just the Chicago Bears’ fan in me talking, it’s a complaint that I see every time the Packers play anyone. The Packers have done it for so long that one of our favorite Xs&Os guys, Brett Kollmann. dedicated a Film Room episode to their technique.
The Film Room Ep. 49: How the Packers get away with holding on every play
To me there’s a difference in holding and grabbing. I coached my offensive linemen to grab. Grabbing is good, because referees rarely call grabbing at any level. As long as an offensive lineman’s elbows are in, and their hands are inside a defensive lineman’s frame, they can grab some jersey or the chest plate on the defender’s shoulder pads. It’s when an offensive lineman has their hands outside the defender or when they hug a defender that they get in trouble.
If a defensive lineman has a quick and strong rip move, like Khalil Mack does, he’s able to turn his shoulders and get under a blockers arm, which forces the blocker to wrap his arm around him. The offensive lineman has to then use his feet to get in position to not get caught holding, because it’s just instinct to use that arm to hug. Most refs let that go unless the offensive lineman impedes the defenders progress with their outside arm.
But with Mack’s freakish combination of strength and quickness, he’s seemingly held half the game, but in 2018 he’s not getting any calls at all.
Check out this gallery of pictures we have available to us from Getty Images and the USA Today.
Some of these pictures are obvious holds, while others are just Mack quickly getting under the arm with his rip move. They might be holds, but if the o-lineman didn’t clench on the hug they were probably okay.
Mack’s face on taht one is great. He’s like, ‘Are you #%$@&!? kidding me?’
That hold form the Lion didn’t stop Mack from getting the sack!