The New York Giants run a lot of man coverage concepts under aggressive play-caller Don ‘Wink’ Martindale, so the green-dog blitzing concept isn’t insignificant, nor is it a strange cousin of Clifford.
A green-dog blitz is a defensive action where a defender rushes the quarterback after his man coverage assignment stays in to pass block. This is typically executed by a linebacker, but not always. The offense’s protection struggles to adapt to the late rusher, and an indecisive quarterback could find himself on his back if he can’t find a target or extemporize.
When the offense uses a six-man protection package against a defense, who is typically in man-coverage, and the running-back stays in to pass-block, the defender assigned to the running back comes as an additional member of the defense’s pressure package. That is a green-dog blitz.
Jaylon Smith (54) executed the green-dog technique against the Seattle Seahawks on first-and-10 in Week 8. New York called Cover-0, with each eligible receiver assigned a defender. Micah McFadden (41) blitzed through the open A-Gap to occupy Kenneth Walker (9) since the Giants employed a TITE front that would engage all three interior offensive linemen.
Justin Ellis (71) and Dexter Lawrence (97) stepped toward the outside shoulder of their opponents, which created a void for McFadden to exploit. Smith, who was assigned in man coverage against Walker, saw the rookie running back engage his fellow rookie on the blitz. This allowed Smith to blitz, as he was now unencumbered of coverage responsibility since his coverage assignment was in pass protection - green dog!