USA Football has selected San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle JUSTIN SMITH, and linebackers PATRICK WILLIS and NAVORRO BOWMAN to its third annual USA Football All-Fundamentals Team, which honors 26 NFL players – 11 offense, 11 defense, four special teams – who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate.

USA Football’s All-Fundamentals Team recognizes NFL players at each offensive and defensive position as well as four special teams positions. Employing proper technique, particularly when blocking and tackling, fosters better on-field performance and inherent safety benefits.

Smith possesses a combination of strength and exceptional technique. On the snap, he bursts off the line of scrimmage. He keeps his feet moving and extends his arms to drive blockers back far enough to reach the quarterback.

Willis, the target of many blockers, has the uncommon ability to defeat those blocks and continue toward the ball-carrier. With his technique, he is among the best at using arm extension to gain separation and disengage from would-be blockers.

Bowman consistently puts himself in great position to make plays for the 49ers. Bowman is able to avoid would-be blockers by using his hands and keeping his feet moving. With these fundamentals he is able to gain separation from offensive players and focus in on the ball-carrier to make the tackle

USA Football, the sport’s national governing body in the United States, is the official youth football development partner of the 49ers, the NFL and each of the league’s other 31 teams.

Each player chosen for the All-Fundamentals Team will receive a $1,500 equipment grant from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice. USA Football also will present selected players with a custom-made Riddell helmet trophy.

Employing core football fundamentals advances a youth player’s performance and safety, particularly in the areas of blocking and tackling. USA Football has educated more than 75,000 youth football coaches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., through its online courses and single-day coaching clinics since 2006. Approximately 3 million American children age 6-14 play organized tackle football, placing it among the country’s most popular youth sports.

The USA Football All-Fundamentals Team was assembled by a five-person selection committee:

  • CHARLES DAVIS, USA Football spokesperson, football analyst for NFL Network and FOX Sports
  • HERM EDWARDS, ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL head coach
  • MERRIL HOGE, USA Football board member, ESPN NFL analyst and former NFL player
  • JIM MORA, USA Football Tackle Advisory Committee member, former Falcons and Seahawks head coach
  • CARL PETERSON, USA Football chairman, former NFL team executive and assistant coach

NFL game footage showing USA Football All-Fundamentals Team players’ techniques is available at

2011 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team – Offense:

Aaron Rodgers QB Green Bay Packers Throwing mechanics
Arian Foster RB Houston Texans Following blocks/ball security
Michael Robinson FB Seattle Seahawks Run blocking
Eric Decker WR Denver  Broncos Catching with hands
Donald Driver WR Green Bay Packers Catching with hands
Heath Miller TE Pittsburgh Steelers Run blocking/catching
Nick Mangold C New York Jets Run blocking/combo block
David Diehl G New York Giants Run blocking
Carl Nicks G New Orleans Saints Run blocking/drive block
Jordan Gross T Carolina Panthers Run blocking/combo block
Joe Thomas T Cleveland Browns Pass blocking footwork

2011 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team – Defense:

Tamba Hali DE Kansas City Chiefs Pass rush
Julius Peppers DE Chicago Bears Defeating a block
Haloti Ngata DT Baltimore Ravens Defeating a block/arm over rush
Justin Smith DT San Francisco 49ers Defeating a block/bull rush
Sean Lee LB Dallas Cowboys Tackling
Patrick Willis LB San Francisco 49ers Defeating a block/tackling
NaVorro Bowman LB San Francisco 49ers Gaining ground downhill/tackling
Brent Grimes CB Atlanta Falcons Pass coverage
Charles Woodson CB Green Bay Packers Playing the ball
Malcolm Jenkins S New Orleans Saints Breaking up the pass
Eric Weddle S San Diego Chargers Footwork in coverage

2011 USA Football All-Fundamentals Team – Special Teams:

Devin Hester KR-PR Chicago Bears Kick catching/returning
Cullen Loeffler LS Minnesota Vikings Long snapping mechanics
Josh Scobee K Jacksonville Jaguars Kicking mechanics
Shane Lechler P Oakland Raiders Punting mechanics


About USA Football: USA Football, the sport's national governing body in the United States, hosts more than 80 football training events annually offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league commissioners. The independent non-profit is the official football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference. USA Football manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competition and awards $1 million annually in equipment grants to youth and high school football programs based on merit and need. Endowed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.


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