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 www.usafootball.com/all-fundamentals-team.
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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